My first foray into foam armor has been full of trial and error, messy floor, trips to Harbor Freight, and lots of burning myself with various heat tools. It's been worth it! I finally finished (yes...finished) one arm guard, and here is what it looks like:
For this type of armor I used two types of foam: EVA (Exercise Mat) and craft foam sheets. The heat gun makes bending and forming the EVA foam sooooo easy, so I suggest investing in one (Harbor Freight $15, just sayin') you will find that you use it A LOT. Also...just a little tid bit of info...do NOT use it on the thin craft foam sheets, it's way too powerful and will torch it. You can use a hair drier for those.
I cut out a simple arm guard pattern on the EVA that was the length from GA's knuckles to a little past the elbow, and wide enough to bend down an inch or two on either side of his arm. You then bend the sides, by using the heat gun to heat it up, and bend it along a straight line at whatever angle you want. You can actually stop there, coat it in glue or mod podge, and air brush the segmented look onto it. I mean....it's that crazy and simple. But I wanted the 3d effect, so I took pieces of craft foam and cut them into the segments, and glued them on in a layered fashion to the EVA foam base. I coated the whole exterior in glue/mod podge twice. I primed it, then spray painted it. Here is my super huge advice when it comes to these projects: Use acrylic paint and a brush, not spray paint. Better yet, mix a little mod podge into that acrylic paint. I know...you're thinking, "But spray paint cuts down painting time...and I don't have to do as many coats." Yeah you're right. But it also will crack if you accidentally lay something against it, or it needs to bend. I had nice awesome arm guards, until one of them was leaned on and now my options are, BATTLE SCARS, or START OVER. My Talons however (there will be a post on them shortly) were coated in gold acrylic paint with brush and mod podge, and have no problems. We decided that it looked really awesome when it looked like the comic book art, with all the outlines surrounding the glossy green, so we sharpied it up around the edged of each green segment.
|Solid glossy piece pre-crackles. It looks much better with the black lines all over it.|
|EVA foam (grey) has been bent using heat gun. Lay out your craft foam segments near by in order to make it a smoother process.|
|Oh nothing.......Just a couple trick arrows|
Don't forget to get your tickets to C4 and Comikaze before they sell out guys....and then look both me and @chambernaut up when there! You know what to look for, I'll either be Black Canary, Madame Hydra, Chay-Ara Hol, or Tala...I've even got a Kate Beckett cosplay in the works. I will definitely be forming a schedule for those looks, and more tutorials to come!