How to Make Foam Armor that looks like hammered metal for a Roman Centurion costume, including the forearm armor called bracers and the leg armor.

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As part of my Rory Williams, the Last Centurion, costume for our family’s Doctor Who themed costumes, I wanted to create forearm armor out of foam. After a little research, I found out they are also called bracers. 

I made this video to show the steps for making foam bracers and shin guards, but read the following posts for all the details and to get the pattern.

How to Make Foam Bracers

To start this project I measured my wrist and my arm near my elbow. Then I created a pattern on my computer. I added two additional inches to both measurements to account for the thickness of the foam. My wrists are 8 inches and my forearms are 11 inches, so the pattern is 10 inches at one end and 13 inches at the other end. If your measurements are similar to mine feel free to download my bracer pattern.

Next, I drew the pattern on the foam and cut out the two pieces, one for each arm. Since the pattern is symmetrical, there is no need to flip the pattern over. Use a craft knife to cut out the foam.

To make the edges look finished, use a thinner foam (3mm) and cut 2 1/8-inch strips that are the length of the ends of the pattern (10 and 13 inches for mine).Adding a small foam detail on foam armor

I used super glue to attach the foam strip to the main part of the bracer. I found it easiest to glue about 2-3 inches at a time along the edge.Use contact cement to glue the two sides of the foam armor together Then along the side edges of the foam for the bracers, apply contact cement. Press the glued foam together and use a heat gun to seal the foamAllow it to dry, then push edges together. Once it is put together, use a heat gun to round out the shape.

Next, I used a Dremel with a stone bit to round off the inside edge of the bracer. This makes it easier for me to get my hand into the bracer and the round edges are more comfortable. With the same Dremel bit, I now moved the bit up and down on the smooth surface of the bracer to create circles and divots. I did this to give my bracers the look of hammered metal. Use a rotary tool like a Dremel to make indents and divots in the foam, giving it a hammered metal look

Then I used a heat gun to seal the foam and to smooth down some of the bigger bumps and foam burrs. To prep the bracers for painting I sprayed a coating of LeakSeal over the entire bracer. I like the rubbery texture that LeakSeal creates, and it helps the paint stick better. I did about 3 coats to make sure the foam was sealed.Coat the foam armor with LeakSeal before painting it

I then painted the bracers with a base coat of a hammered copper. I used a few other metallic spray paints to give the color more depth. Paint with several metallic colors in layers to give the foam a realistic metal look

How to Make Foam Shin Guards

I was so happy with how the bracers turned out that I created shin guards using a lot of the similar techniques. You can download the shin guard pattern here. Start by following all the steps of the bracers above, but don’t glue the sides together. The shin guards only cover the front of your legs. Then, once you have painted the shin guards use Chicago bolts to attach small pieces of leather or fabric to the sides as ties. I put a tie at the top and bottom of each shin guard.The Last Centurion costumes with foam helmet and armor

Don’t forget to check out the rest of our families Dr. Who costumes. There are tutorials and post for several of them. And, you can click here to see all of our families themed costumes through the years. Happy costuming!