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  • Writer's pictureIndra Rojas

Covering foam with fabric using Heat n Bond method!

A couple of years ago, I was asked to do a cosplay project for JoAnn Stores, using Cosplay Fabrics. At the time, I was making content for Cosplay Fabrics, so I wanted to use the opportunity to make something with different skills and techniques. I decided to make Ganyu from Genshin Impact, and make all the details with fabric covered EVA foam. 



Covering foam with fabric isn’t anything new, but when I found myself with limited time, I had to think outside the box. I didn’t want to deal with E6000 or contact cement, especially having to wait for each piece to get tacky or the fumes. I had a new roll of Heat n Bond, so I tested to use it as my glue and it worked so well that it has become my go-to for covering foam. I’ve used it multiple times since, so I wanted to share more about it here. I’ve made other tutorials for this method, so I’m combining them to create a more thorough written version of them!


ALSO as a warning, this method requires the use of hot tools and scissors, so please make sure to be very careful when doing this! This will also heat foam, so please make sure to do this with proper safety measures (open window and using a mask) in case of any possible fumes. 


Materials:

  • 2mm foam 

  • Heat n Bond (must be Ultrahold)

  • Iron and ironing board

  • Hot glue (or your choice of adhesive like E6000 or contact cement)

  • Scissors

  • Wax paper

  • Pressing cloth (a piece of cotton fabric or muslin also works)

  • Choice of fabric (I recommend stretch fabric for pieces that are not flat!)


This basically follows the steps of using Heat n Bond, but instead of it bonding fabric to fabric, it’s bonding fabric to foam. 


Side note: you can do this in 2 ways, covering a sheet of the foam OR your precut pieces of foam. If you want to completely cover all the sides of the piece, then you’ll have to precut your pieces. However if you want just crisp pieces that you can cut and layer, then covering a sheet works well. 





Step 1- PREP!


Set up your ironing board and preheat your iron (do NOT use steam!). You’ll have to test the temperature, depending on the fabric you’ll be using, but try to use med to high heat. 


Cut the piece of Heat n Bond that you’ll need. You’ll want this to be larger than your foam piece. Then, cut your fabric, which you’ll want a little larger than the Heat n Bond piece. 


Step 2- Bonding the fabric


Start by placing your Heat n Bond piece (webbed/rough side down) to the back of your fabric. Carefully iron until you adhere the whole piece to the fabric. Then carefully flip your fabric to the right side, cover with pressing cloth, then iron again. 


Wait a minute for the fabric to cool then you can flip it again to peel off the backing on the Heat n Bond piece. This is going to leave a film on the back of the fabric. 




Step 3 - Bonding the foam


Place your foam pieces down (make sure that what would be the front part of the foam is facing down) onto the Heat n Bond film. 

Place a piece of wax paper over your foam piece (make sure that it’s larger than the piece you’re working on. This is to avoid it sticking to your iron) and carefully start to iron. You want to use short and quick strokes in different directions. DO NOT pull the wax paper up yet. You’ll see the foam will slightly curl, but the weight of the wax paper will help it not completely curl up. 

Please be careful to not burn the foam. Just do this little by little, until you see the pieces adhering. They don’t have to fully adhere at this point, because we’ll iron the other side too, so don’t stress about it being perfect just yet!


Now VERY CAREFULLY (because it might be hot), hold the fabric, foam, and wax paper and flip it over. So now the wax paper is protecting your ironing board. Then use your pressing cloth and iron the right side of the fabric. Just as before, use short and quick strokes in different directions. Wait for the piece to completely cool, before lifting it from the ironing board. 

You can repeat the process, if your piece is still not adhered. It’s better to work little by little, so as to not burn your foam or fabric. 




Step 4 - Detailing and finishing 


If your foam has layers of details, you’ll want to warm the front side of the piece (use your iron and cover your piece with your pressing cloth) and then push the fabric into the grooves so it adheres to all the nooks and crannies. Please note that this will only work with stretch fabric. You can use a popsicle stick, the back of a pen, a spatula, etc., as tools for this so you don’t burn your hand. 



Once you’re happy with how your piece is covered, cut about 1/4in around your piece. You can then make any notches or extra cuts necessary to then glue the excess to the backside of your foam piece. I use hot glue for this part, since it will heat the Heat n Bond too, but you can use your preferred adhesive for this part. Alternatively, you can just cut off all the excess fabric. 



And there you have your fabric covered foam piece! At this point you can add extra details, add a backing to the foam, or attach it to your costume. 



Here are some other ways that I’ve used this method: 


I made a Scarlet Witch headdress by first fusing the fabric to a sheet of foam, then using my Cricut to cut out all the details. I then glued it to a foam base. This gave me the ability to make something detailed yet super light!


For my Yumikaze cosplay, I made the belt just like I made the Scarlet Witch headdress, as well as all the gold armor and details that were fabric covered foam.


If you're more of a visual learner, here's a short video version of the tutorial:



Something I love about this technique and some reasons to do it:

  • no smelly glue

  • can be used for smaller details

  • can be sewn over

  • smoother finish that glue variations

  • no drying time

I hope you liked this tutorial and if you ever use this technique, please tag me so I can admire your work! 

Thank you for reading and happy cosplay crafting!!!


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