What is Cosplay?
Cosplay, short for costume play, is a performance art in which participants called cosplayers wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character or idea that is usually identified with a unique name. Cosplayers often interact to create a subculture centered on role play. A broader use of the term cosplay applies to any costumed role play in venues apart from the stage, regardless of the cultural context.
Favorite sources include manga and anime, comic books and cartoons, video games, and live-action films. Any entity that lends itself to dramatic interpretation may be taken up as a subject. Inanimate objects are given anthropomorphic forms and it is not unusual to see genders switched, with women playing male roles and vice versa. There is also a subset of cosplay culture centered on sex appeal, with cosplayers specifically choosing characters that are known for their attractiveness or revealing costumes.
There are social networks and websites centered on cosplay activities, while Internet forums allow cosplayers to share stories, photographs, news, and general information. The rapid growth in the number of people cosplaying as a hobby since 1990 has made the phenomenon a significant aspect of popular culture. This is particularly the case in Asia, where cosplay influences Japanese street fashion.
Pepakura or pep is a program that prints on cardstock then cut/glued to form the 3D object. Then fiberglass is applied, bondo, paint. You can find 250 sheets of 110 weight at Staples or the Office Stores for around $17. If you want fine details, this is the way to go. I'm currently making an armor set out of it.
Sintra (pvc foam)
Sintra is like PVC piping but flat. I have a 1 mm for fine details and 3 mm sheet for larger pieces that need strength. 4x8 foot sheets are at Regional Supply for $17/$25. I use a heat gun to bend/mold. Probably use a thin layer of bondo on top for sanding/painting. Not sure yet, I can paint directly onto it but some of the areas were 'splattered'. Maybe if I just spray primer on it then paint, it'd work out better.
EVA Foam (anti-fatigue mats)
EVA Foam, I haven't played with it much, still planning on testing. I found 4 sheets of 2x2 feet for like $10 at harbor freight. You'll want one of those knives that push the blade out and can break, along w/ a knife sharpener. I also bought a wood burning set w/ a blad to help carve the foam. The foam can be heated and bent into shape. Plasti-dip comes in a spray can and you'll want to spray a few layers then paint. I wish I had more experience with EVA Foam, seams to be the fastest way to make something.
I haven't even looked into Worbla yet. I hear it's great, flexible, can be heated/molded, etc... and is expensive.