Introduction: How to Make a Gears of War Costume

About: I'm a kid in a candy store when it comes to creating things. I love learning different versions of art, whatever medium it may be. Feel free to like the official site on Facebook to keep up with past, presen…

Gears of War is a video game franchise created by Epic Games that focuses on the conflict between humanity, the subterranean reptilian hominids known as the Locust Horde, and their mutated counterparts, the Lambent. The armor and guns are pretty wicked so it was only a matter of time before someone asked me to make one. I remember my favorite advertisement was the one where solders were running around to the song "Mad Word".

For the 2019 Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, my brother-in-law wanted to attend the convention in some Gears of War Armor as he is a fanatic of the game series. We tried making this last year, but life circumstances got in the way. Thankfully we were able to finish a year later! Let's get started with the build!


-grey or black cargo pants

-long sleeve black shirt

-black fingerless tactical gloves

-Coalition necklace

-EVA foam (i use the thick square tiles and a thinner roll of EVA foam)

-Craft foam

-Hot Glue

-Contact Cement

-Tape measure

-soldering iron

-old boots/shoes


-glue gun

-Belt Sander



-modgepodge or plastids

-masking tape

- DAP caulking.


-exacto knives and cutting mat

- elastic

-plastic black clips

- roll of drawing paper

-Battery powered LED lights

Step 1: Reference Pictures

Before I ever start ANY costume, I look up a ton of reference photos from various sources and put it in a folder. The more pictures from different angles, the better.

Look up: 1. Actual photos of the character from its source (movies, comics, action figure, etc)

2. Cosplay pictures. You can see what has been done, what you like, what you don't like, how to improve on a design. You can also start getting an idea of different poses you think you'd like to do.

3. I start looking at art work. I usually look up things via google images, deviant art, tumblr, etc. This way, you can see different renditions of a character through a new perspective and once again, start thinking about what you like, don't like, etc.

4. Use your own imagination. Think about what you want, how to make it your own original design, what are some tricks you think you'd like to incorporate.. perhaps you want to try out a new technique with this build, etc

Optional: 5. If you can draw, I sometimes will take all my reference sources and start drawing out my own design. My brother-in-law wanted to hodge podge a suit together so i asked him to pic his favorite aspects from various reference pictures

Step 2: Chest and Back

Front Base

1. Take your measurement from the top of your shoulder to a little above your waistline. The reason the measurement is NOT to your waistline is to compensate for how wide the belt is. Then you need to take the measurement for your width. Once you have your measurements, transfer those measurements to paper and fold in half. Draw your design out on the half sheet and then cut out. once you unfold the paper, you should have a symmetrical paper template . Transfer that to EVA foam and cut out. This is your "base". (pic 1, Not of this build, but same concept)

2. Use your heat gun to soften the foam and then curl the shoulders and also the waist so it wraps around the person's body.(pic 2)

3. You can use your discretion to determine what kind of lines and textures you want. We decided to use the underside of the foam to give the chest piece so texture. for that chest piece, we used our thick EVA foam. we used a thinner EVA foam for the torso and the collar. (pic 2). I used craft foam to create a mid layer over the torso

4. You can create groves or lines into the armor by lightly cutting into foam (BUT NOT ALL THE WAY THROUGH), and then heating the line with the heat gun. The heat will create a nice clear deep appearance.

Back Base

1.The back process is the same as the front process. You measure from the shoulder to the small of the back and from rib to rib. It's actually better to give yourself a little slack on each end, as you can always cut it down to fit the front piece.

2. Once everything fits well together, glue the shoulders together.

3. I use small black plastic buckles to adjoin the sides together.

Chest circles

1. Using the thinner EVA foam, i cut out two large circles and sanded off the underneath tread. I used my dremel to create a slight angle on the edge. (pic 3)

2. I used contact cement to glue the circles to the chest. I cut lines into the circles and heated them to expand the lines. I also used a dremel head to create different nuts and bolts within the chest. (pic 4)

3. I used a thin line of craft foam to cover the seam around the edge. (pic 4)

4. I used contact cement and glued smaller craft foam circles to the tops of the chest circles for another layer. (pic 5)

