Introduction: Borderlands 3 Costume Build: Maya the Siren

About: Seamsetress, Foam Fabricator, Sculptor, Pattern Drafter, Photographer, Videographer, IT Nerd and all around Pop Culture Enthusiast!

Borderlands 3 - The realm of Psychos, Sirens, Goddesses (and their parasites) and a particular Tina who still wants to burn all the babies.

When the announcement for the new game released I IMMEDIATELY hunted for images of Maya. I figured she would make an appearance and it took some time for her character turn around to drop but the wait was worth it.

This costume took some ingenuity on my part as I had a short time frame to build it in, was competing with a busy Halloween schedule AND had to figure out HOW THE EVER LIVING HECK Maya's neck thing worked WITHOUT painting myself black (because that much black paint on a high friction area is a pain in the butt).

This tutorial will teach you (or at least touch upon) the following skills...

  • Sewing
  • Pattern Drafting Hacks
  • Fabric Painting
  • Fabric Up-cycling / Recycling
  • Foam Wig Fabrication
  • Painting / Cell Shading
  • Foam Fabrication
  • Engineering Cosplay for Comfort / Usability
  • Glow in The Dark Effect

A BIG THANK YOU to The Cosplay Pros for providing the foam I used in this build. Their EVA Foam rivals and even beats a lot of their competitors. Now let's become a Siren!


2 MM & 4 MM EVA Foam from The Cosplay Pros

Wet Look Dance Body Suit

Wet Look Leggings

Scrap Vinyl

Scrap Yaya Han Hex Fabric (white)

2 Leather Skirts (largest size I could find - I'll explain in the COAT section)

Lumiere Gold Fabric Paint

Angelus Leather Paint 1 oz (Black and White)

Fabric Marker (Black & White - Oil Based Preferred)

Contact Cement (DAP Weldwood)

Hot Glue (High Temp - Gorilla Glue Hot Glue Sticks)

Heat Gun

Mannequin Head OR Wig Head (Heat Resistant)

Masking Tape

Sharpies / Drawing Implements

Measuring Tape / Ruler

Bra Hook Sew On ( 3 - 4 hooks necessary)

Black Bias Tape (Extra Wide Double Fold)

Sewing Machine

Heavy Weight Sewing Needles

Sewing Clips / Pins

Elastic (1"- 2 " width - soft stretch)

Gorilla Glue: Quick Set Super Glue Gel

Fabric Chalk / Pens (for patterning)

Jacket Pattern OR Old Shirt (I used an old button up)

1 can of Black Plasti-Dip

1 can of Teal All in One Spray Paint

Spray Paint Booth OR Tarp (gotta keep it clean)

Protective Goggles

Respirator (graded for particulates and chemicals)

Mechanic's Gloves (for heat protection)

Rotary Tool with Sanding Tip(s)

Pair of Combat Boots (not necessary but cool)

Double Sided Velcro (sew or stick on)

Seam Ripper

Fabric Scissors

Foam Scissors OR Utility Blade

Exacto Knife OR Utility Knife

Acrylic Paint (Generic - Gold, Black, White and Teal)

Strontium Aluminate Fabric Paint (aka Glow In The Dark Fabric Paint - Teal or Blue)

Compression Jacket / Bolero (skin tone)

Fray Check

Black Thread (Generic Quilting Thread)

Mannequin OR Dress Form OR Body Double for Sewing / Pattern Drafting / Fitting

Step 1: Foam Wig

  • Let me start with: I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE.

Creating a FOAM WIG was a chore. Here I will break down my steps and include some tools/materials I used to create this unusual, cell shaded masterpiece!

You'll need...

  • 2 MM or smaller EVA or Craft foam. I used some Yaya Han craft foam scraps an A LOT of EVA foam from The Cosplay Pros.
  • A heat gun
  • A respirator
  • Contact Cement and/or Hot Glue
  • Gorilla Glue Hot Glue Sticks
  • Sharpies or Drawing Implements
  • Ruler
  • Mannequin Head or Body Double Head (heat resistant)
  • Scissors
  • Masking Tape
  • 1 can of black plasti-dip
  • 1 can of teal spray paint
  • White Oil Based Marker (quick dry)

Here is how to create a foam wig...

