My First Time With...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

After much contemplation I was finally able to try working with craft foam and/or rubber sheet, for the first time in forever. *Breaks into song*

What brought this about?

For some time now, I have been admiring those cosplayers and crafters who make their own costumes. I always see these Beautiful armor or mecha or even costumes with intricate designs, apart from the cloth  aspect, and that made me really curious about it for several years now.  "How were these made?"

Stein Vivero as The Emperor

With Ae Ri at the 2011 Animetric Convention

Being a new cosplayer at the time, I, of course, had no absolutely no idea what materials and/or textile were being used to achieve such level of craftsmanship. But of course, through research and by asking my ever growing circle of friends, I finally found out that it was "Rubber sheet" or "Crafting foam" that was being used to make elaborate costumes here in the Philippines.

Stein Vivero as The Emperor

Team BanKai in Iloilo Comic con

I'm pretty sure you know what craft foam and rubber sheets are right? But for those who don't, I will be making a separate post on the difference between craft foam and rubber sheet in the next weeks to come. So stay tuned.

So going back, being a cosplayer I consistently work to develop skills and improve this craft. Just to let you know I cannot sew (yet) to save my life but I am able to make small details and jewelries and accessories of the characters I cosplay. But what I wanted to learn is how to work with craft foam.

 So this CosMania season, I am going to cosplay two characters which require some craft foam and rubber sheet detailing to really challenge myself as a cosplayer and a crafter. So I started watching and reading tutorials and sought inspiration online, but I didn't have enough courage to dive into the technique of my own.

Now, thankfully, one of my close friends is working on his costume and needed help. After much deliberation with myself and after shuffling and fixing my schedule, I finally went to his place (with our friend) and helped out.

Finally, here comes my experience at last. Upon arriving at his house, I saw him already working on the details of his shin guards and I gaped at the intricacy (I cannot share those photos here right now since it is quite confidential at this point). Immediately I told him to give me something to do. So he gave me and our friend the  pattern he had made in advanced of his gauntlets. He instructed us to lay it on the medium thickness rubbersheet and carefully trace the outline cut it out with a cutter. It was relatively easy, I found that pinning the initial pattern with thumb tacks to the foam helps a lot in preventing the pattern from slipping or moving. Also for contoured pieces which you cannot lay flat, you have to cut on some parts of the rounded area so you can lay it flat then later when you glue and seal them together again it will return to its perfect curve shape.

The whole evening through the early morning we were all hard at work, tracing, cutting and sticking the pieces together. I guess for some it would seem as if a tornado hit the room and it looked like a really daunting task but surprisingly I had such a wonderful time! I loved being able to see the pieces come together.

One of these days, hopefully I will be able to post some basic crafting tutorials for those who are interested in starting out. It is going to be such a fun journey. Don't you agree?

Lara Krystle Novales
a.k.a. Khaleesi-Chan

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- Lara-chan