Contact Us

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Suggestions? Submissions? Shout-outs?

Whatever you want to tell us here at Mikey Does Cosplay, we're always happy to hear your thoughts and feedback!


123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789


You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.



Here's where the magic happens. I'll be posting about all of my experiences and experiments (both failed and successful ones), introducing you to my costumes, sharing fun stories, linking tutorials and useful products, and who knows what else!


Filtering by Tag: materials monday

Materials Monday: Adhesives

Michael MacWolff

Welcome back for more materials review here at Mikey Does Cosplay. This month I'm going to outline the different types of adhesives I use, how to use them, and what sorts of things they should be used for.


I know I talked about mod podge last time with the finishing products, but I use mod podge just as much as an adhesive. Mod podge works best when the pieces you're gluing together can be pressed or clamped so that they stay in place. This is because it's a fairly wet glue and takes some time to dry, so things can shift or separate if you're not careful. Also, if you're using paper or cardboard, the mod podge can cause it to curl or wrinkle, so it's best if you can use a flat, heavy object (like an encyclopedia or something similar) to keep things flat. I use mod podge a lot with foamcore board when I'm layering the boards together, as well as when I use compressed paperboard (i.e. cereal boxes) or craft foam for raised details. in all of these cases it's best to be able so clamp the pieces, or flatten them with a book or other heavy object to keep things in place and make sure the bond is secure.


E-6000 is useful when you need a strong bond between different pieces. I usually use this when I'm attaching metal or plastic pieces because mod podge just doesn't stick to those materials. It's also nice because it creates a flexible bond, so if you have something that needs to bend, it'll allow for that without the bond letting go. The major downside is that it takes a long time for it to set, so things need to stay nice and steady or they might shift on you. One good method for preventing that is to put the E-6000 on your piece, mush the piece you're attaching onto it to so that the glue is on both pieces, and then separate them again for about 2-3 minutes. When you press the pieces together again, they should stay put much better while the glue finishes drying.
**E-6000 will melt open-cell foams, so don't use it unless you have a sealant coat. Closed-cell foam (EVA and craft foam) are fine.
**E-6000 has a pretty potent odor so I'd recommend using it in well-ventilated areas


Hot glue is the only real instant gratification of adhesives, but with the downside of it being a much weaker bond than our other choices. If you need a strong bond between your materials, this probably isn't the way to go, however it is very useful for certain materials. I use hot glue a lot with craft foam, because it bonds fairly well to the foam and adheres quickly. It's generally strong enough (especially if you're gluing two pieces of foam together) that you shouldn't have any issues with things falling apart. It's best when you're going to cover the whole piece with worbla, because then the bond is ultimately superfluous anyway, once the worbla cools and hardens. Hot glue is also useful when attaching fabric, because of the porous nature of the fabric. You just have to be careful not to get any hot glue in places you don't want, because it's nearly impossible to get hot glue off of fabric once it's on there.


Along with E-6000, contact cement is one of the strongest adhesives you can use. The way to use contact cement is to paint a layer on each surface you're bonding, and then let it sit for about 20-30 minutes. Once that time is up, you press the pieces firmly together and it creates a strong bond between them. You generally want to leave it for an hour or so after you've pressed the pieces together, before you mess with it too much, but it's not going to go anywhere without a decent bit of force trying to separate the pieces. This is useful when you're bonding pieces that aren't flat or easy to clamp together, because you let the pieces dry separately, and then when you press them together they will stick without shifting. You just have to be careful to place it correctly because it will be difficult to fix once the pieces are pressed together.
**Contact cement will melt open-cell foams, so don't use it unless you have a sealant coat. Closed-cell foam (EVA and craft foam) are fine.
**Contact cement has a very strong odor so you should always make sure you're in a well-ventilated area when you're using it. I've given myself headaches with this stuff before so be smart and be careful.


I use these 4 adhesives pretty exclusively on my projects but there are plenty of other good ones out there that I'm less familiar with. If you have any you like to use that I haven't mentioned, let me know so I can share with my followers!

Materials Monday: Finishing Products

Michael MacWolff

This time around, I wanted to do a review of finishing products, since it's be super short and probably not very interesting if I did individual posts for each product.


Up first is probably the most important thing when it comes to props and cosplay: paint. I mean, it's generally how you get your stuff to be the color you need it to be!

