Nerd Caliber
Nerd Lifestyle Magazine

Cosplay & Style

April 12, 2013

Making Good Cosplay Great – Marceline’s Guitar: A Tutorial


Some cosplays are just not complete without that giant, unmanageable prop. It could be a sword, a guitar, a sniper rifle, or even a plush of some sort, but it helps define the character. What makes a good cosplay great is not ignoring the props that are necessary for a character just because they seem hard to make. Props also make taking pictures easier because you’ve got something to pose with.

Here’s a tutorial that will teach you how to make a guitar — Marceline’s bass axe from Adventure Time to be exact. This tutorial can be easily modified, though, to make a lot of different props as well!

So let’s get sanding!


Foam Guitar Tutorial

Cost: Approximately $50


  • 1.5” thick pink insulation foam (Menard’s/Home Depot)
  • Small hand saw (hardware store)
  • Two 80 grade sandblocks (hardware store)
  • Gorilla Glue (craft or hardware store)
  • Assorted Paintbrushes (craft store)
  • Silver Elastic (craft store in the jewelry section)
  • Craft Foam (Craft store in Kids’ Crafts)
  • Model Magic (craft store in Kids’ Crafts)
  • Mod Podge (craft store)
  • Acrylic Paints (specifically two bottles or dark red, one black, one silver, one dark brown for Marceline)
  • Wooden pegs (craft store)
  • Acrylic Paint caps (for the tune knobs)
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks

Step 1 – When you get pink insulation foam from the hardware store, it comes as a very large sheet – you probably only need a fourth of that sheet to make your guitar. I personally bought 2-inch foam, and although it worked out, I would highly recommend getting a thinner sheet. I spent a lot of time trimming mine down width-wise. Here’s a diagram of the pieces you need to cut out:

Step 2 – Sand until smooth. The Mod Podge that you’ll be putting on the pieces won’t cover up large dents, dings, and scratches, so make sure to make the pieces as smooth as possible. Make the front of your guitar the part that doesn’t have the words on it, making painting easier later.

Step 3 – Glue the pieces together. Hot glue, super glue, or any corrosive glues will just melt the insulation foam, so be sure to use Gorilla Glue. This is the longest step, since the glue takes a long time to dry – seriously, though, once it’s dry, it holds like crazy! I glued it together before Mod Podging the pieces so that the glue could soak into the insulation foam a little bit, making it even stronger.

Step 4 – Coat your guitar with Mod Podge. Coat it probably three or four times – not only does it smooth the surface out and fill all of the little bubbles, but it makes the whole prop sturdier.

Step 5 – Cut out notches and scratches in the guitar. Marceline’s guitar looks like it’s been beat up, being a family heirloom, and adding those details will enhance the look!

Step 6 – Paint! For Marceline’s guitar, use a dark red for the base, then mix that same dark red with some brown and a dab of black for the dark red used for the neck of the guitar, head stock, and edges of the base. Also paint your “tuning pegs” and “tune knobs” (acrylic paint caps) silver while your other paint dries. Once dry, paint the small details on the guitar, like the frets, pickups, and the black cross on the head stock. Glue on the FOUR pegs and tune knobs with hot glue.

Step 7 – Strings. Marceline’s guitar is a bass, so you only need four strings. Out of craft foam, make two “string holders”, as pictured, paint and glue onto the guitar. Wedge the string between the craft foam pieces and gluing them in place.

Step 8 – Out of Model Magic, make Marceline’s strap pin, which happens to be a large silver pointed object. Wait to dry overnight, paint silver, and glue to the bottom of the guitar with either hot glue or super glue.

And there you have it! You can rock out as Marceline at your next convention with this lightweight but quite sturdy guitar!


About the Author

Lisa Lou
Lisa Lou is the owner of Rarity's Fancy Boutique. She travels the country cosplaying at all different conventions as well as showing off her handmade hoodies. If you have a chance please check out some of her amazing work at or at the links by this bio!



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  1. Gabrielle Holmes

    Please help I am doing a costume based on Marceline and I am unsure what body paint to use to cover my face and skin

  2. Kay

    There are some amazing people on you tube that really helped me get started, because I don’t know if I can link here I will say the names of the changes. madeyewlook, glam and gore, and the last spiffypenguin. spiffypenguin does one for amethyst from Steven Universe amd explans hows she does it and with what and why. Good luck

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