Foam builds

photo by Kimberly McCaffrey - Cosplayers: Jenny Prado - Dana Severson - Laird of Cosplay -

What is EVA foam? Why use it for cosplay? Where can you get it? Details inside!

One of the most popular items to create a cosplay costume out of is EVA Foam. It is extremely versatile and easy to acquire. This material can be used to craft everything from accessories to complete suits of armor.

What is EVA Foam?

You are probably more familiar with it than you realize. It is commonly found in yoga mats, floor mats, and sports gear.

EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam is a firm, high-density foam that is softer and more rubbery than many of the standard polyethylene foams. It is also a known as a closed cell foam. EVA foam is responsive as it squishes when you press it and returns to its normal state almost instantly.

Why use EVA for Cosplay?

  1. Most people start with EVA because it is durable, easy to acquire, and reasonably priced.
  2. The solid, yet soft, material is easy to cut with basic tools such as scissors and box cutters (other favorite tools of cosplay crafters). It can also be easily formed with the application of heat.
  3. It is lighweight and typically weighs about 2 lbs per cubic foot, which means that you can build an entire suit of armor without being weighted down.
  4. EVA foam is UV resistant and will not break down or discolor when exposed to light. Many materials break down after prolonged exposure and start to discolor.

Where can I get EVA Foam?

Ideally, you want to go with SKS foam. It has a nice density, is easy to work worth, has clean edges, and comes in a variety of thicknesses. It is also a nice, light neutral color, which makes finishing your project a lot easier.

If you are a first-time crafter, you might want to start with the cheaper option.

You’ve probably seen packages of them at your local stores. They are marketed as floor padding for garages, playrooms or exercise mats. These are (typically) EVA foam. This is a lower grade foam than the SKS mentioned above, but it is easy to find and you can start working with it now.

The problems with this foam are:

  • It is typically about 1/2″ thick, which makes it harder to work with and can lead to bulky builds.
  • It has a diamond pattern on at least one side.
  • It is darker colored, making it harder to achieve your final desired color.
  • They are cheaply manufactured, so there is no guarantee on quality or consistency.
  • If you buy the colored ones typically marketed for playrooms, they will frequently have a plasticy type layer.

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