DIY Cosplay 'Power Cuff' Using Thibra

Looking for a material to make your own unique costume accessories? Thibra is a thermoplastic that can be sculpted when heated. In this beginner level tutorial, Marianne Walker demonstrates how it can easily be shaped and painted to create faux cuff bracelets that will stand out at costume parties and cosplay events.

 Store owner? This beginner tutorial also comes in a downloadable PDF format that can be shared with customers that are curious about Thibra.

Store owner? This beginner tutorial also comes in a downloadable PDF format that can be shared with customers that are curious about Thibra.

 

SUPPLIES

  • Heat gun (or hot-water for details)

  • Non-stick work surface

  • Cold water (for quick cooling)

  • Scissors

  • Pencil (for tracing pattern)

  • Thibra Tex Thermoplastic (blue)

  • Thibra Fine Thermoplastic (tan)

  • Glass bead or gem (optional)

  • Paint (I used Metallics by Tommy Art )

  • A multi-purpose glue (I used BETTER: Ultimate Adhesive)

 

PROJECT STEPS

1. Cut out a cuff pattern of your choice (in download above) and trace it onto the blue Thibra Tex piece.

2. Cut the Thibra Tex and any pattern layers you wish to add. Scraps can be saved to add as extra layers and accents. If the edge of the mesh layer feels rough against your skin you can gently heat the edge and rub it with your fingers to smooth it out.

3. Heat thin strips of the tan Thibra Fine and roll them by hand into long, smooth stringers to use as decorative edges.

4. Heat the edges of the Thibra Tex base, then bend warm stringers of Thibra Fine around the outer shape. Warm Thibra of any type will stick to itself. This works best if both layers are heated slightly to form a stronger bond.

Thibra power cuff steps 1.PNG
 

5. Decorate the cuff with embellishments and layers while it is still flat. While pieces are still warm you can scratch or cut them to make them look old and worn. To figure out if you like the placement of parts make sure everything is cooled while you move them around to experiment. Heat all parts to bond.

6. Evenly heat the entire cuff and shape around your wrist. Hold it in place for a few minutes until it cools enough to retain shape. Thibra Tex retains heat for a while, allowing you plenty of working time to get the right shape. Leave the back open to allow the cuff to easily come off and on your wrist.

7. Once the cuff looks the way you like and is completely cooled you can paint it with acrylic paints. Thibra Tex will look rougher than the Thibra Fine. If this is a problem you can use primer on it to smooth it out first. If the cuff will be worn frequently it is best if you put a final layer of sealant over your paint to protect it.

thibra blog seperator line.PNG

MAKING A GEMSTONE SETTING

Cut a small piece of Thibra Fine. Heat it and roll it into a slightly flat ball. Push the gemstone or glass bead into the center of the warm ball of Thibra. The edges will squish around the gemstone creating a nice fitting. Once it cools, pop the gem- stone out. You can glue it back in after you are done painting.

 
Thibra power cuff steps 4.PNG
 
Thibra power cuff steps 3.5.png

8. After the paint has dried you can glue on final embellishments. Use a versatile glue that will adhere unusual surfaces together (like glass to paint or plastic). I used BETTER Ultimate Adhesive.

TIPS & BEST PRACTICES FOR WORKING WITH THIBRA

 
  • Always work on a non-stick, heat resistant surface.

  • Thibra is ready to mold when it’s warm to the touch without burning your skin (about 120 F ).

  • If you want to make adjustments to your creation or start over from the beginning, simply reheat the Thibra.


  • Warm pieces of Thibra will bond together without adhesive.

  • If edges are rough they can be heated and gently smoothed by hand.

  • Silicone molds work well for designing accents

  • Have water on hand to cool tools and prevent sticking.