How To Make A Cosplay Gun Prop

How To Make A Cosplay Gun Prop

Are you into cosplay but have no idea how to make your own costumes and props? One of the dilemmas of most newbie cosplayers is recreating their favorite characters like the real thing. Sure, you can always get away with great makeup and bodysuits but what if your character requires weapons? Yes, you can always find replica prop weapons online, but expect to spend hundreds of dollars on them.

If you are on a tight budget or are not willing to spend tons of money for a cosplay prop, then your next option would be to make your own. If you don’t know anything about arts and crafts, then here is a beginner guide on making a cosplay gun prop.

Common Cosplay Prop Weapon

Common Cosplay Prop Weapon

When it comes to cosplay, prop weapons can come in different sizes and shapes. Even ordinary things you see around such as fans or playing cards can be used as weapons. If you are new to creating a cosplay prop weapon, here are the most common weapons that are used by many cosplayers.

  • Bow and Arrows
  • Guns
  • Claws
  • Chakrams
  • Canons
  • Keyblades
  • Hammers
  • Kunai
  • Chains
  • Lance
  • Scythe
  • Ringblade
  • Ax
  • Spears
  • Shuriken
  • Staves
  • Swords
  • Knife
  • Whips

This list is still not complete, as there are tons of weapons used out there by different anime, cartoons, and other fictional characters. Your cosplay costume will not be complete without these cosplay prop weapons. A gun is usually the most common weapon used in cosplay, and that’s where we’ll focus here. We’ll show you how to make a prop gun using different methods and techniques.

How To Make A Prop Gun With Craft Foam

How To Make A Prop Gun With Craft Foam

Step 1 – Find A Picture For Reference

The first step is to find a picture of the gun you are about to make. You can easily find one by Googling it. It would be better if you could find different angles of the gun, to make sure you won’t miss out on any details or parts.

Step 2 – Draw The Basic Shape

The next step would be to draw the gun’s shape without the other details, just its basic shape or outline. You can either draw it directly to your craft foam or foam core board or on a piece of paper first to avoid wasting any material. If you prefer to draw it on paper first, cut the drawing and paste or trace it on your foam.

If your foam board is a bit thin, you can use at least two to three layers or pieces until you get the right thickness. You can purchase craft foam and foam core board from different art stores; they come in different sizes and thicknesses.

Step 3 – Adding Details Of The Gun

This step would involve a lot of work but at the same time the fun part of making the entire gun. Expect to spend several hours on this process and make sure you have enough crafting supplies on hand.

Mostly you’ll need craft foam, scissors, and hot glue or wood glue. Of course, you can always use other materials that you have at home, however, craft foams are easier to cut.

Whatever details you see on your gun’s reference picture, make sure to add them to your gun. You can use hot glue to paste them on the gun or wood glue. If you want to make sure the parts won’t come apart, then stick it with wood glue. Once you have glued each detail on your main form, allow the glue to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Step 4 – Time To Prime

Once the glue is completely dry, it’s time to prime your gun. This is an important step if you want a smooth finish. In addition to that, priming helps the paint adhere more to the material.

You can use any color for the primer, just make sure that every corner and part of the gun has an even coating. You can apply the primer on one side first and let it dry then move to the next side. Alternatively, you can always prime both sides at the same time.

Step 5 – Paint It

After priming and ensuring the primer is dry already, it’s time to paint it. Take a look at your reference photo and copy the colors on it. If your gun requires several colors, no need to buy all of them to help save you some money. You can always mix the colors to come up with a new one.

For instance, if you need purple paint, just mix blue and red together or mix yellow and blue to create the color green. Since you primed the gun earlier, there is no need to add several layers or coats of paint. Allow some time for the paint to dry and you’re ready to use your replica gun.

How To Make A Prop Gun From Sintra

How To Make A Prop Gun From Sintra

Now that you know how to make a gun out of craft foam, the next tutorial would be using a Sintra board for your gun. Similar to the tutorial above, this guide will require inexpensive materials and tools.

Step 1- Create Your Preferred Pattern

To make a pattern, you need an image of the gun you plan on creating. Most of the time, you can find different patterns online or you can also purchase them. Open the image in Photoshop and resize it so you’ll have the same size as the real ones, then print the image.

If the gun you’re trying to make is a huge one, you’ll have to cut the pictures so that it will fit in two pieces of A4 images. Print them and glue both images together. After printing the pattern, cut and place them on your sintra board and make an outline.

