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>What thickness of foam would you suggest for a foam sword. I am currently trying to make Palutena's sword that Pit uses, but have found no helpful sources for that particular sword. The most useful information I have found is this article (Thank you by the way), but I am still unsure what I am doing. FYI this is my first really intricate cosplay so I am pretty new to the whole thing. </p>
For swords and weapon props i recommend the tile pieces. Its the perfect thickness to sandwich between a support rod (wooden dowel or aluminum bar) and still have plenty of surface to sculpt.<br><br>Cheers!<br>Titus
<p>Hello - Where is a good resource to find the Pepakura files you mentioned? Thanks in advance for the response!</p>
<p>Thank you for your article, it's very interesting!!!</p><p>I just have a couple of questions:</p><p> - where did you buy your EVA foam?</p><p> - Are there other foam that we can thermo-reshape using a heat gun?</p><p> - Do you have any advise about the glue to use if I want to glue two foam pieces together?</p><p>Regards</p>
<p>I'm not the person who wrote the article, but here's some answers! <br>If you have a harbor freight, I found the carry it for the lease expensive. Sometimes Michaels will have it, but a lot of home improvement stores will have them. As for thermo re shape, there's quite a few. Worbla/Thermoplastic is complete shapeable. I use it for things with extra detail, or to harden what I need. I would seriously look this stuff up, but it is expensive. And to glue EVA foam, I use barge cement glue. However, you need to make sure when you glue it together, that's where you want it since the stuff is really strong. </p><p>Hopefully my answers helped!</p>
<p>I was wondering, for a full body armor (storm trooper), will it get very hot? I was wondering how practical it would be to wear this all day.</p>
<p>If your armor is thick/spacious enough, what I've seen other cosplayers do, and what I plan on doing myself, (and this will require some wiring) is using computer fans. If you plan on putting one inside your helmet, grab a 40mm (about $5-$10), a toggle switch (radioshack, also 5-10), a cell battery and wiring. simply connect the wires (gonna need a soldering gun) to the switch, and then the switch to the fan, and ta-da. You can do the same for your torso armor, but I'd go with a larger fan, say 120mm (~$15).</p><p>With some fans, such as thermaltake's Riing series, you can find them with different colored lights to really elevate your armor.</p>
<p>EVA foam is actually slightly an insulator, so yes, it may get a slight bit warm in the armor. Added to this, if you're wearing it for a con you'll probably be overheating within the first several hours </p>
<p>Hello! Thanks for all the fantastic info. I had no idea where to start in foam. I know lots of people have been asking for advice in this before, but I am wondering about how to make a peg leg that can support weight, and a robotic hand (like a glove). Junkrat!</p>
Hello! for the peg leg you could use a wooden down rod and then just use the eva foam to add the detailing. The gauntlet can be done very similarly by just layering foam over a old leather glove. I recommend the tile foam for the peg leg and roll mats for the gauntlet.
<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 quite sure if you've finished your project by now or not, though you probably have, but I just finished a hiccup cosplay and I'd have recommended either just going with the black of the plasti dip, or using a matte seal over the black you have used :)</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>
i can do it but I will put a link on
<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>
Hi there im currently in the process of making a doctor doom costume, which foam is best for that because he is rather muscular and im a perfectionist. So i need to almost replicate his outfit. What tips can you give me. This will be my first build.
Hello! From my experience seeing the costume done in person and online you'll want to use both the Tiles and the Roll mats. The roll mats will be primarily be used for the mask, arms, legs, and chest. while the joints like the knees, elbows and feet will use the tiles. Hope this helps!
