Foam: How to make this material Hard?

FreakT

Active Member
Hi GUys,
i´m trying to make a Mark V suit for Karnival in germany. I start with the helmed with pep files.
now i saw a lot of this faom costumes and thought it would be much easyer to build!?!? But now i have a question, how can i make the foam "hard" like plastic or is it just you can still have this soft foam material outside?
 

EyeofSauron

Master Member
The foam isnt really soft to begin with :) its only flexible, but its not like mattress foam :) but for all I know methane resin doesn't melt the foam so you could use that
 

aron42486

Well-Known Member
Most everyone here doing foam builds seals the foam with something like Plasti-Dip. Its a spray on liquid plastic that remains flexible but lets you get a smoother shiny surface.

Many people agree that "hardening" the foam with resin or some other rigid material defeats the entire purpose of making a foam costume, you build with foam so that it will be flexible and more comfortable.

Read through some of the existing foam builds (ie. Ironman) for information on instructions and sources. Even doing an advanced "titles only" search of ironman will give you plenty of threads and sources to read through.
 

FreakT

Active Member
I saw a lot of threads here but a could not figur out how to paint the foam.
i need to paint that cause karneval in germany is mostly outside and cold and it rains alot.
and i need to figur out what kind of foam this EVA is in germany, cause eva foam exists only in the us but not here ...
 

EyeofSauron

Master Member
well, as stated before, the foam costume is thought to be more flexible.
for sealing, you can get plasti dip, that will give you a smooth surface
plastidip can be bought at conrad
you can also use pva-Glue, which is Weißleim, Holz- u Bastelleim
Eva foam mats can be bought as floor mats (im not sure what its called there exactly) at Bauhaus, in those puzzle shaped tiles, in multipacks of 10 i think, alternatively, at sports supplies you can buy Camping-Matten which usually are those colored mats 60x180 cm. or finally, if you need thinner material, EVA Foam is Moosgummi, roughly translated, so any hobbyshops should have it
Also, to work with ith easier, get a "heissdrahtschneider", will save you a lot of time and work, and its cleaner working with that too
 

EyeofSauron

Master Member
amazon is probably the cheapest way to get the foam btw, see here:
High Colorado Isomatte Standard 0,8: Amazon.de: Sport & Freizeit

5 euros 180x50 cm, 8 mm thickness. id say you need 5 to 6 for a full suit, plus thinner moosgummi mats for details
these here are colored, 20 pages A3, with 2 mm thickness for 8,90
you wont get a better deal anywhere.
http://www.amazon.de/Eduplay-Moosgummi-Platten-20er-30x40cm/dp/B001JPOK0G/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1323111313&sr=8-3
the color shouldnt matter, as it will be pastidipped and colored afterwards
plastidip here: Plasti Dip® Spray, schwarz im Conrad Online Shop

im not sure how many cans you need for a whole suit tho

primer and colors can also be gotten cheaply on amazon
 

Coolc

Member
amazon is probably the cheapest way to get the foam btw, see here:
High Colorado Isomatte Standard 0,8: Amazon.de: Sport & Freizeit
I don't believe this is the foam that you will use for costume. Is it the same as EVA foam? EVA foam is patterned and helped in the reinforcement of the costume. Using EVA foam does not require any hardening. The completed model can withstand a lot of beating yet very light and flexible. Like everyone said, you will need to seal the foam so paint will not get absorbed by the foam. Plasti-Dip is most ideal. We can get EVA foam in packs of 4 or 6 in our general store.

Amazon sells it in US too. Here is the link.
Amazon.com: 48 Square Feet ( 12 tiles + borders) 'We Sell Mats' Black 2' x 2' x 3/8" Anti-Fatigue Interlocking EVA Foam Exercise Gym Flooring: Sports & Outdoors

I'm currently updating my son's Master Chief VI armor with foam. I should be posting a new video soon. In the meantime, view a quick tutorial I put together on how to make costume using EVA foam.

CoolCostume's Channel - YouTube
 

Fullmetalsam

Active Member
its the same foam, its a basic camping mat
Not quite.

Yes both of these examples are EVA foam... but EVA foam is not the be all end all of "good foam for costuming". In this type of foam, you've got different kind, different density, different characteristics, different whatever.

So, the camping mat is NOT the same as the floor tiles.
If you'd worked with the floor tiles, you'd know they are too dense for you to be able to roll them up like the camping mat.

