Tutorial: How to Seal and Paint Foam Armor for Cosplay

One of the biggest challenges when making foam armor is how to seal and paint it so it actually looks like armor and not “foam with paint thrown on it.”  Most of my armor is made out of foam and I have been complimented on how “metallic” it looks.  Here are a few examples:

This is another excerpt from my upcoming Raiden: Metal Gear Rising armor tutorial that can apply to anyone trying to paint foam armor.

Materials I used for this stage:

In order to paint foam, it needs to be properly sealed or else paint will seep through the pores of the foam and will not be smooth. I have experimented with a few methods that I have researched through google and therpf.com (user DocHolliday has a lot of good methods) and this has produced good results from me.


    1. I used a heat gun to pass over the foam until there is a slight glimmer/sparkle on the foam. You’ll know when you see it. I pass over the foam with the heat gun twice just to make sure the entire surface area is hit.

      Raw foam

      Raw foam

    2. One the foam is cooled, I used a brush to coat the foam with 2 layers of Rosco’s Flexbond (Recommended by a user named “Full Metal Sam”) which is a sealant that I found more effective than sealing with PVA glue (white glue) or Mod Podge. When I used PVA and Mod Podge in the past, I used 8 layers with about an hour of drying between layers.

      Sealing Foam

      Sealing Foam

    3. I let the sealant dry over night, and then I sprayed the pieces with 3 layers of Plastidip, waiting for each layer to dry for lat least 30 minutes before applying the next coat. You’ll know if you sealed the foam correctly here if you end up with a smooth application of Plastidip and no pores on the foam. Always remember to wear a good organic respirator as this stuff is toxic.
    4. After letting the last coast of Plastidip dry for at least 4 hours, I sprayed the piece with 2 layers of Bulldog Adhesion Promoter per the instructions on the label, and then automotive primer. The primer is important as it will make your color look much better.
    5. Once the primer has dried for the recommended time per the label, I applied my color coat. For Raiden, I used a Metallic Black.
    6. I sprayed both Bulldog Adhesion Promoter and a Clear Coat spray on the dry piece to give it some shine and an extra layer of protection.  The clear coat will give the paint the final pop so it looks shinny and metallic.

So there you have it.  With the above tips, you can have a nice finish on your foam armor that will look nice and metallic.  Questions?  Feel free to comment below.

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