Halloween is right around the corner. No costume yet? Don’t worry. For something quick and simple you can download our free face painting ebook filled with tutorials to help you become a tiger, witch, orc, cyborg and more fun characters. Looking for something a bit more involved? Costumes with armor are the way to go. You can easily use EVA foam to craft armor, weapons and other props for your costume.
We’ve previously covered the basics of how to make a pattern and how to add weathering to your piece thanks to the expertise of Kamui Cosplay and her book The Costume Making Guide. Today we’ll dive into the world of EVA foam with another excerpt from the book.
EVA Foam: Which Foam is Best for You?
Many of us still remember craft foam from our childhood. It’s not only very easy to find but is a super affordable material. Despite being really basic, it’s quite handy for a lot of applications. If your budget is limited, you can even create entire costumes out of it. Try to find large sheets or even rolls to minimize leftovers.
Craft foam’s big brother, EVA foam, is a little bit more complex. There are countless chemical variations of this material—some are soft, some are hard, some are heavy and some are lightweight. It’s up to you to find which version you like the most, but the most commonly used foams for cosplay are black floor mats and EVA foam called L200.
Shops like Amazon and eBay are usually the right place to find both craft and EVA foam, though it’s also worth checking out craft and hardware stores. For your costumes I recommend getting a couple different foams to choose from. You can use different thicknesses for the base of your project and for the details to create dimension.
How to Piece Together EVA Foam
It’s time to grab your material. For this example, I used 5mm sheets of dense gray EVA foam. It’s the perfect thickness for a thin base layer of armor that you can then easily add more details to. Additionally, it’s dense enough to keep even a thin layer of material solid and durable.
From Pattern to Pieces
1: Trace the Pattern onto Foam
Since you’re going to mirror your patterns, you will have to trace them twice onto your material. As you can see I skipped the part where I transfer my rough tape patterns to a clean piece of paper. If your shapes are clean enough, you’re fine with just using the tape template on the EVA foam.
2: Cut out the Pieces
Think about what pieces you will need twice and which parts got cut in half through the middle line. You can transfer them right next to each other at their mirror edge and cut them out in one big piece. This not only saves you from doing unnecessary work, but it also makes your costume piece more durable. Use a sharpened box cutter or craft knife and try to get through the foam in one clean, straight cut.
Extend those pattern parts that you know will overlap each other. In this example I had to enlarge the bottom part a bit since I knew it had to be glued to the backside of the piece that comes on top.
Sanding and Attaching
3: Sand the Edges
Before you start gluing together this little breastplate puzzle, first think about which parts will end up getting rounded. To avoid nasty bumps and cutting lines, it’s useful to sand the edges depending on the angle you want to glue those parts together in. With a little bit of sanding work you’ll get a nice and almost invisible seam. Use your rotary tool to create a slight bevel all around those edges.
4: Add Glue
Apply a thin layer of contact cement to both sides and let them dry for a bit.
I keep my glue in a little bottle. Contact cement usually comes in big metal cans and is cumbersome to work with in those containers. After opening a new can I simply pour some fresh glue in these little sealed plastic bottles that I bought. That way I don’t need to worry about dried out and clumpy adhesive, and I always get the perfect amount of glue for my projects.
5: Press the Pieces Together
A few moments after applying the glue, press the pieces together very carefully. Once your glue has dried enough, you’ll get a connection that will hold through countless conventions.
6: Assemble More Pieces
Put together more of the breastplate using the same method. As you can see with the right angles, this armor part already looks pretty rounded.
Create Epic Costumes for Halloween or Cosplay!
Whether you’re making an outfit just for the holiday or you want to wear it to conventions or you just want to make it for fun, The Costume Making Guide has all the info you need. Filled with 30 step-by-step demonstrations, you can easily follow along to craft swords, axes, armor and more. You can grab a copy of the book from the North Light Shop or wherever books are sold.
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