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03 Dec 2012 - 14:0994644
Armour making tips please?
On my last project, I was trying out some armour techniques and it didn't go plan really. In parts it stayed like foam and on piece actually tore. Also my heavy duty velco appeared to tear some of the foam.

I think I know what went wrong in some ways:
  • The foam was proably not hot enough when I was trying to mould it.
  • When I was reading the foam with PVA I only coated the side that was being painted.
  • I probably rushed it and didn't apply enough coats of PVA
  • I may have used the wrong varnish for the paint (it was all I could get.


Can anyone offer any tips for improving things? What's the best way to heat it without burning my hands? I want to know for a big project I'm planning for Ayacon.


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03 Dec 2012 - 14:5894645
Do you have any pictures of the pieces that didn't work to get an idea of what's up with the shaping? I can think of many ways to interpret what you've described there.

As for the velcro did you attach it to the foam with contact adhesive? If you did and that still tore away consider going with the rings and velcro/poppers method. Glue a D-ring to one piece and a velcro/poppered strap to the other that loops through the ring and sticks back on itself. This way when you pull it apart the pressure is on the strap, not the foam, which avoids tearing.

If you're unable to touch hot foam try gloves (gardening gloves are perfect)/a tea towel/scraps of foam to handle it with.

Best options for construction will change depending on exactly what you're making and where/how it's worn, so any extra info you can give will help


03 Dec 2012 - 15:2194646
Personally I find coating just the side I'm painting works fine, but I use a few coats of PVA-water mix - it takes a lot longer but lets the first layers seep into the foam a little. I usually get lazy with the later layers and use almost pure PVA, which tends to wrinkle more.

How're you heating it? If it's a heat gun, just plop it on a non-burnable floor to heat it then pick it up with oven mitts or similar. However, be careful of gloves with raised patterns - I didn't notice the pattern on my gloves and put a nice load of wiggly lines in the perspex I was forming >_<


03 Dec 2012 - 16:2994649
Quote Amy-Lou:
Do you have any pictures of the pieces that didn't work to get an idea of what's up with the shaping? I can think of many ways to interpret what you've described there.

As for the velcro did you attach it to the foam with contact adhesive? If you did and that still tore away consider going with the rings and velcro/poppers method. Glue a D-ring to one piece and a velcro/poppered strap to the other that loops through the ring and sticks back on itself. This way when you pull it apart the pressure is on the strap, not the foam, which avoids tearing.

If you're unable to touch hot foam try gloves (gardening gloves are perfect)/a tea towel/scraps of foam to handle it with.

Best options for construction will change depending on exactly what you're making and where/how it's worn, so any extra info you can give will help


What I meant was it stayed soft in places. Also the paint cracked towards the end of the day as well. I did use that kind on adhesive (I think it was anyway. Bostick all purpose?).

This time I'm trying to make a full suit of armour. It's for this: http://www.cosplayisland.co.uk/costume/view/54263 (I know the pics not that great).


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03 Dec 2012 - 19:2894651
What kind of foam were you using? Foam doesn't generally get rigid unless you back it with something. If it was the PVA that made it rigid that will be why it cracks because there's no flex to it.You're also better to use either black foam or a foam that is the closest colour to the final painted colour as where it rubs, cracks etc it won't be as noticeable.

Did you water down your PVA? You should probably put a lot of coats of watered down PVA rather than a few coats of pure PVA. Your problem could also be the varnish as this will set hard and rigid so if the foam flexes it will crack.

This is contact adhesive. It's glue that makes an instant bond when you press the two pieces together.


03 Dec 2012 - 20:5694656
The PVA was watered down. I it was a ratio of about 3:1 water to glue. I was using camping mat. And it was green. I think it may just have been not enough layers of glue. So should I back the armour with something next time? Also does the water in the glue evaporate over time? I kow it may sound like a stupid question but applying the glue did take about two weeks.

The link appears to be broken.


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Last edited by Ice-climber (03 Dec 2012 - 20:58)
03 Dec 2012 - 21:2394657
Sorry, stupid google images, this is contact adhesive.

Did the camping mats have a sort of plastic-y feeling to them as I bought some mega cheap camping mats off ebay and they had a real problem with cracking as I think it was foam sandwiched between plastic.

You may want to try plastazote it's a bit more expensive but it's definitely good foam, also if you are going to order from that place phone in your order as they may give you a better deal on postage costs and the foam in general. I believe TheKillingDoll on his Priss Asagiri cosplay used Loxley PVA after some experimenting as he found it was the best one that didn't crack etc.


03 Dec 2012 - 22:0794660
I'm really not sure how they feel. Maybe they do have that layer on them. I stocked up on it all from The 99p Store in January.

If I use Plastazote, what would be a good thickness to use?


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Last edited by Ice-climber (03 Dec 2012 - 22:26)
03 Dec 2012 - 23:2294663
I find 6mm is reasonably sturdy and reasonably priced. I've not done much with it but from what I read that's generally what people use.


03 Dec 2012 - 23:5194664
As Kata-san has mentioned, I used 6mm black platazote for most of Priss with 3mm EVA foam for certain sections. There are details in the journal section about constrcution and I also added an article here outlining how to shape plastazote using a home made vacformer.

As for the glue, I use Loxley PVA, and I paint it neat directly on to the plastazote. It has to be in thin layers with enough time to dry between each one, and about 5 layers minimum. I have never had a problem with cracking unless it's bend a lot.


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04 Dec 2012 - 18:2694691
I'm now wondering how much I'm going to need to make this costume.

Just wondering as possible alternative, have any of you guys used this stuff: http://www.coscraft.co.uk/plastics-and-foam/380-worbla-s-finest-art-a4-size.html

Any ideas how far a piece could go? There are bigger sheets available than the one I linked to.


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