I'm not saying you can't use the camping mat for building a costume - 2 or 3 people here have build their Ironman suit with this type of foam (I think the first suit of Graphic Jordan was like that... not sure though) - but the camping mat foam seen in your link has a certain texture that is very difficult to get rid of and it very difficult to paint (you need a very good paint adhesion promoter). If you want something that will "look smooth" - you need the floor tiles, because they have at least 1 side that is texture-free.

Not trying to be an ass... but since the OP wanted to make foam look like plastic, he would probably be disappointed in the camping mat foam texture.
 

indiefilmgeek

Sr Member
I really like the very smooth EVA foam Jordan's using now. I used the same foam from Wandy Foam (ebay shop) for Mikey's suit and his brother's Cyclops boots, belt and visor.

It's VERY smooth and therefore makes plasti-dipping and painting that much easier.

As far as HARDENING the foam (for places like joints and connection points), I have had a lot of luck with using standard 2-part epoxy. It hardens the surface of the foam enough to allow for support pieces (like post pins and re-enforced holes where hinge points are made).

After hardening those areas (sometimes adding metal washers or thick plastic to the area coated with the epoxy), it is all covered with plasti-dip and painted.

If you're looking for painting advice, I'd strongly encourage you to invest in some Adhesive Promoter that can be sprayed on as a primer between your plasti-dip (or other coating layer) and your final paint job. It REALLY helps keep the paint attached to the flexible foam.

Good luck with your build! :):thumbsup
 

EyeofSauron

Master Member
the problem is:
eva foam, in the way you get it in the us, is not available in germany
close to no shops have the black puzzle part mats here. youre really lucky to find those.
other than that, you can only get the foam plates in thicknesses up to 2 mm
but you need at least 4 mm for building a good sturdy costume, 6 mm is better.
and the only other option is those camping mats. they may not be as dense as the floor mats, but they work
there are some kind of those puzzle mats, but they are for lifting weights and stuff, and they are textured. nothing plain is available. and also, those are pretty expensive.

so, basicly were rather limited in supplies around here :)
 

AsgardAssassin

Active Member
I have the same issue here.

I use camping mats but they are very smooth and around 6mm thick. I don't quite think they are Eva foam.

I have tried PVA but when I flex the material it cracks.

I have used watered down PVA to try allow it to soak in but this is no good either.

I am making Thor's armour but I don't have to much flex going on except the gauntlets. They need to stretch slightly for me to wear them.

I need to find some epoxy to strenghten the ear section of the helmet... Indiefilmgeek did you just use epoxy adhesive?
 

kdub8990

New Member
You can use a product called styrospray 1000 and either spray or brush over about any foam and it hardens a plastic shell over foam. And then you can paint over that with almost any paint, including solvent based paint.
 

jnjoker100

Active Member
Theres a guy that is on youtube, has a channel called robots.co.uk or something to that effect. He has a build of foam ironman. He took school glue (elmers). watered it down a bit and covered the foam with several layers. This seals the foam and gives it a good shine.
 

Fullmetalsam

Active Member
@Eye of Sauron:
Yeah - I get what you mean... we're all slave to the things we have close to us.
The 4mm and 6mm think stuff is very good - but you probably don't get it in big pieces (got the same problem here in Canada). But then, if you've already researched what you can get in Germany and couldn't find the puzzle piece mats - have you tried looking at directly ordering from China ???

Most of the EVA foam product we see here are all coming from China - since you're a bit closer that I am in Canada, the shipping might not be as bad and you might be able to pick up the puzzle piece mats for a "not so bad" price. Just throwing this out there - it may be worth looking into for you guys over the pond.

@Coolc: Thanks man... hell of a job it was, building this Robocop suit.
 

Dung0beetle

Well-Known Member
Theres a guy that is on youtube, has a channel called robots.co.uk or something to that effect. He has a build of foam ironman. He took school glue (elmers). watered it down a bit and covered the foam with several layers. This seals the foam and gives it a good shine.
White glue also gives a protective layer to anything that you want to harden with fiberglass resin. Fiberglass resin won't eat the foam, but it does weaken it and will cause it to deform.
 

STEALTH

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Theres a guy that is on youtube, has a channel called robots.co.uk or something to that effect. He has a build of foam ironman. He took school glue (elmers). watered it down a bit and covered the foam with several layers. This seals the foam and gives it a good shine.
yes, this is an old method of sealing foam for crafts and such. It works great.

You don't really need the plasti-dip either. I think it's over kill. The paint job won't last forever. No sense to spend big bucks on it.

But the paint will crack less if you do indeed use it. So get it if you can afford it.
 
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