Tag Archives: Eva Foam

Level 9:1 – Upgrade Footwear

15 May

Time to build some heavy-duty, splicer stompin’ boots!!!

If you’ll recall from previous posts, we found some killer, rubber galoshes to serve as the base for our Subject Delta Boots.

Subject Delta boots

 

We found them at a uniform surplus store. They were perfect because they were meant to be worn over regular shoes so they were already over-sized. Plus they had some great metal buckles which add a nice touch and they were on sale for $30 bucks!

If you’ll notice from the reference photo below, Subject Delta’s boots are a little shorter than the boots we picked.

delta boot reference

So, we started off by marking how much we wanted to cut away and then used our box cutter to trim away the excess.

Boots Pre Cut Boots Cut

 

With the boots cut to the right height we could add the metal that runs along the sides and up over the toes of the boot. Check out the reference photo above. See how the straps appear to be securing a metal step-in “sled?” We decided that these metal soles must be something that could be stepped into and then strapped on. We wanted the boots to appear heavy and gnarly without actually making them heavy, so we decided to craft the “sled” out of foam. I started by cutting out a 2″ wide strip of 2 mm foam to serve as the front of the sled that wraps around the boot. I lined it up and glued it into place with hot glue:

Boots With Front Foam Boots With Full Front Foam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the first piece of the sled in place, I cut out a foam topper piece that was slightly curved on the backside and to couture to the shape of the first piece along the front of the boot. I had to try a couple of time to get the shape just right, but once I was satisfied with the shape, I hot glued it into place on top of the boot and sealed the edges together with hot glue as well:

Boots With Top FoamAt first, I thought about stopping there for a nice “steel toed” look, but Sara pointed out that the trim should travel all the way around the bottom edge of the boot thus giving it that “sled” look. So, I cut out another long strip of 2″ wide foam and hot glued it into place, connecting the trim all the way around the back of the boot and to the other side. Then I drilled holes straight through the foam and the rubber of the boots and fitted the “sled” with some light-weight bolts and cap nuts for that riveted look.

Boots With Side Foam Boots Complete Foam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the “sled” trim piece complete, there was only one thing left to do — Paint them!!!

You’ve seen bits and pieces of partially painted items here and there, but this is the first piece we had actually, fully painted!

I started by sealing the foam pieces with a couple of coats of watered down Elmer’s glue. Once dried, I then sprayed the foam with three coats of shellac, allowing the layers to fully dry in between applications.

Once sealed and shellacked, I then taped off the foam pieces and hit the rubber boot with a couple of light coats of Rust-Oleum Enamel Gloss Leather Brown Spray Paint to give it the look of leather. After that dried, I then peeled the tape from the foam and taped off the newly painted brown leather boot section so I could hit the foam trim with a couple of coats of Rust-Oleum Antique Brass Spray Paint.

Boots Painted

 

Bad ass if I do say so myself!!!

With the boots painted in their base colors, we added a couple of our hand stitched straps and buckles by poking holes through the strap and fastening them in place with the bolts and cap nuts. Then we distressed them:

Boots Distressed

Boots With Full Paint and Distress

Boots Distressed (2)

 

 

 

 

 

For the distressing we decided to keep it simple. We did a light, dry brushing of black acrylic paint, let it dry briefly for 10-15 seconds and then rubbed away most of the excess with cloths and q-tips leaving behind the desired amount of grit and grime. We did this all over the boots themselves as well as the brass, metal “sled” and leather strapping with buckles. We paid special attention to certain areas such as the grooves around the cap nuts and other nooks and crannies. We wanted to make sure that these areas had the highest concentration of grime, just like you would see with natural wear and tear. You can view our quick tutorial here.

