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Unread 01-08-2013, 03:57 PM   #1
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Plaster strips question

I'm looking to cosplay as Kunimitsu from Tekken.


I've made small armor pieces from craft foam before, but due to my father's retirement, I have a fairly hefty stash of plaster casting strips. I was wondering if anyone had any good techniques for making armor pieces with plaster. I was thinking of still making the basic structure with craft foam and then covering thoroughly with the strips, but I'm not sure this is a good idea. I would like the pieces to be rigid.

Any input would be appreciated!
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Unread 01-08-2013, 04:18 PM   #2
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id prob only use the plaster for the mask. id be afraid that since the armor will need to move, the plaster will begin to crack.........
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Unread 01-08-2013, 05:54 PM   #3
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one thing to keep in mind-- plaster can get very heavy when used in many layers.

but to cover a piece of armor in 1 layer to make it stronger? sure it would work. For the costume you linked, I'd imagine it would be fine, the arm and leg pieces would be pretty well supported and hopefully wouldn't need to flex much.. I wouldn't use it for the shoes

The plaster strips usually have a grainy texture due to the cloth so you'd need to smooth it, maybe with paperclay.

for a costume I helped make for my brother we made spikes out of cardboard, plaster, then paperclay.. they looked good but were a bit on the heavy side.
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Unread 01-08-2013, 06:23 PM   #4
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Another issue with plaster is that it is brittle. When you overstress it, it doesn't flex like craft foam, it just cracks. The bandage more or less holds the piece together, but you still have a crumbly bit on your lovely armor.

I find plaster bandage has more useful applications in moldmaking. One neat trick, for example is to sculpt a piece of armor out of oil based or polymer clay, then make a 1-part mold of the sculpt using the plaster bandage. Design the mold so it is stable when turned upside down, you don't want it wobbling about. After the bandages have cured, and the excess water has had a chance to dry off, you can put it in a low (170F) oven to warm it up along with some sheets of craft foam or other thermoplastic. By pressing the sheet into the warmed mold, using heatproof gloved hands (and other safety precautions) and allowing the mold to cool, you get a high-detail copy of your sculpt in a lightweight and sturdy material.
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Unread 01-08-2013, 07:14 PM   #5
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Now, see, I've had great success making armor out of plaster strips (Rigidwrap).

Of course, the plaster is just the base. It works best on armor that is in single, solid pieces rather than articulated. I made Lazlo's chest and back-plate armor (Suikoden IV) by having a friend wrap my torso in the plaster strips and then cutting down the side to make an opening, it has leather straps at the shoulders since those are hidden under his coat. You don't want to build the plaster up into so many layers - 3 to 4 layers is enough to give a solid base. And no, it isn't too heavy at all. At least Rigidwrap isn't - if you're talking about some other kind of plaster strips, then I'm not sure whether it'll be heavy or not.

I prefer to cover the plaster base in an air-drying clay, which can then be sanded and painted, regardless of whether it's going to end up as smooth plate or heavy-sculpted and detailed armor. I also like to coat the inside with fabric, so that you aren't rubbing raw plaster on your clothes or skin. It'll make a flaky mess. You do have to be careful about storing and transporting it - the only time I have problems with the under-layer cracking is when I don't treat the armor gently in transport and storage. I'm more concerned about the outer layer of air-drying clay cracking, to be honest.
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Unread 01-09-2013, 09:53 AM   #6
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Wow! Thanks everyone for the great responses! This was extremely helpful and has given me a lot think about.

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Kunimitsu - Tekken Tag 2
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