EVA foam is like a freaking sponge. I remember having to use a half of a paint bottle to make the color on my foam knife show up. Now, why does EVA Foam act that way? Simple. It’s a very porous material. Therefore, it will slurp up that paint like there is no tomorrow. So, how can you save paint and no doubt frustration? One word: Primer.
When I was a beginner cosplayer, I myself didn’t understand the purpose of priming my foam before I went to paint it. I just thought it was an unneeded extra step. That I could save myself a lot of extra time if I just skipped it. Boy was I wrong.
Recently I worked on making my wig for my Envy (from Fullmetal Alchemist) cosplay. I wanted to make it completely from foam to get that “palm tree” look that he has with his hair. But I didn’t want to have to use all of my paint like I did with my other foam projects. So, I turned to Primer. And boy was I happy I did.
After I applied the Primer to the foam and waited for it to dry, I applied the paint. To my surprise and delight, it didn’t take too much of my paint this time—barley the size of a quarter. And on top of that, because of the Primer, the end result looked shinier and after a good couple of weeks the paint didn’t chip off. Which usually happens to most projects thanks to wear and tear.
How do you Prime?
Now that you know that the extra step of Priming is actually worth it, how exactly do you go about doing it? Well, it can be done one of two ways. Either through spraying it on with Priming spray paint, or simply painting it on with Priming paint.
I started with the spray paint method before I switched over to using the paint. Both have their benefits, but I feel that with spray paint it can be more difficult. Reason why is aiming can be difficult and you have more of a chance of putting too much Primer on your project thus making it uneven and sometimes even create unwanted bubbles.
With painting it on, you can control how much you want to put on your project and you don’t have to worry about accidently missing a spot—or accidently painting your deck with the Primer instead of your project.
What Primers to use?
Finally, with all this new knowledge that you, my friends, have acquired, you will need to know what the good Primers are to get well here is a list of some of the brands that I think are pretty good.
You can easily find these at your neighborhood craft or hardware store. And lastly, I leave you with a very important tip. WEAR A RESPIRATOR!!!!! No matter what Primer you use, they all have very harmful fumes. So please make sure to wear a respirator and keep the room very ventilated. Safety first my friends!