Camp Foam Ultralights


I am just getting into camp foam ultralights. I plan to cover my first couple in Kite tape, but I have seen a lot of posts about latex paint/sealant. I know latex weapons are legal now. Is there anyone out there with experience in both who can give me a weight comparison? I know latex will look better, but I don't have the artistic skills to take advantage of the full range.

Just a plain camp foam boffer. One covered in kite tape, one with latex paint and sealant. Which will be lighter?

Thanks in advance,

Depends on how many coats of latex you want to put on, I imagine.

Using custom pipe foam, a carbon core, black plasti-dip, fake gem stones, contact cement, grip tape, electrical tape, and sleeping pad foam (for the hand guard), I made this:

It's kind of a weird hybrid between a boffer and a latex, I guess, but it only weighs 3.80 ounces, is softer than a normal latex and seems pretty damn durable, so all in all it looks good and meets my needs better than the latex swords I bought. Plus, I can easily fix it.

PM if you're interested in knowing the whole process.



Asheville Staff
Gary, I would be very interested to see how you did that. Weapon looks pretty sweet.
A few people expressed interest so I'm going to just post the details tomorrow.

Hey everyone,

So I got a number of people asking me about the sword. I figured I’d just respond here.
To answer a couple questions in particular:

1) The tip is not actually pointy. It’s rounded and slanted. I did this for safety and simplicity, but it also looks pretty good.
2) I treated the finished sword with silicone spray. This made it more water repellent and (I’m told) strengthens it and prolongs its life a little.
3) The core is actually a hunting arrow. They are cheap, light and strong as hell.
4) Yes, I think it’s pretty much water proof at this point.
5) The tip is about as soft as the blade, which is soft enough to be safe, so long as you don’t actually stab with it, which we can’t do within the rules anyway, so…you’re good!


1) I took the arrow shaft, cleared it and ran a strip of rubber weather stripping down the part of the blade that would be the striking side (there would only be one striking side, since it’s a saber).

- The weather stripping was 1/4 of an inch across and 1/8 inch thick.
- Then I cut out the three pieces of the sword’s foam. The blade. The pommel. The hand guard.

2) The blade was the biggest pain to handle, in the past, so I actually ordered special pipe foam for 3/8 inch copper pipe with a 1/2 inch wall. (Note: the .5 inch wall was why I needed to lay down the 1/8 weather stripping, to meet the 5/8 thickness striking surface requirement we have in the Alliance latex rules.) If you want this foam you have to order 75 bucks worth, from Canada, so it was another 75 bucks in shipping. If people want just one six foot piece I’d be happy to sell a few for the base cost and shipping.

- The pipe foam that I ordered also has no slit. This makes it so you don’t have to mess around with taping it up.
- Then I cut the top of the blade to have a slanted angle. This is just to make it look more like a sword. I filled the little hole in with a piece I cut from the same pipe foam.

3)The pommel is just more of the pipe foam.

- I cut both the blade and pommel to have a slant where they meet with the hand guard.

4) I cut a long rectangular piece of foam from a foam camping mat, shaped it as desired, and drilled two little holes on each end for the core to slide through.

5) Then I assembled all three pieces together onto the core, using contact cement and masking tape to hold them together.

- Put the contact cement on all the pieces, where they will touch, let it sit for a couple minutes, then tape the pieces firmly together and use a little more contact cement to fill in any holes. Make sure the pieces are firmly together, but also make sure that the masking tape is not touching the cement and that the foam is not be malformed during the drying process.
-Let this sit overnight.

6) Remove the tape. Check to see if you like the shape and the overall look of the thing.

7) Cover it in layers of plasti-dip. I applied 7 thin coats with some cheap foam brushes. You can use chunks of open cell foam as brushes.

- Make sure the layers are thin and evenly spread. Take your time. Make sure there are no drips. Lay newspaper down underneath you to be safe. This stuff stains.
- Make sure to apply the PD on the core too. It’ll keep water out.

8) Wrap the grip with whatever you want. I used grip tape and electrical tape to seal it at the ends.

9) Get copper pipe with a thin wall. The pipe must be just a little smaller than the round gem stones you want to use.

-Heat up the pipe over a flame and gently let it melt about ¼ of an inch into the foam. Twist it out.

10) Use a razor to take some of the foam out of the little holes.

11) A dot of contact cement in each hole and gently pop the gems in. Let them sit for at least an hour.

12) The next day, wipe down everything but the grip with a rag and silicone spray, several times.

13) Post pics and let me know how it turned out.


Asheville Staff
interesting.. minus the wait period on things setting it doesnt sound much more complicated... infact maybe less complicated than regular boffer construction.. can you bring that sword the the crossroads event. I saw u were regged. that would be neato if you could.
Yup, it's probably pretty simple the second time doing it.

And yes, i'll bring it to crossroads.


Asheville Staff
sweet :)


wow thanks for posting this.

I think I'll have to try this befor the season ends. I hadn't thought of using a hunting arrow as a core before.



Silly man, why would a latex weapon obey any of the weapon rules? They are purely up to the marshals, it seems. :?

Mobius said:
¿this has neither thrusting nor waylay tip?
It sounds like there's not any tape in the final product (sans internal tape for capping the core and whatnot). I haven't had much luck with contact cement holding up well enough to go tapeless, what sort are you using?
Could you let us know how it is doing/weathering/wearing after a few events/car trips/time in storage/etc?
Elmers contact cement is good, but no contact cement really does much past holding the foam in place long enough to latex it. The latex is what seals it. You do want to put contact cement down the core shaft. That will keep the pipe foam from twisting.


- You want the core to come up to about an inch to 3/4 of an inch shy of the end of the pipe foam blade. More than that and the pipe foam tip begins to weaken easily under stress. The tip is still passable, but I definitely think it'll hold up better in the long run if the core comes up higher. Initially, I think I only felt the need to have so much pipe go past the core because of being use to open cell foam tips.


Deadlands said:
Elmers contact cement is good, but no contact cement really does much past holding the foam in place long enough to latex it.
I have found that if you use the DAP contact cement and make sure you coat the open cell foam side with two coats and then let both sides dry for half an hour before applying them that the foam seems to hold well enough that the two times I had to remove the latex from a weapon, the open cell foam tore above the glue line.

The hardest thing I have found is doing the proper waiting time for the contact cement as we are all impatient to have a weapon in our paws. :)
markusdark said:
The hardest thing I have found is doing the proper waiting time for the contact cement as we are all impatient to have a weapon in our paws. :)
That is painfully true.
I'm playing around with different designs at the moment. Also, I'm interested in trying actual latex, which I should be getting a hold of this weekend.


Maxondaerth said:
I know, right? It's not like they posted a change to the requirements or anything. Oh, wait:

What I was getting at, Jeff, is that per the guidelines here: , when combined with the length changes and waylay tip changes that have been recently passed, latex weapons are mostly a matter of 'classify it as whatever length it fits in, and see if a marshal thinks it will hurt anyone' rather than anything close to the rather more stringent rules for boffer construction.

This makes sense when applied to getting commercially manufactured latex weapons in under our system, but not so much if we're going to let players start making their own and hold them to the less stringent rules written to deal with the failings of the commercial offerings. That's all. :)