One Way to Make Cosplay Jewelry

This is just a quick post about what worked for my daughter when she was trying to create cosplay jewelry for her FFXIV Thanavarian Bustier cosplay.


This is just a quick post about making cosplay jewelry as I’m learning more than I’d ever imagined I’d know about it from helping my daughter in her efforts to make the FFXIV Thanavarian Bustier cosplay. In a nutshell: what eventually worked for her, in this outfit that includes TONS of jewelry items, was a base of thin EVA foam, topped with foam clay for the 3D form, with an overlay of Worbla to make it firm. There are a few affiliate links in this post because I stand to earn a small commission from them if anyone clicks the link and makes a subsequent purchase. However, Worbla can be expensive and you might want to shop around. Prices on Amazon are OK — when we were buying, we found Michael’s to be expensive on that product, and Blick to have a better price (at least if you buy in-store).

There’s a cosplay explosion going on at the Bit of Wow desk.

making cosplay jewelry messy desk with cosplay wig

My daughter has taken over my primary workspace in her persistent efforts to get her Thanavarian Bustier cosplay from FFXIV ready. But this post isn’t to be a bitch session or to discuss what to do when your workspace gets invaded by bits of foam and wig hair. I’ve actually learned a bunch from her efforts just in case, maybe, I want to make my own cosplay1.

Here was our issue: the costume has a tremendous amount of jewelry. She found this one wonderful video of someone making the outfit:

But it doesn’t give any details about WHAT she was using to make the jewelry.

There’s an item commonly used in making cosplay jewelry and armor called “Worbla.” It’s a fiber-based thermoplastic material — it reminds me of when I used to be a therapist fabricating splints. Heat it in a hot pan of water or with a heat gun, and it becomes moldable. The stuff is pricey, but it’s firm and holds its shape when it cools.

The problem was that she found it difficult to work with. Cutting wasn’t hard, but she found it difficult to shape the pieces.

Here’s what finally worked to make the cosplay jewelry:

I went to Michael’s, and found some thin EVA foam and foam clay, hoping they’d solve her frustration. They did.

What she ended up doing was hand-cutting the base shapes for all of her pieces (after hand drawing paper patterns for each — I was quite impressed). She then used the EVA foam to create the 3D shapes for her pieces and then, after they’d fully dried, did an overlay of Worbla to make them firm.

Then the spray painting began. She ended up using a brownish spray paint base and then I think she handpainted an overlay of gold acrylic paint.

making cosplay jewelry neck collar from FFXIV Thanavarian Bustier

Here’s one item, so far. It’s missing its jewel at the center. She’s working on this. Again, using foam clay to create the jewel, then making a silicone mold from that, and then doing a resin cast.

I wish I’d taken a picture of her tail before she covered it with fabric. To create a swinging tail, she used a long piece of foam and a bunch of pieces of Worbla to create a tail with nine segments that would swing as she walked instead of just hanging.

Now, on to the sewing. I apparently “get” to help with creating the pattern for the fabric portion of the garment that’s going to attach to al these things, Just a bit scared.

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  1. My personal favorite cosplayer was “PokéMom” with her huge labcoat filled with reams of card-filled page protectors. I identified with her []
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