First time making armor: foam ideas?

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First time making armor: foam ideas?

Post by karriachinoryu » Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:02 am

Hey everyone! I'm hoping to make some armor this year for the first time. I'm wondering if anyone can recommend a kind of foam I could use that wouldn't require heating to maintain its shape. (I'm worried about indoor fumes and whether it would be inefficient to heat it outside.) I am going to be making armor plates, not armor that goes all the way around me. I'm wondering if I glue the foam to leather or velcro straps that I tie around me if the foam could just bend into the curved shape I would need it in. I've heard that EVA foam is great but needs to be heated in order to curve at all. Any suggestions?
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Re: First time making armor: foam ideas?

Post by FiretoIce » Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:10 am


Really all the forms you use will bend, but not really keep their shape without heating. Outside heat and a hairdryer won't cut it. You need a cheap heat gun. So long as you don't melt the foam, no fumes. You can you a gas stove or a candle, but since this is your first time, don't. Electric stoves work great to.
The best I can suggest is foamies, the cheap thin sheets of foam you can get anywhere, maybe an 1/8in or so.
You will not get what you want from eva if you don't heat it. You can order specialty Eva which is half as think as normal or try a yoga mat, but I can't really suggest anything else. Hope something in that helps :)
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Re: First time making armor: foam ideas?

Post by karriachinoryu » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:04 pm

Thank you very much for the input! I appreciate hearing from someone with a lot more experience with this than I do. I will try to brave the heat gun!
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Re: First time making armor: foam ideas?

Post by Mirotic » Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:00 pm

Heating foam in general DOES RELEASE TOXINS.

That being said, the severity of the toxins depends on how hot you are getting the foam. A simple hair dryer can probably be safely used indoors, with the windows open.
A heat gun should be used outside and if you're getting the foam really hot/melting for some reason, you need to be outside with a respirator.

If it smells bad, it's probably not good for you.
Be safe, use proper ventilation and try to take breaks.
(Don't go heating foam for 8 hours straight).

Good luck!
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Re: First time making armor: foam ideas?

Post by Ciaobirdie » Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:54 am

You can use your standard craft foam from Michael's or Joann's, however you will not be able to get the durability you would with EVA. And you'd also need to heat it as well (there's pretty much no way you can get around this) but, again unlike EVA, because it's so thin it won't hold the shape as well. Like what's already been said, heating the foam is totally fine as long as you take safety precautions. In comparison to materials like Sintra (which releases toxic fumes when heated at all and requires a respirator), EVA is harmless. It's like anything - be careful and don't do anything stupid.

One thing I could recommend if you want to take an extra step and increase durability for your armor is to harden it with resin. However, resin can be expensive, and if you're concerned about heating foam and the fumes from that you'll definitely want to stay away from fiberglass resin because you MUST wear a respiratory until it has fully cured. Not sure if that would be an option for you, but just thought I'd throw it out there :-)

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Re: First time making armor: foam ideas?

Post by Shiroikami » Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:54 pm

The thin sheets of craft foam suggested by others work incredibly well, and you can layer them without sacrificing flexibility. It -helps- to heat the foam slightly in order to shape it, but is in no way necessary. Personally I suggest getting twice as much foam as you think you're going to need, and doubling the thickness (craft foam usually comes in 1/16" thickness, which is pretty delicate for something you're going to wear around) on all of your pieces. Doing this will also help your armor retain its shape a bit better without the hassle of heating the foam.

For making full-body armor, I highly recommend this tutorial: ... sdeep.html
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