Hello my lovelies! Since I pretty much have a Carol cosplay put together (thanks to my amazing bf for buying me a wig!), I decided I need to have the knife as well. I want it to be Con and kid friendly, so just buying the real one was out. Therefore, my very first adventure into expanding foam!
First, you need a schematic of her knife.
This will give you all the measurements so you can sketch out a template. Just use regular computer paper, or sketch paper. Make sure you measure everything!
Cut out your template. Then, use it to cut out a template from cardboard. From doing this, I learned that your template needs to be smaller overall, with the holes for your fingers bigger. This is to allow for the growth you encounter later using foam and tape.
Next, get some expanding foam. I got some cheap stuff at Lowes. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
Make sure you read and follow all of the directions on the back of the can. Use PPE! Work in a well ventilated room or you will get a massive headache from the fumes. Next, spray onto your cardboard. This bit is a pain in the arse. The foam will not stick to the cardboard when it’s wet. So, you kind of have to carefully spray on top, trying not to push the foam already there out of the way. It takes some getting used to. Do a few practice sprays first.
It makes a mess. I did this outside, then folded my newspaper to carry it in to dry. Make sure you use plenty of protection (newspaper, drop cloth) because this stuff goes all over, and it’s a pain to clean up! I also utilized a Popsicle stick to direct my foam. Let that dry. Once dry, turn over and cover the other side.
Now, you need to let it dry completely. If you have the time, I recommend you leave it overnight to dry. Otherwise, while you are carving it up, you may hit a wet spot, and like I said above, this stuff is a pain to clean up! Once it’s dry, start carving. You want to get the basic shape. It does not need to be perfect. I used an exacto knife and a hand saw.
Next, hit it with the dremel to get the shape you want, details, smoothing it out, and putting the finger holes in. I messed up my finger holes by not making them large enough. So make sure you give yourself plenty of room there when you cut your cardboard piece.
Now, wrap the whole thing in duct tape.
If you are utilizing this tutorial to make a different weapon, and it’s large, the next thing you would want to do is wrap the whole thing in newspaper dipped into glue/wallpaper paste/paper mache mix. If your weapon is small, like this knife, skip that step or it will be too bulky.
Now, you want to use fastmache (or paperclay) to cover your knife. Do one side, let it dry completely, then do the other. Little tip for working with fastmache. First, read all of the directions, and follow them. It should tell you to mix it in a ziplock bag. Second, keep the majority of the mix in the bag, shut, while you work with small pieces. This helps it to not dry out. Make sure it is thick enough. If it’s too watery, it will just slide right off. Basically, just play around with it. It takes some getting used to, just like the expanding foam. Don’t forget to put clay inside the finger holes.
Now, sanding, sanding, and more sanding. I would start out using a dremel to get the basic shape you want. I used a few different tips in order to get into the finger holes and expand those.
Next, take a heavy grit sandpaper and hand sand it smooth. Then, use a finer grit sandpaper and repeat. You want it nice and smooth because steel is smooth. No lumps. I got lazy with mine, plus my fingers don’t fit in the hole so I know I will be remaking this in the future, so mine is a little lumpy. If you want a texture on your handle grip, add it now.
After sanding, you are ready to paint! First, prime it. You can use a regular primer, or plastidip, depending on your needs or what you have available. I used black plastidip. Using white or black is up to you. I personally like how silver spray paint looks on a black primer better than on a white primer.
After priming, paint the entire thing black. I used a matte black spray paint for this. I know, it’s already black from the plastidip, but I still did this step.
Next, you can either paint the entire thing silver, or you can tape off the handle and only paint the steel bits silver. It’s up to you. If you paint the entire thing silver, you will need to come back and paint the handle black later. I opted to tape off the handle. However, the silver leaked through so much that next time, I’ll probably just paint the handle after the silver step. If you have a favorite silver spray paint, use that. I don’t. I used the one Lowes had in stock. It worked, but it isn’t exactly what I had in mind.
Peel off the tape, and touch up your handle. Or paint your handle on, depending on how you did the above step.
Then, do some weathering. I used a dry brush technique. Put black paint on your paint brush, use a paper towel and brush most of it off, then add the detail. Any bumps you want to weather, and I also weathered the blade edge, since that would have the most usage, and in order to give it a bit more dimension.
Now, for me personally, it was way too shiny. So in order to seal it, I chose a matte sealing spray. It ended up too foggy, but it is better than when it was super shiny.
And done! Feel free to use this blog as a jumping off point for this or any other weapon you wish to construct.
If you have any comments, requests, or suggestions, leave them below!