Master Chief Costume
Oh, my goodness! Through this process, I can’t tell you how many times I have thought that perhaps I had bitten off more than I could chew! After researching different sites on how to make this costume, the one thing I knew was it needed to be made from EVA foam. What is EVA foam? Ethylene-vinyl acetate and it just so happens anti-fatigue floor mats are made from this.
Walmart had packages of four anti-fatigue floor mats. This is what they look like. One side has texture. One does not.
Looking for patterns for the Master Chief costume, I checked out several websites. Most were talking about Pepakura and how you could get the patterns on different sites. Well, I printed off a pattern for the chest plate. Too many pieces! Oh, my gosh! It hurt my brain!
I asked ten-year-old Aidan to draw a picture of what he wanted and this is the picture.
With this in mind, I found a picture of Master Chief, which Aidan had pinned on his Pinterest board, printed it off, and drew a freehand pattern from it. That was so much easier!
When Aidan came over, I tweaked the paper pattern for the chest plate detail, adding some length to the part that fits over the shoulders. Then, the pattern was traced onto the mat.
Watching some YouTube videos on how to cut this foam, I found those who say to use a heat knife, those who say to use an X-Acto knife, and those who suggest scissors.
Using an old woodburning tool we have, fitted with a knife blade, I tried this method. Maybe this one is not hot enough. The results were less than spectacular.
There was not an arrow on this picture of Master Chief. I saw this on another picture and took the liberty of adding it for more interest.
The X-Acto knife worked better but the edges seemed a little bit mangled. The scissors seemed to work the best. Any area where it was possible, I used the scissors. In the corners and for the little cutouts, an X-Acto knife was used. Scissors were also used to trim up the edges as much as possible.
The arrow needed to be raised. It might seem counterintuitive, but first, it needs to be cut out and removed.
The glue bought for this project is LocTite All Purpose Go 2 Glue. This is a newer glue in the LocTite line. Reading the package, it seemed to be exactly what was needed for this project. (We are an Amazon Affiliate and may receive a small percentage of any sales from this link at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting this website!)
A thin line of glue was applied to the lower half of all the edges of the piece, which was removed. The piece was then reinserted in the opening and left partially extending above the surface. This glue gives you a little more drying time than super glue.
The other two pieces of detail were cut out, removed, and glued back in place, extending above the surface, too. After the glue was dry, the heat knife was used to draw the lines. A small metal ruler was used as a guide for the blade. This needs to be done slow and steady so you don’t accidentally slip onto the plate and mar the surface of the chest plate detail!
At this point, I showed this to Aidan and checked to see if it fit properly. Let’s just say he was not very impressed.
Undaunted, I plodded on, and using the foam cutout as a guide, made a paper pattern for the breastplate. This was adjusted and fitted to Aidan, too. Then, that pattern was used to cut out a piece from the foam. Actually, this piece had to be cut from 2 pieces of the foam. I made sure that the front piece went over the shoulder and there wouldn’t be stress on a seam there. We used the textured side of the mat for this piece.
You can see in the picture where the seam was glued together. Masking tape was used along the inside seam to hold the two pieces together while the glue dried. A large heavy book was placed over the seam to hold it in place, too.
After the seam was glued securely and dried, the heat gun was used to shape and mold the edges to contour around the torso. This post on 405th.com explains how to shape the foam and it works quite well.
Just look at that! You can see how flat the left edge is and how the right edge now curves to fit a body! Aidan tried it on again at this point and still was not impressed.
Most of the posts out there for this costume say to use spray paint. That means masking off areas, taking this outside, spraying, turning, spraying again. Well, no thanks. The time constraint I have right now made me consider alternatives.
On a scrap piece of foam, I painted a patch of bright blue acrylic craft paint. It was allowed to dry. I bent it. The heat gun was used on it. No problems! Why not use inexpensive acrylic craft paint?
We bought a Master Chief helmet before we began this project. I matched a marker to the color of the helmet, took it to the craft store and found a pretty perfect match, DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint – Light Avocado. (We are an Amazon Affiliate and may receive a small percentage of any sales from this link at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting this website!)
Two bottles of the Light Avocado were bought. A bottle of craft smart Medium Metallic Acrylic Paint in Silver was also purchased at the same time. You will notice that the helmet has silver brushed on it in places.
Some more detail was cut out of regular craft foam. I found a 12″ x 18″ piece of gray foam at Michael’s for 99 cents.
Personally, I like the gray behind the green but Aidan wants that part black. Using acrylic craft paint again, the chest plate was painted black.
Then, the LocTite glue was applied to the back of the green chest plate detail, up to the shoulders and leaving the curved edge around the waist sides loose. It was positioned on top of the black painted piece, placed face down, and books were placed on top of it to keep it compressed together while the glue dried.
The curved green waist sides were then glued, one at a time and heavy books were placed on them in the same way and the glue allowed to dry. Both shoulders were glued in the same way.
A pattern was drawn for the waist belt, too, using the Master Chief picture as a guide. Since the middle ‘cup’ part was raised in the picture, a separate piece of the thick foam was cut. So the tip would bend back more easily, it was scored on the back side with the heated knife about 1″ above the tip.
Then, the heat gun was used to make that part bend back like the one in the picture from Aidan’s Pinterest board. Details were drawn on the belt with a pen and then the heat knife was used to make those more apparent.
This is the front. The back pattern was made following the same pattern only drawing less of a curve at the bottom. The plan is to add Velcro on the sides to finish the belt.
I sent a picture of the costume at this point to Aidan’s dad to show him. He messaged me back that Aidan said it is COOL!
He has begun to see the possibilities!
How to make a Halo Master Chief costume in a couple of weeks? Maybe it is not impossible!