<p>so today i went to hobbycraft to get all the foam, they only sold 45 x 30cm and 22.5 x 30cm, they are the same sized ones and they would probably work with what i am after, although they are black and i would have to put Grey on somehow. This is the design i want to go with, and i have 5 weeks to get it done, i have a friend making the mash, i just need to make the arms, legs, knees, and feet, but i have some old Welly Boots that i can spray paint to Silver if necessary. the 45 x 30cm Sheet of foam will be used for the legs, arms and the chest. and presumably the knees, elbow and other things with the 22.5cm. Does this sound pretty good. also the foam i got bends easily and doesn't require a heat gun. For the Hands i was thinking of wearing a glove, draw around that, then mould the foam around it, But i would like it to look pretty thick with the freedom of hand movement. would something like cardboard or newspaper underneath the armour make it look more muscular and realistic to this Design : https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/9c/31/01/9c3101c752a4575d3a7566ff45179008.jpg</p>
<p>Awesome advice!! Thanks for taking the time to put this together. My son and I are working on a Destiny armor for Halloween and you have helped us move forward with that .... thank you!!</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
<p>You could also use insulation foam board! It comes in a sheet probably 2'x2' and maybe 3/4 inch thick? Its stiff and will stand on its own. Its carvable and sandable but you have to seal/prime it before you paint with a non-aerosol coating such as wood glue or gesso, because it's sensitive to spray paints and harsh sealants (it'll eat it/dissolve it) You can get it at hardware stores!</p>
The tiles are the most dense. sandwich them between the wooden core and you'll be fine.<br><br>Cheers!<br>-Titus
Any tips for making the berserker armor from Berserk? Its something I've been wanting to do but I'm also s bit intimidated by it.
Hey! If you send me a reference photo on my facebook page listed in the tutorial id be happy to help you out!<br>Cheers!<br>-Titus
this is awesome I'll be using some of your tips on my next project
Didnt mean to ask twice, sorry<br>
Any tips for making the berserker armor from Berserk? Its something I have been wanting to do for awhile but its an intimidating project.
<p>So I like most people posting here am giving my first shot at this. Im planning on making either Equinox or Atlas from the game Warframe and I'm jsut not sure as to how I could put it together with separate parts and was wondering if you could gimmie a few tips maybe? &gt;.&gt;</p>
Hey! Id love to see some Warframe cosplay! My recommendation is to use a Zenti or Lycra body suit and just sew on a ton of Velcro. this will allow you to just pop the armor on and off. layering will be key for the costume so use the roll mat as the armor and use craft foam as the under suit.<br><br>Cheers!<br>-Titus
<p>Thanks for the idea :D</p><p>Whenever I get around to making it I'll send you some pictures of it :3</p>
<p>Also what thickness would you recommend for the base of the armour?</p>
<p>I am experimenting with a Motocross body armour frame and Rare Earth Magnets to attach the pieces on an upcoming Dr, Doom build. also using an Airsoft mask as a base for the helmet </p>
Hi! so im new to all of this and im trying to build a time travel leg brace. i need it to have a removable pocket watch, and removable stones. i also need to have it sustain me falling, tripping, or other rough actions. i dont know how to make it with only this foam. is there other ways i can add on other materials that would make things removable? the image i have attached is the basic outline of what the time machine will look like and the other image is what the brace will kinda look like.... any opinions on what to do? (id like to start working on it as soon as posible so anything will help)
Hey! hmm. Would magnets work? You could insert some magnets and they would have no problem holding your items in the foam.
<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>
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!
Lol... I bought some other stufg from them a while back and get their sales email.<br><br>Lucked out and the floor mats were $7.... the tiles are in store only but most of the other stuff they have is mail order as well.
<p>Hello. I am totally new in this. Right now I am making a Iron man helmet using with hard carton board just for fun and to have it in my bedroom; however, I am thinking about building a full halo or Iron man armor. My question is: for a helmet, what foam thickness should I use? Should I use the same in the whole helmet or a combination?</p><p>Thank you, I am excited about this</p><p>Regards from Costa Rica</p>
<p>up in the intro, you showed a pic of a dude in mandalorian armor. how much would it cost to make an EVA costume of that?</p>
<p>Wow amazing article thanks for all the info</p>
<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>

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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