September 26, 2013

Worbla Thermoplastic Freddy Krueger Glove

This project was totally spontaneous. It cropped up when Mike saw a Freddy Krueger rubber mask at the CVS store and decided to wear it for Halloween. When he tried it on at home, he put on his cowboy hat to complete the look. I said that if he really wants to complete the look, he needs to wear a striped sweater and the Freddy Krueger glove! Thus, the project was born.

Freddy Krueger Project materials

Stock photo of Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street

I scavenged through our closet for what I could retrofit into the Krueger sweater. Nothing. Then I remembered that we had set aside some garments for donation to the Salvation Army, and that’s where I found two old long-sleeved shirts -- one brownish, one dark-reddish. Jackpot! This project is looking very promising.

Now for the glove. I knew that Mike had leather work gloves that were perfect for the prop. I asked him if he could give up the right glove for the project (it will be totally appropriated for the costume so he will need to get new gloves to have a viable pair). He had no choice, actually. Hah!

Next was research. I had to look for actual photos of the Krueger glove because all I remember is there are four sharp knives protruding from the fingertips. Luckily, someone had already done this project (in fact, a lot of people have already done this!) and generously posted a pattern that could be printed on regular bond paper. Very helpful – thank you!

At this point I had to make a decision. Will I follow the pattern and use copper and aluminum sheets as well as actual knives? I figured that since a ton of awesome folks have already recreated this prop using authentic materials, I prefer to do my own thing with non-lethal substitutes. My substitute of choice was Worbla thermoplastic sheets.

Freddy Krueger glove pattern available online

The Worbla is easy to cut and can be formed and manipulated using heat (hot water, steam, oven, heat gun, hot iron, flat iron). The material becomes soft, like clay, and hardens at it cools. When cool it's hard as, well, hard plastic. This was my first time to work with it so this was a learning process for me.

I started with the knives. Two layers gave the knife form the necessary heft. But the thermoplastic material made them not rigid enough to easily pierce through flesh, nor sharp enough to cut through anything. As long as they ended up looking like knives, they’re fine by me.

Freddy Krueger knives made from Worbla

Then I cut the rest of the patterns and copied them onto the Worbla sheets.

Freddy Krueger glove pattern

Using a heat gun and a metal pipe, I formed the finger plates one by one. I used the back of a ballpeen hammer for rounding the fingertips, and a hot iron with a pointed tip to make the holes for the rivets.

Forming Freddy Krueger glove parts with Worbla

I attached temporary rivets to check the alignment of the finger segments. So far, so good.

Forming Freddy Krueger glove parts with Worbla

The next step was to attach the knives to the fingertip sections. I was surprised at how easy it was to “glue” them together. The Worbla sheet is integrated with a kind of adhesive, making it very simple to connect pieces to one another.

Forming Freddy Krueger glove parts with Worbla

To make the attachment points of the knives and the fingertip sections look like the original metalwork, I had to add scrap pieces along the joints to resemble solder marks. It’s interesting that using Worbla, you won’t need any soldering, but because the glove has to look like the movie prop, I had to simulate the solder joints.

Forming Freddy Krueger glove parts with Worbla

Then there are the loops across the curved segments to keep the contraption in place and give the user the ability to control the angle of the knives. Just heat the tips of the strips and press them into place.

Forming Freddy Krueger glove parts with Worbla

Forming Freddy Krueger glove parts with Worbla

Painting is next. Some silver here, some bronze there, some dark smudges here and there. Done!

Painting Freddy Krueger glove parts

I had to run to Michaels for another pack of rivets because I had used up all the small ones for my Lord Elrond costume.  

Included in the assembly is punching holes through the back of the hand of Mike’s work glove to coincide with the holes on the main plate (following the printed pattern). The rivets on the back of the hand went through the finger appliance, the main plate, and the leather glove. 

Assembling Freddy Krueger Worbla glove

Assembling Freddy Krueger Worbla glove

As a finishing touch, I added a few more dark smudges on the Worbla pieces as well as the leather glove. 

Last step: I asked Mike to do a final fitting, and yes, it works!

Finished Freddy Krueger Worbla glove

Finished Freddy Krueger Worbla glove

Someone suggested that I add scratches and scuff marks, and make the leather glove scruffier to make it look more realistically worn and weathered. Will do!

We’re just about ready for Halloween! Next up, the Freddy Krueger sweater.


Anonymous said...

hi, great glove, i decided to try this out for myself, i build metal ones but have always wanted to make a plastic one that looked better then the offical plastic ones. ive got some of this worbla and ive built my parts but i wondered how you managed to stick your plades to each other to make a double layer and how did you stick them to the tips? im new to worbla so i dont know everything about how it works. thank you

ruby said...

One side of the Worbla has an adhesive. When you heat a piece to soften, you can stick it on another piece very easily. That takes care of the layering and the attaching to the tip of the finger section.

Anonymous said...

oh right, i did try that last night and it did stick, sort of, but i could still pull it away quite easy. maybe it needs to be a lot hotter/softer

ruby said...

That's correct. Make them soft enough to meld with each other.