I wanted to make another thing out of EVA foam. I decided to make an axe based on the skyrim iron axe.
Step 1: Tool List
- A Printer - To print off the pattern you want to create.
- EVA Foam - This is just the floormats
- Craft Knives and Cutting Mat - Both the retractable boxcutter kind and something more like a scalpel for precision. Extra blades and a way to sharpen blades are useful.
- Pens, Paper, Tape and Scissors - For marking out your patterns onto other materials, paper for making the patterns out of, tape to put keep your patterns together and scissors to cut out your patterns.
- Pins - Useful for holding your patterns in place while you mark them out on the foam.
- Sandpaper - Great for smoothing and shaping the foam, can be a little tricky since the foam is flexible.
- Contact Cement/Adhesive - This is for gluing the foam together. Contact glues are applied to two surfaces, left to dry then pressed together to form a bond.
- Bamboo - For strengthening the foam, similar materials could be used.
- Heat Gun - For sealing the foam, making painting easier. If you don't have one don't worry too much.
- Paint, Paintbrushes and Sponges - For painting the foam and applying paints. I used all acrylic paints. I used an airbrush for certain parts but having an airbrush setup is not necessary.
Step 2: Making the Pattern
I found a pretty decent picture online of the axe I wanted to make.
From that I created a pattern at full scale on A2 paper at 200ppi while thinking about the different layers the axe will be made up of.
My mistake was creating extra patterns for identical layers, this is not needed as patterns are reusable.
Step 3: The Pattern at A4 200ppi
Here is the pattern in A4 sheets at full scale. The ones I printed out where the ones that I made a mistake with so dont worry about any differences you see.
I used cyan, magenta and yellow because they are the primary pigments in a printer, so this way I can see the differences on screen of the shapes and layers without the printer needing to mix and inks.
The cyan axe shape is the core form, so eveything would glue onto that from each side of it.
The magenta is the next layer up which glues to both sides of the cyan foam form. This layer is the axe head and handle wrap.
The yellow is the final layer and is just for small details on the axe head.
Step 4: Printing, Assembling and Cutting Out the Patterns
When I printed my patterns I forgot to tell the printer to print the full sheet without any margin stuff, because of this I had to stick them together with a slight gap so they lined up correctly.
Here you can see how the different layers should work.
Step 5: Using the Patterns on EVA Foam
I went wrong again, but don't worry, these things happen. For the parts I needed multiple shapes of, because the axe has two sides, I needed to mirror them, which I forgot to do when drawing out the shapes onto my foam.
So I went back over the patterns with them flipped over to get the reverse shapes, then tried to mask the lines that where wrong with a little grey paint so I don't confuse myself when cutting out the shapes.
Step 6: Smothing the Underside of the EVA
Most EVA foam mats have a textured side, which is both good and bad. Good because if I ever wanted to use that texture it would be easy. Its pretty bad for sticking two sides together however because the texture isn't flat enough to form a good enough bond.
So I sanded off all the peaks in the texture so I would use less glue and it would be a much closer bond.
Step 7: Cutting Everything Out and an Adjustment
After cutting everything out and layering them together I wasn't happy with the overall thickness of the axe. so I decided to make another middle to the axe.
This way I could also sandwich something between them for strength. As apposed to my original plan which was to cut a slit into the single core layer and add some craft wire.
I didn't have a piece of foam big enough so instead I cut it into two parts where the handle would be glued over.
I also beveled the small detail parts for both practice and to see if it would look the way I hoped.
Step 8: Glueing and Strengthening the Foam
Since I wanted to change the middle from a single piece of foam to two to add thickness, it means I could sandwich a cut to length piece of bamboo.
I sanded the bamboo first before adding contact adhesive to both pieces of foam and the bamboo, then left to dry for about ten minutes before pressing together to create a solid bond. When pressing these pieces together its best to do it off the work surface as I wanted a slight curve on both sides caused by the thickness of the bamboo.
Step 9: All the Shaped Pieces Glued Together
After pressing all the parts together firmly I left the parts overnight.
Step 10: Beveling
I marked out lines along the axe head to guide the angled cuts along the edges.
Using the knife back and forth to make the cut segmented, this will be brought out when painting.
Step 11: Sanding
Most of the sanding was for the handle as its the only part that should look more organic and less angular. I beveled the handle and grip just to save on sanding time, then sanded to give it an oval like cylindrical form.
Step 12: Heat Sealing the Foam
After cutting and sanding its best to seal the foam, I mostly do this to save on paint as it closes any open cells in the foam which would otherwise collect paint.
Step 13: Base Coating
I painted all the metallic and shaded parts with black first and left to dry. I wasn't sure if I wanted the base to be straight from a dark brown so I left it for now as I wanted to try something out first.
Step 14: Wood-Effect Tests
I wanted to see if I could add a little depth to the wood so I made these small test pieces to try something out.
First of all I scored into the foam in lines similar to wood grain.
I then used a heat gun on the foam to melt the surface and create a thin skin layer on the foam. This is what I did before painting only here im doing it to because that skin layer is tighter then the foam underneath it. That means that any cuts into the foam get opened up. As you can see in these two pictures.
I also noticed that the depth of the cut makes a big difference and that the amount of heat applied does not. Hence the burn marks.
Step 15: Wood-Effects and Battle Damage
After applying the wood effect to the handle I thought I could also make scratch marks and damage using the same technique. For the larger cuts I simply took out wedges of foam with the craft knife.
Step 16: Painting
I started to use a small brush to fill in all the scratch marks and grain lines, however I found it easier to just base colour the entire handle black with a larger brush.
Once the whole axe was base coated black I mixed some dark brown and used a sponge to apply it to the handle.
Then in layers adding lighter and lighter shades ontop before using a brush to add highlights.
For the metal head of the axe I simply used a sponge again only I stippled the silver acrylic unlike the wood that I almost brushed with using the sponge.
Step 17: Highlights and Shades
I added a few browns to the hand wrap after I was finished with the wood. After that I highlighted with a brush using white, yellow and light redish-browns before brushing the paint mostly off with a dry sponge. Then blending the ends of each stroke by scrubbing the dry sponge over it. I also did this for the wood highlights after.
The brush was also used to add more black, that I watered down, into the grooves of the wood grain. Then using a dry sponge over it to tidy up the line.
Again using a brush I used the metallic paint to pick up the peaks and edges on the axe head.
Step 18: Finished!
To finish up I used my airbrush to add darker points to all the parts that would collect dirt and grime. Then I added a red tint to the wood and leather hand wrap, which I then darkened and diluted to give a light tint to certain parts of the axe head to give a little warmth and a slight feel of rustiness.