If you are an Iron Man fan and would love to cosplay in a replica suit but do not necessarily have the money and time to make a fully-fledged Iron Man suit then this is the perfect project for you. On a personal level, I profoundly admire the Iron Man comic series and the TV actor, Robert Downey Jr. I have yet to mark making a replica of my favorite suit, the Mark 42, off my bucket list, but I have marked off making a set of easy to wear cosplay boot. Honestly, these things just sit in a container shoved at the bottom of my closet now, but when I did wear them I had always had a blast.
This project cost me about $80 dollars overall, which compared to making a resin cast or fiber glass full body suit is a hella-lot cheaper.
The materials I used were:
-clear plastic wrap
-2" green upholstery foam/ cushion foam/ support foam (this has many names depending on where you buy it)
-1/2" green upholstery foam
-1 yard of Gold special occasion metallics fabric
-1 yard of Red special occasion metallics fabric
-Pair of tennis shoes
Step 1: The Skeleton
If you decide to make your own set of cosplay boots like these, you should be aware that making the Mark 42 version is not mandatory. This tutorial will work for any IronMan suit design.
To get a nice jump start on the design and preferences of this project, I gathered as many references together as I possibly could. I gathered print outs, pictures from books I have laying around, and even a 10" action figure. (the print outs should be plenty... I'm a bit critical). Then, I simply finalized which suit I wanted to replicate. I also have an Iron Man 3 poster hanging on my wall. It was often used as a reference.
To ensure that the boots would fit and be appealing to the eye, I created a duct tape mannequin of one of my legs. The mannequin is only needed for stage one; the skeleton -if built accordingly- naturally stands up straight. (If it makes you feel safer, you can make a mannequin of both legs).
I traced the bottom one of the tennis shoes and created a base of the given shape shown in the photos. The base was traced onto EVA foam/ outdoor mats, and the shoes were attached with cement glue.
I traced the mannequin leg on paper and drew the design of the boot around the outline, this life-size pattern was used for the entire project.
To create the skeleton, I simply estimated how much upholstery foam was needed to be added around the laces of the shoes by using my final pattern, and I used EVA foam to create the self-standing structure. Each peice of foam was carefully and thoughtfully placed to ensure natural ankle movement.
Step 2: The Shape
When you are finished with the skeleton, the boots should be standing up straight on their own, and the mannequin should be no longer needed.
After the skeleton stage was complete, I began to finalize the shape of the boots. I traced over my life-size pattern to retrieve the shape of the kalf. The kalf pattern was traced onto 2" upholstery foam three times and then glued onto the skeleton and shaped as needed. Then I added more upholstery foam to preferred places to ensure that each edge would be round, rather than pointed (before constructing these boots, I did further research on the actual input of shoe design :D )
Step 3: The Design
Applying the design was quite a new adventure for me, but thoroughly enjoyed it. :)
It took TONS of time and patience to complete this stage. It was the most labor intensive stage of the project.
For each separate piece, I traced the life-size pattern and created each separate piece with paper as needed. Each pattern was traced onto 1/2" upholstery foam and cut out with hand scissors.
However, the pieces were not permanently attached until I added the fabric. I temporarily held each piece in with pins (LOTS OF PINS).
I took my time to ensure that the boots were symmetrical and imitated the original Mark 42 suit in the style I preferred them to.
Step 4: The Color
Many -mostly all- great and professional cosplay makers do not suggest the use of shiny fabrics for metal object that are used for costumes, but.... I'm not professional (still working on the great part... my excuse is a good one -this was my first time ever replicating metal and money was low at the time), so I used red and gold special occasion metallics. ^_^
To mimic all of the fun gadget stuff in the creases of the original Iron Man suits, I applied gray vinyl underneath the design pieces with hot glue.
Then, I took one pinned piece off of one boot at a time, laid it top side down on the back of the fabric and applied gentle amounts of hot glue to the back, and hot glued the final piece back into position on the boot. Do not apply the hot glue to the side that will show on the final product. The hot glue tends to seep through the fabric if too much is applied, and it dries rough.
After adding the color you can finally enjoy a successful pair of IronMan cosplay boots and show them off like a boss! :3