Cosplay is a fun hobby which has taken centre stage, especially here in the UK in recent years. The nation has become more obsessed with the hobby over time, with people of all walks of life taking up the craft. I’ve learned a lot about materials and how to make something look like another thing all together. So introducing my bracelets/wristbands for an upcoming horror themed Original Character (OC) costume.
Whilst not the most perfect bracelets in the world, these are really cheap and easy ones I made in a matter of no more than two hours. That includes the time for the primer and the shine to be applied to it. Yes, this is really a simple little project and it’s a good way for anyone to make their own wristbands/bracelets. The same principle can be applied to anything that needs to wrap around your arm in one piece, however you’d need to modify the pattern to accommodate.
For this project, you’re going to need just a few basic things:
- Craft Foam (The sheets you get from hobby stores for 50p or so!)
- Mod Podge or Gesso
- Craft Knife
- Velcro or Clothing Poppers
- Paint (Optional, Acrylic works fine)
Once you’ve gathered your required materials, it’s time to draw your pattern out. You’ll need to measure out the size of your wrists and draw these out on a sheet of plain drawing paper. You can use any kind of paper you want, of course, but I’d recommend just plain paper. The shape of your wristbands will need to be determined by you, but the classic design is more or less just a rectangle. Make sure it’s wide enough, so you’d likely want it to be at least 1.5 inches wide. In the case of my wristbands, I made them just shy of 2 inches in width. Mine are also 8 inches in length, so if you want a rough guide, considering I have quite an average wrist size for a bloke, there’s one!
You’ll notice mine have writing engraved into them. The joy of working with fun foam is the versatility of the material. It’s really soft, so go ahead and poke a pen into it and write into the material. The above is for another piece which isn’t a wristband (rather a choker I’m working on for the costume). Once you’ve designed your accessory, just go ahead and cut it out with scissors. I use a craft knife for finer details, using the scissors to cut out the main length and width. Think of it as using the scissors to cut the shape, whereas the knife is used for details.
Once you’ve gotten your shape cut out and added any initial detailing, you’re ready to seal the foam. This is a process which allows you to do more interesting things to the foam, such as painting it, or in my case making the foam nice and shiny. Interestingly, it’s a good way to get your lettering/details out too. All you need to do for this is apply a thin layer of Mod Podge or Gesso. I’d personally recommend Gesso normally, although I’ve been using Mod Podge for this and it’s giving off the intended result. Apply approximately 3 thin layers and it should be sealed enough to paint.
Painting foam of this kind is really easy: Just use an Acrylic paint. You can buy them from craft stores in spray or in tubes, so go ahead and choose what suits you most. The larger your project, the more likely you’ll want a spray for an even spread. If you use a tube, you’ll need to consider how to apply it evenly. Generally it’s considered better using a spray for this kind of painting, as you can apply more even layers.
With the sealing done and the painting done, keep applying layers of Gesso/Mod Podge until you are happy with it. One amazing thing to note is that if you’re unable to find either of these two useful craft supplies, just get some PVA Glue. In America, I believe they call this Elmers. You’ll want to thin the PVA down somewhat if you do use this method, however both Gesso and Mod Podge are actually just glues! As an aside, don’t forget to add a way to strap the band to you. I favoured Velcro in this case, which two small strips isn’t too expensive to use. I’ve still got loads of the stuff in my box. You can use stick on velcro and give it some time to properly get stuck, or for added security, you can sew them into the foam or put a stronger glue on them.
All in all, each wristband can not have cost me any more than roughly 25p, as all I needed were the craft foam sheets and some Mod Podge. I’m going to keep shining my wristbands up in hopes to make them even more metallic looking, as well as adding in some colour and shading for the engravings, in hopes to make them stand out more… But what do you think? Let us know in the comments below and any extra hints and tips are always welcomed. Alternatively, leave us a message over on Facebook or Twitter.