Suki is one of the good guys in Avatar: The Last Airbender and leader of an all female groupe of warriors. In other words, she’s awesome and who wouldn’t want to pretend to be her? Cosplayer ShotzgoBoom created the costume pictured above, and the primary component was craft foam. Like, piles of it. She spent three weeks shaping it, sealing it, and painting it to look like metal and leather. It’s flexible and an affordable way to mimic armor of all textures. Here’s what she recommends for making it look like leather.
… you’re going to want to do that [put the foam over a burner to make it curve] on all your foam piece whether you plan to make them curve or not. This will kind of pre-seal the foam a little bit and make the texture nicer.
Say you’re wanting to make the armor brown: you’re going to start with brown craft foam. You’ve heated it and glued it all: you’re all set! Now what you want to do is get some brown shoe polish. For a big project like this, you might want to get one of the big containers, not a little one. Also, be sure you get the little tins with the solid polish, and not the little roller ones. I mean, I don’t know how those work, but if you want to find out, be my guest…. Anyway, rub it on with an old rag or painting cloth, or whatever you don’t have a problem tossing afterwards. This will make it darker, and make the color just a tiny bit uneven which will make it look more natural. Then you’re going to want to paint the whole thing over with Decoupage. I recommend glossy, for that polished leather look.