When approaching any staff or spear project, I tend to rely on my tried-and-true materials: PVC pipe and foam.
Eleanor’s spear is taller than she is, so I purchased a ten-foot long PVC pipe and politely asked a store employee to cut it into two five-foot sections. (A ten-foot pole wouldn’t be able to fit in my car, anyway!)
Before I get into how I made the spear, here’s a list of everything I used:
PVC pipe in 1/2 diameter and another small piece of pipe 1/3 diameter
EVA foam, 2mm thick
Spear from Tales of Berseria
To begin, I had to determine how large overall I wanted the spear to be. It had to be not so big that I couldn’t fit it into my car (because I didn’t want to bother making the spear separate into pieces, but that would be an alternative way to solve that problem), but I needed to make sure that when I held the bottom piece on the ground, it would be taller than I was. Because I’m only 5 ft. 2 in., I decided to make the spear somewhere between 5 ft. 5 in. and 5 ft. 8 in. tall.
Before making a firm decision on how long the main piece would be, I sketched the top piece. I went through a few drafts to reach the size that I wanted it to be. However, when I cut the shape out of my EVA foam, I thought it looked too thin with only one piece. So, I cut out a second piece. And then I determined the top piece would be too floppy if it was made only out of EVA foam. Sandwiched between the two pieces of EVA foam is a piece of foam board, cut out in the same shape. You can buy foam board from your local craft store (such as Michael’s) or from an office supplies store like Staples. I attached each piece to the next with contact cement. You could use hot glue, but I already had contact cement, and I like how strong of a hold it has. (But use it in a ventilated area!)
I sealed the cracks between each layer of foam and foam board with kwik seal. You can get this at a lot of home improvement stores. I would take a bead of it on my finger, smear it over the cracks, and then smooth it out with some water on my finger. Once it dried, I could spray paint it. To finish the piece, I very carefully freehanded the darker gray design on the spear top piece.
Then I cut the main PVC pipe piece down from 5 ft. long to about 4 ft. 6 in. On the top, I wrapped one piece of craft foam (the thin stuff you can find at craft stores, also sometimes called “foamie sheets”) all around it, attached the foam to the PVC with contact cement, and then moved onto the rounded bits. There’s one at the bottom, one at the top, and one more slightly below the top. I make these also with craft foam. I cut small strips of craft foam (long enough to wrap around the circumference of the pipe) and then pinched them and heated them. You could use a hair dryer or a heat gun if you have it. Just be careful not to burn your fingers! You want to pinch it and hold it in a semi-circle shape until it cools down. It’ll set roughly into the shape you held it in. Then I used contact cement to carefully place it around the main piece on top of the first piece of craft foam. I did this two more times for the other rounded parts. There’s going to likely be a small gap in your foam, and you can fill that with kwik seal, which you’ll also want to use around the seams of all the craft foam pieces. Where there’s a gap, there’s kwik seal! I finished it off with basic acrylic paint, both a light blue and a gold.
The golden piece that connects the pipe and the spear top is made out of styrofoam. There’s another piece of foam on top of the pipe for the styrofoam piece to connect to. I left an opening so that I can also attach dowel rods from the styrofoam cone to the inside of the pipe for added stability. Before I did this, I found that when I tipped the spear, the top would fall off, even after glue had set.
But I’m getting ahead of myself—I shaped the styrofoam piece with scissors and an exacto knife, because it was too tall and wide. I also needed to cut out an opening in the middle for the spear top to sit in. Then I painted on gesso (this helps prime it for paint and also smooth out the styrofoam texture), sanded it, and painted it in the same gold paint. With the dowel rods, I attached the the styrofoam piece to the pipe.
Once the glue had set on that (I gave it a full 24 hours just to be safe), I then used contact cement to attach the spear top to the gold styrofoam piece, setting it into the space I had cut out.
Moving onto the bottom, I repeated the steps for the top of the pipe’s foam to make and attach a piece of craft foam painted gold onto the bottom of the main part of the 1/2-in PVC pipe. Again, I used kwik seal to seal the gap and painted over it when it was dry.
I had a hard time finding PVC pipe that was the size I wanted that could fit inside the main PVC piece. I ended up going to Home Depot and finding a short piece of copper pipe. It was a little too small in diameter to be a perfect fit inside, so I padded it out with paper. Once it was the width I wanted (for the part that would be going inside the 1/2-diameter pipe), I used E6000 to attach the pieces together. Around this smaller pipe, I used the same craft foam + kwik seal + paint method for the bottom-most rectangular gold piece. And I did the same process for the bottom cone as I did for the top styrofoam cone.
The silver pieces at the bottom are made out of clothes hangers. I cut out the lengths of pieces I needed with wire cutters, and I spraypainted them with the same paint I used on the main part of the spear. They attach to the bottom cone and the very top of the smaller pipe with E6000. It was very tricky to get them to stay in place, so I did them one at a time, holding each in place for about 10 minutes (while watching a YouTube video so that I didn’t get bored!) before rigging up a solution to hold it in place: painter’s tape arranged in a loop that attaches to a nearby shelf while I put my spear on top of my desk, laid flat. The tape loosely kept the wire in place so that it didn’t fall. I kept it in place for 48 hours before moving on to the next piece, just to make sure they were as secure as possible.
As you can tell, the spear overall isn’t super professionally done, but the whole thing only cost me around $15. (I already owned several materials, so I pretty much only needed to buy the pipe and foam board.) And it looks great in photos, which is really all that matters!
You can see more photos of this costume in the gallery.