Working with EVA Foam

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Hey everybody! Summer is just about over and for me that means New York Comic Con is just around the corner! I have feverishly been working on completing not one, not two, but THREE costumes to debut at this convention! That being said, hopefully you will be excited to actually get a cosplay related blog post from your friendly neighborhood cosplay “expert”. I begun cosplaying mainly as a person who knew enough about sewing to get her by as well as someone who was really handy with the old hot glue gun. I decided to branch out into creating armor when I decided to cosplay Deathstroke 2 years ago.

I actually found a new love for crafting with foam. It’s much less expensive than fabric, and I absolutely love painting and weathering. There is something really amazing about heating it up and watching it take shape and it’s actually a lot more simple than I think a lot of people realize. At this point I find making armor 100% easier than sewing something.

My first NYCC cosplay that I began working on is the comic version of Scarlet Witch. I found this insanely inexpensive red bodysuit on Amazon randomly that I knew would be perfect, and all I would need is a cape and a headpiece. To start off, I googled good images of Scarlet Witch to get a really good idea of the shape I wanted her headpiece to be. I sketched a shape on a piece of paper for a pattern. I really just recommend taping a couple pieces of printer paper together, I have never had a need for going fancy or getting a special kind of cardboard or what not. For the base I would recommend using EVA foam that is between 6-8 mm thick. You can purchase this on Amazon or Etsy. Tape your pattern over the foam and cut it out. Using a heat gun, or if you’re extra lazy like me, heat up your oven to about 300 degrees. Watch the foam closely, it should only take about a minute or so for it to heat up so it bends easily, take it out and shape it to your head. If you want it to just be a plain piece, you are ready to prime it at this point. I chose to use some very thin craft foam to cut out shapes and hot glue them on the base just to give it a bit more dimension. I also used some 3 dimensional, or “puffy” paint to add some designs for dimension as well.

There is is! So pretty! The next step is priming. Foam MUST BE PRIMED before painting it, as paint will not adhere to the foam without it. I have always used plastidip-available at most automotive parts stores-and it works like a charm. Just coat it several times and leave a half hour-1 hour of drying time between coats. You are now ready to paint! I always use Krylon paints, I feel like they work the best on foam, but everyone has their preference. I painted mine initially 2-3 coats of a red metallic Krylon spray paint to achieve this look:

So at this point, if you are looking for something shiny and bright, this piece could be basically finished. I prefer to make my pieces look a bit more weathered and aged when I work with foam, so I always go with a final step. My mom was refinishing an old vintage dresser last year and she left her antiquing glaze in my car at one point. I found it when I was cleaning out my car and thought I would see how it worked for weathering armor. I LOVE IT. You may get the same outcome with utilizing a black paint, but I like the thin consistency of the glaze. This can be found at a hardware store, like Home Depot or Lowe’s or a craft store, like JoAnn’s or Michaels. Using a small paintbrush, start out small and light and gradually build where you want to see more results. I always recommend going around the entirety of the piece as well as around any of the smaller decorative foam/3D paint sections. You can wipe with a paper towel, or if you’re extra lazy, like me, just smear around using your fingers to achieve a natural rustic shadowed look. Upon finishing the weathering, I added a few gemstones on the crown and called it a day. I am extremely happy with the results!

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