Tutorial: Armored Cups
This is an old tutorial which explains how I did the armored cups for my old Sylvanas Windrunner costume from World of Warcraft. Sylvanas is actually the one costume I would highly consider revisiting and remaking…. Maybe one day!
Before I continue, I need to give credit to Evil FX @ Bioweapons.com for the core of this tutorial. If it wasn’t for this blog post, I wouldn’t have decided to do my breastplate this way.
NOTE!! This is an old tutorial, so some techniques in this are kind of dated, or there are easier way to do this (such as Worbla), but I figured I might as well clean it up and make it public again in case someone wants to use EVA foam.
That’s what my final breastplate ended up looking like, just to give you an idea of what this tutorial is capable of creating. The process behind my breastplate was somewhat roundabout, but it resulted in precisely shaped cups which were custom fit to my exact breast shape and size.
Here’s a list of materials needed to follow this tutorial properly. Not everything is necessarily required for every single build, so you may change your material list accordingly to your project. I’m simply listing off everything that I personally ended up using, and that is mentioned in this tutorial.
- Plaster of Paris (Home Depot / Lowe’s)
- Thick wire
- Wireform mesh
- Aluminum foil – Push-up bra*
- EVA Foam Mats (Home Depot)
- Acrylic Sheeting
- Bra straps
- Plasti-Dip (Home Depot)
- Spray paint and/or Acrylic paint
- Heat retardant gloves
- Apoxie Sculpt *
- Craft foam *
- Silicone padding *
My old version of this tutorial involved building plaster breast forms, but that’s really unnecessary… You can just use any round form that you have laying around the house or find at a store. Some people use small bowls or Christmas ornaments.
You basically just need to find something that fits YOU. Everyone has a different shape, so find something for you.
Now time to cover the actual process of building the armor. My tutorial only really covers how to make the cups – I don’t cover how to actually template out the rest of the breasplate because there are plenty of other tutorials out there about it (and I kind of BSed the templating haha).
Now that we’re finally building the actual armor, this is when you need to get EVA foam mats. You can buy these at Home Depot. (Four sheets for about $16.99 or so, if I recall) It’s definitely worth the price through, because I ended up finding myself using it a lot in other parts of my armor. For padding, support, etc.
Here I have my plaster form* (NOTE: you would be using the form you found/bought) on top of a glove for cushion. You’ll need to trace the form’s general shape onto some acrylic sheeting, and cut the shape out afterwards (you can see my acrylic sheeting laying on top of my glove + plaster form).
Make sure you make the hole a little bigger than the actual cup shape, to account for the EVA foam’s thickness. Another thing to consider is giving your acrylic sheeting plenty of extra space around the edge. If you make the outside of it too small, when you go to apply pressure you might accidentally crack the acrylic. I cracked my sheeting a little bit even with all that extra space I have.
Edit It has been brought to my attention that even simply using cardboard will suffice for this step! So if you’re on a budget, you can pull this step off with cardboard! Thank you Blastella Cosplay for this information!
IMPORTANT – I used a dremel for cutting the acrylic. It is extremely important to wear both safety goggles as well as a respirator while cutting materials like this. As you cut the acrylic sheeting with any motorized tool, you will most likely be melting the acrylic as well as shooting small bits of it all over the place – so be sure to protect your eyes! The burning/melting of the acrylic also smells really bad, so a respirator is a must have.
Next you’ll need to cut a piece of the EVA foam mat, large enough to fully cover your plaster form (I tend to cut a piece with plenty of extra space, just to make sure I end up covering the whole form). I put the EVA foam into my oven at about 400º Fahrenheit, for about 3-5 minutes. Sometimes the time varied, but I would generally wait until the EVA foam mat was relatively floppy when I’d pick it up.
Once it’s at that point, take it out of the oven – MAKE SURE YOU ARE WEARING GLOVES FOR THESE STEPS. Immediately place the EVA foam piece onto your form, followed by the acrylic sheeting on top of that and press down on the acrylic sheeting around the edge of the hole to “heat form” it around your plaster form. Make sure you keep applying pressure around the edges for a good three minutes or so, until the EVA foam cools down.
The reason for the acrylic sheeting is that it will give you a really nice crisp edge on the outside of your foam.
Once you remove the acrylic sheeting and the EVA foam off the plaster form, you should see a clear cup shape that has been formed in the foam! Tadda! You succeeded! :)
Repeat this process to make your second cup! After you’ve completed the cups comes templating.
Here’s a shot of how my completed base breastplate looked. I used my dremel to trim the edges of the cups, as well as sanding down the edges to give it a natural curved look (especially because the EVA foam was quite thick, I didn’t want it looking so thick at the edges).
I used silicone padding that I purchased at Joann’s to complete the push-up bra effect with my armor. As for adhering the parts together, I used a simple high temperature hot glue gun to glue the cups to the body of the breasplate. As you’re gluing just make sure you apply constant pressure for a good minute or so to guaranteed the bond between parts.
In regards to actually designing the rest of the breastplate – I used the “tape form” technique.
The inside of the breasplate isn’t very pretty because I was in a hurry. (Was running out of time before BlizzCon!) I have the underwire support in the middle, which I ended up covering in foam to keep it from pressing into me and hurting me. I used large pieces of PVC vinyl to adhere parts to the breastplate (the more surface area is hot glued down, the better stability you have).
I used eyelets to build a “corsette” back. This allowed me to tighten the breastplate enough to make sure I had the proper “push up bra” effect. I made everything sturdy enough to be able to tighten both the invisible straps as well as the corsette back.
And here’s the final completed breastplate. I don’t have progress pictures of how I did all the detailing, but I can describe it.
Preparing the surface:
I sprayed on about three layers of black Plasti-Dip, to give it a “rubbery” outer coat, which made spray paint and acrylic paint adhere much easier. This Plast-Dip technique is used by armor makers, particularly Halo spartan suits. Those tutorials recommend that you use primer and wait 24 hours between coats, but I was short on time so I skipped those steps. If you’re interested in learning more about this technique please check out this tutorial. It covers this process very thoroughly.
The details on the cup, as well as the lines direcly below the cups, were all made using Apoxie Sculpt. I sculpted the general shape of all the details, and once the Apoxie Sculpt cured I sanded it down by hand with 60 grit sandpaper. The bottom band area was all done using craft foam (due to lack of time). The “gem” in the center was sculpted out of Apoxie Sculpt. The dangling elements off the bottom of the breasplate were sculpted out of Super Sculpey, but I also purchased some beads for it. (The bottom beads as well as the elongated beads are the ones I sculpted).
I used Montana Gold spray paint for most of the base purple coat. The weathering on the purple areas was done using black acrylic paint. The golden rustic areas were done using a combination of Rub n Buff, Enamel Paints, and acrylic paints.
And that’s it!
I hope this tutorial was helpful to you! If you do end up using this tutorial, I’d love it if you’d comment here showing me your project. :) I’ll be writing more tutorials soon, but if you have any specific requests for what you’d like to see first feel free to leave a comment here or on my Facebook Fan Page with input on what you’d like to learn! Thank you for reading!
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