Monday, December 24, 2012

Craft Foam Armour Project 1

Mimiru’s Cosplay Diary
December 22-24 2012
Nevermore’s Light Armour: Arm Armour
Attempt 1 at Craft Foam

This is my first time using craft foam, and I am seriously happy with the turnout. J  It can be better in most places, but for a first run this is not too shabby. ;)  

These were made for Nevermore for his Generation III: War presentation as the Dagda: High King of Ireland. Before, I had his Winter and Summer set, but I really wanted to go somewhere further with him and explore his character more. He is incredibly fun to play and an outstanding character to cosplay. 
This is the step by step that I did to create his arm armour. This piece is called The Mother’s Guidance.


On them, they feature the Goddess Danu (whom is also considered the Dagda’s mother) inside a shield, presenting the Celtic Trinity knot. For Nevermore, she represents protection, guidance, light and Future. She watches him in battle, granting him her protection.

To her sides, she is surrounded by two ravens, which represent Nevermore, himself. They are his animal spirit, and guide him to make the right decisions for himself and his people. Nevermore presents himself to his comrades as the Raven. The ravens are presented upside down,  telling us that the wearer is chaotic and not always down to earth. 

The color is Gold, regal and unwavering. Powerful and wealthy. The metal is worn and the surface marred from centuries of battle.

The double layers protect the wearer, but also direct that power at enemies with powerful arms and strength.


Honestly, I find using craft foam to be easy and fun, but sometimes it can become tedious because of the time consuming process it can be. Draw, cut, draw, cut, trace, cut, repeat, seal, seal, dry, dry, seal, dry, more sealing, more drying, seal, dry, trim, seal, dry……   Finer details while cutting on craft foam can be a pain, especially if working with dull blades or tiny details. The craft foam doesn’t always want to cut easily or smoothly, sometimes leaving you with knicks, messy edges, or cut places that shouldn’t be cut. However, it is quite convenient, and certainly fun.  The creative possibilities are endless, and it truly gives you an elated sense of self-worth and accomplishment when finished. 

I noticed that my time spend in Graphic Design seriously helped, and it made me happy to be able to apply what I learned in Commercial Design into these arm armours. Sewing allows me to use other forms of design, but being able to use commercial digital design gives me satisfaction.


Mod Podge (matte)
11 Sheets of Craft Foam (13.9cm x 21.5cm)
Hot Glue (low temperature gun)
Krylon Gold Metallic Spray Paint
“Chocolate Bar” colored acrylic paint
“English Ivy Green” colored acrylic paint
Black Createx Airbrush Color

Scissors, Exacto Knives, Carpet Cutter (heh heh), Pencil, Brushes, Sponge Brushes


First thing, I created the base of the arm pieces using four sheets of craft foam. Because I wanted something layered, I just used the same pattern four times. Pretty easy stuff.

I needed to sit and figure out a main design. Nevermore is an Irish deity, so I wanted to do something a little close to home. I browsed around for different knot work, designs, and jewelry hoping to find some inspiration. I came across a lovely pendant and decided that although quite large and not exactly the intricate and tiny details I was originally looking for, it was quite lovely and would suit my Dagda perfectly. The pendant represented everything around his mythology, and I decided it would be perfect to turn it into the main centerpiece. 

I printed out the image twice, and then proceeded to cut them. One was cut with just the image of the Goddess, and the other was cut with just the Trinity seal. I glued them together as seen in the picture in order to get a layered, embezzled look. 

Following, I outlined everything onto the craft foam. 

Mind you, this was quite annoying after a while. I ended up being unable to find my exacto knives, and had to deal with scissors and a carpet cutter. *facepalm* Funnily enough, when I was searching for my hot glue gun I found my knives hidden in one of the drawers of the china cabinet. 

I cut out a total of four pieces for this, duplicating the Goddess and the Trinity twice for both arm pieces. 


I back tracked a little on the arm pieces, and used this time to shape them using heat from a blow dryer. Once the shape was satisfactory, I mod podged the heck out of them buggers. The mod podge helps the craft foam become easier to glue and seal together.

Once everything was dried, and the four arm pieces became two, I centered and attached the Goddess and the Trinity to both of them. 


Once I got the main pieces together, I decided that I wanted to elaborate a little more, and add a border. First, I used a paper “pattern” of sorts, and then used it to measure the approximate length I would need to fit around the design. I cut out a foam pattern using extra scraps, and then traced it and cut out two final, single pieces. They were elegantly mod podged.

I noticed how plain they looked (to me anyway), and began searching for ideas to fill in the gaps. I wanted something that would describe Nevermore or at least fit him, so I looked into tribal designs to see if I could come up with something. 

Originally I was contemplating using swirls or something of the like, but I honestly wanted something a bit more symbolic for the character. 

I did, and immediately fell in love with these lovely birds. They would be perfect to place around the Goddess, as if protecting or taunting her. I knew that these would be perfect. 

Here is where some more of my commercial design skills kick in. J I adjusted sizes, and then printed. I made sure to print extra just in case the paper tore, and then proceeded to trace the images onto the craft foam…..four times. Although, I can honestly say that the birds were not NEARLY as bad as drawing and cutting the two Trinities.   It was fun to see a flock of birds on my table when I was done. lol


Mod podge. Mod podge and hot glue goes here. I placed the borders and the birds in their appropriate places and then began to add additional layers of mod podge onto the entirety of both arm pieces. Overnight, they hardened more, and now they have an excellent, firm shape and durability.


At last! Painting! This part I was actually most looking forward to, since the paint and final detailing will definitely make the difference between two pieces of foam and two pieces of armor.  It also means that I am one step closer to being completely finished! The other thing I need to do would be to apply a method of attachment to them. Would do no good if I had armour I couldn’t wear! lol

The gold was a wonderful idea, and is perfect for Nevermore, although I should have sprayed the layers on a little thinner each. For the next project, I will definitely be doing that.
I wanted to use some type of shading, but I wanted it to look worn, so I chose to use a dark green and a chocolate brown with a hint of red.
The weathering is a rusty green, and I actually mixed a little black (opaque Createx Airbrush Color) into it.



Leg and Knee Armour
Amour Adornments