Good evening Ladies and Gents, In this fine Instructable I will be showing and instructing you how to work with EVA Foam for costuming and prop creation.

If you have any questions regarding the tutorial, making of your own cosplay/costume or just want to say hi please send me a message on my facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ToweringProps). Its much easier and faster to get back to you there. :)

Over the several steps listed here ill demonstrate a handful of good techniques when working with EVA foam for the new and experienced cosplayers or costume enthusiast. Ill be demonstrating cutting, forming, edging, gluing and a few other tricks. I learn better ways and new techniques every time I do a costume so check back often for improved or new tricks and examples.

What you'll need!

EVA foam
Poster card/ card stock
Xacto blade/Razor knife
Hot Knife
Heat Gun
Soldering Iron
High temp Glue Gun
Rotary Tool
Nylon Straps
Velcro/Hook and Loop
Metal ruler
Fine point marker
Latex Caulk
Plasti dip
Spray paint

So lets get started!

I do not claim ownership of all the reference material such as product images and the space marine images. these are used as examples to help display what is needed and can be done with the material. All credit goes to the respected owner.

Step 1: EVA Foam & The Differnt Types Youll Use

First we shall start with the material.

EVA Foam also known as Ethylene-vinyl acetate. "Ethylene vinyl acetate is the copolymer of ethylene and vinyl acetate. The weight percent vinyl acetate usually varies from 10 to 40%, with the remainder being ethylene."\

- Wikipedia

Science and chemistry jargon aside, EVA is one of the most important materials out there to all levels of cosplayers. It is a strong, flexible, formable and cheap material. It can be used for nearly everything cosplay from armors to props. Its main use is for metal or composite replication, meaning armor and all kinds of it! If painted properly the foam can look just like metal or composite materials like Iron Man Armor, Mass Effect Armor or even Dragon Age Armor.

Picking the right foam for you:
There are three main types of EVA foam. There are tile packs, roll mats and craft foam sheets which can range in size, thickness and price. Both the roll and the tiles have two finishes with one side smooth and the other patterned. The two most popular patterns are the "diamond plate" and "Cross Pattern" finish. I much prefer to work with the cross pattern as it has less gaps when gluing together but it tends to be more scarce. Youll notice the differences with the links below. They can be acquired at a number of places such as Home-Depot, Lowes, Harbor Freight, Walmart or similar stores. The price ranges from store to store but tile packs tend to run around the $17 range and the rolls around the $24 range. Great for the cosplayers budget! One key thing to remember is the color does not matter it will be painted and covered up, dont be afraid to buy the multi colored foam.

The main source of EVA foam will be tile packs, these packs usually consist of 2' x 2' tiles containing either 4 pieces or 6 pieces to a pack and is.375" thick. These can be found in flooring or automotive sections of stores or ordered online.



Number one: Tiles! Tiles are used for the main pieces of armor. Armors that required a thick edge to it to resemble a heavy armor such as the Mass Effect Armor. Speaking of mass effect the cross pattern finish is nearly identical to the texture of the armor in the series here's a link to the foam tiles that match the armor if that is your next cosplay.


Number two: Roll Mats! Roll mats come in a 2' x 6' solid piece roll which comes in a thinner .25" thickness. The rolls are slightly harder to find. These are great for thin edge costumes like Iron Man and is also a must if your making a helmet. Its much easier to work with as well as leaving enough space for you head... and yes I found that out the hard way.



Number three: Craft Foam! You can get this nearly anywhere and has varying thickness. This is great for detailing costumes, adding that extra layer to give it some flare or used to cover seams. This is how you would do the smooth/textured combination you get with the mass effect armor.



For larger projects you can order it from a number of sites but be sure your ordering EVA grade foam. EVA foam has a sealed, soft feel to it and other types of closed cell foam are rough and porous. If you need large and thick sheets you can order up to 1.5" thick 40x80 sheets from the link below. The prices are fair but its best to order bulk as the shipping can be expensive.


