Costume Musings

Drow Elf Armor Tutorial with Worbla and L200 Foam

Tutorial by Sayakat Cosplay

Photo credits:
Professional photos by @S1_price_lightworks on instagram,
www.facebook.com/s1pricelightworks
Non-professional progress and costume pictures by myself

The armor for this costume was created using Worbla and L200 foam sponsored from cosplaysupplies.com, and other materials. Each piece was a combination of materials as per the needs of each piece.

Materials Used:

Roll of half inch L200
Roll of quarter inch L200
Jumbo roll of black worbla
Saran wrap
Masking tape
Newspaper
Barge cement
Super glue
Eva foam (4mm thickness)
Craft foam
Quikseal
Plastidip
Spray paint
Acrylic paint
Thibra
Nylon strapping
D rings
Velcro
Heat gun
Hot glue gun & high temp glue sticks
Box cutter and sharpener
Cutting mat/silicone baking mat
Dremel
Paintbrushes

To pattern each piece, I either used saran wrap and masking tape to tape over the body part the armor was covering, or a free hand pattern drawn on newspaper. I use left over newspaper to pattern because it’s cheap and easily available. I used the tape and saran wrap method for my foot armor and lower leg armor. I created a free hand blueprint for the shoulder piece and arm piece using newspaper. The finger armor/claws were also a free hand blueprint.

Patterning is an important part of the process, as this is where the base shapes and fit are created. Take your time drawing and fitting the patterns, and figuring out where seam lines will be placed. This will make the armor building that much faster and stress free. After the pattern for each piece is made, I use the pattern to cut out the base pieces for the armor.

The quarter inch L200 served as the base for the foot armor, shoulder piece, and arm piece. The half-inch L200 served as the base for the leg armor and was used to create bevels and details for the other pieces. Each piece is a mixture of materials, built for comfort and the needs of each piece. The leg armor has almost no worbla in it for weight and ease of movement. The shoulder and arm are covered in worbla for durability.

I started with the foot armor, as I usually start at either the bottom of the costume or the top.  I patterned the armor, cut the pattern off my foot, and laid it flat on the foam to trace and cut out. When working with L200, be aware that the foam will dull your blade incredibly fast. To get nice clean cuts, you will need to sharpen your blade after every cut you do. I use a Kershaw sharpener, but any knife sharpener will work to sharpen your cutting blade. Also be sure to have a cutting mat or other cutting surface under the foam, as you will need to exert some pressure to cut the foam cleanly.

Once the two sides of the foot were cut out, I heat formed them using my heat gun. L200 is very light and squishy, but it does heat form rather nicely. It will shrink a small amount as the foam cells contract under heat, but once formed, the L200 does keep its shape quite well. I glued the pieces together with hot glue. I found that hot glue works the best for L200 to L200 bonds. I tested barge, super glue, and hot glue prior to construction to determine the best gluing strategy. Always test your adhesives with new materials, as what is best may be different. Barge contact cement and superglue do work, but the bond is not as tight as with hot glue and super glue only works on the flat and uncut top surface of L200.

Foot armor glued together, I freehanded my decorations onto the piece to determine what I wanted to place and where. I decided on a simple single scroll piece for each side, that I made from black worbla. I used worbla for this, as it is easy to make a beveled scroll easily from worbla. I cut a number of angled bevels from the half-inch foam at the start of the project to make bevels for the various armor pieces.  To cut a bevel, you need to hold your box cutter at a 45-degree angle to the cutting surface and cut one long continuous line down the edge of the foam. Turn the foam over and do the same thing to keep making bevels. I took the time and made all my bevels at the beginning so I would not need to keep making them throughout the project.

The last step of the foot armor was to glue on the scrolls and the bevels to the edge of the piece. This was also done with hot glue. For the shoulder piece I created the pattern, cut out two pieces of the quarter inch L200, and then covered those pieces in black worbla. I used the foam pieces to pattern out on the worbla how much I would need to cover each foam piece. I traced around the foam about an inch out from the foam to create a piece of worbla that was slightly larger than the foam so the worbla could be wrapped over the edge of the foam.

