Working with EVA Foam for Costume Construction

Costumes, Cosplay, and Props Craft & Design
Working with EVA Foam for Costume Construction

Yesterday, I went down a rabbit hole of EVA cosplay videos on YouTube. No, that’s not some weird… proclivity, EVA (Ethylene-vinyl Acetate) is an extremely versatile foam material (think: the material used in yoga mats) that’s used for all sorts of costuming and prop applications. It is reasonably-priced, lightweight, easy to cut, form, and bond, and it can be used to effectively simulate everything from giant sci-fi power armor to fantasy leathers.

Here is a collection of some how-tos on working with EVA and some beginner projects to get your feet wet. If you do any kind of costume creation and were not working with EVA foam before, I bet you will be by the time you’re done watching these videos. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens (and dozens) of EVA foam tutorials and project videos online. Just do a search on the type of costume you’re interested in making and “EVA foam” and you will probably scoop something up.

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In this video, gamer and cosplayer Andrew Cook of Andrew DFT introduces EVA foam and runs through all of its uses and benefits.

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There’s a great tip in the above Andrew DFT video for heat-forming EVA. If you cut EVA and then subject it to heat, it will expand away from the cut, creating a much wider incision. The video also has great tips on raising and lowering cut sections of material to create more detail and visual interest in your creations.

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You’ll be amazed at the leather look that Andrew achieves in this video.

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Cosplayer and costume maker Zonbi shows you what is possible in convincing armor using EVA. With this material, you can create very large and heavy-looking armor pieces that are, in fact, quite lightweight, flexible, and reasonably comfortable to wear.

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Zonbi runs through the techniques she used to effectively weather her T-60 power armor from Fallout 4.

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One of the better costume and prop-making channels is Bill Doran’s Punished Props. In this “Live from the Shop” video, Bill shows you how he created a template for a Fallout 4 Mechanist’s helmet using reference photos of the game character and photos of his own head.

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In this tutorial, Bill shows you how to create a simple, curved shield out of EVA.

Have you used EVA in creating costumes? If so, please tell us about it in the comments below and feel free to share pics of your creations.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn

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