WWWIP 2019-2020: Kyle's Week 7 Progress
Hello fellow winter crafters! Kyle here with our seventh week of progress. Last week we went over glues to use with EVA foam. This week we’ll be cleaning up some glued seams, and also sanding a more complex bevel into the leg armor pieces.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we’ll have seams that need some cleaning up. Luckily, you can still salvage seams like this with a little bit of dremel sanding and Kwik seal caulk.
First, lightly dremel the edges of the seam. Sometimes this will fix the problem on its own, but in this case, it simply ensures that both sides of the seam are even before we fill in the gap.
Pick up some Kwik seal caulk from your local hardware or home improvement store. You can usually find it in the painting supplies area.
Use just a tiny bit at a time, and smooth it out across the gap in your seam. Be sure to read and follow the instructions on the bottle before use. Once it’s completely dry, your piece is ready to be sealed and painted!
Moving on to the leg armor pieces, we had previously started them out by cutting multiple layers of foam out and gluing them together. Notice that I went ahead and laser cut a centerline on the top layer to act as my guide for the bevels.
Before we get to sanding, I like to get a head start by cutting some of the excess foam away with a box cutter. If you do this, make sure to leave 2-3mm of foam from the edges as a safety so you don’t accidentally cut away too much. I also recommend cutting a little at a time to maintain control as you cut. And of course, always cut away from yourself so that you’re less likely to slip up and cut off a finger ;)
From here, dremelling the bevel is largely the same process that I went over in Blog #05. One thing I like about sanding a shape comprised of multiple layers is that you can use the seam lines as guidelines while you dremel. On average the seam should look centered between the two edges of the bevel, except for the ends of the shape where it tapers off.
After you do some initial sanding, feel the edge with your finger. Sometimes imperfections can be hard to see on EVA foam, but you can definitely feel them. When you find a bump or a dip in your edge, start with focused strokes on the elevated area and lengthen them out as you go to help even out the entire edge. Always be sure to sand your edges slowly with many shallow strokes rather than trying to dig into it. Gradually sanding away a little at a time will help to minimize imperfections and mistakes.
Here’s a look at the finished shapes. Next, we need to attach a few layers together and heat shape them.
When gluing layers together, it’s a good idea to make a pattern to draw your guidelines so that both sides will layer the same way.
Once you’re ready to heat form your shapes, hit them with a heat gun until you see the color of the foam change slightly and smooth out. It may have a slight glistening look to it, but don’t heat any one spot for too long or it may start to melt. If you haven’t used a heat gun before, practice on scraps before working with your final piece.
While your piece is heated, curl it up and hold it still for a minute while it cools down. I like to exaggerate the curvature on limb armor so that it will hug your body. Over time it may relax a bit, especially if it is left in a hot room or car for extended periods of time. It can always be reheated and reshaped as long as the paint used on the outside doesn’t react badly to heat (always do research or test to be safe)
Thank you for tuning in, and be sure to check back with us next week as we begin sealing and painting the foam. We’re getting close to the finish line!