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Tutorial - Reeinforcing cosplay craft foam armor. by ElementalxGaze Tutorial - Reeinforcing cosplay craft foam armor. by ElementalxGaze
Hmm I was going to change the BG color but forgot too. Oh well! :P deal with it haha. But at the behest of a friend I decided to make a tutorial on how I've been making my armor pieces. Most tutorials on making armor out of craft foam for cosplays involve using thermoplastics such as Wonderflex, Worbla, or Styrene sheets. This is my own personal way that I created myself (tho I'm sure others have done this but I've never seen a tutorial on it anywhere) because I'm pretty cheap and I like to try new things! :)
1 big piece of Wonderflex is about $50, same with Worbla. Styrene is a bit cheaper but after the S&H is still more expensive. The one piece of Wonderflex is only good for making a bunch of small pieces of armor or one big piece. My $50 piece of wonderflex was big enough to only do the body armor and a few other small pieces. This method will cost you about $25 or a bit more. You'll need Fiberglass Resin, Fiberglass cloth, and Bondo. You can also get cheap $1 brushes and stir sticks. And it can ALL be obtained at Wal-mart. And you will have enough left over after creating almost everything you are making for a full set of armor. The only thing you might need more of is fiberglass cloth but that's only like $5. Even IF you needed to rebuy all the stuff that would be around $50 which is the same as that one piece of Wonderflex.
So yea this method is a cheaper route. It may require a bit more work but all in all it's quite rewarding actually. The pieces are very durable. After all Fiberglass resin & cloth is used to repair things like cars, boats, gas tanks, etc. Just be sure to wear gloves at ALL times when handling it. The only way to get the stuff off is with acetone. otherwise you're going to be annoyed with sticky hands the rest of the day. You can try soap and water and hand lotion etc. But it won't work lol trust me.
HEALTH NOTICE - Work in a well ventilated area because the fumes from the resin are very strong. Also as well work when it's nice outside. Fiberglass resin works based on heat! And by this I mean when you mix the resin and hardener it will chemically react and heat itself up. So while you are working it's already starting to cure itself.
On a nice day you'll have about 5-10 minutes to work with it before if starts to become jelly like which is when you should stop working with it. If it's a really hot day you will have less time. Because of the heat from the air it will hasten the curing process. And if it's really cold out, just forget about trying because it will take up to a day or two for it to fully cure. Unless you bring it into a place where there is room temperature. But keeping it in your house is a no no cuz those fumes will be a health hazard to you and others. DO NOT use a hair dryer or heat gun to speed up the process. That does not work, even tho people claim it does it will actually make the resin more runny and not cure properly. Especially if you have fiberglass cloth on it, it will loosen it up and droop everywhere. The only method to help 'hasten' the cure process on a cold day is to find a small area and plug in a heater and put your pieces down next to it.

All in all I hope this tutorial and body of information helps those people into making cosplay armor or gives them ideas of their own to work with! :)
Anacuey Featured By Owner May 27, 2014  Professional Artist
When you say bondo, you mean more resin? (I'm new] in this)
ElementalxGaze Featured By Owner May 27, 2014
There's 2 kinds of Bondo. One is a fiberglass resin which comes in a tall thin rectangular retainer.  The other is a paste which is in a can kind of like a paint can. Steps 1-6 are with the fiberglass resin + cloth. Step 7-8 are with the paste bondo which is optional if you need it. Think of it like cake icing :) You'll mix the two pastes together and then it's used mainly as a spread over a surface to fill in gaps/bumps/dips to make the surface more smooth and flat. It's the same as the resin but will actually cure much faster. After it's cured you can sand it down and smooth it out even more :3 
OtakuandWords Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Student General Artist
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Submitted on
December 24, 2012
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