When it comes to paint, simple acryllics are my go-to for just about everything. They're inexpensive, come in a wide variety of colors, and are available at any craft store in large quantities/varieties.

While there are lots of different brands to choose from, my favorites are Americana and Folk Art. I feel like they are generally very consistent in their colors and quality, though that's not to say that other brands fall short, it's just my personal preference. I also like those brands because they have a little sticker on top that has the color on it so they're easy to compare.


When it comes to metallic colors, if I'm brushing them on, I tend to use Dazzling Metallics by DecoArt. They work well and come in a variety of shades so you can usually find what you need.


Since we're talking about paint, I feel like now is the perfect time to remind everyone to BASE COAT YOUR SHIT. Metallic colors will end up way more even if you use a base coat of a similar color. The same thing goes for warm hues (pink, red, orange, yellow), the pigment tends to not be as strong, so it doesn't cover as well. If you use a darker base coat it'll come out looking a lot better, and you shouldn't have to paint 8000 coats to get it looking nice. For the warm hues, I generally use a darker, brownish color as a base coat. For yellows, you still want to use a brown tone, but you'll want to use a lighter color so your yellow doesn't come out super wonky.

And of course, when it comes to metallics or painting in general, spraying your items works well in most circumstances. The upside of spray paint is that it goes on a lot quicker and more evenly than brush painting. The obvious downsides are that you can only really spray on one color, you'll have to paint the other colors by hand. Also, there's the issue of overspray. If you're spray painting something that has parts you don't want to get paint on, you'll want to make sure those parts are covered. I usually use a plastic grocery bag and some masking tape.

When it comes to spray paint brands, I'm a little less picky, because the colors are generally more limited than what you can find in the 2 oz. bottles of acryllic, so I usually just try to find the best color for my project.


Sealants are super important for prop making because it accomplishes several things all at once:
-It helps bind all of the different pieces together
-It helps protect the base materials
-It smooths out the surface of your prop
-It can help you achieve the sheen/finish you want
-It keeps your paint from chipping as easily

When I make props I usually use sealant coats in two steps: before and after I paint the item. Using sealant coats before painting helps reinforce the adhesive holding all of the pieces together and smooths out the surface of your props. It also provides a good paintable surface for things that may not hold paint as well, such as smooth plastic and foam.
**An important note when using styrofoam and other open-celled foams: Most spray paint and certain adhesives can melt your foam; using a sealant layer (usually multiple just to be safe) is the best way to keep this from happening.

After I finish painting my props, I generally add another sealant layer. This helps protect the paint, as well as giving the prop the sheen I want. You can even use different sealants in different places if you want the sheen to be different.


Yes, you all know I go through a ton of mod podge. It's what I use most often for both my base sealant coat and my top coat because I like the satiny finish the matte mod podge has. For things that I want to be shinier, there's also a gloss mod podge that works quite well. As a warning, I've noticed the gloss mod podge does have a fairly strong odor, so you should be aware and want to make sure you have some ventilation when you're working with it.


My other go-to when it comes to sealant coats is shellac. It's similar to polyurethane but it dries a lot quicker and it comes in spray form as well as brush-on form. There are pretty much two instances I use shellac over mod podge. First if i have paper portions that need to be sealed, shellac is a much better choice. Since you can spray the shellac on, it goes on in a much more even, and thinner coat than you can easily achieve with a brish and some mod podge. This helps keep the paper or card stock from wrinkling or curling when you want it to remain flat. Also, since it can be sprayed, I'll use it when I'm more pressed for time.
I should also note that shellac has a very glossy finish, so your stuff will end up being pretty shiny if you use this as a top coat.

Materials Monday: Closed-Cell Foam

Michael MacWolff

Welcome back to another Materials Monday session at Mikey Does Cosplay! This week we're talking about one of the materials I've been using longer that anything: closed-cell foam!

What is closed-cell foam? Well I could get technical but that's probably not going to be useful for anyone, so let's just discuss the two types we use most often for cosplay: Craft foam and EVA foam.


Craft foam, which you'll usually see brnaded as "Foamies" for kids crafts, is something I've been using for years. They're great because they are lightweight, versatile, easy to use, and come in lots of great colors (which only matters about half the time since usually you'll end up painting over them anyway).  The only real downsides with craft foam is that it's not the most durable material, and it's not rigid. This is only an issue if you're making larger things out of it, as it'll be harder to get it to keep it's shape. Fortunately there are plenty of things you can do to compensate for that, which I'll get to later.