This is called the fold over method in terms of covering something in worbla rather than the sandwich method which totally encases a piece of foam in two pieces of worbla. Only the edges are folded over, creating one side entirely covered in worbla, and the inside is only a thin strip of worbla over the edge and the foam is exposed on the inside. I chose the fold over method to conserve materials and for weight reasons. Worbla armor can get heavy, but using that method and foam for the details kept the shoulder piece light and comfortable.

To cover foam in worbla, heat up the piece of worbla completely, and then start to fold the edges over the foam. Reheat the edges of the worbla as necessary to keep folding over until the whole piece is covered in worbla. If you notice bubbles under your worbla surface, you can heat where the bubble is present, and once the worbla is warm and malleable, poke a small hole with a straight pin and force the air out. This will remove the bubble and you’ll be left with a nice, flat worbla surface. You may have a small pinhole left, but you can fill that in at a later step. The two shoulder sides, once covered in worbla, were heated and the top seam was pressed together to bond the two sides together and create the final shoulder shape. The same process was done for the smaller lower shoulder section as well.

The details on the shoulder were created by first free hand drawing on the piece.  Then masking tape was laid over the design, the pattern was traced, and the tape was removed and taped to newspaper. The design was cut out and used to trace onto 4 mm eva foam. These foam pieces were glued to the shoulder along with L200 bevels using hot glue.

The arm armor construction was similar to the shoulder but instead of L200 bevels, I used some of the leftover worbla scraps to create all the bevel details on the arm, as I wanted the profile of the bevels a bit lower and smaller than the foam bevels that I had made. I added a small amount of worbla details along with a 4 mm eva foam detail.

The leg armor is made completely from L200 foam, using both the thicknesses. The base leg and knee pieces are made from half inch L200, and the details on the edges and the designs are cut from the quarter inch L200. The lower leg piece is actually 3 pieces of foam, the shin armor and two pieces for each knee to create a curved shape. The knee pieces were cut out, heat shaped, and glued together. The shin piece was cut out and heat formed until the final shape was achieved. The knee was hot glued to the shin, and then the edge details were glued down using hot glue. The decorative pieces were also glued using hot glue.

The finger armor was created by patterning out the armor on newspaper, and then tracing and cutting the patterns on craft foam. I also used the worbla fold over method for these pieces, as I didn’t want the fingers getting too thick or bulky by adding extra worbla. If you decide to not use worbla, be aware that craft foam on its own is not very sturdy, especially for parts that are on a highly mobile and tactile part of the body and may be damaged easily. That’s why for hand pieces, I will always cover the craft foam in worbla.

A trick that I have discovered for gluing finger armor down is to put on a latex or vinyl glove, and then put on the glove you will glue the armor to. You can then glue the finger armor down to the glove using super glue. Worbla/foam bond well to fabric using super glue, and the latex glove underneath prevents the glue from gluing to your hand. You can use hot glue or contact cement to glue armor to the hand, but hot glue can be painful and does not bond well, and contact cement is messy and can leave glue marks everywhere.

Once all the pieces are glued down, carefully pull the glove and armor off the latex glove underneath. Some of the latex glove might be stuck and break off the glove (such as the fingertips) this is fine and totally ok. Remove as much of the latex glove as you can, and if anything is left behind you can go back in with tweezers and pull the remaining bits out.

Voila, a nicely glued armored gauntlet.

Once everything was built, I dremeled all the rough edges and smoothed out the worbla trim. Worbla can be sanded, but it makes the material a bit rough, so make sure to prime appropriately to smooth out the rough surface. I filled in gaps and seams with quikseal caulk. Quikseal is water-soluble and non-toxic and a great gap filler. This is commonly used to fill gaps in foam, but can also be used to fill gaps in worbla as well. It does shrink as it dries, so a second and maybe third layer is necessary to level out the gaps completely. Once all the gaps are filled and everything is dremeled and sanded, I primed with plastidip. All pieces got primed with 3 layers of plastidip. I usually will also prime with filler primer, but due to some time constraints I did not. Plastidip will actually smooth out worbla surfaces on its own pretty well, but the surface will be a bit rougher than if it was primed with filler primer as well.

