Materials for Cosplay Armor and Props

Hello all!

I was going to post about something else today, but decided to change my post after looking through our previous posts. I realized that we talked a lot about how we made our cosplays, but didn’t include the brands of the products we used. I’ll go through the specific materials we used, where we found them and how much we paid. We used these products to make my Shyvana helmet, Cute Sauce’s Riven armor, and Ninja Bunnies Katarina swords.

Foam Board:

Foams boards are often over priced at art stores such as Curry’s (Ontario) and Omer Deserres (Montreal). They can range from $4.99 to $9.99. We were lucky enough to find them at the Dollarama sells them for $1.25. The dimensions are 30” x 20” and 1/4” thickness, you can compare the dimensions and prices with other stores. The quality difference is noticeable, but after the spray foam and fast mache, the quality of foam the board doesn’t matter. Foam board is what I used to make the horns of my helmet, one layer was good enough for me.

Spray Foam:

Cute Sauce saw other cosplay forums using spray foam, so we tried it ourselves. We used Great Stuff, a gap filler spray foam. We’ve tried the Gaps & Cracks as well as the Big Gap Filler. Surprisingly I found the Big Gap Filler to have less holes in the filling and easier to carve. With a sharp exacto knife, cutting foam is like sculpting butter. I highly recommend using this for cosplay props or armor. Its light, easy to use and cheap. We found it on sale for $8.99 at Home Depot, but without the sale it might be around $10.99. Though this stuff is easy to use and great for cosplay, use it in a ventilated area like a basement or garage. I know most products say don’t get it on your hands! Super glue, I ignore that rule but this stuff please do not get on your hands! It took me three days to fully get it off, and it sticks like crazy. Use the spray foam as much as possible  for details so that you use less fast mache. This will allow you to save your mache and in the end your prop will be lighter.

Regular Paper Mache:

For those who do not know, regular paper mache just needs flour, glue and water! Its pretty much like making a watered version of dough, but for your arts and crafts. Just use torn scraps of paper, most people use newspaper.

Fast Mache:

We use this brand and have only used this one. You can try other brands, but since this one has been working for us, we will continue to use it. It’s $13.99 at Micheals (Ontario). It can be difficult to apply on to foam, so sometimes I used regular mache before using Fast Mache. This is also beneficial because you save Fast Mache by covering the holes with regular mache. I also highly recommend Fast Mache because it is light compared to some other products such as bondo. It’s easy to sand, and sculpt after drying. It dries pretty hard if you wait a couple of days, so its best to sand right after a day of drying. It looks like a small box, but with one box I was able to do my helmet and my arm pieces. To learn more about fast mache click here.

References:

To see how I made my helmet with these products click here

To see how Cute Sauce make her armor with these products click here

To see how Ninja Bunnies make her swords with these products click here

Shyvana Update:

As for my Shyvana cosplay, I’m sorry I wasn’t able to update you this post! I started the armor, but its not done enough to show you =). I got my contacts I’ll show a picture of me wearing them next post with my armor pieces done!

Stay Tuned!

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11 thoughts on “Materials for Cosplay Armor and Props

  1. tem algum outra coisa que substitua o foam ?
    Aqui na minha cidade nao tem esse tipo de material, sempre peço de fora e demora pra chegar e sempre falta.

  2. About the Big Gap filler: If you live near a border to America I would suggest hopping the border when you go to buy spray foam, they sell it at the Home Depot in Massena NY for $4.96/can. Just thought I’d let you know.

  3. This is an amazingly informative update. Thank you so much for this, because I have friends who are cosplayers and I’m wanting to get involved with the whole concept, but I never knew what materials I should start with or where to look. Now I think I’ve got a significant shopping list. I’m typically more into steampunk cosplay, but I love anime and game styles too. It’s a bit difficult finding characters I can cosplay as though. Do you think that this stuff would work to make like weaponry for a steampunk character? – or would I have to add more items to my shopping list?

    I’m looking to make a decent sized cannon for my character, so I don’t want it to be massively heavy, but I want it to look as realistic as possible at the same time. With all that resin and paper mach’e I’m worried it’ll weigh it down and be too cumbersome. Let me know if you guys have any advice, because from a guys perspective, you ladies are really making it simple to understand the sometimes complicated world of cosplay. I totally respect you for that and look forward to seeing your finished works.

    • Thanks so much! That’s the thing, there is stuff like plexiglass, and Wonderflex, but we used everyday stuff that I think most people feel more comfortable working with. Its easy to find, and inexpensive. it might not be as professional as other cosplayers, but at least its simple and easy to relate to!

      As for steam punk, unfortunately I’m not that familiar with that type of costume, but I would think it should work fine! I mean I assume the only difference between Steampunk and cosplay is the finishing look with paint. If you use the steps we use and then find a steam punk paint tutorial I’m sure it will end up fine!

      The cannon, I would say build the initial shape with foam board or something light similar to the shape (maybe those big water jugs?). The mache does weigh stuff down if a lot is used, so I would say the trick is to make sure the initial shape is as close as possible to the final shape. That way when you use the mache for finishing touches, there won’t be that much left to add and therefore will be lighter in the end.

      An example of this:

      http://glamorousgamergirls.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/shyvana-cosplay-part-2/

      When I do the dragon eye on the top arm piece… It’s a small detail, but I used spray foam for the detail to minimize the use of the fast mache. This way its lighter at the end.

      Hope that helps!

      • … I didn’t think about using an empty water jug as a base, but that’s a wonderful idea! Steampunk is essentially Victorian Era elements if they were superimposed with sci-fi technology within that time frame [ or at least that's the version of steampunk I'm a fan of ] – so building my cannon should be an awesome experience now.

        Good thing too, because I work at a hardware store currently, half of the things on your list I can get there! :D These tips are fantastic Coco. Thanks a million and when I finally get around to designing the cosplay I’ll keep you posted on the updates.

      • Wow great post! so much good info in it – I’ve made many trips to Michaels for parts & materials too :P I’ve just put a post on using the heat-moldable fun foam from there, and some other steampunk stuff. It’s more of a ‘alternate-history’ cosplay if that makes sense.

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