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Re: Help Please!! Foam advice......

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  • Curtis
    The best technique for joining the foam all depends on what kind of foam it is. Is it closed-cell foam (the kind of stuff often used in the low-profile
    Message 1 of 6 , Nov 8, 2008
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      The best technique for joining the foam all depends on what kind of
      foam it is. Is it closed-cell foam (the kind of stuff often used in
      the low-profile roll-out sleeping pads)? Reticulated foam (often used
      for filters, speaker covers, and puppets)? Open-cell foam (typically
      used for seat pads, etc)?

      Different foams have different properties. Some are quite resilient
      and can be stitched, others don't handle exposure very well and even
      if you glue AND stitch, will start coming apart in relatively short
      order. In general, though, you're better off gluing edges together
      with a good contact cement (some spray adhesives make remarkably good
      contact cement, others do not, you'd have to ask someone else for
      recommendations on that one). If you feel you MUST stitch for your
      own peace of mind, your best bet is to sew a wide band of material
      over the edges, so that the thread is well in from the edge (at least
      an inch). The fabric will hold the thread in place, and make it more
      difficult to rip out (it is important that the material wraps around
      the edge, so that the stitching is reinforced by it, on BOTH sides of
      the foam...otherwise, it will just start cutting into the foam,
      eventually). Then you can hand-stitch edges together through the
      fabric, which won't rip out.

      In my experience, however, when working with the more rigid foam
      varieties (closed cell or reticulated foams), a good solid bond of
      contact cement is more than sufficient, and you can butt the joints
      together so that you don't have any odd bumps from overlapping pieces.
      I try to stay away from softer foams for any sort of structural work,
      as they rip easily and many will start to break down in relatively
      short order. If the costumes are just for one or two shows, that's
      not a major concern, but if you're building them for long-term use,
      somewhere down the line someone will be cursing you for using it (our
      wardrobe crew for Peter Pan was constantly rebuilding bits and pieces
      of the crocodile costume, which was done with foam padding.)

      --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, "nelkiegrl"
      <nelkiegrl@...> wrote:
      >
      > So..I am working with foam,in making these 3-D type body encompassing
      > costumes. I'm thinking I will cut the foam, cover with fabric, and then
      > somehow put it all together..Will hand stitching hold? Or will it just
      > tear the foam? I have never done anything on this scale before. If
      > there is a better way, or you have any advice, I would very much
      > appreciate it. Thanks!
      >
    • Kael Lampe
      ... I am a mascot costume designer and builder. If you want it to last awhile and if it s going to take any kind of abuse what-so-ever....cement, cement,
      Message 2 of 6 , Nov 9, 2008
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        --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, "nelkiegrl"
        <nelkiegrl@...> wrote:
        >
        > So..I am working with foam,in making these 3-D type body encompassing
        > costumes. I'm thinking I will cut the foam, cover with fabric, and then
        > somehow put it all together..Will hand stitching hold? Or will it just
        > tear the foam? I have never done anything on this scale before. If
        > there is a better way, or you have any advice, I would very much
        > appreciate it. Thanks!
        >

        I am a mascot costume designer and builder. If you want it to last
        awhile and if it's going to take any kind of abuse
        what-so-ever....cement, cement, cement....no matter what type of foam
        it is. Then 'drape' your pattern draft over the finished shape (using
        muslin or true-grid). If your foam is dense (like L200 series or any
        reticulated), use the contact cement...two coats on each
        gluing/adhering surface (let first coat dry almost completely before
        applying second coat). If any soling is involved, barge cement is the
        way to go. I'm willing to wager you need contact cement.
        Hope this helps.
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