Once primed, all pieces were painted with a shimmer black spray paint. Once dry, all the trim was painted white as a base for the silver with acrylic paint, and then painted silver over the white. The armor was sealed with a matte sealing spray. The finger armor was primed and painted slightly differently as small pieces like them are difficult to spray paint/plastidip. Instead of plastidip, they were primed with modpodge, and then painted with black acrylic paint. A bit of antique gold rub and buff was buffed on to the tips and edges of the pieces for a bit of contrast color to the rest of the costume.

All pieces were completed with strapping, D rings, and velcro for attachments after everything was painted, and the shoulder was fully assembled at this point. The two pieces are attached with nylon strapping and hot glue, and there is a small amount of cushion foam inside the shoulder for comfort when wearing the piece.

In addition to the armor, I also modified a swimsuit, sewed the rest of the fabric pieces, and styled a lacefront wig from Arda Wigs.

For the photo shoot, I completely painted myself grey with the help of a friend in Vibe body paint (water based body paint) from European Body Art. This process took approximately 4 hours including the beauty makeup for the face and body shading and contouring.

 

Category: L200, Worbla | Tags: | leave comment |

Snow Fawn Poppy Bell Hammer Tutorial using L200 and LED Foam

Tutorial by: Puppichu Cosplay

In this tutorial I will go over how to make Snow Fawn Poppy’s “bell” hammer. This will include making a foam sphere bell, a disassemblable hammer shaft for travel, and animated LED lighting.

Remember to always use proper safety equipment such as safety glasses, respirators, gloves, ear protection, ventilation, and cutting mats while following this tutorial. Also remember to ask for supervision if you are a younger reader. Cosplay can be a fun hobby, but make sure you are safe first!

Pattern:

Download all the patterns you need for the Bell Hammer here: LINK
Print these patterns on a 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper

Bell Hammer Materials
½” L200 foam
¼” L200 foam
¼” LED foam
2” diameter ABS pipe ***will cut 3 pieces at 21” each (63” total) for my height of 5’5”***
2 – 2” diameter ABS male adapters
2 – 2” diameter ABS female adapters
Pipe cutting saw
ABS Glue
2 –  12” diameter styrofoam half balls
Velcro
Transparency Film
Packing Tape
Sandpaper (60 grit, 220 grit, 500 grit)
Rotary tool
Heat gun
Hot knife
Contact cement
Popsicle stick (spreading contact cement)
Hot glue gun & glue sticks
Box Cutter
Scissors or exacto knife
Marker or pen
Primer paint, acrylic paint/spray paint (gold), and paint brushes
Red satin fabric

Electronics Materials:
Neopixel strip lighting (79 LEDs total in my setup)
18-24 gauge wire (Red, Green, Black)
5V DC supply
470 ohm resistor
Solder, solder iron
Heat shrink
3 pin JST connectors (male and female)
Microcontroller (arduino)
Patterns – Animation code.txt

Creating the Foam Bell:

Trace the eight “sphere” pattern pieces onto your ½” L200 Foam and cut them out with your exacto knife or scissors. Remember to draw out your guide lines and mark the number of the piece with a directional arrow to the next piece(1 –> 2 –> ). Repeat this again to make another eight sphere pieces for a second dome.

Apply a thin layer of contact cement on two opposite edges of the half sphere piece. Follow the drying time directions for your contact cement, but typically the drying is done when the contact cement becomes “dull” and not sticky to the touch. Once this occurs, stick the two pieces together. Repeat this step with all eight pieces until a half dome is formed. Repeat again with the other eight pieces to make a second half dome.

Use your heat gun to heat up the L200 foam ball. While warm, stretch the foam half over the styrofoam half ball to give it a nice round shape. Make sure the foam has been stretched enough that the edges of the foam meet the edge of the styrofoam half. Repeat for the other dome.

 

Trace the eight “bell decoration” pattern pieces onto your ¼” L200 Foam and cut around the outside (not the “snowflake arms”) with your exacto knife or scissors. These pieces will be for the top of the bell. Apply your contact cement to the bottom of the decoration and to the top of the sphere. Don’t apply contact cement past the bottom of the “snowflake arm” or the bottom inch of the sphere edge. We want this portion not stuck together to place the edge on later.

