Crafting Foam: Versatile and Inexpensive
Crafting foam has to be one of the most versatile materials around, which is especially good to hear if you are a fan of cosplay. Even as a beginning cosplayer, I have learned that you should never be low on crafting foam. Available in various sizes and colors, foam can be used to create endless costume pieces, including armor.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Because it is easy to mold, foam can be shaped into kick-butt armor without breaking a sweat or the bank. You can find numerous brands of crafting foam at art supply stores, and even Wal-Mart for cents per sheet, or in bundles like I have shown here. One of the most popular brands is Eva Foam, and it can come in rolls as large as twenty-four square feet! Well-know cosplayer, Detty Cosplay, uses Eva foam for most of his armor costumes, and he even shows the building process!
Since foam is so user-friendly, it means that even a less experienced cosplayer like myself can handle the challenge without much heartache. That means, no, you do not have to learn how to work with plastic, nor do you have to be a master clay sculptor and molder. All you need are some scissors, hot glue, and maybe a heat gun (or hair dryer), and you are set! So say goodbye to poorly made, and designed, armor you find at the Halloween stores. You can make something much more interesting, and it will cost you less in the end.
I mentioned in my Mystique cosplay post that I attended C2E2 just this last April in Chicago, but what I did not mention was that I had a fellow mutant with me. My boyfriend, Jeb, was by my side as Azazel, one of Mystique’s love interests and father to her son, Nightcrawler.
In some traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Azazel is used as a term for a “scapegoat” or the name for a fallen angel or demon, and the latter would explain why Marvel creators decided to use the name for their red, demon-like mutant back in 2003.
Azazel claims that he is one of the oldest mutants alive and originated from an ancient horde of demonic-looking mutants from biblical times called the Neyaphem. The Neyaphem were involved in a holy war with a group of angelic, xenophobic mutants named the Cheyarafim over opposing views regarding morality.
The Cheyarafim were victorious in the war and banished the “demons” to an alternate dimension for all eternity; however the Neyaphem’s leader, Azazel, was the only one who was able to breach the dimensional void for brief periods of time due to teleportation abilities. His only hope to return to Earth for substantial time periods was by impregnating women; his children would serve as a link from Earth to his own dimension, allowing him and his people the opportunity to live, and rule, upon the Earth once more.
I have to say, this makeup was much easier to execute in comparison to Mystique’s, minus the slight blunder we had with the spray paint shown in the picture to the left (ha). It took just a quick stop to Party City for his supplies which consisted of: two tubes of red face makeup, black eyeliner, three cans of black spray paint, rubber ear tips, and a small bottle of flesh latex for scars (keep in mind is was for three days of wear).
Now, in regards to the face makeup, I was surprised that it worked so well since the blue paint I tried from Party City did not cover at all; however, it may have worked a little too well. With the Mehron makeup I ended up using, as soon as I hit the shower, it washed away by water pressure alone. Jeb’s makeup, on the other hand, was very difficult to wash off, so keep in mind that this makeup is inexpensive and offers great coverage, it does come at a slight price.
Over all, we happily took that trade-off. Our costumes were a great success, and I am very proud of how well we were able to capture the characters’ likeness, especially considering it was our first time heavily relying on makeup to complete our costumes. There were certainly plenty of double takes when we walked into a room, and I cannot even attempt to guess how many photos we took in the three days we attended the convention and even just on the street.
One of the best moments for us was meeting photographer, Corey M. Trotter. We ended up posing for him on the last day of C2E2, and boy did he surprise us with a stunning digital image a few weeks later. We were completely blown away by his skill, and Jeb and I were extremely grateful for such a great way to remember our time at C2E2 2014.
I cosplayed as comic book Mystique just this last April for the C2E2 convention (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo), and as I have mentioned before, I have only recently entered the cosplaying world.
I thought that I would not have the skill needed to pull off a costume worthy of the characters I wished to emulate, but I proved otherwise to myself. The only thing that held me back from pursuing my dream was me, and the same holds true for you. It does not matter if you can sew, paint, or apply make-up, you can still participate in cosplay and have a great time!
There were plenty of things I learned while doing this cosplay, especially since it was based heavily on make-up, and I want to share my experience with you. Hopefully, with some tips and tricks regarding body make-up, you will decide to join me in the cosplaying world!
Picking Body Paint
My first thought was heading to Party City and using their face and body paint. Now, for my boyfriend, who was playing Azazel, the paint worked perfectly in red; however, the blue paint I needed was not the best consistency; it was runny and would leave patches of skin showing when I tried to apply more.
I did some research and I found Mehron Paradise Face Paint in Dark Blue. I highly recommend this makeup. It was a perfect consistency, and, as a beginner, it was very easy to work with the make-up. The coverage was excellent, and it did not appear cakey. I had smooth, blue skin just like Mystique!
Painting the Body
To paint my face, ears, and complete upper body, it took close to five hours the first day. By the second day of the convention, we got it down to four hours. By the third day, we had mastered the painting to under three hours!
What made the two-hour difference? Baby Powder. Though the paint did layer well, areas such as the forearm crease, neck, and armpit were difficult to paint without cracking. This is where the baby powder came in to save the day. I thought I needed many layers of paint before “setting” the make-up (applying power to keep the make-up from fading). What I learned is that it is actually best to alternate between make-up and powder. It allows the make-up to build much more easily, and the powder gives the make-up something to hold on to. Let’s just say that with this method, my make-up still looked fresh, even after six hours of wear!
Adding Depth to the Make-Up
I knew that I wanted more than just blue paint, and I had to do something more for Mystique’s sake, because let’s face it; Mystique is gorgeous and some blue body paint would not be doing her justice. I had to glam up the look. I needed some sparkle.
Yes, it sounds silly, but a sparkle element would catch light and add some depth to the flat, dark blue paint. A sparkle element could easy help me highlight areas of my face and give the make-up a more realistic feel.
So how did I get my sparkle? Eye shadow was the answer. I found NYC Color Sparkle Eye Dust in Brilliant Sapphire. The shadow was more of a thick powder (hence the “dust” term in its name), and it did just the trick. Not only was I ensuring the makeup was safe to place around my eyes, but it also helped conceal any areas where the paint job was less than par and contained brush strokes.
Finishing the Look
There was one aspect of the Mystique costume that did concern me and that was her skull headpiece.I had created my own out of foam, and then I painted the piece, but I had no idea how I was going to attach it.
All I could think of was glue, glue, glue. What could be my glue? I then had the best realization: False eyelash glue. I happened to have some because of a Halloween costume I did the previous year and it worked like a charm, even with the face paint and eye dust! The best finishing touch were my yellow contacts, completing the whole make-up.
I hope this has helped you realize that cosplaying is something anyone can do, and I hope even more so that I see you at future conventions!