Building a cosplay from scratch sounds tough, but it can be done even if you’re a beginner.
This is my first time ever sewing and building armor. There are many different ways to do this and many better people to learn from. I haven’t sewn anything other than some Mickey Mouse ears and maybe a rip in some pants before. So it’s okay to be nervous.
You should always look for a pattern, but since the movie-related Dr. Strange is still new, I had to wing it. I created a pattern with an old tank top, giving it an extra 2-3 inches on each side since the material I bought wasn’t stretchy. Cut along the pattern and label each side to remember what goes where.
My advice to you is to read the instructions if you’ve never used a sewing machine before. YouTube tutorials are extremely helpful for newbies like me! You are going to mess up a LOT so do not get discouraged. Look at me, I sewed in the section my arms were supposed to go through.
Once I figured out where the pieces I cut out were supposed to go, I simply sewed a straight line. As you can see in the picture, always leave an inch (or a fingernail) from the end points to the part you want to be sewing.
I am still midway through my process but it looks to be coming out great.
Beginners Craft Foam Armor
You will need:
- Foam (both a thick 5mm and the thinnest craft foam)
- A heat gun
- White paper
- Acrylic paint/paint brushes
- Mod podge
- Hot glue
- A wood burner
1- First draw out what you want to do on paper; about the actual size you would like it. You will use this as the pattern you will follow.
2- BE CAREFUL when handling the heat gun as it s extremely hot. Hold the thicker foam from the tips and use the heat gun about 4-6 inches away from the foam. Pass the heat gun back and forth at a moderate pace (don’t try to rush it, you will burn the foam, or worse, yourself). If it needs to bend, then apply directly to the place you want it to mold to, in this case my arm. It is VERY HOT, so wear a thin shirt or take the pain 😉
3- Draw the pattern on to the thin foam to the best of your ability. It’s okay to mess up because you will paint over it.
4- Use the wood burner (feels like you’re giving a tattoo) very carefully because it’s really hot and you can burn right through the foam if you’re too rough. Just follow the pattern that you drew. There are different pieces that can attach to the wood burner for different shapes.
5- Hot glue the thin foam with the pattern onto the thicker one.
6- Use Mod Podge as a primer so the foam doesn’t soak up the paint. I have also used the spray one but once I painted it the paint kept cracking and it was a mess at the end.
7- Wait a few hours for the Mod Podge to dry completely or just leave it overnight.
8- Paint to your liking. I used two coats of gold acrylic paint. Black paint mixed with water gives it a damaged look. For the damaged look just mix the paint with a bit of water (the more water the less thick the paint will be) and use a cloth and rub it onto the armor. Make sure to get into the dents so it brings out the design.