  1. Use your own head OR a mannequin head to create a foam wig cap
    • I used masking tape on a mannequin head to draft a pattern. I then transferred that pattern to foam and cut the pieces until they all laid flat.
    • Next I cut out the foam then glued the pieces together with contact cement.
  2. TRY ON WIG CAP (make adjustments as necessary)
    • I added some "straps" by the ears so I could keep the cap stable on my mannequin in preparation for step 3.
  3. Starting adding strips of foam. Cut them to look like strands of hair. Some can be thick, some thin. Try not to make them so thin that they rip off (test the strength of your foam).
    • I used a combination of Hot Glue and Contact Cement to apply layers.
  4. Keep applying hair in layers. Use reference images and try on your cap occasionally to see where the hair rests on your head.
    • I measure from the top of the cap to where I wanted my hair to rest and cut two long pieces. From there I built up on top of them in layers.
  5. Once you have the front of the wig in place you can start layering the back. I started from the bottom of the wig and moved my way up (saving the top strands/layers for last)
  6. I laid the top layers on and "blended" them into the bottom layers using my cutting shears.
  7. Now heat seal your foam (this will cause the foam to curl a bit at the ends and anywhere you have scored the foam will widen, looking more like strands of hair).
    • I used a Heat Gun to heat seal. Keep your heat gun at least 6 inches away so as to avoid burning your foam.
    • Use a respirator and gloves to protect yourself. Make sure you are in a well ventilated space.
  8. Try on your finished foam wig. If it all fits, you can begin painting.

Here is how I painted my wig...

  1. Apply 1 coat of black Plast-Dip OR some other rubberized sealant
  2. Apply 1-2 THIN coats of teal spray paint (6-12 inches away, "dust" the hair in color)
  3. Take a sharpie or oil based marker in black and begin drawing on fine hair lines
  4. Take a white oil based marker and add highlights to the edges of strands and top of head

You're done! You now have a foam wig!

Step 2: Body Suit


  • Angelus Leather Paint (Black and White)
  • Tailor's Chalk
  • Wet Look Dance Bodysuit
  • Bra Hook Patch
  • Masking Tape
  • Heat Gun
  • Rotary Tool with sanding bit(s)
  • Sharpies
  • Oil Based White Marker
  • Seam Ripper or Fabric Scissors
  • Contact Cement

For the body suit I started with a purchased, wet look dance body suit and removed a sleeve. I also had to add crotch snaps (which is why I needed the bra hook patch). I drew on patterns with some tailor's chalk and cut out the hole in the chest with SHARP Fabric Scissors. Finally, I made sure my bodysuit was secure on my dress form and I started to paint.

When painting with leather paint do so in LIGHT layers and allow 30 mins - 1 hour in between coats. Since this was white on black leather it took 3 coats for me to achieve the white fabric details. I mixed the white and black together to create the gray center on the torso.

Once I had all my areas blocked out I used a bit of the black leather paint to touch up any errors and I was done.

NOTE: You WILL need to have this STRETCHED OUT to proper size when painting. If you paint it flat the leather paint WILL crack when you put the garment on. Avoid this by using a mannequin or dress form when painting.

Step 3: Armor - Chest/Arm


  • EVA Foam (2 MM - 4 MM) (I recommend The Cosplay Pros)
  • Contact Cement
  • Measuring Tape
  • Ruler
  • Sharpie or Drawing Implement
  • Heat Gun
  • Respirator
  • Gloves (heat resistant)
  • Masking Tape
  • Acrylic Paint
  • White Oil Based Marker
  • Elastic (soft stretch)


  1. Use masking tape to create a pattern (layer it in strips so you can peel it off your form easier)
  2. Transfer the pattern to foam
  3. Cut out the pattern
  4. Use your heat gun and some breast forms (or your dress form like I did here) to heat up the foam and shape it over the breast curve (do this to both sides).
  5. Sand the edges of your foam so that they are smooth (I used a Dremel)
  6. Place the foam on your bodysuit (be sure it is stretched over a dress form) and trace out where to apply the adhesive.
  7. Place one layer of contact cement on the underside of the foam chest plate and one layer on the top of the bodysuit. Allow the contact cement to dry to the point that it is NOT shiny and carefully place the back of the foam to the top of the bodysuit. (apply pressure to make sure the contact is permanent).


  1. Use a measuring tape to measure the length and circumference of your forearm (elbow and wrist).
  2. Add 2" of allowance and draw out a rhombus
  3. Cut out the piece and use a heat gun to curve it around your arm
  4. Take some elastic and apply contact cement to both it and the underside of your bracer
  5. Glue the elastic to the bracer (create a loop so you may need to glue two edges to the underside).
    • I created a loop at the wrist AND elbow for security
  6. For the upper arm, repeat the above steps except DO NOT add elastic
  7. Take your upper arm piece and trace out its location on the sleeve of your bodysuit using tailor's chalk
  8. Place contact cement on the bodysuit AND the underside of your upper arm armor
  9. Once the contact cement is no longer shiny place the armor on the bodysuit (check that all edges have made secure contact for durability)
  10. Slide the bracer over the forearm of the sleeve to check its fit
  11. Finally, take some scraps and carefully glue them to your glove using contact cement


