Hey everyone, welcome to my new series: What the bleep am I doing?! An Artist’s guide to all things creative. Basically, this entire article series/blog category is for everyone to find tips and info on everything that they may be either confused on, don’t know how to go about, or really don’t know what the bleep they are doing. I decided to create this series because when I was just a beginning writer, cosplayer, creator in general I literally had no idea what I was doing. I still have a lot of times where I frankly have no clue. So, to help that confusion and frustration, I am going to start writing these articles on everything I learned and info on what I wish I knew when I first started taking on different projects. Because who doesn’t need a helping hand every now and then? So, let’s get started with the very first article for this category! EVA Foam! Part one. Because let’s face it, there is a lot to know about this material. Annnd if I just used one article to describe it, it would be way too long. So, on we go!
What is EVA Foam?
Let’s start this off with an explanation on what exactly is EVA foam. Put simply, it’s the stuff our flip flops are made out of. Crazy right? I know I was surprised when I first found out. The simple material can be capable of so much. The longer explanation is it’s a porous material called Ethylene-vinyl acetate. But that’s the scientific name for it just to say that it’s a material mostly used as an easier substitute for rubber materials and other things just like it. But for us creators, it’s one of the most helpful and awesome materials to build nearly everything in the world of cosplay.
Different types of Thickness
Not only is this material incredibly helpful and unique because of its nature to be lighter than the average rubber-like material, but it also comes in varying thicknesses too! From the thinnest which would be 1mm to 2mm which is akin to that of craft foam. Then you have 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 7mm, 8mm, 9mm and finally 10mm which is the thickest and usually harder to come by because it can be rather expensive. Not only that, it is generally on the harder side to work with. The most common thickness used is usually 4-6mm. But in general, it depends on what kind of prop or armor you want to make that determines the thickness of foam you’ll want to use. The higher thickness is usually used to make stronger and bigger props/armor. While the smaller thickness is good for details and smaller props.
Different types of EVA Foam
Just like there’s a multitude of thicknesses there is also a multitude of types of EVA Foam! From what I’ve learned so far, there are three types. Puzzle mats, Foam rolls, and Craft foam. But there are definitely pros and cons to each type, so I definitely suggest experimenting.
This type of foam is usually used, well like the name says, the puzzle mats that kids use. It’s a thick and durable foam so it works well for pretty big props, but it can be hard to use considering how hard it is to cut through. But it’s pretty durable so if your props can take a lot of wear and tear.
One of the most used types of EVA foam used by cosplayers. It is super versatile and can do pretty much anything you want. Many craft stores sell it, and you can find it on a lot of cosplay material sites too like
- Cosplay Crafts
- TNT Cosplay supplies
This foam comes in rolls that you can well, unroll and cut to the necessary lengths. Unlike the puzzle mats which you need multiple of in order to have the right lengths you need.
The foam that you can easily find at any grocery store and craft store. This stuff is super thin. It’s really the stuff you’re used to working with as a kid when you had craft projects to do. The tons of color, really thin sheets, used to decorate everything and anything? Yup, that’s craft foam. I only recommend using this for details though. Not a good idea to use it for your main foam base or anything. It will fall apart in an instant. Trust me on this one guys, heh.
- Porous material so it will suck up paint like a bloody sponge. I’ll talk about how to fix this in another article though so stay tuned!
- Can be quite heavy if you layer it many times and you can get really warm in it if you use it for armor.
- Pliable. Does what you want pretty easily, especially if you use a heat gun—more on this in another article as well.
- Very light most of the time, best used for props not…so much for armor. Unless you cover it in Worbla that is. (I’ll talk about that later as well. So, don’t worry about this too much)
- Very easy to work with.
- Durable. It won’t break that easily.
All in all, EVA foam is pretty useful for a material. It’s also something that I highly recommend if you’re just starting out. Well, that’s pretty much it for this article. I think for the first out of many more to come, this turned out pretty well! If you guys have any questions feel free to ask. I’d be more than happy to answer them! See y’all next time!