Cosplay Curious: Building Armor

I missed this week’s get together. Steve brought home a fantastic illness tht left me at home with a headache and a scratchy throat, whining that I was going to miss Cosplay Night and all the great tips and discussion on building armor. Thankfully, I was provided with some great notes and pictures from Tina and Alaurea! Thanks ladies!!

Also, I have changed my cosplay plans slightly to fit better into the time frame between now and March to Oblivion. I am still going to learn how to make a corset, but it will not be before March. Sad, I know, but stay tuned! It will happen!

So, onto armor building! We asked Alaurea to come in and talk about how she built the armor set(s) that she has done.

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Pretty sweet right?

– use a pattern if you have one. Should you not then ensure that you have some idea about how you are going to put the costume on and how you want it to lay. For example: if you have a cape and shoulder pads — do you want the cape to show as over the shoulder pads or vice versa. Also plan on how it will rest when you are sitting and moving.

– Ladies: ensure that you are wearing the bra that you will be wearing with your costume as you design and fit it around you. As we all know depending on the bra or depending on how many you wear to increase your breast size for the cosplay will depend on how the final product works.

– A heat gun that you will need to heat up the craft foam or EVA foam is only $15 dollars at Princess Auto or Canadian Tire.

– Ladies when trying to mold the foam around your breast area try using a ball about the size of your breasts so that it will keep it shape when you are crafting and letting it set.

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– The most costly price of your foam craft armour will be the glue. If I can give you one tip it is to not skip out on the glue. I’ve used a glue gun for most, then a fabric glue, and a strong crazy glue.

– Clasps — they will be the second most costly item for your armour. Try buying in bulk if you want clasp or even try just using velcro– as it’s cheap and you can just press items on and make them interchangeable with other pieces.

— Once everything is glued together you will want to put a coat of glue/water mixture over your craft foam — as your craft foam is very porous. This will help you to paint and also for the material to keep it’s shape. Plus it has the added benefit of making your armour shiny. I used a mixture of fabric glue and water. It will take about 5 coats.

– When heating your craft foam heat the non-foam side or the rougher side of the foam or the more porous side of the foam. That way the foam that will be showing will be the nicer and shiner side. If you don’t want the shine than you don’t have to due the coat, however this will leave things more able to be bent.

– When making my wrist pieces I used a glove underneath and then just hot glued all my armour on top.

– How to make a model of your chest- cover your chest in saran wrap, then cover the saran wrap in duct tape, have a friend cut you out of the piece down the back. Then once you tape up the cut. This will give you a great model of your actual chest to work off of. Also, if you stuff the model then you can have a dummy replica of yourself.

– Watch a LOT of YouTube tutorials on using craft foam. They have great ideas, great patterns, and very good tips and tricks.

– To make the skull piece I’ve used just newspaper that I’ve shaped into a rough shape, then covered it in masking tape, and then model more. To get the eyes, I used a ball, that I molded around it. You can also use paper mache.

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– When attaching clasps. I’ve just used an elastic band that I’ve stretched, put hot glue on and then pressed both sides together and glued them to my costume. This way they are on very securely, and don’t move around.

– The silver pieces are all coated, and have maintained their rigidity. The brown/ more steam punk costume are not coated, but only painted and they are very moveable.

– work in a well ventilated area when painting, and you will likely want to work in a ventilated area when heating your craft foam.  (and I am gonna leave this right here- foam safety tips)

– You can buy large sheets of craft foam at Michael’s in a variety of colours. I recommend getting a lighter colour so that it is easier to paint if you want to paint as the colours will show up better.

– You can buy the EVA foam (which is honestly just that foam that is used in children’s floor mats that typically have the alphabet that you can place in them) at Princess Auto or Michael’s, and it also comes in a variety of colours.

– When heating your craft foam — be aware of how long it’s been under the heat, so that it doesn’t catch on fire. Also, you will have a small window to craft it into shape by pinching it together in the shape that you want.

– Tip: if you don’t like the shape of the craft foam then you can heat the opposite side, press it down on a flat surface and it will be like you started all over. Keep in mind that you can do this about 3-4 times before that piece won’t be usable any more.

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Til next time! If you’re just joining us, you can start back at the beginning if you want right here!

Hope to see everyone next month!!!

~Tara

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