Wonderflex

WONDERFLEX® Frequently Asked Questions…

 

  • What is WONDERFLEX?

WONDERFLEX is an extruded thermoplastic composite sheet. It is comprised of a proprietary synthetic polymer that when heated in the range of 150-170 degrees Farenhight (70-80 degrees C), will soften and activate its own adhesive for molding and forming. A layer of polyester open weave scrim is located on one side for added strength, reinforcement and stability. The other side is smoother to receive most paints and artisan coatings as required.

  • How is WONDERFLEX different from FOSSHAPE?

Both Wonderflex and Fosshape are thermoplastics and you heat activate them, but they’re completely different. WONDERFLEX is available by sheet and FOSSHAPE is available by the yard. Wonderflex starts off being stiff, but when exposed to heat softens up and becomes pliable. When it cools off after heating, Wonderflex becomes stiff again, but can re-reheated or re-worked. Fosshape as a felt-like fabric starts off being pliable, but when exposed to heat, shrinks in and stiffens up, but cannot go back to its felt-like state following activation. Fosshape is easier to sew, but Wonderflex may be sewn as well. Both materials take a little time to master but, perhaps a bit more of a learning curve with the Fosshape.

  • Which one should I use for my project? WONDERFLEX or FOSSHAPE?

Sometimes either material may be suitable for your build and personal preference or skill set may prevail. Think about your project and what you are trying to achieve. What are the critical parameters involved? Is the surface characteristic of the heat activated material important? For a stronger, more sturdy need, then you might choose Wonderflex. If being light weight and or breathable are factors, you might choose Fosshape. The two materials compliment themselves well, so you might incorporate them both for the same creation and get the best of both worlds.

  • What can WONDERFLEX be used for?

It is truly only “limited by your imagination”. Theatrical scenery and set designs, various props, costumes, animatronics, crowns, helmets and headgear, puppetry, armor, masks, prototypes, modeling, wearable art, mascot heads, displays, headdresses etc. etc. even taxidermy, custom interior auto repair, furniture restoration and as a quick repair patching item like duct tape.

  • Who uses WONDERFLEX and where has it been used?

Artists, sculptors, prop masters, set designers, cosplayers, costume makers, mask makers, special effects persons and the like, have all discovered the wonders of WONDERFLEX. From high school and college theatres to Broadway to Hollywood, the use of new applications continues to grow. Successfully used in major theme parks worldwide, museums, opera houses, Halloween and haunted house attractions, Las Vegas venues, trade shows and special events.

  • How thick or heavy is WONDERFLEX?

Thickness is about .039 inches (1 mm) or a little less than 1/16 of an inch. Each full-size sheet only weighs about 3 ½ LB’s (1.59 Kilos). WONDERFLEX is really tough and versatile, so in addition to heat activation properties, you can also drill it, screw it, bolt it or staple it.

  • Is WONDERFLEX available in any other weights or thicknesses?

Although additional WONDERFLEX weights and thicknesses maybe offered in the future, only one WONDERFLEX product is currently available. If you require more thickness, WONDERFLEX can be built up using heat and pressure to bond several layers together, for additional structural support, stiffness or rigidity.

  • Is there a minimum purchase required and how is it shipped?

The minimum purchase is just one full size sheet. Buy just one sheet or stock up and keep more on the shelf and ready for future projects. Purchased amounts of 1-15 sheets are rolled into a bundle and shipped in one box via UPS. We will email you with UPS tracking information at time of shipment. Larger orders of 50 sheets or more can be shipped flat on a wooden pallet as required. Phone or email us if specific shipping requirements.

  • Is WONDERFLEX expensive?

No, WONDERFLEX continues to be the most economical thermoplastic sheet available. Pricing for the large 43”x 55” size sheet is only $47.31, plus shipping. If you have small pieces or scraps of WFLX left over from your project, be sure to save them, as they just might come in handy for you next creative effort.

  • Does WONDERFLEX replace other materials?

Most projects are of course unique and case specific with design and build phases critical to the end result. WONDERFLEX is desirable for long lasting and durable items and oftentimes the material of choice over fiberglass, sculptured Styrofoam, paper mache etc. WONDERFLEX can be used in conjunction with craft/EVA foam or other materials such as FOSSHAPE®.

  • Is WONDERFLEX the same as “Celastic”?

Although the end result after working with WONDERFLEX is similar, it is much safer, faster and easier to use, since no nasty solvents are required for activation, just heat. WONDERFLEX is often referred to as the “celastic replacement”.

  • Do I need any special tools for cutting WONDERFLEX?

No, a good pair of sharp scissors or utility knife work just fine.

  • How do I activate WONDERFLEX to make the shape and form I want?