Here’s another couple of shots of the finished product with the suit:

Boots Complete Boots Complete (2)

 

We hope that you found this helpful! — TCG

Advertisements

Level 3-2: Refine Weapon

26 Nov

They say that you make time for what’s really important, but I don’t think those guys that said that had the months of November and December in mind. Those Crazy Gilberts are playing catch up in a major way and here we are, merely days away from Thanksgiving, Daniel’s birthday behind us and a whole boat load of things left to build. Don’t worry though; I remember where we left off and I won’t leave you hanging because I’m sure you’re chomping at the bit to know how Subject Delta‘s drill is coming. Aren’t you?

Subject Delta's Drill Pre-CuttingWhen we last left the drill project, we have something that looked a lot like a crude, Christmas tree made out of Legos. Our next step was to trim and glue them together but how would we ensure that the blades would taper at the correct proportions? For a split, foolish second, we considered free forming it; just trusting the scissors and the foam and the universe. But then we came to our senses! Once again, Daniel’s tin foil trick came in handy.

Daniel positioned the foil and then I came in and traced it out. What’s great about using the tin foil is that it’s easy to re-position and bend into shape. It’s a very forgiving and cheap tool.

foil cutting foam guideTraced Line on Drill Blades

Snip, snip and we’re set to move on.

Foam Drill Blades CutFor our next couples activity; hot gluing! One of us would lay down a line of hot glue while the other would follow and smoosh the foam together to make our blade shape. Since my hands are so teeny and delicate, Daniel got the job of smooshing our foam together. Then, we went in and added layers of glue to the base of the blades, adding some more strength to their structure. We also used the tip of the gun to smooth out the seams between the strips of foam to give it a more uniform look.

Subject Delta's Drill  Foam Blade

Tada!

Subject Delta's Drill Foam Front View Subject Delta's Drill Foam Blades Side View

Now all that’s left is the small, hardly time-consuming papier-mâché step. And by hardly time-consuming I mean horrifically time-consuming. Not only did Daniel insist on medium size strips of news paper strips cut to the curvature of each blade, but he also took hundreds of tiny, thin strips of newspaper to line each edge of blade. In case there’s any doubt of Daniel’s dedication to this project, take a look at this.

Scale of  Papier-mâché Drill Blades  Papier-mâché Along Drill Blades

Allow me to quote myself, “It finally happened. 11/10/2013, 10:04 PM. Daniel is sick of paper-mâché.” – Sara; Facebook.

Daniel looked over at me, his fingers coated in glue, his back aching from hunching over the drill and he said, “Whatever we build in the future is gonna depend on how much paper-mâché it needs.”

Subject Delta's Drill Blades Paper Mache

But was it worth it? Take a look at this and tell us what you think.

Subject Delta's Drill Blades Finished

The holiday season is rushing in, ready or not, and bringing with it new gaming consoles, games, gatherings with friends and families, meals and treats that require time in the kitchen and the days are certainly not getting any longer. I was thinking today about how I would possibly find time to play a new game I got over the weekend and a this question came to me; how do cosplayers find the time to consume the things that they wind up cosplaying? How do you, our fellow cosplayers, find the time to invest in new fandoms, or get to know new favorite characters that you’d love to pay homage to, how do you balance everything?

Seriously though, any tips on time management and motivation are greatly appreciated! — TCG

Level 2-6: Regroup to Progress

5 Nov

Eleanor Lamb's Helmet and Harness

Now for the second half of our Saturday night Work-a-Thon and beyond! While Daniel was working away on Eleanor Lamb‘s helmet, I was busy with the harness. Even though it’s not the flashy, hardware speckled spectacle that Subject Delta’s harness was, Eleanor’s harness posed its own set of difficult intricacies.

All that I needed to do was attach a foam liner along the outer edge which might seem like a simple task until you take into account the imperfections in the proportions of the frame. Sure, building these on ourselves made for a snug, customized look, but like most bodies our are asymmetrical. In other words, we’re crooked and crooked is difficult to line in ruler straight strips of foam. The front was no problem but the back, oh boy, the back is where I ran into some hangups.

