Styrofoam is an affordable and useful material for cosplay. If you’re a maker, it’s not a bad idea to hang on to any large pieces of Styrofoam you receive with shipments. Sheets that protect new appliances, for example, are big enough to be cut down and/or carved. You can also find Styrofoam at places like the dollar store, your local craft supplies retailer, and Target. Any place that sells floral supplies will have a variety of Styrofoam shapes and textures, and dollar stores typically have packs of Styrofoam balls or cones. Here are five suggestions on how you can use them in cosplay:
Poké Ball – Dressing like a Pokémon trainer? You’ll need a Poké Ball prop. The ball is used for catching and storing Pokémon and can be made from a Styrofoam ball, acrylic paint, and Mod Podge. Simply use rubber bands to draw the lines onto the Poké Balls and start painting. You can make the classic red and black one or branch out and paint on different patterns (I didn’t know there was more than one kind of Poké Ball, but there is). You can get a tutorial at What I Adore.
Dalek suit or dress – Daleks have an interesting design. The Doctor Who villain isn’t what I would call terrifying – at least, not when there’s only one of them present – but I have to applaud the look. Most of the Dalek’s body is covered in halved balls, and Styrofoam is ideal for the task. Cut balls apart with a sharp X-acto blade or electric knive (it will get messy either way), seal and paint them, and attach them to your skirt or pants with glue or Velcro.
Harley Quinn’s hammer – Harley Quinn’s oversized hammer is one of the most recognizable weapons in DC Comics. The top and bottom of the hammer feature bands covered in round studs and halved Styrofoam balls work well for this. You have to cut, seal, and spray paint them. You could use this technique for any prop weapon or armor with circular studs, and remember, you can get the Styrofoam balls in small sizes. Watch the above tutorial from Axceleration Cosplay to see how it’s done.
Staff – You can use Styrofoam to make any staff that has cone shapes on the staff or an orb at the end. For the cones, you’d just need to cut the foam in half so the cone can fit around the center piece of the staff. Once the foam is cut, you can place it on the staff and mark where you need to carve out channels in each half of the foam in order to get a snug fit. Glue the cones into place and then shape and paint them as necessary. You’d follow the same process with an orb.
Eyeballs – Given the number of things Styrofoam balls are handy for, maybe I should have just focused on those. Anyway, you can use whole or halved Styrofoam balls to create eyeballs. The balls are available in different sizes at brick and mortar stores, and you can find an even larger variety of sizes if you shop online. To use them for a Muppets costume or something similar, cut them in half, cover them with white stretch fabric (like a jersey material), and glue on black felt or the pupils. Craftster ragadyanne400 used that method for a baby Gir costume.
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