This is an introduction to EVA foam, my favorite material when it comes to cosplay. The reason it is so popular among the cosplay community is because it so versatile. Within this article, I will explain to you what EVA foam is, what it looks like and what it can do.
What EVA Foam Is
EVA foam is a lightweight material that has many uses and comes in various forms. EVA stands for Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate.
In the crafting and cosplay community is most commonly found in the form of puzzle style floor mats that interlock with one another. It can also be found in rolls and sheets. There are many different forms of it available, depending on where you are, and what your stores have to offer.
These are not only used in crafting, they have many every day uses. For this article, however, I will be talking more about the creative side of EVA foam, and what you can do with it, if you throw in a little imagination.
Why EVA Foam Works Well for Cosplay and Crafting
When you look at people walking around at something like Comic Con with their beautiful and colourful costumes, you might wonder, “Where do I use this EVA foam you speak of? I don’t see it”.
That’s because it looks unrecognizable when it’s done. You can take the foam and turn it into the most breathtaking pieces of realistic-looking armor. Yes, you heard correctly, ARMOR.
EVA foam is easy to manipulate and form into armor pieces. Afterwards, it is extremely easy to paint it, with all kinds of techniques to make it look like real metal. It is incredibly light though and is very comfortable to wear.
Armor is not the only thing you can make with foam. Any weapon you can think of, wether it’s a replica from a game or movie, or just a normal weapon, you can make out of EVA foam. Within the next articles on my website, I will show you all of these wonderful things, if you stay tuned.
How to Use EVA Foam for Crafting and Cosplay
Here are a few steps you can expect to find when you’re building costumes and props:
- Usually you start with an idea. You need to know what you want to make, before you jump in and start building.
- Next, you need to either get a template online, or design your own. Every piece of armor or weapon you’ll be making, needs some form of planning before you make it. It is a good idea to build the template out of paper first, to see if it will be the right size. Once you start cutting EVA foam, there is no reset button.
- Once you have your templates all set, you will want to draw them out on the sheets of foam. Be careful to not make too many mistakes, otherwise the armor might not fit, or the weapon will be a little mishapen.
- Now you need to cut out your pieces one by one using a sharp cutting tool like an exacto knife. There is a lot of technique that goes into this, but you’ll learn that as we go more in depth.
- After cutting out the pieces that you need, some of them require you to form them. Foam is very bendable when you apply heat, and keeps its form when cooled down. Any parts that are rounded or bended can be heated up with a heat gun and manipulated to the desired form.
- From here you need to start assembling pieces. Depending on what kind of costume you’re making, you will either have to glue pieces together, or attach pieces together with straps. It will make logical sense when you actually work with it.
- When everything is assembled the way it should be, it is time to treat the foam. There are many different ways of doing this (I will create a whole post just for that later). This is a neccesary step if you plan on wearing or using the items that you create to make them durable.
- After the foam is treated, all that’s left is the paint job to make it look real.
The steps will vary from project to project, of course, but this is just an estimate of the process that you can expect when crafting anything from EVA foam.
A Small Look Into the Tools Needed to Work with EVA Foam
As with every crafting project that you’ll ever do, you will need some specialised tools. I am not going to go into broad terms about tools just yet, but this might give you an idea of what to expect.
When making, drawing and transferring templates to foam, the most important things you’ll need are:
- A set of good markers
- A flat ruler
- A lot of paper
- Some sewing pins (optional)
When cutting foam pieces, you’ll need:
- An exacto knife with many replacement blades
- A steel ruler
When forming foam pieces, you’ll need:
- A heat gun
When glueing pieces together, you have a few options of glue:
- Contact adhesive
- Hot glue gun
- Super glue varients
There are many different types of treatments, paints and spraypaints that you could use, but those will really depend on the project that you’re busy with.
Where to Find EVA Foam
EVA foam can be found in various places, depending on where you live. If you have any crafting shops near you, those will be your best bet. Some home decoration stores might also keep a supply seeing as it is sometimes used as floor mats. I would suggest doing some research in your area to find out where you could get your hands on it.
If you don’t have any stores in your area, or you can’t find what you’re looking for, the internet can help! Browse through the options below and pick which product would suit your needs. Remember, you need to create an Amazon account to buy from them, if you don’t have one already.
If you need any other type of EVA foam that I did not list here, feel free to look around Amazon and see what amazing things you could find there.
Get Started With Your EVA Foam Projects
Although there is nothing specific you can learn to make from this article, I hope I gave you a little insight into what it means to work with EVA foam for crafting and cosplay. You should check out the rest of my website for tutorials about other materials and a bunch of projects that I will be working on as time goes by. Get inspired, and get working!
If you have any questions about anything in this article, any suggestions of future posts or if you just want to talk, feel free to leave a comment, or send me an email, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you!