<p>I'm a newbie when it comes to armor but I decided to give it a try! My dad have a lot of tools and I bought some good foam recently, I will certainly start tomorrow!<br>I found a &quot;modest&quot; armor in Monster Hunter tri that will be fun to make!<br><br>Your article is very clear, English isn't my first language but I can understand it very well! :)<br><br><br></p>
Your are welcome! Thats what im here for. If you have any questions feel free to send me a message on facebook! https://www.facebook.com/ToweringProps
<p>You gotta love the snow mando! I found this poking around looking at different people's methods for smoothing out that darn cross pattern (I've picked up a pallet of the stuff at a yard sale but it has it on BOTH sides D:) Seems sanding it out will be the best option for time and money.Good 'ible for people wanting to start out, showing them it isn't that scary!</p>
<p>I would love to try this! Just so intimidated! I'm really wanting to create an At-At Pilot costume for myself. I have the sewing down, just really need to create the chest part and either create the helmet (which would look best) or purchase one from somewhere. I want to build my dog the AT-AT costume :D Thanks for your wonderful writeup!</p>
<p>I'm late around here, but I'm sure that in your studies you have been on the 501st.com and poked around in the armored cavalry detachment, right? If you don't find your answers here, someone over there has em!</p>
Your welcome and you can do it! Theres a bunch of pepakura files for all sorts of star wars helmets you should have no problem finding one for your at-at. If you get stuck shoot me a message anytime on my facebook page!<br><br>Cheers!<br>-Titus
<p>Hello, I am brand new at this plan on trying my hand at it really soon. How do you get the preexisting patterns (diamond plate) out of the foam and make it smooth?</p>
All department store EVA foam tiles or roll mats have one side smooth and one side textured. If you need to remove the texture simply dremmel it off and layer a sheet of craft foam over it.<br><br>Cheers!<br>-Titus
<p>The stuff I have has textures on both sides, so not everything has a smooth side!</p>
<p>could you make a master chief armour tutorial?</p>
<p>Get on the 405th.com forums. They have everything halo cosplay and some, with a community that will take you from zero to master on master chief's armor</p>
<p>Hello, I am new at cosplaying and am hoping to make a hiccup costume for the newest movie in 2018...i was wondering if you know a way to make the paint more matte...not like full on matte but not fully glossy as spray paint normally does for me? I really dont want to buy leather :)</p>
<p>not trying to sound mean, but there are different types of spray paint. if you want the final coat to not have a gloss, then I'd say to go with a matte gray spray paint for the body and either thinner craft foam for the red decal, or matte red spray paint via stencil. It also comes down to the technique in spray painting. I find that I end up putting too much on in each layer, which can make matte paint still look semi glossy. It doesn't hurt to put on a very thin coat, but multiple times (unless you're on a time crunch)</p>
<p>not trying to sound mean, but there are different types of spray paint. if you want the final coat to not have a gloss, then I'd say to go with a matte gray spray paint for the body and either thinner craft foam for the red decal, or matte red spray paint via stencil. It also comes down to the technique in spray painting. I find that I end up putting too much on in each layer, which can make matte paint still look semi glossy. It doesn't hurt to put on a very thin coat, but multiple times (unless you're on a time crunch)</p>
<p>In the upcoming months, i will be attempting to make as near possible a replica of artwork i had found (the pic below). Would recommend doing an evafoam build for the gauntlets/ pauldrons and the leg armor. Any advice you could offer in either crafting materials or going about it would be wonderfully appreciated. </p>
<p>could you make a master chief armour tutorial?</p>
<p>Beautiful art work..keep on....</p>
<p>hi! I absolutely loved this tutorial, but I have a question for you... what unity of measurement is '', referred to the dimension of the foam? I am european, and I am used to the decimal metric system... I have no clue what 375'' or 2''x2'' means :( </p>
Hello! I apologize, I forget that many readers are outside of the states. The measurments in my tutorial are imperial. So .375&quot; inches and 2'x2 feet. &quot; means inches, ' means foot. Most metric versions of the foam will be rounded to the nearest hundreth. Hope that helps!
<p>Hi! I've done a few cosplay outfits before, but never anything with a lot of detail. I really really want to make the Mockingjay Armor that Jennifer Lawrence wears in the Mockingjay Part 2 movie. I haven't decided if I want to make the black armor or the red armor yet, but I'm new to this stuff, so could you offer and any advice on how to make the armor or even just using the foam? Thank so much! </p>
I'm building a sword out of foam, what should I use to make it more stable? I have a wooden core but I want the outside to be not that squishy<br>Awesome tutorial thank you
The tiles are the most dense. sandwich them between the wooden core and you'll be fine.<br><br>Cheers!<br>-Titus
