Using Foam With or Instead of Fabric

Ever came across a cosplay where they had some crazy gravity defying fabric and have no idea how to get it that way? This is the guide for you!

I am a complete noob when trying to work with fabric. The first time I came across someone using foam instead of fabric was back when I first met Ali Cosplay & Props back in 2015. The photo on the right is of his Death costume from Darksiders 2.

Using Foam Blocks Under Fabric

This was the first time I used foam along side fabric. The reference photo had such a cartoonish fold. Yes, it could be achieved with fabric and properly folded but I needed something I could just throw on and have a consistent fold every single time with minimal effort.


To achieve this, I cut out some foam blocks in the rough shapes of the reference photo then hot glued it onto the chest armour. I then glued the fabric on top of it. It's as simple as that. The make the creases stand out even more, I used a different technique for the two costumes above:

Garen - I used an old thick paintbrush and dabbed some black lightly into the fold then blended it outwards with some dark grey as well as some light grey on the high points of the fabric.

Genji - I used an airbrush to darken the inner creases. It's a much quick method. Both techniques just look as good as the other.

There is something important you should consider before you do this. Is your fabric thick enough so the glue won't come show through? Both the Garen and Genji fabric was quick thick so the glue won't seep through showing on the outer side.

Screw Fabric All Together!

I initially started off with fabric but eventually it frustrated me so much. I tried using fabric tape, glue, foam blocks but nothing would work and I could not get the shape at all.

When I was about to give up and throw a strop, I noticed some super thin craft foam in the corner of my room. I though "I wonder if I could make a scarf with it?" I guess the answer was yes. It's really not as complicated as one may think. If you've worked with foam before, you already have all the skills necessary to fly through a scarf in the wind.

To make the collar stand and defy gravity, you won't need any structure under the foam. Just double the foam up and it will hold its own weight.

Get some foam

I used 1mm foam but that's super hard to get. 2mm with a density of around 45 kg per m3 is equally as good. I get my foam here.

Cut a rough shape

Make a rough shape before you start doing the complicated stuff.

View from the front

Same scarf, different view. If your scarf is battle worn, you could rip the edges with your fingers so it's less of a clean finish.

Heat but don't melt it

Heat the foam gently until it goes limp and flaccid. Be careful because this foam will melt a lot quicker than others.

Start folding

Start creasing up the foam section by section. Don't try to bite off more than you can swallow.

Complex creases

Pinch the foam and squish it gently in different directions to create a more flowly effect. Remember to hold the shape until the foam cools down.

Keep going all the way around

Once the foam has cooled down, the shape will set and you'll have a cool-ass scarf.

The collar bit

Exactly the same as the bib, this section is a little tricky. Just scrunch up the foam section by section and heat to get the creases. To get a sharp edge for the top, just heat it up and pinch the foam.

Use some glue to help

Obviously foam will bounce back and not keep its shape before you heat it. I cheated and used some hot glue to create the general shape before doing the creases. This example I used glue to make the sharp triangle bit on the bottom of the collar before the creases. When you're done, seal, prime and paint like you would normally with armour.