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Help please! Coating to solidify cardboard creation?

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  • Help please! Coating to solidify cardboard creation?

    Hi there, I am making a Mr Freeze fancy dress costume, and I am trying to think of the best way to make it and I think what I am going to do is get a second hand mannequin and build the basic shape of the armour up around it out of pieces of cardboard. My problem is, that if I then wear it it will fall apart instantly. I previously did a Spartan costume with the same technique and used papier mache (however you spell it) to harden it all up and build up all the detailing, and then a waterproof layer on top of it. But despite the many layers of everything that I put onto it (and I left it all for ages each layer to dry), it was still... "squishy" to say the least. It fell apart after a couple of uses, bits of paper kept peeling off, the paint all cracked because it was bending too much, and the rain destroyed what was left.

    I basically need to be able to spend a long time getting everything just right while it's movable and modifiable, and then make it as indestructible as possible once I'm finished. I was thinking of using sculpting foam or something but I think that will cause more problems than it will solve, as if I chip away at it in the wrong place I'll have to start all over again, plus it will probably break apart if I try to attach straps etc... to it.

    Since this costume is likely to take the best part of a year to make, my question is this: Can anyone think of a better way to make it, and if not, can anyone suggest some sort of spray or paint on coating I can just apply straight to the cardboard that will turn rock solid like hard plastic? And also, is there a better alternative to papier mache for adding the detailing. Finally when it's all finished I'd like to add a paint coating that will make it look nice and shiny and reflective. FYI, I'm using LED's behind a pocket of gel (to diffuse the light) for all the light-up parts of the costume.

    Any help anyone could offer me would be greatly appreciated! And yes, I do take Fancy Dress far too seriously
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Whoa, I can see why it would take a year to make this!

    I was going to suggest some fabric sculpting techniques, but hmmmm.... maybe not.

    There's a re-enactor on here who might have some ideas.

    Good luck with this - it's going to be fantastic!!


    • #3
      Thanks! I have actually just been given a great idea by one of my friends, he has suggested using fibreglass sheets! Then it would really be solid. So I think what I'll do is make the basic shape of the armour with cardboard, apply a couple of layers of fibreglass sheet to it, smooth it all down and then add the detail on top of that. Still, I'm at a loss as to what to use to add all the bit's that stick out etc... and a decent paint layer to give it a reflective finish.


      • #4
        Be careful - isn't fiberglass sheeting itchy to work with? I could be wrong....

        My son just said to try carbon fiber molding, but it's expensive. And to take a look here -
        Last edited by removed10; 29-12-2012, 09:25 PM.


        • #5
          Heat proof printable acetate rather than fibre glass perhaps? Would be much lighter and no itchiness?


          • #6
            That sounds just the thing!!


            • #7
              I was going to suggest PVA glue mixed in with the paint to form a tougher finish
              Sarah x

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