Introduction: EVA Foam Tiki God Costume Remix Contest
For the Remix contest I chose to make the Tiki God Eva Foam Costume by AP3D... https://www.instructables.com/id/Tiki-God-Eva-Foam-Costume/
Step 1: Supplies
What you'll need:
- EVA foam sheets (a pack of four, in the form of interlocking relief floor mats)
- heat gun
- hot glue gun (with LOTS of glue sticks, more than a bag)
- box cutter/extra blades
- masking tape
- Contact cement
- Plastidip spray (or a lot of Mod Podge or wood glue), and a respirator if you choose to use Plastidip
- cutting mat
- straight edge for measuring and cutting, preferably clear
- pencil, permanent markers
- medium grit sand paper
- one grass skirt
- one tiki torch, burner removed
- a piece of plastic canvas (to cover the eye window)
- several battery operated tea lights
- toile (netting) fabrics in orange and yellow, approximately 1 yard each
- acrylic paint (medium brown, dark brown, black) - NOTE: medium brown can either come in a can from a paint store, such as house paint (I used part of a 32oz. can of Rustoleum Ultra Cover in Kona Brown gloss), or in the small bottles from the paint section at the craft store, in which case you'd need 3-4 bottles. Dark brown and black, one bottle each.
- acrylic craft paints in facial colors of your choosing
- Old, stiff paint brushes that you can really mess up - one a couple of inches wide, one about 3/4 inch wide
- Tap light
- short flashlight
- rubber band
Step 2: EVA Foam
The EVA foam sheets are the kind used for flooring, usually available in packs of 4 or more, and available at hardware stores like Home Depot and most large retailers like Walmart. At those two stores it's about $20 for a 4-pack. I found a sale at Harbor Freight Tools, a 4-pack for $7.99 (usually $10) and then came across a larger 8-pack even cheaper at Costco for $10. This foam is easy to cut, easy to shape (with heat gun) and somewhat easy to sand. Plus it's relatively strong and won't flop all over the place.
You will notice almost immediately from the photos that the foam is cut into shapes and glued in layers to create depth/thickness. It's very quick and almost too easy to develop the shape you need with layers. The edges of the foam are easily rounded with sandpaper (it will make a mess, so plan accordingly and do this outdoors).
Step 3: Determining Your Face and Body Shape
To begin with, you'll take two of your foam mats and cut off the interlocking edges, about 1/8-1/4 of an inch in. Use your contact cement to glue the two sheets together along one edge. Decide how you want the top shaped, perhaps just slightly curved down at the sides of the top edge, sketch it directly onto the foam with a pencil and then with a marker once you get the shape right. Cut that section off with your box cutter. KEEP YOUR FINGERS OUT OF THE WAY (I learned that long ago, nearly cutting a finger to the bone).
With help, hold the foam in front of your body and determine where your face will be. Have your helper mark the spot with a circle or square, or whatever shape you want to use.
After you determine where you want your face, have your helper mark the sides where your shoulders are, and then mark the sides again about two inches below your armpits. Then mark once more where your hips are.
Cut out the shape you want for your face. Mark semi-circles where your arms go, then cut those out.
Decide on the shape you want for the bottom. The marks I made for my hips were the high points, the center a bit lower. Make sure you choose a shape that will allow easy ambulation, as you will need to be able to walk with the costume on. If you will be sitting (in a wheelchair, perhaps) instead of walking, cut the bottom to fit your needs.
Step 4: Facial Features
Before you start determining and cutting out facial features, take your plastic canvas outdoors and, using proper safety steps (respirator, or face mask at the very least, as you don't want rubber in your lungs!), spray both sides of it and let dry.
Use craft paper or paper shopping bags to draw patterns for facial features and lay them out on your base to see how you like them. When you like the features, use a pencil or permanent marker to mark the positions. You can copy the shapes I used (I copied some from AP3D's Instructable, but not all), or choose your own. Be sure to add in some layers (see my tiki's nose) for effect.
Cut out the various shapes needed (smooth side of the foam facing up), trim all facial features with scissors to round the visible edges (it doesn't have to be deep or perfect), and then smooth out the surface edges further with sandpaper (messy, so do this sanding outdoors). You can pin the loose pieces of foam in position as you go, so you'll know what's done and what's needed. You'll want a decorative strip that goes across the "forehead" and over the eye hole, with the same eye hole shape cut out at the corresponding spot.
Use your heat gun (at approximately 950° F) to close the foam cells, making it easier for sealers and paint to stick instead of soaking in. You'll notice as you run your heat gun back and forth over your foam that the surface will become slightly darker and shinier. This is the cells closing. Don't hold the heat in one spot for too long, or the foam will burn.