Take the top foam sphere off of the styrofoam ball and cut the snowflake design out with a box cutter. Take an exacto knife and add a bevel (45 degree cut) around the outside of each of the decoration pieces. This will give a more defined edge between each panel of the decor. You can also add this bevel around the edge of the snowflake design too.

Place the top decoration piece back on the styrofoam half ball. Use your pen to trace or outline the snowflake decoration onto the styrofoam. Make a guide or line on the edge of both the styrofoam and foam. This is so you know which way to place them back together after cutting the styrofoam. Remove the foam top piece again and heat up your hot knife. Use your hot knife to cut out the snowflake design from your styrofoam half ball. Apply contact cement to the bottom edge of both the styrofoam ball and the inside of the foam sphere (be careful to line up your guidelines on the edge for the snowflake design!). Once dry, attach these together. Next apply your contact cement to attach the decoration pieces, being careful to line up the snowflake design’s edge evenly. Take the bottom piece of your sphere and apply contact cement to the bottom edge of both the styrofoam ball and the inside of the foam sphere. Once dry also attach the two together. You should now have two foam half balls attached to the styrofoam.

Cut 4 even strips of velcro about 2” (5 cm) long. Use hot glue to apply one side of the velcro to the bottom half of the sphere, on the styrofoam edge, at each of the four sides (equal distance apart). Stick the other half of the velcro to the portion glued on the half sphere. Apply glue to this half and attach the top half to make a ball. This method will ensure that you velcro is in the right spot on the other half, but make sure your hot glue has dried completely before attempting to take apart.

To make the edge piece, use a measuring tape to find the circumference of your sphere. Cut a strip of ¼” L200 foam that is 1.5” wide (~4cm) and your circumference long. Velcro your foam ball together and hold up your foam edge to the center of the ball. This piece will be used to hide the seam. Draw a line onto each of the decoration pieces and number each leaf with each point. This will be used for when you attach the points back onto the bottom half of the sphere. Cut each point off with your exacto knife and set them aside in a safe area (you’ll need them in the next step).

Use contact cement on the bottom portion of the decoration piece that was left unglued and attach it to the sphere. Then use contact cement to attach the edge piece to the bottom of the top half sphere (this will be easiest to do with the foam ball split in half). Reattach your sphere if needed after all this is glued. Then match your numbered points back up and draw the outlines onto the bottom of the sphere. Apply your contact cement to this and glue down your points to the bottom half.

Lastly, as a final decoration I cut two 1” (2.5 cm) wide by circumference long pieces. Using a rotary tool I sanded down the edges to make a point, mountain shape, or “V”. This piece then was glued to the edge that was used to hide the same. This gives that pointed edge Poppy has on her bell hamer.

 

Creating the Hammer Shaft:

Cut your ABS pipe into three equal 21” (~51 cm) lengths using your pipe cutting hand saw. Use a piece of sandpaper to clean up the edges of the pipe. Also, make sure your pipe is free from any debris before gluing.

Layout your three pipe sections and place your adapters (male and female ends) where they need to go so that they will all link together. Take the time to have this all placed out before you start gluing! This is to ensure you don’t make mistakes in pairing the male and female connectors. Read your gluing instructions for your ABS glue and apply it to the end of the pipes and attach the adapters. Let the glue try the recommended about of time. Now you should have a three pipe section that can attach into a large hammer shaft!.

 

Hammer Pommel:

The pommel of the hammer will take quite a beating on the convention floors all day. To help keep it undamaged I decided to 3D print mine out of ABS plastic. I have provided the .stl file if you wish to print it yourself, or get someone to print it for you. If you don’t have access to a 3D printer, you can also create this piece out of L200 foam. Epoxy glue the pommel to the end (of the opposite end pipe piece) of the hammer shaft. Lastly, paint the pommel gold.

Attaching the Bell and Shaft:

Using one of the end pipe pieces (only has 1 adapter on the end) trace the outline onto the bottom bell sphere. Use your box cutter and hot knife to cut this hole that the pipe will feed into. After cutting, test that your pipe will feed through the hole.

 

Now we will need to make the flange/decoration that holds the two together. Cut out the pattern piece for the bell flange with ¼” L200 foam. Use contact cement to attach both edges into a “cylinder” shape. Then use your heat gun to flair out the larger end (kinda like a trumpet horn). This piece should also be able to slide over your ABS pipe. Cut a strip of ¼” L200 foam that is 1” wide (~2.5cm) and the circumference of your flange piece long. Glue this decoration edge piece to the bottom (small end) of your flange piece.

