Foam to Leather (Tutorial)


Things you’ll need:

  • Brown craft foam
  • Aluminum foil
  • Clothes iron
  • Ironing board
  • Black paint
  • Brown paint (lighter than your foam)
  • Paint brush
  • Paper towel

Grab some aluminum foil and crumble it into a ball. Not too tight of a ball though! The next step is almost impossible if you do.


Next, un-crumple the ball. Flatten it out into one layer. It’s fine if there are a few holes.


Place it on top of your foam.


Take your iron and firmly press it on the foam and aluminum. My iron was set to 3 (polyester) but the correct temperature may be different for other irons. Just remember not to use steam! Before doing this on a large piece, be sure to experiment and figure out what the best temperature and what the best pressure is. On larger pieces, you’ll have to move the aluminum around a lot. It’s not a quick process.


Now you’ve got this crinkly affect on the foam. Next is painting!


Grab you’re brush, black paint, and a dish with some water. The idea is to dilute the black paint enough so that when you apply it the paint will seep into the divets the aluminum created.


Once the watery paint is applied, wipe it off with a paper towel. Continue to do this for your whole piece of foam.


Now here’s an optional step (of which I haven’t done myself but I’ve known others who have):

Grab the light brown paint and, without diluting it, paint it on. It’s best to use a coarse brush in this case and to try to keep it out of the divets. Wipe some of the paint off.

Remember, imperfections are always good! Uneven paint isn’t necessarily bad so just experiment with it.

Here’s an example of a bracer I did with this method. The first two pictures are an example of the foam I began with and the rest show the end result. I hope this helps you guys out!


Author: Quinn Hiers

When my father wasn't looking, I used to sneak into the attic to read his old comic books. After being regaled by spandex-clad superheroes at a young age, it's not a wonder I became such a huge nerd. From comics, to movies, to video games, to cartoons, my life has only been bettered by nerd culture and the many people I've met along the way who've shared my obsessions. My first plunge into cosplaying was when I was 18. I went to an anime convention and my costume was absolutely horrible. But, despite this, I loved the atmosphere and the people, so I kept making costumes. My love of cosplaying has only increased, so I'm here to get people interested in costume-making and give as much advice as I can.

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