Do you want to discover the wonderful world of cosplay? There’s no hobby quite like it. Creating your favourite characters’ costumes is fantastic and fun, while getting to wear the outfits to cosplay conventions is the icing on the cake. In this inspirational video tutorial, professional cosplay artist Wayne, of Wayne’s Workshop, will show you how to make your own cosplay props. Wayne will create a heroic DIY foam helmet, taking you through each step and revealing some of his best tricks of the trade along the way.
Let's go - step by step
Trace the pattern onto EVA foam and cut it out
Start this exciting, easy cosplay project by downloading your chosen cosplay helmet pattern. Our Master Maker, Wayne, bought his in Evil Ted Smith’s online shop – he chose a basic EVA foam helmet template built up out of four individual sections. Trace the parts with a whiteboard marker onto a 1 cm thick EVA foam sheet. Place the foam on a cutting mat and, using a craft knife, cut out all the different parts. Watch your fingers and hands! EVA foam blunts the knife quite quickly, so make sure you sharpen it when needed.
Glue together your basic foam helmet
It’s time to bring out the contact glue – Wayne uses a refillable plastic bottle, making the glue easy to apply. Squeeze a thin line of glue along the two edges you want to glue together. Spread the glue into a thin layer using a wooden coffee stirrer, then allow it to dry for 10–20 minutes. Meanwhile, mark up the chin piece with a line, insert the knife halfway into the foam at a 45-degree angle and cut along the line on both sides to make a groove. This will create a sharp edge later. Now press the glue-covered edges together, bending the foam as you go. Repeat for all other edges that need gluing.
Create and cut out embellishments
Your basic cosplay helmet is now ready. For that extra wow factor, you can add some decorative details to your foam helmet and really bring it to life. The sky is the limit! Wayne came up with earpieces, a mouth guard, a blinker and some rivets for his helmet. To make yours, all you have to do is draw your design on paper, trace it onto a 5 mm thick EVA foam sheet and cut it out. Wayne chose to cut smaller ear embellishments out of 2 mm foam as well. To create sharp folds, cut out grooves as described in step 2.
Shape the EVA foam pieces with a heat gun
Before adding the embellishments to your foam helmet, it’s a good idea to bend the foam cut-outs so they take on the shape of the helmet. This is incredibly easy to do – all you need is a pair of heat-resistant gloves and a heat gun. With the gloves on and the heat gun on its lowest setting, move it over the inside surface of your foam piece for about 30 seconds. (Remember: foam always bends towards the heated side.) Now you can bend it into a rounded shape with your hands.
Attach the embellishments to your foam helmet
Let’s attach those embellishments and make your cosplay prop extraordinary! First of all, put each detail in its place and trace the outline with the whiteboard marker. Add contact glue along the edges of the marked outline, as well as on the detail itself. Spread the glue out thinly using a coffee stirrer. Leave the glue to dry for 10 minutes, then press the embellishment into place.
Smooth the edges with a Dremel Multi-Tool
A Dremel Multi-Tool will help you get rid of unsightly edges on your cosplay prop. Attach a Flexible Shaft to your Multi-Tool, insert the EZ SpeedClic Sanding Mandrel (SC407) and click the Sanding Band (432) into place. By suspending the Dremel from a Flex-Shaft Tool Holder, you’ll be able to manoeuvre freely and precisely. Don’t forget to put on your protective gear – goggles, dust mask, ear protection and gloves – before starting. Move the sanding bit in the rotating direction along the foam, keeping the RPM on a low setting. Change to a Grinding Stone (952) and turn up the RPM for a super smooth finish.
Apply googly eyes
Googly eyes are perfect for creating rivets or studs on your cosplay costumes. They are smooth, nicely rounded, self-adhesive and come in a whole range of sizes too. For his cosplay helmet, Master Maker Wayne attached several googly-eye rivets, sized from 5 to 8 mm. Once they are primed and painted (see steps 8 and 9), no one will ever guess that there are googly eyes underneath. Well done, your foam helmet is now fully embellished.
Apply a primer to your foam helmet
Before priming your cosplay prop, heat-seal the helmet with the heat gun while wearing a pair of heat-resistant gloves. Then read the primer’s instructions and start the priming process accordingly. Brush the helmet all over with multiple coats of primer, applying it with a foam brush. Allow the layers to dry in between coats. Don’t skip the googly eyes; they get primed too. You’re nearly done now!
Airbrush the helmet
Spray-painting your helmet is one of the most fun steps in this entire DIY cosplay project. Don’t rush yourself though; read the paint’s instructions first to find out whether it needs diluting. Then kit yourself out with goggles, gloves and a respirator and ensure the room is well-ventilated. Now add some paint to the airbrush’s paint cup and start spraying the helmet with your chosen colour, making sure you get into all the nooks and crannies. Leave the paint to dry before painting the rivets (i.e., the googly eyes) in a contrasting colour using a regular paintbrush. One cosplay helmet: done.