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Plastic Coating EVA Foam

#1 User is offline   gnomedic 

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 08:40 AM

Besides using PVA as a base coat on EVA closed-cell foam (camping foam mat), I was wondering if anyone could offer any advice or opinions about coating their foam armor with any of the following:

Epsilon
Plastidip
Polyurethane
Epoxy

I think I'm going to try out the Polyurethane, since plastidip doesn't seem like it would help increase the rigidity of the armor piece. Any suggestions would be most appreciated. I've looked at a few online tutorials, but figured it'd be worth taking the time to listen to what other crafters have to say.
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#2 User is offline   Tokoz 

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 11:25 AM

If i don't use PVA to seal my foam, I'll use artist's gesso (though i'm told wall primer will work as well). Are you planning on painting your foam after you seal it? I'd worry about the paint adhering properly to the polyurethane if you use poly as a base sealant (though you could sand it). As a top coat/protector for a painted piece, I adore water-based polyurethane. Fantastic stuff, and the water cleanup is very nice.

To increase rigidity of a piece, I dip a bit of scrap fabric into some watery PVA and line the back side of the piece with the glue-soaked fabric. If I'm *REALLY* worried about a piece, I'll also put glue-soaked fabric across the FRONT, then use multiple layers of gesso and clay, sanded smooth, to hide the fabric weave. That's a lot of work, though.

I think you're right about the plastidip, though it might work in the scrap-fabric-on-the-back scenario, if you didn't have enough glue...

I haven't used the other materials, unfortunately. I'd think the epoxy would be too messy (and potentially able to dissolve the EVA foam, but again, I know very little about epoxy)

#3 User is offline   infymys 

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 11:44 AM

I usually use black Gesso to seal and primer my foam pieces. Acrylic paint for the color and then a water based polyurethane for top coat. Minwax has a product that's polycrylic and is very, very good for my projects. And all these items are usable indoors if you provide decent ventilation. If you want rigidity, Epsilon is very good and sandable but like any Smooth-On product, expensive.

Plastidip is good but obviously you have to use it outdoors because of the odor and is also not every cost effective for the amount you get. One quart of Gesso costs as much as a can of plastidip and can do a full set of foam armor and still have some left over.

As for covering those unsightly seams/gaps you get when doing foam pieces, I use spackling (not spackle) by DAP. Apply, let dry, sand. Repeat if necessary and recoat with Gesso.
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#4 User is offline   Armand Assante 

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 02:06 PM

Polyurethane worked great for my props. It's easy enough to use, and is stronger depending on how many layers you put on. If you want more help with this method contact me anytime (:
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#5 User is offline   Fabledzero 

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 12:05 PM

Bondo and fiberglass cloth.

#6 User is offline   gnomedic 

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 11:55 AM

Thanks for all of the great tips, folks! I've been struggling to get a finish that I like so far, or, one that works. The armor is so light that it won't sit right if I don't weigh it down. I've been trying the fiberglass resin (with cloth), and even tried plastidip, but it looks like my problem right now is the base sealer. I've been having a hard time finding gesso products that aren't in those itty bitty bottles which aren't cost-effective, but modge podge has been doing the trick. PVA Wall primer, which is what I had handy, definitely did not seal the foam well, so, just a heads up to anyone else that might be looking at this. Tokoz' method is what I'm about to try, so, here goes nothing! :D
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#7 User is offline   KittyMayhem0916 

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 01:55 PM

A lot of us Halo Spartans use plastidip, personally I recommend the spray kind as it goes on smoother for a better finish when you paint.
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