You can generally find foamies in 2mm, 3mm, and 6mm thicknesses. I tend to use the 2 & 3mm most often because they're the most readily available and they tend to suit my needs. If you want to build a whole prop out of foam though, you're probably best off using the 6mm just so you don't have to cut out as many layers. You can also find foamies with adhesive backing, which is very convenient for smaller details, since they'll stick on their own without needing glue.

Here are some of the things I've done with craft foam (and the overall ways which it can be used).

Maybe these are my Tears.jpg

For smaller, planar props (by that I mean props that have flat surfaces), craft foam works great. I made my Godot mask out of fraft foam, with a layer of posterboard on the outside to add stability. This is one of the simplest ways to add stability to your foam. I did the same thing with my first attempt at armor. The whole thing is made from craft foam with poster board glued to the outside.


The layer of cardstock/poster board helps the foam keep its shape, particularly on the curved pieces. The way you do it is by cutting out your shape from the foam, painting a layer of mod podge or your preferred adhesive on the foam, then sticking it to the cardstock. If you need a curve, like with my Godot mask or certain parts of Haar's armor, you can wrap the piece around a tube of the appropriate size and ribber-band it so that it;s held in that shape while the glue dries. Once the glue is dry, it'll stay that shape permanently. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of that process since it's been a while since I've done it. If you're thinking of making something that way and need additional details, let me know!

Craft foam is also super useful for making small raised details and/or layered levels on props and armor.


These are some accessories I made for an FF XIV black mage, you can see how I layered the craft foam to pull out certain details. Here's how they look all finished:


This same concept is a method I use most frequently these days in conjunction with worbla. When I'm making a piece that will be covered in worbla, I use craft foam to get all of the raised details. It works beautifully, as you can see on the young Genji armor I made.


In this photo, the black pieces are the base layer and the yellow are the raised details. When you cover it in worbla you get a nice 3-dimensional landscape. This also makes painting the details easier than if the whole thing was flat and you just free-handed them.


Craft foam can also be used on its own for props and accessories, but you should keep in mind that it's not overly durable so you'll want to be careful with things you make that don't have any protective layers. My Volug hip armor (or whatever that thing is supposed to be) is just made with craft foam glued together, there's no sealant layer or paint on it at all!


Like I said, as long as you're careful it's fine. My Volug pieces have held up so far (granted I've only worn the costume a few times).

Here are a few tutorials on using craft foam, since there's even more cool stuff you can do with it that I don't have great examples of in my own work.



The other type of foam most often used in cosplay is EVA foam. It's very similar to craft foam in texture, the main difference is that you can find it much thicker and therefore it'll be much more durable than the thin craft foam. This makes EVA foam more useful for larger projects like armor and big props since it'll be sturdier and hold it's shape better. Also, because of it's thickness it can be useful for larger or more unusually-shaped details.

You generally find EVA foam in two shapes: tiles as pictured above, and rolls as pictured below. Generally speaking, the tiles are going to be thicker than the roll, so depending on what you're using it for you may want one or the other.


EVA foam is a very popular choice for making armor because it's lightweight, inexpensive, and sturdy. You can also use a heat gun to help shape it however you need to, and a dremel to essentially "carve" out details. I used EVA foam for my Masrur cuirass and needed to do both of those things: shape it into a curve to go around my torso, and then carve out the musculature with my dremel and a sanding bit.


EVA foam can also be used for details that won't work as well in craft foam. Craft foam is great for layering but if you have details that come to a point it doesn't work as well. For example, this piece that's a part of Genji's shoulder pauldron would not have been easy to make with craft foam because it's not thick enough and the detail is not layered. So instead I carved it out of EVA foam.


It works great as a base for worbla too. I used the craft foam, plus some EVA detail to make that pauldron, and then covered the whole thing in a layer of worbla. Here's the result:


This is a great example of using both craft foam and EVA foam for different types of details!

If you want some help with making things out of EVA foam, here are a few great tutorials from people who are better at explaining things than I am ^_^

That's all for now, I hope these Materials Monday posts are helpful for you guys. As always, if you're making stuff with these materials I'd love to hear about it and see what you're making. I'm also happy to offer my thoughts on what sort of materials would work best for the types of projects you're doing, so don't be shy!