The Costume Counselor: Armor 101

Armor is, without a doubt, one of the most intimidating things out there.  And I’m not just talking about when you’ve got a legion of stormtroopers marching towards you led by Darth Vader although okay yeah that’s a little scary if it’s unexpected.  No, I’m talking about the process of actually making armor for yourself.  We’re not going to go into the crazy world of vacuum forming or the kits that you can buy for stormtroopers.  Instead, we’ll look at the more affordable armor materials that are out there.

Let’s cover a couple of basics first.  All of these materials are going to require heat to shape them.  You can get a heat gun/embossing gun from almost any craft store but BE CAREFUL.  Things can get very hot very fast and you may burn yourself if you’re not cautious.  I speak from personal experience.   You’re also going to need to paint the crap out of whatever material you use.  Some of these will need multiple layers of gesso plus sanding in order to get a smooth surface.  (I will admit that this is something I haven’t quite yet mastered…)  I also cannot recommend enough getting some large sheets of paper to use for templates before you start messing with your chosen material.  You can probably find newspaper for free and recutting that a dozen times to get the shape right is infinitely preferable to doing so with a more expensive material.   Continue reading