We’re going to start off really simple for my first tutorial, just so everyone can follow and just get used to how these tutorials will work (this is also an old commission of mine, so it’s not the best, but I will only hope to improve and create better quality tutorials) and to make up for lack of photos now, I will do my best with diagrams… It also means it’s going to be an explanation heavy tutorial so sorry about that!
What you will need:
- PVC pipe (diameter will depend on what size you want)
- EVA foam (most thicknesses will do)
- Wood glue
- Spray primer (preferably grey)
- Chrome silver spray paint
- Hot glue gun
- Utility knife
- Paint/sponge brushes
- Fine grit sand paper (about 400 grit will do)
- Tape measure
- Marker pen/ pencil
- All-purpose filler
- Latex/vinyl gloves
- Clear coat spray
- Other paints
Time needed: 1-2 days (mainly drying times, the actual staff can be made in about an hour)
Difficulty: 2 / 10
Cutting the staff to size:
The first step of this whole building process is very simple, just measure the length of the staff to your liking, this one was cut to 4 feet tall and cut using a hacksaw. (It’s important to cut straight to avoid a lot of sanding)
Use sandpaper to get rid of any rough edges and to level off the ends.
Covering the ends:
This is probably the most difficult stage of the whole project and what makes it a 2 instead of 1, and that’s covering up the exposed ends of the PVC pipe. If you haven’t used utility knives to cut out foam, this can be quite tricky (I will be going over knife techniques and cutting foam in a future tutorial)
The best way to figure out the size of the circle you need to cut is by pressing the pipe firmly into the EVA foam, this leaves an indent to where you need to cut around. Considering you need to fit the piece inside the pipe, you need to cut the inner indent.
It is important to keep the blade very straight when cutting so the foam can fit nicely into the exposed end and you don’t get any gaps, take this step slowly and carefully, but don’t be afraid to have a few attempts at it, getting the hang of cutting EVA foam is not easy!
You can cut a bit larger around the indented area and use sandpaper to take away some of the foam a little bit at a time to get a perfect fit if you aren’t comfortable with cutting foam.
Once you have cut around the EVA foam, you will need to repeat that to cut out another one.
Once the foam has been cut, a hot glue line needs to be put inside the staff, just below the thickness of the EVA foam, so the foam doesn’t fall too low in the pipe, the glue line is shown as the red line on the diagram below (This step isn’t necessary, but can help with the next step) Try to avoid any contact with the hot glue, it’s well… hot…
Once the hot glue has dried inside the pipe, the next step is to place the discs in the end.
Use hot glue all around the edge of the disc and
All-purpose filler can be used here to cover up any gaps that were made, if there were any holes in the foam or if or if the foam disc has slipped down too far, it can be recovered here. If you decided to put all-purpose filler on this step, wait for it to dry before moving on.
Use a sponge brush to evenly apply wood glue over both ends of the staff, to smooth off the foam and hide the seam between the foam and the PVC pipe. Allow the glue to dry and apply a second layer
Right, now the most difficult step is out of the way, now it’s time for the easy bit.
To help the paint stick to the PVC, use the 400 grit sandpaper to roughen the surface of the pipe. This doesn’t need to be done for long, and isn’t fully necessary, but it helps.
Clean off any dust left over from the sanding with a cloth.
Place the pole upright on some kind of stand (I literally used a cardboard box to stand it up, so I could walk all around it and spray evenly.
Spray as much of the pole as you can with a light even coat with the grey spray primer; beware not to over spray as this could cause dripping.
Allow plenty of time between layers for them to dry.
The box did limit me in spraying, the bottom of the pole, but once the layer had dried, I flipped the pole over and applied primer to any missed places.
I gave the pole two coats of primer.
Once the primer is fully dry, do the same thing with the chrome spray-paint.
Chrome spray paint can be very temperamental so go slow with it and give PLENTY of time between layers and apply it as evenly as possible
TIP: apply the paint from about 30 cm away, this could cause build ups of paint in some areas if it’s closer making the paint uneven.
This is a good time to wear latex gloves when handling the staff, as the paint can rub off slightly and leave fingerprint marks if not dry enough.
The staff was given two layers of silver chrome paint to cover up any missed areas and give it a reflective finish.
Now you have the basis of the pole!
Now you can add other paint effects such as decals and weathering (Which I will be covering in a future tutorial)
For this one, Chat Noirs staff from Miraculous Ladybug, so it was a clean staff with green decals.
The decals were made by simply masking off the areas I didn’t want painted and created a stencil by layering masking tape over each other and cutting out the design with a scalpel.
I would have used metallic green spray paint but it wasn’t in the budget of the client but I would recommend metallic spray paint for clean decals.
Considering I’m in England and the weather here can be terrible, I decided to give it a coat of clear coat sealer. This does however take away some of the shine, but it’s better than having it rain and all the paint wash away…
I hope you all enjoyed my first tutorial and learned some kind of new technique, I know it’s not the most difficult thing to make but I will be getting on to a lot more complex things to make very soon such as weapons, armor and even going through making my newest cosplay.
If you would like to suggest a tutorial to me or would like any advice when it comes to prop making, don’t hesitate to contact me over on my Facebook page: facebook.com/saijincosplay
Happy prop making!!
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Happy Canadian, as well as a hardcore video game addict. Spends all day and night trying to come up with new ideas for Share My Cosplay. Need help with something feel free to contact me.