Now the fun part; glueing it all together. You will go through gobs of glue, so I recommend having a spare bag of glue sticks handy. I invested in a cordless/rechargeable glue gun that takes the mega sticks (0.44"); if you can find a bag of longer glue sticks, do it. You are probably already aware of how quick the glue sticks go and what an annoyance it can be to load up with yet another short stick. The cordless glue gun is particularly handy in that you can maneuver anywhere around your craft without trying to babysit a short cord. I found a bag of 20 long sticks at JoAnn's for $9.99, less with coupon.
First you'll cut your plastic canvas just larger than your eye hole and hot glue that on. Then glue the corresponding strip of foam on top of that so the foam is trapped between the two layers. Proceed to glue on the rest of your facial features where they belong, keeping the glue a bit away from the edges to avoid the glue squishing out the edges. You don't need the extra work of cutting that away. Use masking tape to hold your facial features in place until dry.
Step 5: "Wood Burning" Lines and Cracks
There are two ways you can do the lines/cracks in the "wood". You can use a wood burning tool, which is quick, but you have to be careful not to burn holes in your precious work so far... foam melts FAST. Or you can use the tip of your box cutter to carve your cracks. After you carve your cracks, point your heat gun at them until they separate. It's like magic! I decided to use a wood burning tool with a smooth, rounded tip. It makes fast work, and I avoid cutting myself. Do this is in a well ventilated area because FUMES.
Step 6: Base Coat and Paint
Coat the entire front surface in Plastidip (use proper safety precautions, as you did with the plastic canvas) and let dry. You can always use watered down wood glue or watered down Mod Podge instead, both of which smell better and are likely less dangerous to inhale. I used Plastidip because it's "sturdier".
Paint the entire front surface with your latex paint base coat (I used Kona Brown, mentioned in the supplies). Let it dry and then choose the colors of a craft paint that you want for your facial features. You may want to choose bright colors, pastel colors, or mix your own colors. Use an old brush as you will be dry brushing and really messing up your brush. Drybrush on your colors until you're satisfied with the way they look then let them dry.
Aging the "wood": Now make a very watered-down mix of a lighter brown color, beige-ish but dark enough to make the cracks stand out. Once again use an old brush to paint on your watered-down brown and wipe it off with an old rag - maybe an old torn up T-shirt - almost as soon as you put it on, going with the grain of the "wood". Be careful not to wipe too hard, or you may end up wiping some of your brighter colors off. Once again, let it dry.
I chose not to put a sealer coat on mine, but may do so later.
Step 7: Arm Holes (the Almost Forgotten Step...ack!)
Take another sheet of foam, interlocking edges cut off as you did with your initial sheets. Cut in half down the middle, then cut each of those two pieces into lengths that are about three inches longer than your arm holes on your main piece. Cut semi-circles to match the edges of your arm holes, but an inch or two deeper to accommodate a wide range of movement. Round the edges (the ones that won't be glued to the body). Poke holes in the outside edges. An empty/disassembled ballpoint pen works well for this. Just press the open round edge where you want your holes and twist back and forth until it pops through the other side and removes a "chad". I used the end of a screwdriver that has interchangeable bits.
Warm your pieces with the heat gun and bend into a curve the way you see in the photos. Hold the pieces in a curve until cool. They should stay curved. If they don't, try again until they do. You may not have warmed them enough the first time.
Finish your arm holes the same way you did the other pieces with Plastidip, base coat and finishing/aging coat.
Glue to sides of body at corresponding arm holes. Hot glue thinner craft foam squares to inside seams for reenforcement.
Step 8: Adding Light and Fire
Use your heat gun to warm your tiki god, then bend into a semi-circle running down the center. Hot glue a semi-circle of the foam just inside the top section leaving an inch or two at the top. Use masking tape to hold it in shape until dry.
Then take your tap light and draw a circle around it on top of the semi circle to mark where you want your tablet to sit. Now cut a 1 inch wide length of the thinner craft foam to make a circle the size of your tap light and glue it down to the circle you drew. When you're glue is dry set the tap light in and make sure it stays in firmly but does not get glued down because you want to have it be removable for when you need to change the batteries.
Cut your toile netting into slightly larger than 1 foot squares. Layer 2 colors together pinch it in the middle as shown in the photo, put some hot glue on the end and stick it in sections around your tap light. You can choose where you want them to go. I put six or seven sections just around the front of the template.
Remove the burner from your tiki torch. Cut some larger sections of the fabric wrap them around a very short and bright flashlight and put a rubber band around it to secure. Now drop your fabric covered flashlight into the top of the torch with the fabric sticking up like fire, making sure your flashlight is on.
Take your grass skirt and cut sections to fit just the top half of the armholes. Glue them in with your hot glue and then trim the grass to the length you want. I apologize for the lack of photos for this step, but you'll see how it looks in the finished photos.
Step 9: Turn on Your Lights and Wear Your Costume!
Just use some cord/ribbon/thin rope to tie the back of your costume shut, and you're good to go to the luau! Have fun! Win some costume contests! Let me know if you make this, and please share photos!
Also, if you're so inclined, please vote for this Intractable in the Remix contest!