5. I also created some buckle things from eva foam and dremeled down the edges prior to glueing them in place. (pic 5)

Step 3: Chest Piece Decor


1. I use the thinner EVA foam to create a strip and a frame. (pic 1)

2. Glue the frame around the strip.

3. I cut little groves and applied heat to add a few details. I used a piece of craft foam to add a little detail in each strip. (pic 2)

4. I glued 4 buckles onto the front of the chest piece. (pic 3)

Top Buckles/ Light bed

1. I used some duct tape as a template for the suit. I put the duct tape directly on one side of the suit (Since the suit should be symmetrical), and draw my design directly on it. (pic 4)

2. Cut out of EVA foam and glue in place. Look at the picture as i have indicated how each piece is made (pic 5).

3. Attached is the emblem (pic 6)

4. draw and cut out emblem from craft foam (pic 7)

5. Glue into center of chest (pic 8)

Collar/ Collar Guard

1. I later realized that it didn't make sense to be this armored and yet have a giant hole in the collar area.

2. I sealed it off with some EVA foam and put a few elevated designs in

3. i used a thicker piece of EVA Strip and created a collar as well. (pic 9)

Step 4: Back Details

1. i first started by sandwiching 3 thick layers of EVA foam on top of each other. (pic 1). I made each layer slightly smaller to add different textures.

2. I covered the area around duct tape and drew the design directly on the piece. (pic 2)

3. Using the template, i transferred the piece onto EVA foam (pic 3)

4. i cut out the piece and then drew in the lines that i wanted to bevel off with my dremel. I also drew in the spacing for where i wanted my top layers to go. (pic 4)

5. I dremeled off the edges and glued craft foam to the top areas. (pic 5)

Step 5: Back Lighting Area

1. Using the duct tape paper template from the previous step, i cut out the piece and transfer it to EVA foam (pic 1)

2. I then cut out the center areas and beveled the edges using my dremel (pic 2)

3. I glued them on either side of the main center section (pic 3-5). I added a few more extra plates in the underneath area.

4. I added a upper back layer from EVA foam and cut out a window so that the lights will come through (pic 6)

Step 6: Back Pockets

1. I knew I was going to figure out a way how to hide the battery packs for the lights of the suit. I thoughts i would put the packs in functional pockets in the back fo the suit.

2. I began by taking the measurement, transferring it to paper and then folding the paper vertically in half. I then drew out my design. (pic 1)

3. Transfer all your templates to foam (pic 2). look at pictures for explained details.

4. I made 4 pockets for 4 battery packs (pic 3),

5. glue the pockets directly onto the back of the armor. (pic 4)

6. I added some thin craft foam to add some detail. I used a washer and magnet to allow the pockets to clasp together. (pic 5)

Step 7: Shoulders

1. Draw out your design on your folded piece of paper (pic 1)

2. Cut out all your pieces from your EVA foam (pic 2)

3. Heat your shoulder piece with your heating gun and shove into a deep bowl and allow to cool (pic 3)

4. doing so allows for you shoulder piece to be rounded. This is now the base of your shoulder (pic 4)

5. Add your miscellaneous details onto your shoulder base. Look at the picture for explained details (pic 5 + 6)

6. I had some large plastic buckles/ clips that i attached to the inside shoulder of the chest piece and the underside of the shoulder pieces. That way, the wearer could choose if he wanted to use the armor as a vest or with the shoulder pieces attached. (pic 7)

Step 8: Completed Chest Piece Armor

This is what my completed chest piece armor looked like

Step 9: Gauntlets

1. Using your thick EVA foam, wrap your forearms and create a cone.

2. I created an elbow piece out of thick EVA foam as well (pic 1)

3. Attached the Elbow piece to the forearm piece. (Pic 2)

4. I taped up the gauntlet and drew out the design (pic 3 + 4)

5. I cut out all the masking tape templates and transferred them to thinner EVA foam (pic 5)

6. Glue in all your details (pic 6 + 7)

Step 10: Belt

1. Use your tape measure to measure out your belt size and the buckle you want.

2.transfer measurement to paper, draw out design, and cut out of EVA foam (pic 1)

3. Once you have your strip of EVA foam, Start adding layers and different designs and textures. Look to pictures for detailed explanation (pic 2-3).