Step 2 – Cut The Sintra

Once you have outlined the patterns on your sintra, it’s time to cut them out. Of course, you need more than just one layer, so you have to put another piece of sintra into the gun. Make sure to cut all the shapes and the layers from your pattern. The number of layers would depend on how thick you want your gun to be.

Step 3 – Assembling The Parts

Once you have cut the various parts, it’s time to put the pieces together and attach each part with glue. If there are edges that are protruding, cut them off, and using sandpaper, sand them. Sanding the edges can help make the edges smooth and look blunter.

Step 4 – Fill The Gaps

Once you have glued the pieces together, you’ll notice that there will be gaps. That’s normal, so don’t panic. You can fill the gaps using spackle and filler in the sides. Wait for the filler to dry. After that, sand the entire gun again to make the surface smooth.

Step 5 – Put The Gun Together

The next step is to glue the different parts together. Again, expect to see some gaps between the different parts. Just repeat the step about filling the gaps and don’t forget to sand to make it look like the original one.

Step 6 – Prime And Paint

Before you apply a coat of primer, don’t forget to wrap the handle with tinfoil first. Make sure the other parts of the gun are free from dust. This will ensure that the primer and paint will stick properly to the surface.

Step 7 – Creating The Handle

Depending on the type of gun you’re making, you would want to make sure the handle is durable and the outer surface will look exactly like the original one. You can use polymer clay and glue them on the handle. You can fill the space in between with expanding foam and apply a coat of filler to make it more durable. Once it is dry, it’s time to paint the handle.

Step 8 – Adding The Final Touches

For the final touches, paint the other parts using a different color. You can add holes for the decorative screws using a drill. Basically, you need to make sure that the smaller details of the gun you’re making will look exactly like the original.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Are props gun legal?

Props guns cannot be used in public, as toys, or for play. Each state had its own restriction regarding the use and possession of prop guns. You need to know your local law on weapons policy before purchasing any replica gun or any other prop weapon if it is legal or permitted where you reside.

How do you make a costume gun?

There are many ways to make a costume gun. You can use different materials such as wood, foam, or metal. But one of the easiest ways to do it is to buy a prop weapon or toy gun and just paint it the way you want it to look. For this tutorial, we’ll be transforming a Han Solo Blaster Toy Gun.
Painting a prop weapon is not as easy as you may think if you want to create a realistic costume gun. Toy guns have little holes on one side for the screws that you must fill in because they can ruin the look of your costume gun. You can fix that by putting hot glue in those little holes.
After that, sand your toy gun. You can use sandpaper or a rotary tool. After sanding it, use silver spray paint to paint the gun. Let it dry first before working the other side. Make sure that you have painted all its parts including the crevices.
Once everything is all dried up, you can paint it with black paint. After doing the base paint, it’s now time to make it look more metal. You can achieve it by applying a small amount of gunmetal acrylic paint around the gun’s parts.
Use a paper towel to wipe out some of the paint so that it will be worn off as if it had been used in a battle. The next step is to paint the handle. To give the handle the look of wood, mix acrylic paint in nutmeg and burnt umber. This will create a perfect brown color for the handle.
The last step is sealing the gun. Once the paint is all dry, spray the gun with a clear acrylic sealant to avoid getting chipped and peeled. 

Is a prop gun real?

A prop gun can either be a replica or a prop firearm. Replicas can be made out of resin, rubber, metal, or plastic. On the other hand, a prop firearm can either be a real gun or a gun that is specially built to be blank firing only. Blank firearms can produce realistic sound effects. They have gunpowder but do not have any bullet on them.

How do you make a styrofoam gun?

The first thing to do is to print and cut out your gun pattern. There are many pattern templates on the net that you can download for free. After cutting out all the shapes, transfer the templates to the foam. Use a glue stick and stick it firmly to the foam. After sticking all the shapes on the foams, use a foam cutter or foam slicer to seamlessly cut the shapes.
Assemble all the pieces and stack them together. Glue them generously so that they will be more durable. Double-check if all parts of the guns are complete. Spray it with metallic paint and you now have a styrofoam gun.
Now, are you ready to create your own cosplay weapon with this tutorial? Making a cosplay weapon should not be difficult. It’s just a matter of being creative, resourceful, and learning to follow instructions. Of course, foam board and sintra board are not the only materials you can use to make a cosplay weapon.
You can also use cardboard or styrofoam, both are lightweight and are easy to cut. Just make sure you have the right thickness when using cardboard or at least be ready to add more layers.

Making a prop weapon may seem like a lot of work, but once you’ve seen the finished product, you’ll be proud of yourself. So, go wear your costume and your DIY cool gun on your next cosplay.

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Picture of Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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