Mascot costume questions


Sr Member
Hi guys,

My son plays for a youth football team, and their team name is the Chargers. Their logo is the same as the San Diego Chargers which is just a simple lightning bolt. Because everyone knows I like to make costumes, they asked if I could make one for a mascot. Being the sucker I am, I agreed.:$

I was thinking of using some kind of foam to create the bolt 3D. I was thinking something along the lines of having the bottom open to slip over the head, a hole on the top for the head to come out, and holes in the side for arms to come out. I hope that makes sense. What kind of foam would you recommend?

Once I get the form created, I'll need to get it to be the right color. I'm not sure about painting it, as I fear it would crack. is there a paint I could use? if not paint, is there a stretchy fabric like spandex that I could use? I've gotten decent sewing skills, so I think I could sew something that would cover the whole piece. Any advice of type of fabric?

I'll try to sketch something up to illustrate my ideas better...

There are a few different foams and fabrics you could use. I'll limit this to those you can purchase at a Joann's, which should be suitable for a youth football team. Use their 1" high density cushion foam. Spandex is a good choice for a cover.

There are denser foams and different material you could use to cover the costume, but I figure you might be on a limited budget. Your ideas for the lightening bolt make perfect sense to me.
I would suggest using the foam as a base, then covering it with a fabric. Raw foam will not be able to stand up to the abuses of a mascot... you would constantly have to touch it up with paint.

Fleece is a popular choice, however a nice seal fur could be good as well.
Spandex is nice, but it means your foamwork has to be immaculate. Even the smallest imperfection will show through. I would suggest making a spandex body suit for the wearer to put on, while wearing the lightning bolt. Spandex lycra is nice and cool, it wicks moisture away from the body and dries rapidly to keep the wearer comfortable while wearing the mascot costume. It can also serve double duty as a nice yellow bodysuit would give him some yellow legs to stick out the bottom.
An incredibly cheap foam is 2" Extruded Polystyrene (EPS or Styrofoam) from your local hardware superstore (Home Depot, Lowe's, Etc.) It's either pink or blue, and comes in BIG sheets for home insulation, I believe the dimensions are 4'X8' (X2")
Not only is it light and easy to work with, but it typically only costs about $8 or less per sheet. If you plan your work out right, you should only need 1 or 2 sheets.
I agree that stretching fabric over the foam would be the best option: not only would it look more "mascot-like", but as mentioned earlier it eliminates the problems of having to touch up the paint after use.

If you do decide to go the paint route, make sure that you use water-based paint or at least seal the foam with a water-based sealer of some kind (spray paint is notorious for melting most types of foam)
I love the idea behind this. I would actually look into the EVA Foam that many people here are using to build armors and such. I don't think the Extruded Styrene foam would work well because if he falls down, one good hit and that stuff will crack in half. Anyways, can't wait to see what you come up with! Good luck!
Thanks for the replies everyone. I saw some of the EVA foam armor builds you mentioned. Wow! Cool stuff. Any idea where to get it? And what kind of adhesives would work best with it? What adhesives would you recommend for the 1" foam from Joanns?
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