<p>Hi so I am extremely short on time and hope to get a reply asap. I purchased a plain white regular craft foam roll from Michael's to try and make Vegeta's armor....and it's too thin. Very flimsy. At least, the shoulder pieces. The front and side panels don't matter MUCH but if I can alter them to be better and match the shoulder pieces then I'll do it. I'm not sure what....to use either in addition to the flimsy craft foam I already have or if I should just buy EVA foam....? Also, I don't want it to be too thick, needs to be somewhat flexible because, as seen in the photo attached, it needs to curve over my shoulders. I also am unsure of where to BUY the EVA foam...whether it's a roll or the little puzzle shaped mat pieces. I'm so new to this. I'd prefer to find a place I can GO to buy it instead of buying online because like I said I'm short on time @_@ . Also, any recommendations on paint?? To either reduce cracking as much as possible or prevent it completely?? HALP PLZ!</p><p>Photo attached is what I'm attempting to make, I don't take credit for the pic! :D</p>
<p>heres a pic of what i made (2nd day of making templates and foam pieces)</p><p>I added battle damage too to make it look badass </p><p>Use a soldering iron to make it look smooth amd literally tskes seconds</p><p>Use a heat gun to mold it into shape or hair dryer</p><p>(2nd mistake &amp; lesson, dnt use the xacto blade cux it takes forever) </p><p>Do all of this BEFORE you paint!!! Whooo </p><p>Those are all of my tips lol</p>
Hello! Get your self a Roll mat from harbor freight for the Eva foam. Then get a can of 2x cover rustoleum paint if white spray plasti dip isn't available.<br>Cheers!
<p>Hey I was just wondering about how much foam one can of Plasti-dip would cover? Have to travel quite a bit to get to a store that sells it so wanted to make sure I would have enough for something like a MJOLNIR suit from Halo. Thanks!</p>
Hello! The can says 5 - 10 sq ft per can so if your doing a full suit of armor you'll probably need at least 4 cans. <br><br>Cheers!<br>-Titus
<p>what if i dont have heat gun? what else can i use?</p>
You can get a heat gun from almost anywhere for around $15 - $20. there really inst a substitute. <br><br>Cheers!<br>-Titus
<p>i found one, but cant afford yet. i used flat iron instead. anyway. thanks man</p>
<p>What would be the best way to do boots? I saw one guy who just made a pair out of the foam it's self, but it was for a different type of boot. Say I want to do a Finial Fantasy Advent Children type of boot, how would I go about doing that without having to use/buy a boot that doesn't look right, I'm a stickler for detail. (maybe even a little OCD about it.) I feel if it doesn't look like it, than it's not worth doing. so the boots are what I'm having a hard time getting right. Any videos or tutorials on how to do the boots from that outfit? </p>
Well your really have 2 options. <br><br>1. You buy a boot and build around it using the foam, like a makeshift boot cover.<br><br>2. You make the boots with a tile foam sole and make the boot detail with the roll mat. Then you can insert a flat shoe like a pair of toms or vans inside of it so its nice and snug and glue the shoe to the inside of the boot.<br><br>Hope that helps!<br>Cheers!<br>-Titus
<p>whats a good uk alternative to plastidip? what kinda product is it? is it a varnish?</p>
Hello! You should have no problem getting it in the uk. I know for sure you can get it on amazon uk. Other wise plastidip is a flexible rubber spray coating. Hope this helps!<br><br>Cheers!<br>-Titus
<p>I never thought of using toothpaste or mustard to get the chipped paint effect. Normally I dry brush but I'll be trying your tips. Keep it up :D</p>
Its a great little trick that's easy to clean. Just smear and let dry and it will chip right off after the paint has dried. <br><br>Cheers!<br>-Titus
<p>Can you tell me why you &quot;should not paint the inside&quot;. Would it be a problem if I did? I'm making a Transformer car and the inside shows when the character stands.</p><p>And thank you for this instructable, It's been a huge help.</p>
Hello! Painting the inside is a waste of paint and time. How ever if the inside is visible then by all means paint away!<br><br>Cheers!<br>-Titus
<p>Making my first set of cosplay armour, and I'm hoping that it will turn out well, I mean this list is great materials, I'm just not so sure about the outcome xD</p>
You can do it! If you have any questions i'm here if you need me!
I've worked with tons of different materials, but I've always been hesitant to try foam, but this ible has been super encouraging to me. Nearly done with my first big project, and I love the stuff. Thanks!
No problem and glad i could be of assitance! Thats what im here for. If you have any other questions or just want to share your work post it over on the facebook page! <br><br>Cheers!
<p>i am planing on making a mandalorian costume for halloween and the next comicon and was hoping if you could give me some advice for this kind of armor and I'm willing to give it a shot!</p>
The mandalorian mercs are a must, they have a huge forum devoted to all things mando, including templates, helmet kits and all sorts of tutorials! Definatly chech them out.
<p>I will. Thanks!</p>
<p>Hi, I need suggestions for attaching a piece of armor- a shoulder plate thing, to be exact. I'm working on making this cosplay and I am wondering if elastic would be enough to hold the shoulder piece(it's not naturally part of his tunic, so I don't think I can use a buckle.)? In all pictures I have seen, it almost appears to be glued to the sleeve. Thanks in advance!</p><p>Oh and by the way it's only on one shoulder. If you need more pictures I can get some more.</p>
<p>I'm planning on making some an EOD style suit for airsoft. I'm wondering how well the foam will stand up to the punishment and if you could give me some tips. Thanks.</p>
<p>I 'm thinking about making armor , though my first attempt won 't be as extreme as a full on heavy armor (I 'll attempt something bigger next next year ). Thank you so much for this ! These tips definitely gives me some insights on what I 'm gonna be throwing myself into .</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: Chief Project Manager and Fabricator. I make all sorts of props and costumes from scratch on very low budgets for fun. anything from star wars ... More »
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