Looking for a very specific belt for your next cosplay? Its easy to make your own by using foam and fabric! No sewing required!
- Thin EVA foam
- Fabric of choice (stretch fabric is best)
- Spray adhesive
- Plastidip (or other foam primer)
- Paint/paint brushes
- Sew on snaps or Velcro
- Needle and thread (optional)
- Epoxie Glue (optional)
- Fabric Glue
- X-Acto or craft knife
- Heat gun or hair dryer (optional)
- Measuring tape (for fabric)
- Embellishments (optional)
Step 1: Cut out the base
Start by cutting a strip of foam out in your desired length and width. For mine, I don’t need the belt to meet in the middle since I’ll have a large “buckle” that connects it, so thats why it looks short in the photo below.
I simply measured a long strip of foam 1 3/4 inch thick and cut it to length based on how it wrapped around my body. I’m using 4 mm inch thick EVA foam.
Step 2: Cover with fabric
Cut a strip of fabric out larger than your foam by at least 1/2 on all sides. You can use any type of fabric you want, but stretch fabrics tend to be a bit easier to work with in my experience. For mine, I’m using a dark red stretch vinyl.
The next step is to glue that fabric onto the foam. I like to use a multipurpose spray adhesive for this. Just spray both the back side of the fabric and the front side of the foam with the glue and let it sit for about a minute so it can get tacky.
Then, press the foam down onto the fabric so the glue sides connect. Its best to do this on a flat surface (ignore the fact that my table has holes, I moved to a flat location before pressing the foam down further). If your surface isn’t flat, you run the risk of denting your foam and having the glue dry before you can smooth it out.
Now that your fabric is attached to the front of your foam, you’ll need to wrap the edges around to the back. Spray the foam and fabric down again, wait for it to become tacky, and then pull the excess fabric over the edges to the back and firmly press it down.
Once that is done, wrap the ends around using the same method. You may need to use a bit more glue, depending on how your fabric wraps around.
At this point, the back of your belt isn’t going to look very pretty. This can easily be fixed by glueing a strip of foam to the back. Just cut a strip of foam slightly smaller than your original piece. Since my original piece was 1 3/4 inch thick, I made my second piece 1 1/2 inch thick.
Then, just glue the new piece of foam to the back. Permanent fabric glue is great for this because it remains flexible after drying and has a strong bond. Just spread a thin layer of glue over one side of the foam and press it down onto the back of the belt. Then use something heavy (I used large, heavy books) to keep pressure on it as it dries.
Step 3: The buckle and/or attachments
There are many ways to attach the belt onto yourself. Snaps, Velcro, and regular belt buckles are all good options, but my chosen method was an oversized foam “buckle” made from scratch.
To start, I drew a pattern for the size and shape of the buckle and used it to trace the pattern onto EVA foam. I used 4 mm for the cut out details and then I used 8 mm for the base shape.
Then, I used the spray adhesive to glue the two pieces together. I also used a Dremel to clean up the edges and add a bevel to the edges.
After that, I used my heat gun to heat form the buckle to have a slight curve. This makes the buckle lay more form fitting on my body. If you don’t have a heat gun, you can use a hair dryer as well, though it may take a bit longer to heat the foam enough to form it.
Lastly, I coated the buckle with a few layers of Plastidip and painted it with acrylic paint and gold metallic wax. I also coated it with a gloss clear coat to protect it and make it shine.
Once its all dry, we can add our attachments! I use large sew-on snaps, but you could just as easily use Velcro if you don’t want to do any sewing. Sewing on snaps is just one option!
I used a large needle and regular black thread to sew one part of the snaps onto the belt, and then used an epoxy glue to glue the other side of the snaps onto the buckle.
Once the glue dries, you can put it on!
Step 4: Embellishments
Now you can add on any embellishments you want! I made some small spiky bits for mine and glued them right onto the vinyl with fabric glue.
Once you’ve finished adding any details you want, you have your finished belt!