An armor is a cosplay staple for representing many different characters, from elves to superheroes, but it can be tricky to find a suitable one. Once you've chosen a character and overall style, you just have to find the right materials and carefully sculpt them to get the perfect look.
Part 1 of 3: Create the layout
Step 1. Choose the general design you want
Look up images of the character on the internet and think about the pieces of armor you will need. Start drawing the basic look on scratch paper.
- For basic armor, you should have at least one chest piece and some shoulder or arm pieces. You can also add leg armor and a helmet.
- You can copy or be inspired by a specific style, or even other cosplayers, if you want. To get started, do an image search on Google or look at sites like Pinterest.
Step 2. Glue cardboard to your body
Now you will transfer the design to a larger sheet of paper, which will serve as an eraser and measuring tool for the final product. To do this, first glue stiff construction paper around the chest, arms, and legs. You may have to fold it around your body or make large "tubes" to get full coverage.
The actual armor will be made of craft foam, but you will use this cardstock eraser to make sure it is the correct size
Step 3. Draw the shape of each piece of armor on the poster board
Use a pencil or pen to draw the design on the paper. It doesn't have to be perfect; you're just looking to get a suitable size for the main armor pieces. Don't add any embellishments yet, just get the general shape of the pieces.
- You can save time by using the same layout for identical pieces, such as arm or leg segments.
- You can also use a mannequin or measure armor on a friend.
Step 4. Cut the cardstock into the shape of the armor pieces
Remove the armor from the body and carefully trim it with scissors. Make sure each piece is separate from the others and cut exactly the way you want the armor.
Step 5. Trace the armor onto the craft foam and cut it out
Lay a thick piece of cardboard on the cutting surface to protect it, and then place the cut-out pieces of cardboard on top of the foam. Trace around them with a pen or pencil, labeling them if necessary, to help you assemble them later. Next, use a sharp blade or a precision knife to cut out the pieces one by one. Cut slowly and make sure the edges are clean and smooth.
You can find craft foam online or at craft stores.
Part 2 of 3: Shaping and Assembling the Armor
Step 1. Glue the pieces to be joined together
In some costumes, you will have to cut the pieces separately and then put them together to achieve a certain look. If this is the case with this cosplay costume, start joining these pieces now, with liquid glue. Use a thick, even layer, and then press the pieces together for a minute. Let them dry for 5 minutes before moving on.
You can use hot glue if you want, but the liquid white school glue should be strong enough to hold the pieces together
Step 2. Draw the designs you want with a pen or pencil
If you know that later on you want to add some design or decoration to the armor, the easiest thing is to draw it now, before you start shaping the armor. Use a pencil or pen, and draw lightly so you don't dent the foam.
Look at your design and photos of the cosplay character for ideas on what designs to add. Later you will add more color or shine; for now you just have to sketch where you want the designs to go
Step 3. Heat the craft foam armor with a heat gun or iron
To shape the armor so that it conforms to the body, you will first need to heat it with a heat gun, a flameless gas stove, or an iron. Keep the foam over the heat for a few seconds. You can use oven mitts to protect your hands, but you shouldn't heat the foam so much that it hurts to hold.
- The easiest way to heat foam is with a heat gun, which you can find in the stamp section of craft stores. However, you can also use other options, such as a gas stove or an iron on an ironing board.
- Do not use a stove with a flame, as it could cause the foam to catch fire.
practice heating up the foam with a few ripped pieces first. See how long you have to heat it to make it pliable and soft, but without bubbling or melting.
Step 4. Shape the armor while it is hot
When the foam softens, remove it from the heat and begin to fold or shape it as you like. You can mold it onto an object, such as a rolling pin, a box, or even the body. You can also bend it with your fingers. The foam will cool quickly and retain its new shape once the heat is gone.
- If you don't shape it correctly the first time, return the foam to the heat source and try again.
- Try on the armor once it has cooled down and make any adjustments you need.
Step 5. Reinforce the armor with a fabric reinforcement
If you want the armor to be more stable and durable, you can add an additional layer of fabric reinforcement. Spread out a piece large enough to cover the back of the armor, and then paint the armor with an even layer of liquid glue. Lay the fabric on top and smooth it out there. Then let it dry and cut off the excess with a pair of scissors.
- Once it has dried, apply another layer of glue on top to seal it. If you want the armor to be even stronger, add a second layer of fabric reinforcement. If not, just let the glue dry.
- Use a fabric like crinkle cotton gauze, which is light and easy to work with.
Part 3 of 3: Add additional items
Step 1. Add engravings with a ballpoint pen
Now that the armor is assembled, it's time to decorate it! Engravings are easy to do, and they can give you a sense of depth and realism. To add them, simply press on the foam with a pen, depending on the design you want.
Don't worry about smearing the ink foam. You will soon paint over it
Step 2. Seal the craft foam with a mixture of glue and water
Mix 1 part liquid glue, 1 part fabric glue, and 2 parts water. Use a brush to apply the mixture to the foam, in thin, even coats, allowing it to dry between coats. Keep adding layers until you get a smooth finish without air holes.
- You may need up to 7-8 coats to get a smooth, even look.
- Sealing the armor will protect it, and help any paint and extra trim to stay in place.
Step 3. Use acrylic paints to give the armor some color
All cosplay armor needs a coat of paint, even if it is a simple silver or gray color. Once you've sealed the foam, use a paintbrush to apply acrylic paint to the back of the armor. Apply 2-3 thin coats, letting them dry in between, then flip to the front and repeat.
It is important to paint both the front and the back so that those looking at the armor from behind will see the same color as the front
Step 4. Add jewelry, glitter, or inflatable paint for more texture
Let yourself be carried away by imagination and creativity! Start adding extra items, like plastic jewelry, glitter, or inflatable paint ornaments. Look at other cosplayers' costumes and character images for ideas. Get creative and decorate the armor to make it unique.
To give the armor a worn look, apply a thin coat of black or dark green paint, rubbing it into all the cracks. The original color should still show, but it will look rougher and more realistic
If you want to add raised designs that blend into the armor, add them before sealing and painting. Then when you paint over them, they will appear to emerge naturally from the armor.