Body Armor From Craft Foam

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Introduction: Body Armor From Craft Foam

This is some armor I made from craft foam from Hobby Lobby(79 cents a sheet). After a little planning and a lot of effort, this is the result.

Step 1: Materials

Here's what you'll need:

Craft foam(once again, Hobby Lobby- 79 cents)
Scissors
Glue gun
A good plan, and probably use a drawing.
Velcro

The picture is the foam, which is 2mm thick, I believe.

Step 2: The Idea

Get a drawing, preferably. If your memory is that good, well, you're lucky.

If you have a turned(3/4) view, you will want to draw the front and back as well.


Unnecessary note: I later scrapped the "gas mask" look for the "made in one night" look.

Step 3: Draw the Design and Cut It Out

As the title says, in this step you should draw the design on the foam and then cut it out. I you don't want to have to glue each individual piece(which I didn't, but whatever), then just push hard when you are drawing on the foam. I ended up cutting out the pieces and then covering them with another sheet, which I then drew the design on again.

Step 4: Glue

Glue the foam pieces down on another big piece for the backing. I messed up on the back a little and made it lopsided, but it wasn't a big problem.

Step 5: Glue Another Piece Down and Add Velcro

Add another layer of foam to the top(if you want to, but be warned: It gets pretty stiff). Although if it gets stiff, you can probably make it less so by using the armor a lot. Add Velcro to secure the sides.

Step 6: Complete the Costume.

Use anything else you want on the armor to make it suitable for the occasion to which you are going. I made a face mask and glued it to a hood, but use whatever looks good to you.

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43 Comments

Would this be a good way to make some fake muscles to put under a spandex suit? Say gluing the pieces to long johns and putting the skin suit over it?

If anyone's serious about modifying the above project into lightweight body armour for airsoft / bb skirmishes, I'd recommend using heavyweight canvas as the bread in a foam sandwich. While leather is indeed effective, you'd be hard pressed to find a cheaper, more protective, consistent in ballistic retardation, or easier to work with material than good old hempen or cotton duck canvas. Whatever your finished project yields in protective value, any gear of this nature MUST be tested and proved by withstanding at least twice the penetration force the item was designed to defeat in practical application. Lastly, if your definition of a "bb gun" is a .177 pump air rifle, spitting conical-tipped pellets at 750 f.p.s., forget canvas and foam. Start thinking ceramics and carbon fiber, or reserve a bed at your local emergency room prior to going into action.

Sandwiched plates of ABS plastic or lexan with heavy leather in between stops pellets pretty well.

Nice.

You can also vacuum form craft foam pretty easily, to get compound curves and fairly fine detail.

Check out these threads over on tk560.com if you're interested:

http://www.tk560.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=441
http://www.tk560.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=831
http://www.tk560.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=635

You can also paint it with flexible paints, and metallize the highlights with Rub 'n Buff to make pretty good grungy-metal-looking armor. (A lot of Lord of the Rings fans make craft foam armor... there's a web site for it, but I don't have the link.)

3mm craft foam is really nice, about 3x less floppy than 2mm, but a bit more expensive.

You can get 2mm black or white or red Foamies (TM) in 3 x 5 foot rolls at some craft stores (like JoAnn's) or online. (I wish I could find 3mm and other colors in large sizes.) There's also 6mm "Super Thick Foamies" but it only seems to come in 9 x 12 inch size.

For 12 x 18 inch sheets, Hobby Lobby does have good prices. The 12-sheet multi-color pack is only $4, or about 33 cents a sheet. (If you're just looking for a lot of one or two colors, that's not much help, but if you make a variety of things, it's cool.)

I just set the oven to warm let it warm up and set the foam in for a few minutes. DO NOT WALK AWAY if you plan on using this method. Stay by the stove and check it every few minutes. It should take less than 10 minutes if you have the foam already taped to a form. Or You can preheat the form if it's out of wood to speed things up rather quickly.

But this is only for forming the foam into things like bracers. You cant get decent detail unless you use the vacuum former

Get the Krylon paint for bonding with plastic.

Or You can coat it with Plasti Dip for a leather look. And even Plasti dip can be painted with the same krylon paint.

Also If you plan on making stuff out of the 2 mm stuff you may want to add some fabric on the inside to give it strength. Use a spray adhesive.

I think so.

Go to wall mart or similar store and get the rolled foam mats. they are thicker and for the amount you get they can be cheaper. AND if you need the large pieces then it works pretty good. I'm not a fan of the glue gun anymore. Instead I use Elmers Rubber cement. (don't use contact cement it has a lot more fumes)

Also Dollar stores can sell some as well. It's usually a pack of 10 sheets for a buck the paper sized sheets or I have also found 34 4x6 sheets for a dollar. Still the 10 pack is better as it can be cut up into 40 of the smaller sheets.