A wide variety of heat sources maybe used, depending on the size of your project build. Hot water, conventional ovens or even a microwave oven all work fine. Most users prefer working with an industrial hot air gun with a flowing motion and or fabric steamers. Most home hairdryers do not generate enough heat to provide an adequate activation temperature, especially if working on large pieces. Hair dryers will often times overheat and shut off, it not burn out completely.

  • How much time do I have to work with WONDERFLEX after I heat it up before it cools off and becomes rigid again?

You have about 2-3 minutes of work or open time before it cools off and reverts back to its original stiffness. If you find it is becoming difficult to mold and shape as it cools off, just reheat. WONDERFLEX can be heated again and again.

  • Can I work with my bare hands and fingers with the heated WONDERFLEX?

Although when heated, the WONDERFLEX activates the built-in adhesive, the adhesive does not readily transfer on to your fingers. Although some people work with their bare hands for the best dexterity…. you must be careful not to burn yourself and it is highly recommended that you wear tightly fit, insulated gloves, especially when working on larger structures or for longer time periods.

  • Can WONDERFLEX be used with positive and negative molds?

Yes, as it is well suited for both, as well as free forming. Use conventional molds or create you own. If sticking to the mold surface is a problem, you may want to utilize a layer of aluminum foil or spray on a non-stick release agent treatment like “Pam” non-stick cooking spray etc. Depending on the mold configuration or size, you may want to cut the WONDERFLEX into smaller pieces or strips making seams using heat and applied pressure.

  • Is WONDERFLEX waterproof?

Yes, cool or temped water has no effect, so it’s OK if it “rains on your parade”. You can even use WONDERFLEX to build structures (pools, vessels) to hold water using adequate seaming/overlapping methods.

  • Will the heated WONDERFLEX stretch?

Yes somewhat, primarily in the bias direction, due to the reinforcing polyester scrim support. Use the stretch factor of the heated WONDERFLEX to your advantage to enable you to work in finer detail. With a little work after heating, you can also peel off that fabric scrim layer, resulting in a putty like substance for making small detailed parts.

  • Can I achieve fine detail and delicate contours using WONDERFLEX?

With a little time, patience and experience the use of WONDERFLEX is truly “limited by your imagination”. Use traditional sculpting tools, a wooden tongue depressor, flat head screw driver, old spoons or whatever, to work more intricate areas. With a little work after heating, you can also peel off that fabric scrim layer, resulting in a putty like substance for making small detailed parts. An ice bag or gel cold pack may help in speeding up the setup time or keep a newly formed area in tact while working an adjacent area with your hot air gun. Use the tip of a soldering iron or hot glue gun as your heat source tool without the glue stick for working on a small confined area and for seams. A wall paper seam roller works well on smoothing out seams.

  • Is WONDERFLEX suitable for outdoor applications?

Although some discretion is advised and every creation is case specific with respect to permanent placement, WONDERFLEX has been successfully used in outdoor theme parks and the like. In many applications use of proper coatings and paints will adequately help insulate and protect the WONDERFLEX from the sun.

  • Can I apply heated WONDERFLEX directly on the human body for forming or mask making?

Absolutely not, the hot WONDERFLEX and heat source will burn you.

  • Is WONDERFLEX fire retardant or have an FR rating?

No, it will eventually burn if exposed to an open flame long enough in its raw form or untreated state. Various flame-retardants available on the market can be used to cover or coat WONDERFLEX. Check your local fire regulations and confer with your local fire marshal regarding local regulations and your specific application or requirement.

  • How do I decorate or finish the surface of WONDERFLEX?

WONDERFLEX readily accepts most artisan paints and coatings. Acrylics, latex etc. brush applied or spray-painted. Foam coats, sculpt coats, gessos or most any artisan coating can be applied depending on the desired effect. Cover with decorative fabrics, leather etc. by applying spray adhesive or use hot glue.

  • What about the storage of finished WONDERFLEX based items?

Since WONDERFLEX is a thermoplastic, it will soften when exposed again to the 150-170-degree Fahrenheit temperature range, so use prudence in your selected storage location. Finished items should not be stored in outdoor metal storage trailers in direct sunlight or in the trunk of your car in summer months where activation temperatures maybe reached.

  • Do you do WONDERFLEX workshops or provide sponsorships?

Yes, we have and yes, we can for either, but this is done on a case by case basis. We get numerous requests, so best to contact us with complete details for us to review the potential and feasibility.

  • I have a specific question or comment about the use of WONDERFLEX. Who should I contact?

Contact the founder of WONDERFLEX Brian Jeffrey directly at 603-778-0190 or email info@wonderflexworld.com Check out www.wonderflexworld.com for more information.