Foam: How to make this material Hard?

Discussion in 'Replica Costumes' started by FreakT, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. FreakT

    FreakT Active Member

    Trophy Points:
    341
    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?
     
  2. EyeofSauron

    EyeofSauron Master Member

    Trophy Points:
    2,671
    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
     
  3. FreakT

    FreakT Active Member

    Trophy Points:
    341
    did you know what kind of foam this is in germany or in europe?
     
  4. aron42486

    aron42486 Well-Known Member

    Trophy Points:
    566
    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.
     
  5. FreakT

    FreakT Active Member

    Trophy Points:
    341
    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 ...
     
  6. EyeofSauron

    EyeofSauron Master Member

    Trophy Points:
    2,671
    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
     
  7. EyeofSauron

    EyeofSauron Master Member

    Trophy Points:
    2,671
    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-Moosgu...OK0G/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
     
  8. Coolc

    Coolc Member

    Trophy Points:
    192
    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
     
  9. EyeofSauron

    EyeofSauron Master Member

    Trophy Points:
    2,671
    its the same foam, its a basic camping mat
     
  10. FreakT

    FreakT Active Member

    Trophy Points:
    341
    Thank you so much you help me alot!!!
    THis forum is amazing
    THX again
     
  11. Fullmetalsam

    Fullmetalsam Active Member

    Trophy Points:
    341
    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 *... but since the OP wanted to make foam look like plastic, he would probably be disappointed in the camping mat foam texture.
     
  12. Coolc

    Coolc Member

    Trophy Points:
    192
    @Fullmetalsam

    I checked out your Robocop foam costume. It is really amazing. Great work!
     
  13. indiefilmgeek

    indiefilmgeek Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,526
    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
     
    falloutnvmaster likes this.
  14. EyeofSauron

    EyeofSauron Master Member

    Trophy Points:
    2,671
    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 :)
     
  15. AsgardAssassin

    AsgardAssassin Active Member

    Trophy Points:
    331
    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?
     
  16. kdub8990

    kdub8990 New Member

    Trophy Points:
    2
    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.
     
  17. jnjoker100

    jnjoker100 Active Member

    Trophy Points:
    341
    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.
     
  18. Fullmetalsam

    Fullmetalsam Active Member

    Trophy Points:
    341
    @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.
     
  19. Dung0beetle

    Dung0beetle Well-Known Member

    Trophy Points:
    556
    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.
     
    falloutnvmaster likes this.
  20. STEALTH

    STEALTH Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    2,080
    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.
     
    falloutnvmaster likes this.
  21. AsgardAssassin

    AsgardAssassin Active Member

    Trophy Points:
    331
    When I have tested out school glue watered down it still tends deform the foam. Granted I don't need a lot of flex in what I am building but I have some slip on gauntlets that need a little bit of give.

    Plastidip over in the UK is $22. It's a costly item! But if a can was to do two gauntlets then I'm all for it.
     
  22. STEALTH

    STEALTH Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    2,080
    How thick is your foam? :confused

    I use 6mm thick foam and I don't see it deform at all.
     
  23. AsgardAssassin

    AsgardAssassin Active Member

    Trophy Points:
    331
    I use 6mm also, It's a camping mat but I was describe it as closed cell and has a really smooth finish.

    The PVA stretches over the top of the foam and doesn't allow it return to original shape. Could this be due to not been watered down enough?

    By the way Stealth... Break Dancing Iron Man is my favourite YouTube video this year!! :lol
     
  24. STEALTH

    STEALTH Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    2,080
    Oh camping mats. I had a run in with those on my first Foam build. I guess I can see that happening with that kind of foam as it's pretty flimsy.

    Not the best choice. From my experience, the key is the density of the foam.
    The floor mat foam is a good default starter foam/intermediate foam

    There are lots of better quality type foams out there.
    That doesn't interest me though, as I refuse to spend more than $80 bucks building these foam costumes in the end. Heh...

    That being said, the Anti-fatigue floor mat eva type foam will always be default for me I guess.
    Maybe try a little denser foam and see how it goes?

    Thanks Tom. I'm glad you liked The video :)
     
  25. AsgardAssassin

    AsgardAssassin Active Member

    Trophy Points:
    331
    Yeah I used them in an attempt at an Iron Man build but they were not really good enough. I plan to restart using some higher density material.

    However, I am building some Thor Armour and ended up just using these as I'm throwing it together quickly in time for New Year, and I'm trying to keep costs down.

    I'm going to persevere with this material for this build and then move onto something better. I'm really happy with the way my armour is turning out!

    I've shown all my friends the video! Everyone loves it! :lol
     
  26. FreakT

    FreakT Active Member

    Trophy Points:
    341
  27. blickfangQ2

    blickfangQ2 Well-Known Member

    Trophy Points:
    566
  28. astrothug

    astrothug New Member

    Trophy Points:
    2
    not to highjack this thread, I too Live in Canada to be precise in Coastal northern BC a small little town, I need a PVA glue, we have the normal wood glue and Elmer glue will this work on our costumes. thanks so much to STEALTH and others who have made you-tube videos, without you guys showing us n00bs we would be totally lost.
     
  29. Dirtsen

    Dirtsen Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    666
    Hey FreakT,
    I am also from Germany and I'm building an Iron Man suit. It's a bit late to start for Fastnacht but the best of luck to you. You should definetly check on the Thread by JFCustom! He has the best tips on foam speed building. Also, the best foam for building the suit is available here: case-connection.de. It's the Plastazote ld45. It has the best density to work with and it is cheap too. If you want to harden the material after you have finished your pieces (I recommend this for the helmet) you can use Holzleim. Just brush on the foam in several layers. Make sure to let it dry properly before you apply the next layer. This will make the foam fairly rigid. If you want it to be really hard you can use Kunstharzspachtel over the layer of glue. I am currently trying out EZE Kote. It's a resin made for foam on a water basis. No toxic fumes and easy to work with. I am going to let you know if this stuff is as awesome as it sounds. If you have any further questions or need this in German, PM me.
     
  30. adonvdo

    adonvdo New Member

    Trophy Points:
    2
    As far as making the foam harder, for a more plastic feel on the outside, what does everyone recommend?

    I've heard people mention some type of epoxy or fiberglass resin in other threads. Does anyone have any brand names and experiences/advice using these things? I live in the US, btw.
     
  31. daninboo

    daninboo Active Member

    Trophy Points:
    331
    im in the US and ive heard that fiberglass resin will melt the foam, ive never tried to but have thought about doing it as well
     
  32. jhubbuch

    jhubbuch New Member

    Trophy Points:
    2
    Use elmers glue to seal the foam by just painting it on the foam;p then give it a chance to dry, then use bondo. I had the best results from this set up and it still allowed me to move the foam but only slightly any else the bondo will crack but i am trying to make as hard as possible.
     
  33. wickedoffroad

    wickedoffroad Active Member

    Trophy Points:
    341
    If you use the elmer's glue method make sure that you get the stuff that DOES NOT wash off with water. The first layer went on great....every layer after that rewetted? the previous layer making the whole thing a glue mess. I am not sure if they ship internationally but Hobby Lobby carries a great foam. Silly winks. Comes in a couple different colours in sheets of 5mm thick 12" x 18" for $1.27. I created complete mark 4 armour and only used 30 sheets or so. Total costume cost without electronics about $50.
     
  34. Canobi

    Canobi Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    1,456

Share This Page