I’m almost finished with my Primm cosplay and once she is done I will be starting my Commander Shepard – N7 Armor from Mass Effect 3. I thought I’d share some advice on getting ready to craft the EVA Foam and work with patterns. Just something for you to stew on before I start posting the tutorials with images and videos!
So, here we go!
1) First things First! Draw your armor pattern – I’d use poster board or large drawing paper for this. I refer to my previous post about how to stay symmetrical for this drawing: http://studioeingana.com/2012/04/18/n7-armor-symmetry-drawing/
If you use poster board, then you need to make sure the lines are dark enough to see on the folded half. That way you are as symmetrical as possible. Also, you will never find paper large enough for what you are looking for. Just imagine how many pieces you will be making with the armor and draw each piece on a separate paper. Then just tape together. I am thinking that the top of the armor should be like four pieces which will all be glued together with a HOT GLUE GUN. I am still planning out the legs. That’s going to be a whole different monster.
2) Measuring yourself! This is not FUN! HOWEVER!!! NO FEAR, LIZZY IS HERE!!! I found a great site to help you all out! This is awesome so check it out! How to Measure Yourself http://www.burdastyle.com/techniques/how-to-measure-yourself
3) Cutting the Pattern – Cut the patterns out that you drew and place one pattern at a time down on the foam. Don’t trace with a permanent marker, if you accidently slip, it’s hard to hide. A small ball point pen will do. If you are going to use BLACK Eva Foam, a blue ball point pen will be ok if you can’t see the black. You should be fine though. Be careful to trace lightly because the foam is tough but will puncture if traced down too hard. Also, if you are going to heat an entire piece, remember, heat shrinks foam. Make sure to cut out at least a quarter inch more around the pattern. It’s going to shrink to the size you need so don’t worry.
I also recommend that if you have a lot of separate pieces that you label each piece of paper so you have an idea of what it was. You should also label the back of the actual foam piece so you don’t get mixed up! Just a thought!
4) Heat Source – I recommend using a Heat Gun! I would avoid using a stove burner because if you have not done this before, you may end up hurting yourself or melting the foam and the foam is not cheap. Once it’s melted, it’s going to look that way! So, you’ll either love it or hate it. Like I said before, the best heat source would be a heat gun! Spend the money and don’t cheap out! The Cheaper the gun, the less hot it is. They really aren’t that bad in price. It is very important to test on a few scraps of foam before moving to your good piece. Why? You just spent an hour to cut out the foam and then you overheat with the gun. Cut out a slab and just play with it. You’ll never learn unless you test and try try again! EVA foam turns colors when it gets hot! You only need to heat for about 2 minutes before you can manipulate into the shape that you want! The foam has never gotten so hot where it has burned me; HOWEVER, there is always a first. Be careful when you are working with any kind of heat source. If you have a very small piece and it keeps blowing away, use a screwdriver or chopsticks to hold it down! Don’t hold down with your fingers because you will get burned!
These are just some things to think about before you start watching me work this armor! I am always open for questions and will help out when needed! Just ask!
Have a great day!