 

Slide your finished flange piece onto your pipe end. Then attach your bell onto the end of the pipe (make sure the pipe is pushed all the way up to the top of the bell for better support later). Cut four small pieces of velcro and attach them similarly to how you did the foam sphere. You should now have the flange piece attached to the bottom of the bell.

 

Painting:

Start sanding your bell with 60 grit and 200 grit sandpaper. Remove large uneven spots or connecting pieces. Then prep your foam bell for painting by wet sanding it with some water and your 500 grit paper. Smooth down any seams and rough edges. Use your heat gun between layers of sanding to dry up the foam and remove and fuzzy sanded spots. Then apply a few layers of primer spray paint and give it another wet sand. Lastly, apply a thin layer of gold spray paint, or use your acrylic paint to give your bell the right color!

Electronics:

In this tutorial I will not be going over the basic theory behind Ohm’s law. If you want to learn this information yourself I suggest you check out Kamui Cosplay’s books on LED lights or head over to the Adafruit webpage. You will need a firm grasp of these concepts before starting this project. You can use whatever different lighting and resistor combinations you can find available to you, this is just what I used for my setup.

 

Here is a diagram of my circuit for the bell and pommel lights. When you create your circuit, use your JST connectors where you need to be able to disconnect your lights easily. The only JST that is mandatory is for disconnecting the Pommel. This is so you will still be able to take apart the shaft into 3 pieces for travel/storage.

Heat some LED foam and stretch it over a sphere to stretch it into a dome. Then place your pommel over top of it and trace the middle circle out. Cut this piece to make the center “gem” of the pommel. Take the Strip lighting for the pommel and use super glue to the inside of the pommel. Be careful to have the wire go down through the hammer shaft to the top of the bell. Make sure the lights are pointing to the inside of the circle. Use a bit of packing tape to ensure the lights stay in place. Lastly, hot glue your LED foam to the pommel, covering the lights.

Cut the “snowflake” design out of LED foam. Set this LED foam in ¼” deep into the hole and hot glue it in place. For the lights to be an even diffusion of light they will need to be set about an inch from the LED foam. To do this, take your three pieces of strip lights and tape them to strips of overhead transparencies. Then tape this overhead transparency to the inside of the bell so the lights will point down and be suspended over each arm of the snowflake design. Repeat this for the three lights.

 

Finishing Details:

Use your red satin to make a large bow and hot glue/hand stitch it to the “flange” part of the hammer. Don’t know how to make a bow? Try looking for “fabric bow tutorial” online, there are many great options out there!

Take your red satin again and cut it into large strips. Using hot glue, wrap these strips around the bottom pommel shaft and the middle pole section. Be careful not to wrap over your pipe adapters!! Cut another smaller piece of satin to wrap around these sections. Instead of gluing them down, use some velcro to make this piece removable . This way you can pull this piece off so that you disassemble the pole sections for travel or storage.

Lastly, make a painted gold 1” (2.5 cm) by circumference wide, rectangle piece of ¼” L200 foam. Glue this piece to were the pommel and shaft connect to make a clean transition.

Finally, use your ¼” L200 foam to make a tube a bit larger than the 2” abs pipe. The tube should be about 1” (2.5 cm) tall. Hot glue this tube to the inside of the top of the bell. This will make a slot that the tube can slid into to keep it attached at the top. This will help it from shifting around as you move it!

That’s it you’re done! Enjoy your new hammer and “go find that hero!”

 

 

Category: Cosplay, L200, LED Foam, Tutorial | Tags: | leave comment |

Making Light Up Deer Antlers Tutorial Using LED Foam

Tutorial by: Puppichu Cosplay

This tutorial was designed to create my Snow Fawn Poppy character from League of Legends, but the same principles can be applied for many different antlers or horns. 

Remember to always use proper safety equipment such as safety glasses, respirators, gloves, ear protection, ventilation, and cutting mats while following this tutorial. Also remember to ask for supervision if you are a younger reader. Cosplay can be a fun hobby, but make sure you are safe first!