Eleanor Lamb harness and helmet 2 backThis is a decent angle for you to really see the hump on the back of the harness which, at a glance, doesn’t seem like it should be too much trouble. Until I laid a strip of foam along the edge, I didn’t think it would be too bad either. Foam Lining on Eleanor Lamb's harness

Until I discovered that I would have to “Frankenstein” the strips of foam together with little cuts and hot glue. It took about four different pieces of foam in an 8 inch section and then three strips on the other side. It was a hassle but it was satisfying!

Foam Lining on Eleanor Lamb's harness

While this may be hard to believe, in all the months that we’ve been working on this project, this was the first where we both needed the glue gun at the same time. And instead of going out to buy a second glue gun, like normal people, we decided to share it. And by share it, I mean sliding it back and forth to one between opposite ends of the wooden board we were using as a single work surface. I’m sure it was both amusing and adorable. We’ve been told we’re adorable.

The fruits of our night’s labor looked something like this:

Eleanor Lamb's helmet Crooked Harness

Notice anything askew? Aside from my looking like I have a brown mustache, that harness is incredibly crooked. At first, we wondered if this was because of the way I was standing but, sadly, the bright yellow lining made clear our mistake but we had to wait until the next day to fix it.

Bright and early the next morning, before I even brushed my teeth, I was up and working. Daniel went to go get breakfast but, before he left, I had him take a couple of reference pictures. Turns out the source of the problem was a big freaking gap between my left shoulder and the harness. Looks like I might have had some major tension in that shoulder while Daniel was building the frame.

Crooked Harness Front ViewCrooked Harness Side View

So I whipped out the old glue gun, cut some strips of 5 mm craft foam and made some foam pads. The difference was amazing!

Harness Corrected Front Harness Corrected Side View

And with that little hitch out of our way, we were just a short sprint away from completing the harness. But while I stretch in preparation for the 10 yard dash, Daniel’s going to tell you about his new favorite product.

Rubber Weather SealRubber Weatherseal!!! It’s made for doors and windows but, man, is it my new favorite material to work with. It comes in a variety of shapes, has its own built-in adhesive strip and is made of durable, flexible rubber. How can you not love it already?

I came across this little gem while perusing the aisles of Home Depot in search of something to use for the seam work on Eleanor Lamb’s helmet. We sketched out the shape of the seams using one of our black markers, cut the pieces to fit, peeled off the self-adhesive backing and laid them in place.

Easiest step we’ve had to date!

This stuff was also really easy to cut a piece together into nice, crisp corners. It also bends quite nicely to allow for smooth curves. Great stuff!!! Can’t wait to find other uses for it as we proceed with this and other cosplay projects. It’s easy to work with, yields great results and makes what would other wise be a painstaking detail process a snap. And look at those results. — Daniel

Eleanor Lamb's Helmet Back View

And we’re always thankful for an affordable product that saves us time! You can also see that we added the little port holes to the back. Just like Subject Delta’s helmet we used plastic insulating bushing rings, found from the plumbing section at Home Depot. They come in all sizes which lend a bit of consistency as we moved from size to size between the two of our helmets.

Next, we applied a second layer of the 2 mm craft foam to the edges of the harness, a bit of that magic weatherseal, a couple of those wire rope clips, seven wing nuts and the harness was all set! This was a very quick step since most of these materials and processes were used on Subject Delta’s helmet.

Eleanor Lamb's Harness front view

The next to last step concerns the little panels you see running along the top of Eleanor Lamb’s helmet between the main porthole and the “little hat,” as we’ve taken to calling it. We decided to make these out of 2 mm craft foam strips that would be glued to the helmet and tucked beneath the flex tubing that runs between the porthole and the little hat.

helmet ridge stripsDaniel cut, positioned and then trimmed with the X-acto knife each individual strip. He then glued them into place being careful of the spacing not only between each strip but between the two rows as well.

Ridges on Helmet FinishedWith most of the details now in place, I cut a couple of rings out of 5 mm craft foam, Daniel slapped some wood glue between the layers and voila – we’ve got ourselves a bonafide Eleanor Lamb helmet!

We attempted several selfies so that you guys could get an epically awesome picture of the two for us in our helmets but none of them met our high standard of Bioshocking awesomeness. So we’ll get that together for you all to enjoy in the next post.

Until then, any Chicago readers picked up their C2E2 tickets yet? The count down on their site makes this very, very real. Whoa!! — TGC

Level 2-5: Split Up to Cover More Ground

28 Oct

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and boy, have we missed all of you! We’ve been cooking up something big and it just didn’t seem right to give you little teasers when our end goal was just within finger’s reach. We’ve been collecting more materials from Home Depot and cutting more tiny little foam pieces. We’ve been working separately and together; trying to accommodate each other’s evenings all the while making progress. We’re really proud to give you this picture.

Subject Delta and Eleanor Lamb's Helmets

But fear not! We’re not going to stop at simply showing you a picture. No! We’ll fill you in on exactly how we got here. Wouldn’t want you to miss out on all the fun!

If you’ll think back two weeks ago, we’d left Eleanor Lamb‘s helmet at the papier-mâché phase. The helmet and the harness were each connected to their own wooden circle base but before we could join them, we needed to divide and conquer. With a horror movie remake marathon on TV, Daniel and I settled in for a work filled Saturday night.

Daniel works on Helmet Sara Works on Harness

First things first; the porthole. We bought a closet flange spacer ring for the actual porthole and a sealing ring to use for the inner ring but, when we set everything out, we found that it would be easier to use the ring as a stencil and cut the whole thing out of craft foam.

Porthole with Ring Stencil Porthole Center Cutout

Then it was just a matter of hot gluing the foam into the spacer ring and we had our completed port-hole. As Daniel traced the shape of the porthole onto the papier-mâché sphere I asked him if he was having flashbacks to the last helmet he punctured and he said that it’s easier the second time. And sure enough it was. He didn’t even ask me to mute the TV as he worked. What a steady hand one helmet’s worth of confidence can give you!

Porthole over Cut Eleanor Lamb's Helmet

Now to screw the porthole into the actual helmet. Our first attempt was off. Seems we need different lengths of screws to get a flat item onto the surface of a round item; duh! Luckily we had a few longer screws left over from the handles that wound up on the back of Subject Delta’s helmet. Just a few screws and we had ourselves a lovely looking porthole for Eleanor Lamb’s helmet.

Eleanor Lamb's Helmet with PortholeYou’ll notice the little black knob up Daniel’s left arm, his left, your right. That is a bit of flexible PVC pipe coupling we found at Home Depot. If you’ll check out the reference photo again you’ll notice what looks like a knob on the top of her helmet and the coupling was already close to the shape we needed. We trimmed some off the top and bottom, paired it with another PVC ring and we were just about ready to put it on the helmet.

PVC Coupling Pre-Cutting PVC Coupling pieces

PVC Pipes on Helmet

Daniel drilled yet another hole into the helmet, just big enough for the bottom piece of PVC. Then we sealed the top and bottom with hot glue. Next, we added a bottom layer of foam and we were ready for the fun part; the ribbed tubing that runs around the front and top port-holes. We used some flex tubing and, after a fun little game of tug-o-war, it was ready to stretch out and loop over the helmet. Daniel secured it with heaps of hot glue and this is what we ended up with; a handy-dandy way to cover up those pesky screws.

Tubing Around the Porthole

Believe or not; that’s only Daniel’s part of the work from that Saturday night! There’s much more to come! See you next time — TCG

Oh. Did I mention that C2E2 tickets go on sale this week? Color me excited!

Level 1-4: Final Save Point — Continue?

6 Aug

Camera - on helmet

Good news everyone; we got our supplies! We were waiting on pins and needles for the 5 mm thick craft foam to arrive so that we could begin work on the porthole. While the prospect of making sudden progress was exciting, we were both dreading the moment when we would cut the Subject Delta’s helmet and either make it or break it, so to speak.

In keeping with our practice of making prototypes before gluing or cutting, we set out to make a prototype of the porthole. For our first attempt, I did a free-handed sketch using grid on construction paper.

porthole hand drawnWhile Daniel was mightily impressed by my free-hand ovals, they weren’t as perfect as we wanted them to be. But they did not go to waste; no! We used them to figure out the rough dimensions that we needed and then plugged into Microsoft Paint. porthole computer

Much more exact, don’t you think? Based on these two templates, we cut our port-hole out of the 5 mm craft foam we had ordered from Hobby Lobby. It was surprisingly easy to cut through with the X-acto knife. However, we found that we needed to cut the entire shape out in one fell swoop rather than starting and stopping in order to adjust the foam; that’s a good way to get frayed edges buddy! I also wouldn’t recommend using scissors, you’ll wind up with lots of scraggly edges with this thicker foam.

Once we had the ovals cut from the foam, we needed to find a way to attach the bars that run across Subject Delta’s porthole. Daniel cut the dowel rods into the sizes we needed with his handy-dandy mini hacksaw and we laid it all out . We even added the rivets so we could begin to imagine it all together; also, we wanted to see if we’d left enough space for them.

porthole 1st try with back

The next hurdle was this; how do we hide the dowel rods? Do we cut them off so that they will sit, nestled nicely inside our foam ovals? No. We sandwich them in between. I’ll let Daniel tell you how we solved this problem with a little creativity and resourcefulness.  — Sara

We practiced with cutting small divots into the 5 mm foam with the X-acto knife, but it wasn’t quite as easy as cutting into the Styrofoam; or as snowy. It was impossible in fact, to get the shape we wanted without tearing it up. So we had the great idea of melting it. What I really wish we had for the job was a wood burning tool, but alas, all we owned was a low-grade hot glue gun. We tried it out, using the heated metal tip. It melted the foam somewhat but not as adequately as I had hope. So I used the only other long, flat, metal device we had. Kids, don’t try this at home. I used the gas stove and a shish kabob skewer to MacGyver myself a melting tool. I turned the stove element on high, held the skewer over the flames until it got hot, but not too hot, and slowly pressed it into the foam until I created the desired divots in both sides of the two porthole pieces. Although the melting foam did not produce a large amount of smoke, it did produce fumes, so make sure you do this in a ventilated area; I just turned on fan over the stove in the kitchen. When I finished I had the perfect slots to insert the dowels into so that we could glue the two pieces together, sandwiching the dowel rods in between. — Daniel

porthole melted eva porthole with dowel

Once we had ironed the kinks out, the moment of truth had arrived. We had to cut the porthole. Tension was high, I kept shaking out my hands and Daniel kept taking these anxious deep breaths and swooshing it all out of his lungs. We spent a long time taping cut outs of our porthole and the lights; we wanted to make sure that we compensated for the shape of the helmet with the placement and scale of our accessories. We finally settled on a placement and Daniel took our papier-mâché baby into his lap with X-acto knife in hand. I sat back. The room was silent and the air was thick with nerves and the taste of fear. I picked up my book to distract myself. Daniel put the tip of the knife to the helmet and his fingers tightened, “You’re not going to watch and support me?” he asked looking up at me. I knew that he was just stalling.

“I don’t want to distract you,” I said. “And I’m so nervous!” He took another deep breath and his eyes focused on the helmet. I raised my book, pretending not to watch. He took a final shallow breath and held it as he applied pressure and the X-acto knife popped through the paper mache. He finally exhaled. It was done. — Sara

helmet cutting

The first cut had been made. There was no turning back now. I began cutting into the helmet following the line we had traced with our template. I cut slowly and methodically, in short sawing strokes so as not to tear or bend anything. Things were going smoothly until I hit the first of the underlying skeletal crossbars. I stopped and threw a quick, concerned glance at Sara who looked up from her book only briefly with a look of ‘you got this, but don’t expect me to help.’ I continued on for what seemed like a full hour and then I was back around to where I started. I made a couple of final saws and then the section ‘popped’ out of the helmet with a soft crack and there was now a big, gaping hole in our hard-earned masterpiece. — Daniel

Did all of our forward planning pay off? Would all of our blood, sweat and tears be paid back in full? Or will Sara have to strangle Daniel with a pliable piece of cardboard from the helmets frame because they have to start all over again?

Tune in next week for the Bioshocking conclusion to: The Cutting of the Subject Delta’s Helmet

— TGC

Game Paused – Sort Inventory

23 Jul

Working AwayA wise man once said, “He who wishes to go far must tread carefully.” Now,  just in case you’re trying to Goggle that quote, I’ll come clean; it’s not a real quote. But it does make a good opening for this week’s slightly less exciting post. Subject Delta’s helmet was finally coming together and we were beyond pleased with it. I would sometimes catch Daniel just standing in front of it, running his fingers over the papier-mâché whispering sweet nothings to it like you would to a budding flower, or maybe a baby. We knew that the time had come to move into the next phase which would involve adding layers to and eventually making cuts into our hard-earned helmet. Frankly, we were terrified. The thought of making a single cut that could result in having to scrap it again and start over gives me hives. Which is why we’ve decided to take a little time and plan and test and try out some techniques before doing a darn thing to that beautiful piece of work.

It was strange not having a firm, physical grasp for the next step. I felt like we were hovering in this unspecific we-need-to-do-something-ness that didn’t have any real direction. So we sat down with a piece of paper and a couple of our reference pictures and got to making a list of layers.

  1. Wingnuts
  2. Rivets
  3. 2 mm Craft Foam – for the lining around the harness
  4. 5 mm Craft Foam – for the porthole
  5. Dowel Rod – for the porthole
  6. Push Lights
  7. Rope Light – for the porthole
  8. Grommets – for the air tubes
  9. Handles – for the back of the helmet

It appeared like a little hunting and gathering was in our future. But the first order of business was getting our hands on some spray resin to seal the layers of the helmet and papier-mâché so that it would all appear to be of the same material. Daniel had some experience using it on craft models and was confident that this was the stuff we needed. However, did you know that it’s illegal to purchase spray paint or tinted resin in Chicago city limits? Because we sure didn’t! Turns out that we’re going to have to make a special trip to the suburbs when it comes time to purchase our bronze spray paint to color the helmet. Luckily, what we needed was available to us, it just took a bit of hunting. I’ll let Daniel tell you a little bit more about them. — Sara

Resin Sprays

Some of the products I had in mind, that would serve our purposes, were: Plasti Dip, spray on fiberglass and spray resins. I’ve worked with all of them before on various little projects here and there growing up. The trouble with Plasti Dip is that while it gives you a nice sealed rubber surface it tends to peel. Spray on fiberglass can be very tricky to work with. It’s heavy and messy, especially when sanding as it gets everywhere and is itchy. Spray on resins though, are light and can be applied in multiple layers to create a hard, sealed shell.

What we have pictured are the two options available to us in the spray on resin category.

Contestant #1, pictured on the left, is Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane. It is primarily used for woodwork such as flooring, molding and doors. It’s used to seal in the woodwork after staining or painting and it dries to a nice hard shell that can be sanded.

Contestant #2, pictured on the right, is Zinsser Bull’s Eye Shellac. It’s pure shellac in the form of spray. This is used mainly for craft projects to seal in paint or to seal in layers of material such as a scrapbook page. This one also dries into a hard shell but is not as ideal for sanding, which is okay because it usually has a smoother finished surface to begin with. — Daniel

So, with accessories and adhesives and finishing materials in hand, it was time to do some testing.

Round One – Adhesive Battle. FIGHT!

Contact Adhesive vs. Elmer’s Glue All

Prior to starting the work on Subject Delta’s helmet, we did a lot of research on Eva foam. This included reading over blog tutorials and watching YouTube videos and the thing that I came away with was knowing that we had to have a contact adhesive if we wanted to glue together craft foam. Besides, the more toxic something is the stronger it should be, right? — Sara

True, contact adhesives are generally stronger, but from what I’ve experienced, they are also more toxic and more corrosive  in nature. I had a feeling that it would melt the delicate Eva foam and from working with wood glues and Elmer’s glues I knew that they often do the job nicely when all you really need them to do is to stick two objects together long enough to seal them together. — Daniel

Elmers Glue Test Contact Adhesive Test

Winner: Daniel!

Even after following the directions on the tube which included roughing the edges a little and waiting for the glue to become “tacky” before putting the foam and cardboard together, the edges bowed up. This might have been taken as just a lesson to use the adhesive more liberally had the Elmer’s not turned out so easily and beautifully.

Test Set - Unfinished

Round Two – Finishing Battle. FIGHT!

We prepared a set of samples to test the two different finishing sprays on. We were looking to fill in minor blemishes like cracks and creases and we were looking to see what would happen with the porous foam. To prepare the foam, we sealed two samples with the same mixture of Elmer’s Glue-All and water we used to papier-mâché the helmet; this is done to prevent the chemicals of the resin sprays from eating away at it. Starting on the top left and working clockwise we have: sealed foam with seam, sealed foam on papier-mâché, unsealed foam on papier-mâché and unsealed foam with seam.

This is what unsealed foam looks like in the light.

This is what unsealed foam looks like in the light.

This is what the sealed foam looks like in the light.

When working with any sort of product that is sprayed on, always make sure to work outside or somewhere with excellent ventilation. The fumes can get pretty heavy, even when working on such small samples we could see it hanging in the air. We tested the sprays on a set of sealed and unsealed samples, layering on a total six coats. And, completely unintentionally, we were banking on opposite products for the win.

I had worked with brush-on shellac before and had found them effective at creating a nice, hard, sealed shell; but one that was uneven and far from smooth. This gave me some apprehensions going into testing. To be honest though, I hadn’t had a lot of experience with a spray-on polyurethane but from the can’s description of “self-leveling,” I figured I had this round in the bag.  — Daniel

The idea of something creating a hard shell that we could paint sounded like gold, especially since the helmet is supposed to look like it is made out of metal. I could tell as I sprayed it that it was coming out thick and really coating the samples. Honestly, there weren’t a lot of technical reasons behind my rooting for the shellac, it just seemed to be doing what it said on the can. — Sara

Winner: Sara!

Shellac Unsealed Foam Test

Sample 1

Shellac Sealed Foam Test

Sample 2

Both the sealed and the unsealed foam are smooth and the edges, where the foam meets the cardboard and papier-mâché, are sealed nicely into one piece. If you were to slap a coat of paint on either of these it would look like one uniform material. And, based on this test, we may not even have to seal the foam as the unsealed foam in Sample 2 appears a bit smoother than the sealed foam in Sample 1.

Poly Unsealed Foam Test

Sample 3

Poly Sealed Foam Test

Sample 4

These are the polyurethane tests. Sample 3 is unsealed and Sample 4 is sealed. If you’ll look along the bottom of Sample 3, you can see that there are still gaps between the foam and the base and the imperfections from the papier-mâché are still quite clear. In Sample 4, the seam where the foam was glued together is still clearly there as is a definite ridge between the base and the foam.

Even though we feel like we’re inching along at this point, there is value in taking time to properly test out products and techniques that are new. Measure twice, cut once. This is a legitimate saying that we’re taking to heart and, hopefully, it will keep us from sliding backwards. — Sara

Do you have a story about a time you wished that you had “measured twice?” Or maybe when you’ve tested out a new technique – how did it turn out? Why not share it with us in the comment box below?

Thanks for stopping by this week!! — TCG