After watching so many cosplayers and EVA foam smiths (punishedprops, evil ted, kamui cosplay etc..) I wanted to have a go. I spent many months accumulating the tools I'd need, finding bargains and biding my time, until finally, I had the necessary parts.
But what to build?
I decided on something relatively small, that would utilise some of the techniques I'd seen used, wood and metal effects, ageing and weathering.
A new name plaque for my eldest sons door
I tried to capture most of the build, but anything i missed, I'll try to explain.
Here we go
Step 1: Rough Template
I roughed out a design for the shield (half at least) and asked my son if it was alright.
I knew I needed to add his name, and some sort of symbol, this would have to come later.
the tools i had accumulated:
a rotary tool
a wood burner
lots of craft knives
a sharpening stone (invaluable!)
EVA floor mats
Step 2: Transfer the Template
I cut out the template and traced it onto the foam, flipping it to get the mirror image and complete the shape.
I then cut some detail parts out to help create some more, er... detail....
Step 3: Mockup
I mocked up the positioning of the detail and decided i needed a border.
As I was using floor mat, I would need to create some thinner strips.
I cut the EVA to the desired width and then found just simply laying my craft knife on its side on the cutting mat, was a decent enough 'measure' at which to my foam.
Once done I could mock up again to make sure it looked good.
Step 4: Wood Detail and Fix
I wanted the main body of the shield to look like wood, with metal detailing.
I marked out on the foam rough spacing for the 'wooden' panels, this I then went over with the wood burning tool very lightly and at a steady pace as it can quickly burn away too much foam.
Then I marked on some wood grain lines with a craft knife.
These can be then heated up with a hot hair dryer, or a heat gun if you have access to one.
The heat opens up the foam and helps show off the detail.
I didn't get the pictures but I added some further detail with rotary tool to the top piece of the shield, to give it a more worked look, a little planning and as steady a hand as possible!
I then again mocked up the design and used a ballpoint pen to mark where all the components would go.
I could the glue the separate parts with contact cement and leave to dry until tacky.
Once dry I pressed them all together and things started to take shape.
At this point I was happy how it was going, just from watching plenty of how to videos.
Step 5: Name and Symbol
I didn't get the photos of the steps here as I was mainly figuring it out as I did it.
I took a sheet of A4 and pressed it against the top of the shield as it was in the previous step, trying to get an outline of where the borders where.
Once I had this, I could roughly draw how the name would look.
I then traced this onto another sheet and then started to mark centre lines and sizes for the text.
I then just eyeballed it really for the shapes of the letters, using the marks I'd made for sizes
I transferred this to the foam and got cutting, taking my time, and then sanding all the edges to get it as clean as possible with a sanding bit on the rotary tool, this took some time!
Next, I found an image of a typical black and white football, printed it, cut it out, then got to cutting.
I scored through the image line by line starting from the outside until the whole image had gone.
I heated this up to reveal the lines
Step 6: Sticking Down
I again outlined the parts i need to stick down, applied contact to both sides until tacky to touch, then stuck down.
I sanded all the edges with the rotary tool until neat.
I added some damage to the shield with a cutter bit on the rotary tool and just went in a few places.
Step 7: Priming
I used auto primer for this step and basically sprayed about 3 coats of grey primer in thin layers allowing to dry each time.
Step 8: Metal Work
Acrylic stainless steel was used for the 'metal' and just painted on with a brush
Step 9: Wood Work
Acrylic brown was used for the wood effect, the layering up with other colours (black and burnt umber) to added some grain like effects and variation.
Step 10: Finishing
I painted the football with acrylic white and black and then gave the whole thing a coat of matt varnish.
I then gave some washes of black and burnt umber, but unfortunately, didn't get the photos, look up Adam Savage or Bill Doran (and many more) for ageing techniques and weathering.
After this, I sanded a few areas, dry brushed with the acrylic metal colour (sorry no pictures, but plenty of reference online)
A couple more coats of varnish and I was done
An unfurled large paperclip is what connects it to the nail in his door.
things I learned:
for detailing, i will definitely use a thinner foam, foam flooring is good for the bigger stuff, but the detail work, although it looks good, it is slow and painful work!
I will next mask, and do as much paint work with spray, rather than brush to get a more even work, without the brush marks.
I will try to print out a few more elements as templates to transfer to the foam, although doing it by hand will still be choice as it is nice to switch off and just do it!
I hope you like it, I intend to do more of these, so if you have any queries, I will try to address in the next one.