When it comes to the overall versatility of foam, the possibilities are endless. While most people think of foam as a couch cushion or house insulation, it can be used in a variety of craft projects as well. If you are a fan of cosplay, then you know that foam is often used to create weapons that complete your character. Whether you are a valiant knight or the cruelest villain, a sword can lend authenticity to your look while giving the character an added edge. Let’s take a look at how to make a cosplay sword using foam.
Why Use Foam?
When choosing the materials, there are plenty of options on the market you can use. While you could use cardboard or poster board, those options have their drawbacks. For instance, the sword may be flimsy, easy to damage, and flat in appearance. You could opt for wood for your sword, as some cosplayers do, but this option can be heavy, costly, and difficult to work with. Foam is the best choice for a cosplay sword for a few reasons. The weight of foam in your hand is good without being as heavy as wood.
Foam is also easier to work with for experienced and novice cosplayers alike. Best of all, foam is an affordable solution! If you make mistakes, it won’t be as expensive as wood.
What Type of Foam?
When it comes to making a cosplay sword, the type of foam is the first thing to consider. While there are a lot of different foam types available, not all of them are well suited for making cosplay swords. There are two foams that are ideal for cosplay swords:
- Polystyrene Foam – This foam is a lightweight foam that is easy to cut to a sword shape. Since this foam has a closed-cell structure, it’s a bit firmer and more durable. It comes in several densities, so you can get the option that feels the best to you.
- Cross-Linked Polyethylene – This foam is available in a wide range of colors if you want to create a sword with a specific color for your character. It also offers a smoother feel that some other foams do. It offers more weight for those looking for a heavier feel. It also offers great shock absorbency if you are looking to engage in swordplay.
How to Make A Cosplay Sword
To start, pull together the appropriate materials. You will need your chosen foam type, but also items such as a sander, tracing paper, a sharp knife, a pipe or conduit for the handle, a ruler, and paint in metallic colors (if you want to paint your sword).
Once you have gathered all the necessary supplies, begin by tracing your sword outline on to the tracing paper. Most cosplayers are portraying specific characters, so the sword design may be something you already know. You may even be able to download a template of the exact sword of the character to make things easier. Make sure you measure how long the sword is before you begin. You want to outline two separate swords. To get a multi-dimensional look instead of a flat piece, you will need to join them together.
Next, you will trace the paper outline onto the foam with a marker. To begin cutting, you will want to make your initial cut along the line for accuracy. The second round of cutting will separate the sword from the rest of the foam.
If you decide to put the sword together in parts, you will want to paint the parts first. Doing this will ensure the colors of the blade don’t get on the handle and vice versa. There are metallic silver paints you can use to make the blade look like real metal, but the handle can be painted color that is more appropriate for the character you are portraying.
Once the foam cutouts have completely dried, you can assemble and finalize the sword. Using the PVC pipe as the base, you will want to carefully line up the foam cutouts and make sure all your measurements are correct. While confirming your measurements, also mark the pipe where the blade starts and ends. These marks will act as a way to properly line up your pieces, but also show you where to put the adhesive.
Once you have the measurements and marks in place, you can use your adhesive to connect the pieces over the PVC pipe. Once you glue your blade and handle cutouts, let it sit for a few hours to allow the glue to fully dry. You should now have a three-dimensional sword that is perfect for your next cosplay event!