I've literally never made armor by myself before and I'm attempting a mercy cosplay and I'm at a loss on where to start or what to use I can't use worbla because it's so expensive and I'm panicking Any tips?
I’m sorry I didn’t respond to this sooner! But YES I have some tips. The first is to watch everything Evil Ted has ever done because it will make you feel like you can do ANYTHING with foam. Because you can. If you don’t have time to watch everything, watch this one:
If you don’t have a dress form that’s similar enough to your body (who does, honestly, unless you made it out of duct tape), this is also a good patterning method.
I found a couple actual Mercy builds that might be helpful - this one is all craft foam and salvaged plastic bits; I love her wings especially. This one is part worbla BUT just about anything done in craft foam covered in worbla can be done with just craft foam, if you cut carefully, sand the edges to round them out a bit, and fill in seams with caulk. I mostly wanted to show it because she left the boob bits separate from the torso, which seems like a VERY good idea for the sake of…being able to move…at all. This one doesn’t show a whole lot, but you can see how some of the chest details would look in foam and found items. This one is also all foam and I WISH she showed how she did the shaping, because it’s real nice. That one uses 4mm craft foam, which is probably what I’d recommend.
Oh, and completely different, you could do most of the “armor” with fabric, and then it would be COMFY. That person did fabric with worbla for the shoulders; you might think about just foam shoulder bits, or foam shoulder bits AND foam boobs, separate and sitting on top of the fabric layer like the second link above. You could glue on thin foam strips to add the linear details on the torso, or sew pieces of foam in UNDER the fabric - it all depends on the look you’d like, and how your sewing vs. armoring skills are.
For other parts, (like the weird flanges on the hips? literally what are those) consider sintra, if you want it heat-shapeable and rigid, or this stuff if you want to be able to crease it like paper and have it stay bent. Sintra can be a little hard to work with if you don’t have much practice, but I’d definitely consider it where you want a solid base to build details on top of, like the shin guards (trying to walk in pure foam greaves? not fun. You knock into ONE thing and suddenly everything’s crooked and you try to walk bow-legged for the whole con for fear of ripping something. Feet are the one place I never recommend foam with nothing to stabilize it).
ANYWAY that’s a lot of rambling that may or may not help. I concentrated on the torso because it’s one of the most intimidating bits and the one EVERYBODY is using worbla for, but if you have specific questions about other part, just ask! Do not panic. I believe in you.