The Holiday Season is upon us! Giving is EVERYWHERE and the modern cosplayer (be they new or veteran) is out seeking only the BEST deals for their supplies aka plunder. So just WHERE do those of us who revel in building foam armor, props and accessories shop? Allow me to enlighten you and offer a warning: there is no going back from this knowledge. You will forever want to shop for supplies from the following locations…if you’re still reading then you accept the shopping risk so let’s sally forth!
Foam crafting (or “Foam Smithing” as the folks at Punished Props like to call it) is the art of creating armor, props, accessories and just about ANYTHING crafty out of, you guessed it, FOAM! There are different types of foam (closed cell, open cell, insulation, spray, etc.) and each has their own uses. Here is a list of some of the BEST places to buy foam from on a budget…
- Cosplay Supplies: They specialize in Craft Foam (closed cell foam) and sell small sheets at a discount (9″ x 12″).
- TNT Cosplay Supply: They sell EVA foam (a dense foam meant for high impact) that comes in large rolls of either white or black with varying thicknesses.
- Your Local Hardware Store: Typically you can find EVA Foam (commonly referred to as “anti-fatigue mats”) in rolls or puzzle squares. You can also acquire spray foam (great for adding volume to a large prop) and/or Insulation foam (good for rigid projects) from these stores as well.
FOAM CRAFTING TOOLS
Now that you have your foam you’ll need tools to cut it with. You will also need safety equipment AND adhesive. Here’s a little guide to help get you started…
- Safety Glasses
- Respirator (NOT a Face Mask, a REAL respirator…please save your lungs and brain)
- Mechanic’s Gloves (they handle high temperature and are easy to wash)
Foam Cutting/Smithing Tools
- A Heat Gun (for molding your foam)
- Cutting Shears and/or Utility Blades
- Exacto Blade
- A Cutting Mat
- A Ruler and/or Straight Edge
- Contact Cement
- Hot Glue
- Wood Glue
Ok…you have the materials, the tools and the safety gear so what now? NOW you get to craft…it’s just…you don’t know how, do you? Well, here are a few places to visit to help you get started…
- Punished Props: Known for his foam crafting expertise, Bill Doran of Punished Props is a cosplay mastermind with incredible tutorials and books to help you get started as a “foam smith”.
- The Evil Ted Channel: Are you ready to get EVIL? Ted Smith, founder of The Evil Ted Channel, is incredibly skilled with foam and has a plethora of videos covering the topic.
- Cosplay Tutorial: From props to armor to accessories to molds, this is the place where you will find EVERYTHING YOU DREAMED OF and MORE for cosplay foam crafting.
Now you have the knowledge. Now you have THE POWER to become the BEST Foam Smith. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and explore all there is to know about cosplay foam crafting. Have a question? Please submit it in the comments below; we would be happy to help you!
Fan Girl On!