  1. Use a ruler to measure the space for the back triangle
  2. Create the shape using the measurements you took for the triangle
  3. Cut out the triangle using scissors
  4. Heat seal your foam with a heat gun (both sides)
  5. Use an Exacto Knife OR Utility Blade to cut small grooves into the triangle that resemble the details on the reference image
  6. Use your heat gun to carefully expand the grooves until they are visible
  7. Take some acrylic paint (gold and blue) and paint in the details
  8. Put contact cement on the back of the foam and top of the coat triangle
  9. Glue the foam to the coat

Step 4: Pants & Belt With Accessories


  • Scrap leather or vinyl in black
  • Zipper or velcro
  • Wet look leggings in black
  • Gold Lumiere Fabric Paint
  • Scrap white fabric
  • Sewing Machine
  • Gorilla Glue Super Glue Gel
  • Paint brush(es)

My first pair of pants were a disaster. The fabric paint reacted poorly with the stretch denim and...let's just say they became unwearable. So I grabbed a spare pair of wet look black leggings I had and got to work...

  1. Tailor your pants so they fit you (I still need to bring the crotch up's dropped REAL low for some reason).
  2. Place your pants on a mannequin/dress form (to avoid paint cracking)
  3. Use tailor's chalk to create your lines for painting (I skipped this step, DON'T BE ME)
  4. Start applying paint to your pants in VERY thin layers (I only did 1 layer as Lumiere is THICK)
  5. Allow your pants to dry for 12-24 hours before wearing

Since these were a pair of leggings they did NOT have a belt loop. As I had some scrap leather from the coat laying around I created the following...

  • Pouch for my phone/money (used scrap zipper and leather to create a little pocket - added loops on the back with super glue and scrap leather).
  • Belt Loop (hand sewed loop to right side of leggings)
  • Mock Belt Loops (glued three mock loops to the belt using super glue and scrap leather strips)
  • Belt (scrap white fabric and vinyl that I sewed in a strip and flipped inside out to create a clean seam)
    • Adheres with velcro on the front

For the "buckle" I used an old laptop rubber strap guard and super glued it to the front of the belt.

Finally, I used some sharpies AND the oil based white marker to add cell shading details.

Step 5: Coat With Hood

I screwed up my first jacket HORRIBLY. The first three images are the original jacket with yellow lining. I decided I DESPISED the yellow lining and I HAD to use leather. Unfortunately, leather is about $30 a yard where I live (yes, even the fake stuff) and I needed a SOFT, SUPPLE leather for movement. So I went out and found TWO LEATHER SKIRTS in the largest sizes I could and did the following...

  1. I removed the accessories (buttons, zippers, etc.) except in areas where I wanted some "drama".
  2. I adjusted and removed lining (keeping it black instead of yellow).
  3. I used my pattern from the original jacket and "frankensteined" the skirts together so that they were one, solid piece of fabric (this did create extra seams but it added a rugged look I enjoyed)
  4. I added bias tape to the edges and arm holes for a clean look.
  5. I took the left over skirt fabric (the bottom was too long) and created a hood using THIS pattern.
  6. I sewed the hood and skirt into the desired shape/pattern using my sewing machine and a heavy weight needle.
  7. I painted the designs on the back using Angelus paint and the methods mentioned earlier (tailor's chalk to draft, paint on in layers, let dry, etc.)
  8. I glued on the foam to the back
  9. FINALLY I did one last test fit and was pleased with the result.

Up-cylcing some leather skirts was MUCH cheaper. For about 3.5 yards of leather I paid only $50 where as I would have paid close to $100 at a fabric store. The details on the skirts also created cool texturing that added to the Borderlands effect.

Step 6: Mock Tattoo Sleeve

This is honestly simple...

  1. Buy a compression shirt
  2. Buy glow in the dark fabric paint
  3. Put the shirt on your mannequin OR your arm (need help if you use yourself)
  4. Use a fabric pen to draft the design
  5. Paint the design using the fabric paint
  6. Allow the design to dry for 24 hours
  7. Charge the fabric in the sun for AT LEAST 1 hour
  8. BOOM! You have a glow in the dark mock tattoo sleeve

That is it :)

Step 7: Final Result & Lessons Learned

THIS COSTUME IS AWESOME! I made some changes for personal preference (no hip showing, shorter back on the jacket, black lining on jacket, gold details on pants) that made me VERY happy.

  • I learned that I can use pre-existing garments and turn them into something COMPLETELY different.
  • I learned that foam wigs get REALLY hot when worn.
  • I learned foam wigs are light and to secure mine I glued it to a modified balaclava (added zipper on back, cut out more of face, stabilized with sewing).
  • I learned leather paint CAN transfer to OTHER leather (seal it OR place tissue paper between other leather surface when storing/traveling).
  • I ALSO learned this was SO MUCH FUN!

I hope this helps all of you!

Halloween Contest 2019

Participated in the
Halloween Contest 2019