Cosplay Crafting for Newbies: Making DIY Weapons with Foam

Cosplay Crafting for Newbies: Making DIY Weapons with Foam

In cosplay competitions, there is a category that is specifically for armor cosplay. Being able to build swords, daggers, shotguns, handguns, shields, and other weapons you can think of is part of what makes cosplay really cool. Moving from cloth cosplay to armor and mecha cosplay is a big step up, especially for beginners. So, here are some guidelines to help you during your first venture in making props and weapons for your next cosplay:

Steps on How to Make Any Cosplay Prop with Foam

Weapon Base

Cut the layers of EVA foam that will form your weapon using accurately measured patterns. You can find examples of these patterns on the internet that are free to download or you can make your own pattern. A good site for templates that I’ve found is bronavaro.com.

Usually, you need to use different foam pieces so you can get a better thickness for your weapon. Also, make sure to cut your foam pieces using a very sharp knife, or else you will get rough edges, which won’t look great.

In the middle of your foam pieces, you need to insert a core material to help make your base sturdy and less prone to bending and breaking. This core material can be a wooden dowel, a PVC pipe, a fiberglass rod, or any other available to you.

Use contact glue or contact cement when sticking the foam pieces and the core material together. Make sure to wait for the contact glue to dry and become tacky before adhering the two pieces together for a more secure bond.

Foam Cutting

Aside from using a sharp knife to cut your foam pieces with, you should make sure to cut the foam with one single pass to avoid any rough edges. It is best to have a sharpening stone with you while you are crafting with foam so you can save more time from sanding rough edges.

Once your base dries completely, you can sand the edges or cut off any unnecessary or extra bits of foam. Use any industrial sander or any fine grit sandpaper for this step. You can also use a heat gun or a hair dryer to melt any small foam pieces that might have stuck around after sanding or cutting.

One great tip for covering mistakes when it comes to over-cutting your foam is to use foam clay to fill in any gaps. If you don’t have foam clay, you can heat up scrap foam and try to work it into the gaps.

Detailing and Weathering

For detailing, you can use any tool at your disposal like files, sandpaper, electric sander tools, etc. You can also create bevels or 3D effects on your weapons using sanding techniques. Once your weapon is built, it is now time to prepare it for painting. First, you need to prime it by using diluted PVA glue, wood glue, or any product you can find for a primer that is safe to use on foam. This is done so that your surface is smoother and the paint will not be absorbed by the foam too much. Priming is also done so that the paint will attain a smooth, plastic, or metallic finish after painting. Make sure to use paint that is not too glossy like enamel or any paint that is used for painting walls and rooftops. Take an in depth look at the pros and cons of painting cosplay armor with spray paint vs acrylic. To make your weapon seem more authentic, you can use a weathering technique that involves silver, black, or brown paint with a dry brush or a pen airbrush. You can apply weathering on the parts of the weapon where you think the user holds it a lot. You can use masking tape or painter’s tape to protect parts of your weapon when you are painting with spray paint or airbrush.

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