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 more examples.
What well discuss and what youll need!
Poster card/ card stock
Xacto blade/Razor knife
High temp Glue Gun
Velcro/Hook and Loop
Fine point marker
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
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 cosplayers. It is a Strong, Flexible, Formable and cheap material to use for various parts of costuming. its main use is for metal or composite replication meaning armor and all kinds of it. if painted correctly the foam can look just like metal or composite materials like "Iron Man Armor", "Mass Effect Armor" or even "Dragon Age Armor".
Picking and finding the right foam for you:
There are three main types that you can get EVA foam in, there are the tiles packs, rolls and craft foam sheets which can range in size, thickness and price. Both the roll and the tiles have certain finishes the two most popular are the "diamond plate" finish and "Cross Pattern finish, i much prefer to work with the cross pattern because it has less gaps when gluing together but it can be a trick to get some times. Youll notice the differences with the links below. They can be acquired a number of places such as Home-Depo, Lowes, Harbor Freight, Walmart (automotive section) 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 stick to 2' x 2' packs or smaller, either having 4 pieces to 6 pieces to a pack and mainly comes in .375" thick. These can be found in flooring or automotive sections of stores or ordered online.
The tiles are used for the main pieces of armor. pieces that required a thick edge to it to resemble a heavy armor such as the "Mass Effect Armor". Speaking of mass effect armor 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 is the 2' x 6' roll which comes in a thinner .125" thickness. The rolls are slightly harder to find and i have to order them online. these are great for thin edge costumes like the iron man costumes. the thinner foam is also a must if your making a helmet with your costume, its much easier to work with in small sections as well as leaving enough space for you head... and yes i found that out the hard way.
Number three is Craft Foam, you can get this nearly anywhere and has varying thickness. this is great for detailing costumes, adding that extra layer of detailing to the costumes. 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.