How to make cosplay armor!
When you think of cosplay armor, your first thought might be Alphonse from Full metal Alchemist. And then you’re like, “Damn! How the heck am I going to build something like that?” But in reality, cosplay armor doesn’t need to be that complex or that big of a scale. Similar to costume-making, you don’t want to jump in the deep right away with cosplay armor. You could start as something small like an arm bracelet.
In this post, I’ll go over how to make cosplay armor. This is basically the dummies guide on getting started with cosplay armor; as if you have no clue what to do. And that’s totally fine, neither do I!
But even I have the basic ideas down on how to make cosplay armor. So if you’re willing to buy a few materials and tools, you can definitely do it. It sure looks a lot of fun as well.
With that out of the way, let’s get started!
What materials and tools do you need to make cosplay armor?
When it comes to making cosplay armor, there are a lot of materials that can go into it. I’ll go over all the things you could potentially use to make cosplay armor.
It all starts with a base and pattern. All cosplay armor really is just some foam holding everything together, and using paper patterns to get the shape you want. The fancy stuff like the paint, metal and LED lights come right after.
But again, by far the most important thing is your base, which is the foundation of your armor. Underneath that Master Sword or Iron Man Helmet, is some sort of material holding it all together. It could be:
- EVA Foam
- Safety equipment such as gloves (to prevent cutting yourself accidentally) and respirator (especially if you plan on using chemicals)
- Blank sheets for printing out the pattern for your cosplay armor
- Cutting table. A cutting table is a great thing to have, so you don’t leave any marks on the table while you’re slashing away making your cosplay armor
- Cutting tools such as scissors, X-Acto knife and a box cutter knife. It’s also recommended to have a knife sharpener to keep your blade in good shape
- Things to keep things glued – barge, hot glue gun
- Markers (e.g. sharpie) to make where you’re going to cut
- Heat gun
- Sanding gun
Depending on the type of cosplay armor (or your budget to be honest), any of these materials could work as a foundation. With that said, EVA Foam is by far the most popular choice when it comes to cosplay armor. It strikes the best balance between being high quality and solid, while also being affordable.
How do I get started with cosplay armor?
One of the most beginner-friendly cosplay armor things you can make is an arm bracelet. Many characters such as Link from Zelda and Wonder Woman wear arm bracelets themselves, so this would be a great first cosplay armor project to work on. And best of all, it’s pretty damn easy to do! Here’s how:
- To start, put some plastic wrap around your forearm. We’re going to put some duct tape around your arm in the next step. But the plastic wrap is there to make sure it doesn’t actually stick to your skin.
- Get some duct tape and wrap the tape all over your forearm, within the plastic wrap. Go crazy with it!
- Get a market and make a line across your forearm, as well as two circles at your wrist and elbow. You’ll use those lines to cut out.
- With a pair of scissors, carefully cut the duct tape across your forearm to free yourself from the duct tape!
- With this duct tape and plastic wrap you just cut out, you now have a pattern and the exact measurements of your forearm to make the real thing on EVA foam (or whatever material you want to use).
- Use that pattern with duct tape and trace it onto the EVA foam with a marker. You want the mark to be a little bit wider on the EVA foam, so it’s not too tight on your forearm when you’re done.
- Once you’re done tracing, cut out the EVA foam using a box cutter.
- Roll up the EVA foam you just cut out. It should fit perfectly on your arm.
- Now there are a few ways to connect the middle part. You can use contact cement to glue it together. Or even make a zipper line for it.
- And you’re done the basic part! Of course, the painting and polish does depend on your character. But in a nutshell, that’s how you make an arm bracelet.
If you can make an arm bracelet, you can pretty much make anything else for cosplay armor, you just apply the same techniques: use a pattern to get the exact measurements, cut that out, trace it onto EVA foam or whichever cosplay armor you want to use, cut that out and you got that foundation.
What are some cosplay armor ideas?
There are many characters who embrace the armor aesthetic. If you’re looking to cosplay a character with armor, check out these ideas:
- Fire Emblem characters
- Eeveelutions from Pokémon (there was a big fad with cosplayers dressing up as armored versions of the Eevee evolutions!)
- Wonder Woman
- Alphonse from Full metal Alchemist
- Yu GI oh dragon
- Hylian Shield
- Master Chief from Halo
- Iron Man
- The Juggernaut
- Stormtroopers from Star Wars
If you want me to make an entire list, let me know. I can always make a separate post for cosplay armor ideas. 🙂
Do you have to be good hands-on to be good at cosplay armor? Can anyone make cosplay armor?
When I first did research on making cosplay armor, I was intimidated myself. I’m not an artsy type by any means; as a kid, my elementary school teachers would give me a hard time of how bad my tracing and coloring were! And forget about being good with hardware and tools. So I was probably more intimidated by armor making than you are.
But after watching some videos and reading articles about making cosplay armor, it’s really not that difficult. Sure it’ll take some practice to get really good at making cosplay armor (and for me personally, tracing a pattern perfectly without screwing it up). It’s just like cosplay or any other hobby. You’ll get better over time and the fun is when you get better through your journey!
Can you make money from cosplay armor?
Absolutely! Cosplay armor-making in general is always in demand not only because of how cool they look, but also that many cosplayers want someone else to make it for him. Whether it’s because of time, or not wanting to do it themselves, cosplayers are paying good money to armor makers to help them build their next cosplay weapon project.
So if you enjoy making stuff like cosplay armor, you’ll have no issue finding commissions! With that said, just like making costumes for others, making cosplay armor is definitely time-consuming. While it can earn you money, it’s not a job that’s going to be extremely lucrative, as you’ll have to get the materials yourself and spend the time to make the armor.
And there you have it; how to make cosplay armor!
Hopefully by now, you have a much better understanding of what goes into making a cosplay armor.
From the foundation level, all it really involves is cutting out patterns and gluing/sticking them together. Like with costume-making, start off with an easy armor like an arm bracelet. That way, you can work your way to more complex stuff like the entire Master Chief suit from Halo!
If you have any other tips to share, be sure to leave them in the comments below!
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!