For fans of live action role-play, one of the biggest draws of the hobby is the ability to create your own world and storyline for the games. This degree of immersion often includes the creation of outfits, armor, and weapons that can be as basic or ornate as their owners want them to be.
Because of its softness and versatility, foam is one of the most important materials for LARP accessories, with the many different material types for costumes, padding, shields, swords, and armor. LARP swords, more commonly called boffers within gaming circles, are the most popular LARP accessory and constructed with a rigid plastic or fiberglass core wrapped in cushioning, high-density foam. This creates something substantial enough to parry and strike with, while being soft enough to avoid injury. These can be made with custom-cut specialty foam, or with a rolled exercise mat depending on the detail desired in the game. The foam noodles seen in pools and at the beach in the summer are often used for boffer padding as well, since their cylindrical design makes them perfect for padding a solid sword core. Thrusting tips are also added to swords in games that allow the gesture, made of very soft open-cell foam for poke-protection.
Thicker, more resilient sheets of foam are often fashioned into lightweight shields that can absorb strikes and add to the feel of a game. Outdoor cushion foam is often used for these accessories because it is strong, able to get wet without degrading, and rigid enough to hold its shape. When cut into thinner sheets, these shield materials can be fashioned into lightweight, impact-absorbing armor or elaborate costumes.
By using foam for supplies, you can create your own detailed and fun LARP weaponry and accessories, all while maintaining the safety that keeps everybody participating.