Goggles are a very common accessory among cosplay protagonists, but they all come in unique shapes with odd details added on. Unless the character is very popular, it’s usually pretty difficult to find ready-made goggles that are perfect for your costume. I guess that means it’s time to make your own custom pair of goggles!
This tutorial will teach you how to make simple cosplay goggles using EVA foam. This is a pretty simple tutorial that comes down to cutting, sanding, and gluing the pieces together. The lenses will be made using clear sheets of plastic, instead of trying to create hard lenses with resin.
You can adjust the shape to be whatever you want it to be. I’m just creating simple oval goggles (Digimon-style), but don’t be afraid to draw out whatever shape goggles your character needs. Use a ruler if you need to make straight lines, and test out the shape with pieces of paper before cutting the EVA foam.
Note: These goggles are functional in that you can see through the lenses. However, I don’t recommend using them as protective eye gear for anything other than cosplay.
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- Paper and pencil
- EVA foam (4mm)
- A sharp razor
- Sandpaper or a Dremel
- A heatgun
- Clear plastic sheets
- Hot glue (or another adhesive)
- Acrylic paint
1. Draw the goggle shapes
To start out, you need to use your paper and pencil to create a pattern to work with. This doesn’t have to be complicated at all. You just need to draw out the shape of the goggles that you want to create. I’m creating ovals, but you can make rectangles or whatever weird shape your character’s design requires.
To help you get the shape correct, measure the length and height of your eyes. Then form the shape of the goggles around that space. You can draw one side of the goggles and flip it over so that the two sides are completely symmetrical.
You can also add other pieces to your goggle design. I’m adding a small rectangle to use for a nose piece, between the two sides of the goggles. I’m also including a piece on the outer side of the goggles. This is common in a lot of goggle designs and it will make attaching the elastic in step 7 a lot easier.
Always cut your design out of paper and test it before going on to the next step. Cut out the pieces and tape them together. Hold it up to your face and look in the mirror to make sure the goggles look right. Take note of if they are too small, too big, or they just look a little wrong, and redraw the pattern until you are happy with it.
2. Cut everything out of EVA foam
Once you have your paper pieces, it’s time to cut everything out of foam. EVA foam is a flexible sheet of foam that can be easily heated to form curves and sanded into elegant shapes. It’s one of the most common materials used in cosplay prop and armor construction. This particular tutorial is not very complicated, so it’s a good introduction to EVA foam even if you’ve never used it before.
The main things that you need to keep in mind for this tutorial are:
- Use a sharp razor to cut the foam to avoid ragged edges. Use a knife sharpener to periodically sharpen your blade.
- EVA foam comes in a variety of thicknesses, I recommend using 4mm foam for this project.
Lay your sheet of EVA foam flat and trace your pieces onto the foam. You will need:
- 1 nose piece
- 2 side pieces (one on each outer edge)
- 4 goggle frame pieces (two for each eye)
Once you trace the pieces, remember to cut on the inside of the line you made so that your final pieces are the same size as your original paper pattern.
3. Sand and heat-shape the goggle pieces
Note: always work in a well-ventilated area when sanding and heating EVA foam
Now that you have all of your pieces cut out, it’s time to sand the edges and give them a little bit of shape. When sanding, I like to use a Dremel, since it goes much faster. But you can always go old school and use regular old sandpaper for this process.
Before you sand the eye frames, add some tape in between them and stick the two together. You don’t want to glue these together yet because we’ll be adding a clear plastic lens between them in the next step. However, you want to make sure you sand the edges together on the inner and outer edges so that they match perfectly.
Sand the sides of the pieces so that they are even with each other. Then go over the edges to get rid of the hard corners and create that rounded effect. Do the same thing for the nose piece and the side pieces of the goggles.
Once the edges are smoothed out, we’re going to do some basic heat forming. One-by-one use a heatgun and warm up the pieces of foam until they become a little more flexible. You are going to hold them in position until the pieces cool so that they will maintain their new shape:
- For the nose piece, hold it so it comes to a point in the middle
- For the eye pieces, hold them against a wig head or your face to create a slight curve (after you’ve turned the heatgun off of course, never point one of those toward your face)
- For the outer pieces, just hold them in a slight curve until they cool
4. Cut out the lens from clear plastic
Now it’s time to cut out the lenses for the goggles. There’s no need to do anything fancy with resin for this. Instead, we’ll just use a sheet of clear plastic, the kind that’s used for creating stencils.
Trace your original paper pattern of your eye piece onto the plastic and cut out two, one for each eye. Trim the outside just a smidge so that it’s a little smaller that the shape of the eye pieces.
5. Glue everything together
Now is the fun part! We’re going to put the whole thing together so it actually looks like a pair of goggles. Start with the two eye pieces.
- Separate the eye pieces and remove the tape.
- Use hot glue to attach the plastic lens to one side of the eye piece.
- Use glue again to add the second eye piece on top, sandwiching the plastic lens.
Once you’ve done that for both eyes, it’s a simple matter of gluing your other pieces together. Attach the nose piece between the two eyes and the two outer pieces to the outside. The foam is flexible, so if you need to you can stretch it to make it curve around the sides of the goggles. Then hold it in place until the glue cools.
After everything is glued together, it’s time to paint the goggles. I recommend using a primer and paints that are flexible since these are less likely to chip and flake as the goggles move around. I’ve used Liquitex and PlaidFX paints with good results.
When painting, be sure to carefully get the inner rim of the goggles, right next to the lens. Both the top and bottom layers of this will be visible, so you don’t want to forget these areas.
7. Add elastic
After the paint has dried completely, all you have to do is add some elastic so you can wear the goggles. I used half-inch elastic for my goggles, but any kind of elastic you have will work just fine.
If you created the pieces on the outer edge of the goggles, all you have to do is glue the elastic to the inner side of these pieces. If you did not, you will need to glue it to the edge of the frames of your goggles. If the elastic is visible from the front, trim it back a little until you can’t see it from the front anymore.