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EVA foam is a common, lightweight material that is used for all kinds of cosplay props. You can get big sheets of a flat, foam material. Then you’ll cut it and use heat to shape the EVA foam into three-dimensional shapes. After that, all you need to do is paint the final product. (learn more about metallic paint techniques)
EVA foam is a toxic material when it’s being heated or sanded. So you want to take safety precautions to make sure you don’t inhale the fumes or dust. Stay in a well-ventilated area and wear a dust mask whenever you are heat forming or sanding the material.
- Tutorial: How to use EVA foam for cosplay
When to use EVA foam for cosplay jewelry
When it comes to jewelry, EVA foam is really useful for creating larger pieces of solid jewelry. Props such as large necklaces, metal-looking bracers, headdresses, large belt buckles, and so on. You can cut intricate patterns into EVA foam, or even create an engraved effect.
It used to be that EVA foam was not great for creating any kind of organic shape, like a three-dimensional carving. However, foam clay has recently been introduced to the cosplay world. It’s a little more difficult to work with than a standard clay (I find it is a little slimy), but if you’re patient, you can also mold custom shapes using foam clay. It will air dry to behave like a standard EVA foam material.
How to use EVA foam for jewelry
Using EVA foam is pretty simple. You just have to cut out the pieces, glue them together and heat up the foam to shape it into a three-dimensional shape. Then all you’ve got to do is paint it like any other prop.
- EVA foam (2mm or 4mm), you can also use craft foam
- A razor and sharpener
- Sandpaper or a rotary sanding tool (like a Dremel)
- A heatgun
- Contact cement or other adhesive
- Foam primer
- ‘Metal’ paint
- Create a template for your EVA foam costume piece. Draw out the design that you want the final piece of jewelry to match. Test to make sure it’s the correct size to fit around your neck, wrist, etc. with the paper before cutting the EVA foam.
- Trace the template onto your sheet of EVA foam and cut it out. Make sure to keep your razor sharp so that you can make straight edges. EVA foam is known for dulling razors very quickly, so I always keep a knife sharpener around.
- Add any additional decorations to the piece using contact cement. If you are adding EVA foam decorations or details, glue them onto your base piece. If you’re using contact cement, smear glue onto both pieces. Then wait 5 minutes for the glue to get tacky before pressing them together.
- Sand the edges as necessary. I like to use a Dremel for sanding since it goes much faster, but you can also use regular sanding paper.
- Use a heatgun to shape the costume piece. Wave a heatgun over the top of your piece until the plastic foam heats up. Then hold it in shape (over your wrist for a bracelet, around your neck for a necklace, etc.) until the plastic cools completely. Then it will hold its three-dimensional shape instead of lying flat.
- Prime and paint your EVA foam. Acrylic paints work perfectly fine, but you can use just about any kind of paint with EVA foam.