Pattern:

Print this pattern on a 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper

PDF – Poppy Ear and Antler Pattern Sheet

 

Antler Materials

¼” thick LED foam (from CosplaySupplies. Get it here)
Contact cement
Rotary tool with drum sander
Heat gun
Hot glue gun & glue sticks
Acrylic paint (brown/white) and paint brushes
Popsicle stick (spreading contact cement)
Scissors
Marker or pen

Electronics (optional):

4 LED lights (5mm, 3.0-3.4V, 20mA)
Electronic wire
4 Resistors (110-150 ohm)
9v attachment and battery
Heat shrink
Solder and solder iron

Trace the patterns on your ¼” LED foam with your pen. If you need your pattern to stay put you can also push some pins through the pattern into the foam. Then cut your antler patterns out with a pair of scissors or an exacto knife. You will need four pieces of “large” and  four pieces of “small” antler patterns. Don’t forget to flip your pattern and cut this all again for one left and one right antler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next step is to laminate the four pieces of foam together to make a larger/thicker antler chunk. Apply a thin layer of contact cement on two opposite sides. Follow the drying time directions for your contact cement, but typically the drying is done when the contact cement becomes “dull” and not sticky to the touch. Once this occurs, stick the two pieces together. Repeat this step again with the foam pieces you just glued to get all four pieces glued together. Do this for each of the antlers and for both the left and right sides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grab your rotary tool with a sanding barrel and remove the sharp edges. You want to try and sculpt it into a more round/tube like shape. Remember the tips of the antlers would be thinner and rounder, while the base would closer to a rounded box shape. After sanding, use your heat gun to put a small bend into both the “large” and “small” antlers. This will make them look a bit more dynamic and not as flat/2D looking.

Apply more contact cement to the bottom of each of the “large” and “small” antler points. You want to glue a “small” antler to the front of a “large” antler. Once the glue has dried stick them together. Again, be careful you glue one left and one right direction.

 

Electrical components (optional):

In this tutorial I will not be going over the basic theory behind Ohm’s law. If you want to learn this information yourself I suggest you check out Kamui Cosplay’s books on LED lights or head over to the Adafruit webpage. You can use whatever different lighting and resistor combinations you can find available to you, this is just what I used for my set up.

Here is a diagram of my circuit and how they are wired in the antlers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First prepare your antlers for installing the LEDs. Use an exacto knife to cut open the top of each of the antler points

Use your rotary tool to sand out a pocket for your led to rest in. This will also make the walls of the LED foam thinner to make your LEDs shine even brighter through the foam. Be careful not to sand all the way through! You don’t want a hole in your antlers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After soldering your circuit together (connect it to test that it works!), install it into the antlers by cutting a small channel halfway through the foam and stuffing in the wires. Give your circuit an extra test to make sure all wire are still connected and working!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that your LEDs are working, seal up the channels and top of the antlers with some hot glue. Make sure you are using a low setting on your hot glue gun and try not to apply the tip of the glue gun directly onto the foam. This is to ensure the foam does not shrink/melt from high heat application.

With you antlers constructed and LEDs installed, it’s time to paint! I used an acrylic brown paint for the base of the antler, but be careful not to apply it to the tips of the antlers where you want your light to shine through. I used a very watered down white acrylic paint over the tips of the antlers to make sure the light won’t be obscured.

TIP: paint your antlers with the lights turned on to make sure you don’t cover up too much light with your paint.

Now your antlers are complete! The only step left is attaching them to wear on your head. My antlers were later attached to another piece of L200 foam inside my hood; however, if you need a simpler system a plastic headband is a great option. Hot glue the base of your antlers and stick them to the top of your headband. To make sure your antlers are extra secure, use a needle and thread to hand stitch them in place to the headband.

Enjoy your new pair of antlers!

 

Want to know how Puppichu made her adorable Fawn ears out of L200 foam? We will be posting that tutorial in the next few days so keep an eye out on our blog!

Interested in more League of Legends themed tutorials? Check out Vickybunnyangel‘s guide to creating Star Guardian Soraka Wings Using Varaform.

Category: Christmas, Cosplay, L200, LED Foam | Tags: , , , , , , , | leave comment |