4. I wanted lots of pockets, but decided that they did not need to be functional. i drew out the size on a piece of paper and transferred it onto thick EVA foam (pic 4)

5, Cut all those pieces out and also cut out the top lips. (pic 5)

6. Glue in and add in your details with craft foam (pic 6)

7. i use a plastic clip to connect the belt together.

8. Because i wanted the belt to be somewhat functional, i used a strip of cloth and glued it onto the back of the belt. This way, the belt will not stretch.

Step 11: Belt Pockets

1. I wanted to give my bro-in-law two functional side pockets to use for his phone and wallet. Plus, it made more sense that a soldier would have some type of thigh armor.

2. I began by taking the measurement, transferring it to paper and then folding the paper vertically in half. I then drew out my design. (pic 1)

3. I use the same design for the battery torso pockets, but made them a little bigger ( pic 2)

4. I made a larger flat piece of foam that covered more of the thigh area. this way, the pocket could also attach to it. (pic 3)

5. Attach all your pieces together. It should be able to hold a wallet or phone (pic 4)

6. I made 2 functional thigh pockets that were able to buckle into the belt.

Step 12: Shoes and Shins


1. Take your shoe and place it on the paper. Draw an outline that is larger than your shoe. Maybe give it a 1-1.5 inch border.

2. Use your template to cut out 2 thick EVA foam footprints.

3. Glue the footprints together and the glue your shoe on top. You may wish to actually use some washers and screws to screw in your shoes to the foam for added security.

4. Once you have that, encase your shoes in foam so you have a foam shoe. (pic 1)


1. I measured out the length from the knee to the floor (with the shoe on). I transferred the template to a folded piece of paper and drew out the front of my design (which was the shape of a long tombstone),

2. cut out and transfer to EVA foam.

3. Create the back and then just start layering with EVA and craft foam. Look at pictures for detailed explanations (pic 2-4)

4. I figured that the shoes and shins of a solder would get really torn up due to running and kneeling. So i took my dremel and scratched them up a bit to create battle damage.

Step 13: Sealing, Primer, & Painting

1. Seal all foam pieces with Plastic dip. Plastidip allows the foam to bend and the without cracking once it is painted. (Pic 1)

2. Once all the pieces are plastidipped, i painted all pieces a flat black color. Allow to dry. This was to make sure i was starting with an even base color, instead of grey EVA foam and miscellaneous colors of craft foal (green, red, etc) (pic 2 + 3)

3. Once all the black is dry, spray paint everything with silver (pic 4)

4. Now comes the dirtying process. Use some watered down black acrylic paint and paint over the silver painted pieces. while wet, use a dry paper towel and rub off the black. Repeat the process until you get the shade you want. (pic 5)

5. You can see the difference between silver and dirty silver armor (pic 6)

6. Complete all pieces (pic 7 + 8)

Step 14: Lighting

1. Using a silver sharpie, I dotted where i wanted all my LED lights to go. The LED lights that i was given were like christmas lights. (pic 1)

2. I used a thick pointing long nail and punctured each hole (pic 2+3)

3. I put the battery packets in all the pockets and then started stringing in the lights. All the wires were hidden inside the suit (pic 4-5)

4. Once i got all the lights where i wanted, I soldered in channels and hot glued the wires into them (pic 6)

5. I took fabric and covered up all the wires so nothing would get snagged (pic 7)

6. The camera picked up so much light, but it wasn't as bad in person (pic 8-11)

Step 15: Finished!

That should be it! Just some suggestions:

1. Make sure you have an awesome weapon/ gun to go with your suit. Kinda lame if you have an amazing suit of armor and a crappy looking gun.

2. Your gun is an extension of the artistry of the suit. Don't cover up all that hard work in photos by having your gun in front of you.

Now go kick some major Alien butt, soldier!

Special thanks to Noah Smith Photography and Dettman photography for all the amazing photos!. Please check out their stuff when you have a chance!

More geeky goodness, artsy projects, and current projects can be found on my FB site, tumblr, Youtube, and Instagram. Thanks!

The Instructables for the other featured costumes/ props can be found here:

Torque Bow


Wolverine: Coming soon


Halloween Contest 2019

Participated in the
Halloween Contest 2019