Lucky Break & Untacky Glue: Cyrus’ Con Prep Day 3

As I continued working with the foam, I found the transferring of templates to foam relatively easy. I cut out the designs, taped together a few pieces, and I had paper templates just like those you would use when making clothing. In future designs that I plan on replicating, I will transfer to a much more secure form of cardstock. Then, it was time to trace onto the foam.

Other foam armorers suggested pinning the sheets down as you trace the outline, but I found placing a heavy book on one half and then the other works just as well. I traced out the helmet pieces as my starter since I had seen the demo online for the helmet in particular, and then broke out the X-ACTO knife and began working my way around the pieces. The foam is fairly thick, which will make the armor pieces look solid and imposing, but there is a much higher likelihood that the blade work may cause the edges to be uneven. Steady and direct pressure is the best method I have found, but it still isn't perfect. Also, speaking of not perfect….

It is difficult to tell how deep you are cutting with the blades, as they pull just as smooth and firmly on your first swipe as they do when you are dragging your blade through the cutting board below. I guess I had too much pressure applied when my blade snapped and the fragment jettisoned upward into my eye! I cursed, felt my face, and then said a blessing as I realized just HOW BAD that situation could have gone by a mere few millimeters. Undaunted, I grappled a fresh blade and continued.

Overall, the process wasn't too difficult, but it did take about 33% longer than I had expected. It would be a fun thing to do to have a ton of patterns to cut out at once, and just listen to music or half-ass watch a movie. My preference? Listen to a podcast or watch Critical Role on my tablet. But, for a quick stop-and-start piece, I didn't have time to "feel the groove" as it were. Once I felt the process to be more natural, I was done cutting and it was time to throw away scraps and start forming curvature to the pieces.

I didn't want to risk damaging any of what I had cut so far, so I grabbed a scrap slice and my wife's hairdryer, and tested out the process. It is a slow progression, using heat to soften and reform the foam in gentle bends. It also causes a very very slight melt to the exterior, but that might also be due to the hairdryer and my experience working with the material. It wasn't magical, but it worked! It held a gentle curve, and that was really all I was hoping for.

Before forming any other pieces, I decided to test one side of the helmet with the glue that I had at hand. I tried using my favorite adhesive, Eileens Tacky Glue, and it just didn’t work. I tried a clear version of the same glue hoping for different results. The results were the same. I let the glue dry and get extra tacky, and it still wouldn’t hold strong against the springy forces of the foam.

And that, dear readers, is where I decided that my attempt was a success overall, but that it was going to be a NO GO as far as making something for RALEIGH SUPERCON. I know the exact glue I need and I will be ordering some next week so that I can keep trying and keep learning. I am planning on making some armor for a buddies wedding and this might just be the direction I need to continue to pursue. I will be attending some cosplay armor panels at the Con, and so I don’t really feel let down about having to admit defeat. Hell, I almost lost an eye over it.

Tomorrow, I will share with you my supplementary costume, which I have been keeping as a backup this entire time!