Tutorial: Custom colored foamboard

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#1 Xylina_Furiae on 11 years ago

I think foam sheets are a resource that goes unloved in the Cosplay hobby, probably because they only come in a few colors depending on where you are unless you want to pay out the nose for shipping, or whatever the case may be. I happen to think they're awesome, and depending on where you go, you can get them DIRT CHEAP.

This is my upcoming cosplay (Mint from Threads of Fate : [URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v84/Maruri_hizu/g02.jpg"]picture[/URL] ). See the petals on the back of her hat? I was thinking to myself today at the hobby store about how to achieve that look without using a complicated sewing technique, since I have neither the money nor the patience to experiment with that. I saw the foam and thought, why not?

The problem is that there are only certain colors of foam. Before, when I just painted it, I didn't like the result: it was thick and didn't look natural. Spray paint gave me the same problem. So, I thought back on a previous FAQ I read on dying wigs with FW ink (found [URL="http://www.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=154280"]here[/URL]) and wondered if I could do the same with foam.

This was my result: [URL="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v84/Maruri_hizu/DSC_0437.jpg"]A beige piece of foam that fits my needs![/URL]

Small spray bottle
Foam sheet (I used white to control the final color, but you could use different colors to "dye" it the SPECIFIC color you need it to be.)
Rubbing alcohol (I used 70%)
A thick craft paintbrush. I used a junky one out of my kitchen drawer.
For this, I used Acrylic Paint in the color "Linen," but I'm sure any will do.


Mix in your spray bottle about a half-cup of rubbing alcohol and enough paint to thicken the solution a little bit. (I used about 1-2 tablespoons, but it depends on how dark you want your color to be.)

Lay foam somewhere where it doesn't matter if you get it dirty, such as your lawn or the floor of a garage that may or may not be yours.

Test the solution on a small piece of the foam, like a corner, where you can cover it up or cut it off later if need be. If it needs more paint, mix it in with the solution. If it needs more alcohol, well, you get the point.

Once the solution is "good", spray the foam once, then spread over a section of the foam with your paint brush. Continue doing this until the entire board is covered, let dry, and then if needed add a second coat.

Hint: You can get cool mixed effects with this technique! just use two spray bottles and two colors, or three and three, and alternate. If you have a spray bottle with an adjustable sprayer, this can allow you to get thicker and flatter streams, and thus give you really cool effects.

Once you're done, the foam should be even and in exactly the color you want.

I ran the foam under running water, and the paint stayed. However, when I added soap, the paint came right off.

To preserve the color, spray with [URL="http://www.misterart.com/g2325/Krylon-Matte-Spray.htm"]spray matte finish [/URL], also available from craft stores. This is optional, but it doesn't hurt to have a little security. :)

Happy coloring!

#2 lawrencecasher on 11 years ago

but if you used fabric to back teh foam you could have achieved this affect to when you paint the fabric. I use Muslin...but I do that because I make armor with mine...but I guess since you werent really making armor this would be good to get a custom color. This is a nice tutorial!

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