Let’s make some bracers for Keyleth! These will also work for any woodsy, elf type character, and are totally customizable. Let’s get going!
Whenever I make armor, I use the duct tape method. Wrap your forearm in plastic wrap, then duct tape.
Next, sketch a basic outline for your bracers. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but try to get it as close to the basic shape as you can. Take your time.
CAREFULLY cut duct tape off your arm..
Cut out your pattern.
Transfer to paper (I used wax paper because it’s what I had on hand, but you can use newspaper, butcher paper, pattern paper, etc) cleaning up your pattern.
Cut out pattern. Now transfer to foam and cut it out. I used 6 mm foam from TNT Cosplay Supply because it’s what I had on hand. 5 mm would probably also work, but I wouldn’t go any thinner than that. Draw in your wood planks details. Be sure to make your foam bracer slightly smaller than your duct tape shape so you have a slight opening. You’ll see why this is important later.
Using a Dremel, shape your pattern. I used a variety of bits, and honestly couldn’t tell you what worked best. I just kept changing the bits until I got the effect I was looking for. I have a large selection of Dremel bits. Using a blade, score in the wood grain, using a heavier hand for between the planks. Using a heat gun, heat the entire piece, then roll into a tube and tape. Let sit overnight.
Here is where my photos differ from what I’m going to tell you. I was originally going to leave it like this, but after priming it, I realized it was too plain. So I went back and added details.
Add your details. I used foam-mo, which I found on Amazon. It was okay. It didn’t smooth or sculpt very well, but it was cheap, so I think I got what I paid for. Next time I’ll probably go with the option TNT sells. So it worked okay for the vines, but it worked really well for the leaves. I used fondant molds to make the leaves. It’s really important to make sure your foam dries completely before removing it from the mold. It’s also really important to plan where your buckles are going to be so you don’t have remove and replace the vines later when you’re planning your buckles like I did.
Prime in whatever way you usually prime foam. Because of the pandemic, I didn’t have pva glue so I went with gesso since I had a lot of it. Thankfully heat sealing it helped keep the foam from soaking up so much of the paint.
Now for painting. I started with the leaves. I did a base in medium green, then did a highlight in a lighter green around the edges, and a shadow in a darker green down the center.
Then I painted the wood and vines. Similarly to the leaves, I started with a medium brown, and did highlights in a lighter brown, and shadows in dark brown. I also did a brown wash in the cracks to dirty the whole thing up.
Now for attachments. You don’t have to attach these with straps. That’s just how I did them. You could also lace them up, or use elastic. If you want to do straps, this is how I did mine.
Put the bracer on using tape to hold it shut.
Measure the distance for your straps. They will likely be different for the top and bottom. You will need two for the top measurement and two for the bottom measurement. You will also need 4 long enough to fold over for your buckles. (Only two of each shown in picture). Heat seal everything, and fold foam for buckles and hold with tape. Leave overnight.
Measure for your holes. On your buckle foam, you need to measure the center. Use small hole punch to punch out.
Measure out holes for your strap. I started at pointed end and came in 3 cm, then every 1.5 cm from there. Punch out.
Paint. You’ll likely have to do some touch up painting later, but it’s much easier to paint now than to paint around the buckles.
Some of the pictures from here on out don’t exactly match. I apologized. Somehow those photos were corrupted so I had to retake them using scraps.
Next you need to assemble to buckles. First, thread the buckle through your folded foam piece. Trim and glue down using contact cement.
Slip square ring into this piece.
Thread strap into buckle and square ring.
Do any touch up painting as necessary. I unfortunately don’t have any photos of this next step but hopefully it’s simple enough without it. Glue the strap to your bracer, on the buckle and square ring side. On the strap side, attach Velcro. I would recommend holding the bracers on and figuring out which side would be easiest to Velcro on, and having that be the side you use. For example, I found it easiest to have the Velcro on the side closest to my body.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask! And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for constant progress updates!