Sunday, January 4, 2015

[Tutorial] Super easy foam claws

I happen to like claws, nails and other pointy things. Hell, I have an entire costume lined up that's practically nothing but foam spikes (ugh) so this time we're gonna talk about making some foam claws (or teeth) for yourself. It's an easy project but it requires a lot of elbow grease if you're going to do it by hand. So lets get to it.
Please read through the entire project before collecting material!


4-5mm foam, colour irrelevant if you're going to paint it
Glue sticks (for hot glue gun)
Contact glue (or similar contact cement) I prefer Shelley's Kwik Grip.
Newspaper (for blueprinting and stuffing)


Boxcutter blade or X-acto knife type cutting implement. Sharper the better.
Hot Glue Gun
Pencils, markers, etc for marking the foam


Sandpaper 150- 600 grit depends on need
Heat gun
Dremel or equivalent rotary tool with sanding bit
Filler or latex acrylic based caulk (get gloves for that shit! its bad for skin)
Template and cut

First, draw up your claw blueprint and make a template out of it before you get to cutting. For tracing it out I used a yellow sewing chalk pencil to outline it because it's easier to see.

The way I do it is by drawing three shapes (bottom, top and the middle piece) and then cutting the 3rd piece in half. The 3rd piece will form the 'walls' of your claw. Of course you could make it taller or shorter depending on your needs.
Chop chop!
Sticking it all together

There's two ways you can glue up your claw.

The first method is to use hot glue to connect the pieces together. This way can be a little tricky if you aren't using high-temp hot glue sticks as it can sometimes cool before you finish sticking them together. But this method is good if you want to get it done VERY FAST.

The contact glue way is to apply glue on both the sides you are connecting and letting them dry just a little till they're tacky. After that jam both sides together firmly and they should stick almost seamlessly.
Before sanding and trimming. Yes I used a satay stick to get glue into all those little corners :)

The results are roughly the same, it's just a matter of your personal preference and how strong you want the bond to be. Just remember that the closer and more accurately you glue it, the less visible the seams will be!

When it's done you can then trim the corners, carve notches, shave it smooth with sandpaper, stuff it with newspaper for strength, the possibilities are practically endless :)


If you need to paint it, just seal it up in your preferred method of treating foam and paint away!

Also if there are tiny cracks in your foam, you can always go over it with some caulk or filler and let it dry overnight. This in turn can be sanded smooth or you can smoothen it with water before letting it dry, roughly same results.

Alternatively, if you're bothered by little hairy bits left behind from sanding or uneven cutting, you can run your heat gun over the foam to remove the unwanted texture. Just remember not to leave it there too long! it could cause your glue to melt.
I used the claws to make teeth for these boney shoulderpads I made for a client LOL
That's pretty much the entire project in a nutshell. Hope it was helpful!

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