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>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>hi , im sure you already made your vegeta armor and im making my own right now too. The saiyan armor from the cell saga. Its my first attempt and well its actually coming out pretty sick. But to answer your question, i got my puzzle pieces EVA foam from Kmart. A big 4 pack for like $15. It doesnt matter if its a colored pieces cuz the plasti-dip will cover all of it in a rubber coat. These are thick though but since im a guy (5 ft 10&quot; and 195lbs) its actually ok and doesnt feel too bad.</p><p>For the paint process ive done a lot of research on working with foam and i have an automotive background so its easy for me to make stuff but here it is;</p><p>1) Plasti-dip the foam with 3 coats(u want to seal the foam so it will absorb paint)</p><p>I did each coat like 15-30min apart plus i tried only 2 coats at first and well that leads to step 2 lol (let dry for 1hr before primer step)</p><p>2) primer it with 2 coats evenly (this will help the paint adhere even better to get a smooth look. Pay attention to the foam and youll see a big difference that it is now smooth like any other object youd want to paint. When i first painted the top chest pieces i put the white on top of the plastidip and it looked spongy and terrible.1st mistake &amp;lesson. Took me awhile to figure out how to fix it.im building this with 3 weeks left for halloween and im making the saiyan hair too out of foam!!(let dry for 1hr befor next step)</p><p>3) (OPTIONAL) coat the primer with 1 coat ofsomething called Primer sealer (you can find this in automotive stores like Oriellys or autozone/advanceauto/carquest, brand should be Dupli-color grayish label) . This bad boy seals your primer to prevent cracking PLUS it adds even more gloss on top of your gloss paintjob AND it may fill any foam bubbles left (sort of..) :p</p><p>I let this dry for 30min -1hr</p><p>4) finally paint the actual color that you need on your foam with 2-3 coats depending on how you feel it looks like the abdomen part is yellow/goldish. Coats between 15min and let it dry for an hour after last coat</p><p>5) last step is to hit the entire piece with a clear coat (brand: Duplicolor from automotive store) this guy will seal the paint from cracking and give it even more gloss!! Btw this can does not have a mixing ball (it wont rattle like spray paint, thats normal!)</p><p>I learned all this from the very first mistake i did so my 2nd day of ever starting this project!! Srry for the long comment. Its just when ppl are new to somethimg they need full details of everything exactly how a person does it so they can follow it exactly! Its frustrating when u dnt know how to do somethimg amd u dmt get the same effect as others ;( there u have it!!! Let me know if this helped you!! Next year ill be makimg a Deathstroke costume from Arkham Origins. Might end up using </p><p>Urethane plastic with molds and stuff and itll come out like those costumes from stores but no latex smell and durable. Once again, srry for the long comment and the m's in some words.. Ipad is retarded om the keyboard. And autocorrect sucks sometimes. Good luck!!!</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>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>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 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>
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>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>
Thank you so much for posting this. Ive never cosplayed but ive really been looking into it but was apprehensive since the few cosplayers ive asked about material were reluctant to help. Do you have an instagram? (for cosplay lurking purposes)
So Sorry for the delay! I'm much better at responding to my facebook page. Anyway i do! Its toweringprops most of my instagram stuff its in progress work but most of my completed cosplays are on my facebook. Thanks for the support! :)
Also, could you please put up a tutorial on 'under armour'? I have no Idea what to do after the main armour's done
Hey again :-)<br>I've done most of the front, (chest piece/stomach plate etc)<br>but could you please explain how to do the back? I don't have access to a mannequin or anything, but I thought that by laying a top that fits me fairly well and tracing around it into paper, I'd get a rough enough shape. <br>if you have a link or know of a video I could watch maybe? thanks again :-)
<p>Thank you for making this 'ible! I saw this awesome FemShep cosplay about a year ago, and I couldn't remember what she (the creator) made it out of. Then I saw how you made your armor and it all came back. This is amazingly simple and I will more than definitely use your method for future costumes. My only question: if you have a mannequin that matches your measurements, would you recommend it?</p>
<p>hello, i apologize if this has already been asked but i was wondering about the clear helmet you are wearing in the picture. how do you make that or how did you go about it? i was hoping to do a Mr. Freeze soon with the clear doom over his head but not sure how to approach it. any tips? </p><p>Thank you so much :)</p>
Hello! No worries im sure it got buried some where anyway. Here is the link to the exact &quot;helmet&quot; I bought: https://www.1000bulbs.com/product/8049/3202-16020-003.html?utm_source=SmartFeedGoogleBase&amp;utm_medium=Shopping&amp;utm_term=3202-16020-003&amp;utm_content=Clear+Globes+with+Neckless+Opening&amp;utm_campaign=SmartFeedGoogleBaseShopping&amp;gclid=CjwKEAjwiq-oBRC9gvHCsvDdn2cSJACV3DFR8JhxFtlwecr8qxHO0CeRIoPQHJqCZzY7T-4unGCzLBoCRwPw_wcB<br><br>I simply just used my dremmel to cut the neck opening wider. also add several PC case fans for circulation and anti fog spray other wise it will fog up, you'll asphyxiate and you will die. :)
<p>thank you so much! and i promise i will try not to die XD</p>
<p>Great walkthrough, thank you for taking the time to type it out! I was just googling &quot;EVA foam&quot; and your link was the first one that popped up, how fantastic.</p><p>Quick question regarding the different types of foam featured in your walkthrough: what's the texture like on the underside of the fatigue mat EVA foam sheets? I'm eyeing the 0.25&quot; pieces for example. My current project requires a smooth finish like craft foam but fatigue mats will have a textured surface (for obvious reasons). Do you know if the underside is smooth or textured?</p>
Hello! Thanks for the support! As far as i've come across all EVA has a textured side and a non texture side which is smooth. So yes it should work just fine for what you need.<br><br>Cheers!

About This Instructable


1,142 favorites


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 »
More by Towering Props: Cosplay Sword & Painting Tutorial Nerf Gun Painting Tutorial Leather Pouch Tutorial & Intro to Basic Leather Working
Add instructable to: