Hey, it’s me, Hannah.
The project I’m starting on today is a little bit different than the sewing projects I’ve been fixated on recently. I got into the sort of fantasy-core aesthetic, the main character energy, the living-my-best-fairy-tale- lifestyle trend because of the lady knight movement that characters like Éowyn from Lord of the Rings, and Ser Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones, along with influencers like @laurendoescosplay, @honeyswordscosplay and @shersten.the.golden, who have propelled themselves into, well, at least the tops of my social media algorithms.
And I wanted in on it. So all of this to say today we’re making some armor. I’ve collected a few pieces of metal armor and even leather armor from online and and at Renaissance fairs. And I’ve even made my own chainmail pieces and scalemaille pieces. Maybe I’ll do a video on that down the road. But I don’t have a breastplate, which I think would just be the piece de resistance to the full lady knight look that I would like to achieve.
Unfortunately, my budget doesn’t allow for me to buy a custom made, handcrafted breastplate from a blacksmith, so I’m going to make one out of EVA foam. So I’ve never made anything out of this material before, but I watched a few videos and I bought a pattern from Etsy. I’ll link to it down below. So I figured I could start there and, you know, see where I can make it my own.
Once I get a little more used to working with the EVA foam. So I went ahead and printed the template onto cardstock so that I could use these template pieces as a bit of a mock up. So now I’m going to take these template pieces and trace them onto the EVA foam. I’m going to use an 8mm foam, mostly because I already had it.
The pattern I got off of Etsy calls for anywhere from 2 to 8 millimeters, and since I already had the eight millimeters, that’s what we’re going to go with. I also think it’s going to make the piece a little bit sturdier and hopefully a little longer lasting. So we’ll see.
Different patterns will provide different insights on the best way to cut, whether straight on or at an angle or not a full cut, just to get the best fit possible. So this pattern is pretty easy. I just get to do a nice, even straight cut. Don’t have to worry about angling my box cutter in any which way. So that keeps it easy, just straight, seamless, cuts all the way through. You don’t want to have to make… you don’t want to have to make multiple passes through your foam.
The eight millimeter is harder than I anticipated to cut through in one fell swoop, but I’m doing a pretty good job so far, and I’m getting better with each cut. So with that, I’m going to get back at it and wrap up these pattern pieces.
Alright. So I’ve just finished marking the notches from the pattern pieces onto the foam pieces that I had cut out. I am now going to take some contact cement and use this to adhere the pieces together. And then I will use one inch elastic to connect little pieces at the side and shoulder seams, so that I’m able to slide the armor on and off. I’m hoping that that will be enough if the elastic doesn’t work, I may need to look into velcro or a button or something to that effect.
But we’re going to see how this plays out in falling. So following the pattern instructions as closely as I can ball that works out, we can turn our attention to some of the more fun finishing details. And then once that’s done, we get to work on the paint and the weathering to make it truly look like armor and less like foam.
But before we do that, we put it all together. So I’m going to get started on that and explain that and try do a little better if I like to spread it out on these edges rather than just using my squeezy bottle to make a line. So receiving a piece of scrap foam and spreading out before I let it sit and and dry.
Let’s see if this works any better. That’s great. But trying to use my hair gun to get the breastplate to fit a little bit better to my form. And I am realizing that my contact cement techniques were not not as good the first couple of tries. So I am probably going to end up redoing the front breastplate pieces with the contact cement.
And in doing so I think I can place with the two middle pieces a little bit better to reduce the bit of puckering that’s going on here. So I’m going to finish letting the contact cement cure for the back pieces. I’m going to redo the front pieces and then connect the front and the back using elastic. And that will probably wrap up my work for today.
And then tomorrow we get to focus on the fun, finishing the painting, the weathering, things like that. So looking forward to it. Now I Yeah, so that’s not going to work so much. Make it inside too tight to try to put on it fits me, but I think I’m going to have to remove the elastic and replace it with I’m thinking Velcro.
It seems like velcro would be the easiest for putting this on and taking it off.
So I’m going to run out to craft store and pick up some Velcro and then we’ll pick up where we left off. All right, so I’ve got my Velcro, and now that I’ve removed the elastic bands from one side of the armor and I’ve checked to make sure I can put the piece on more easily, I’m going to score the areas of the foam where I want to place the Velcro and then use hot glue instead of contact cement to secure the Velcro to the foam.
Okay, we are in there. I’ve learned a lot. There are a lot of things that I would have done differently even at this point, but I don’t know that I’ll be able to go back and fix it right now. So I’m going to keep pushing forward. Next, I’m going to start filling in any of the crevices that have been created at the seams with some quick seal.
Then I can take a general tool and clean up anything that needs cleaning and kind of smooth things out so that it looks at least a little closer to being just one piece of metal. From there I get to prime and then paint and then weather. And then we’ll have a full breastplate. So let’s keep going. All right.
So that didn’t quite work flawlessly. I think if I did a couple more layers and also just practiced more and took the time to get better at it, we might be on to something. But I think what I’m going to do is take my thinner EVA foam. Actually, I don’t think it’s EVA, so I’m just thinner foam pieces and kind of outline the neckline and armholes and bottom.
I want to see if I can make just some sort of adornment, even if it’s just, you know, a half inch strip with some rivets or, you know, something like that. And you just use that to kind of cover up these scenes to make them so seamless. So I’m going to play around with that. I’m going to go ahead and get the neck, whole armholes and bottom pieces on as well, and then we can figure it out from there.
Remind me to bring out my dress form for Halloween next year.
This has no business looking this good. Like, are you kidding? Obviously it is not without its flaws. Don’t look too closely. But I. I still have some weathering to do, so I’m hoping to kind of, like, lean into some of the weak points on on this. But overall, I’m really happy with how the plastic dip and spray paint turned out.
I kept scaring myself with the dress form out in my yard and I’m going to go ahead and spend the rest of the evening weathering using a black acrylic paint and a dry brush method to add some weather and detail along along the scenes and along the areas where there is some shadow and where some wear may naturally occur.
I’m not looking for like an extremely weathered look, extremely used, battle worn look, but you know, a little bit of detail to kind of make it look a little less plastic. Yeah. So it’s already after ten. So I’m going to go ahead and get started on that. So you I know I can do better. Here’s the thing. This I know I can do better.
And I think that that’s why I am disenchanted. Well, let’s go through some of the things that I’ve learned throughout this process. Speaker FO may not always be the best fit. I’m not sure I’m going to have to keep trying out different thicknesses of foam to figure out why it works best for me. It’s definitely sturdier. Feels sturdier.
Anyway, the first thing that I would do differently and I might even go back and checks on this piece is the connections that I have made. I think that I would have had a lot better luck getting strips of nylon and making like D rings or, you know, rings on each side that I can use to like a cinch rather than using.
I are attempting to use the last stand and feeling or with the Velcro. Velcro. Well, it’s not as high quality and I didn’t plan it up well and just an absolute flop altogether. It didn’t work out, but I still don’t know if I’m happy or upset that I covered up like a crummy seams on the front. So I think with some more practice, I can do a better job with the contact sometimes and actually like lining up the pieces really well and really intentionally.
I also think filling any of the crevices that are left after checking the contacts that I could I could use to practice on. Also, I just with the pattern, I think if I had used maybe they really stemmed from that. I have whatever a quarter inch inch foam to make up the pattern instead of dining street in with me on an eight millimeter foam.
I think I would have had a better idea of what would fit. You know, I probably could have avoided these gaps on the side. I also think I might add, a little too hard with my heat gun in attempting to cover up the kind of crevices and and messing up the way that these pieces lay on the breastplate.
So. And then the weathering, I, I had really high hopes. I really thought that no matter what whether we would tie together. But I think it’s just something else I need practice with. I’ve listed a bunch of my elements, but I’m actually kind of proud that I mean, I did this in like two and a half days and it was it’s clear what it’s supposed to be.
I do really like this this neckline with this piece over top. I thing it gives a good dimension. I wish I could have gotten it on a little flatter even than, like, just the peeking of the seams and the. Oh, I think I got a little bit better at the weathering of on this part. The rivets on the sides and on the bottom.
I just there are details about it that I really like. I think maybe I rushed it a little. So, yeah, kind of flop. You can’t win them all. Regardless, I had so much fun, and if you had as much fun as I did, it would mean the world to me. If you would like to subscribe. And if you do, I will see you in two weeks for my next video.