Beacause I messed up badly few times by buying foam and didn’t know about the importance of DENSITY, I decided to make a tutorial/test for you.
It is supposed to show you what happens with your foam if you stress it in different ways and which foam is the best for your project.
I’m now using mostly the 45/kg/m3 craftfoam from poly-props.com and even it is not the most dense foam on the market, it is really durable and easy to work with, can withstand a lot of stress and it is (most importantly for us cosplayers) cheap. If you buy your foam in other shops, that I have no experience with, keep in mind to ask about density or at least have a sample to make your own test before buying a lot of it. Or you’ll end up with tons of sleeping mat quality or seemingly good foam with lower density, that will ruin your cosplay.
When I started cosplaying, I was watching tutorials to learn how to make epic armor and all the cosplayers were using „EVA foam“ everywhere. The main reasons why the authors of the tutorials chose EVA foam for their build was, that it is cheap and practical for cosplay.
So I started searching for this material and wasn’t really succesfull finding it. I know there are shops selling those EVA foam puzzles in USA and there are some similar products sold for example in Germany, but here in Czech Republic? NOTHING!
So I thought to myself – they are using foam and it kinda looks like a sleeping pads for camping (karimatka). I went to our local sports shop and bought two sleeping pads, that I tried to use for my build of Demon Hunter – look at the pictures – I really used it for the cosplay and I can’t believe it now 😀 The surface was so badly bulky, the inside structure was bubbly and it didn’t hold it’s shape, it couldn’t be primed and it teared when stressed. Even me as a beginner knew, that something wasn’t right…
So I’ve searched EVA all over the internet and found a sleeping mat from this material. And bought around 6 of them 😀 Oh my God, I shouldn’t have done that! Guys, don’t use sleeping mats for your projects! Sleeping mats should be comfortable and soft for sleeping, not sturdy and hard as we cosplayers need!
You cannot believe how soft the foam II bought is – it cannot be used for anything else than padding – it tears so much and doesn’t hold it’s shape…
Even the sleeping mat I bought IS FROM EVA FOAM, it’s main features are determined by it’s density! So if you have a sleeping mat, it is not so dense to be comfortable for people to sleep on. Even some manufacturers offering EVA foam as walking mats use much lower density than we cosplayers need! Be careful about that and always ask manufacturers or sellers about thedensity of the foam!
I prepared a small showcase of lower and higher density foam materials for you, just to show you how different density foam behaves and why you have to buy higher density foam for your build. For my comparison, I’m using foam from poly-props.com, because I’m really satisfied with their products and as I’ve tried several other foam products, this one is the one I’m most satisfied with.
1) BLUE EVA SLEEPING MAT – the lowest density (less than 30 kg/m3 I guess), 0,7 cm thick
– don’t use!
2) LOWER DENSITY EVA FOAM – (less than 40 kg/m3 I guess), 0,5 cm thick
– don’t use!
3) EVA CRAFT FOAM from Poly-props.com – (45 kg/m3), 0,5 cm thick
– used for most of my armor builds – in my opinion best quality/price ratio
4) EVA CF65 FOAM from Poly-props.com – (65kg/m3), 0,5 cm thick
– used for the builds, that need to be much sturdier
5) EVA CF100 FOAM from Poly-props.com – (100kg/m3)
– used by proffesional prop makers for guns and other sturdy props
First, let’s come to PRESSURE TEST
a.k.a. how does the foam withstand other stuff pushing onto it? It is really painful to have your armor pressed in the suitcase and damaged as hell after you take it out. Or what happened to me was, that I accidentally went over my armor with my heavy gaming chair and made creases in it. One way to avoid that is to use higher density foam fo your cosplay, just take a look:
Second in line is the ABRASION TEST
a.k.a. how does the foam withstands contact with other stuff? I actually had to remake my knee armor for my Auriel cosplay, because it was soooo worn out from touching each other (the knee armor touches with my every step), that there were no edges left, just a reminiscent dull rest of the original sharp pointy shape. One way to never let this happen again is to use higher density foam fo your cosplay, just take a look:
Third in line is the TENSION TEST
a.k.a. how does the foam withstand pulling or tearing motion, does it stay in one piece? almost all the time, you need your armor to withstand stress for the cosplayer to rely on it, not to tear on the first day of wearing, not to change it’s shape a lot and destroy the paintjob. One way to make sure your armor is sturdy and heavy-duty is to use higher density foam fo your cosplay, just take a look:
I hope this will help you on your future projects and if yes, you can follow my work on cosplay (and other stuff) on my FACEBOOK PAGE.
and if you like this stuff I do, you can support my work by donating on my
Published: 29.06.17 0:18, Pacific Standard Time