• Search
  • 0 Wish List
  • 0 Cart

Tips for foam weapons

LARP weapons belong to many characters in live role playing. Whether for elf warriors or orc shamans, steampunk adventurers or zombie epidemic survivors; each character has their own weapon. Here you will find useful tips and important information about the use and care of foam weapons.


What are foam weapons and how do I use them?

Foam weapons are soft and sometimes very detailed replica weapons developed especially for live action role play, aka LARP. In LARP players take on roles from fantastical worlds – from classic fantasy to steampunk, science fiction to zombie apocalypse. Many LARP characters are armed to defend themselves in dangerous situations against orcs, zombies and other enemies. Foam weapons allow you to carry authentic-looking weapons that will suit your character, whilst their design alleviates risk of injury during combat. In our armoury, you’ll find close combat weapons such as swords, axes and daggers, as well as shields, ranged weapons, padded projectiles and much more.

Types of construction

How are foam weapons made?

The classic “sandwich” structure:

LARP weapons for close combat have a fibreglass or carbon fibre core, which provides rigidity and a certain degree of flexibility. The padding around the core is made of several layers in order to cushion the blows and give the weapon its shape.

There is a ‘stab-shield’ made of kevlar or hard rubber embedded into the foam at the end of the fibreglass core, which prevents it from piercing through the foam during a jabbing movement (forbidden in most cases of LARP combat!). This prevents real injuries from occurring. Ripped or defective foam weapons will not be accepted at well-organised LARP events.

The foam layer is typically coated with several layers of dyed latex. This layer gives the weapon its colour and forms a flexible but durable surface. To protect the latex from environmental factors such as moisture, UV radiation and dirt; a flexible and transparent plastic sealant is applied as the top layer.

The foamed structure:

In addition to the sandwich structure, there are also foam weapons which are completely cast from a special, firmer foam. This results in the weapon looking more detailed and authentic. However weapons with the ‘foamed’ structure are usually thinner as well as many having a harder surface, therefore increased caution is required when using them. Foamed structure weapons can be made with or without a fibreglass core.

The hybrid structure:

There is also a ‘hybrid’ way of producing LARP weapons, which combines the advantages of both the classic and foamed weapons. The blade is made with the classic fibreglass core-stab-shield-latex structure whilst the handle is cast completely from foam. This method makes them as safe to use as the ‘classic’ foam weapons but with a harder, more detailed looking grip. The handling of the weapon is more realistic because a cross guard and basket hilt can be attached to the sword, these are useful for tactical parrying or blocking.

The coreless design:

Projectiles such as throwing knives or fireballs never have fibreglass or any other core rods for safety reasons. Often these are made using the ‘foamed’ method because they can be shaped more aerodynamically, making them able to fly better with more weight. Here, too, you have to be more careful with ‘foamed’ weapons than with ‘sandwich structure’ weapons.

  1. War Axe: Classic latex structure with core rod
  2. Survival Hatchet: foamed structure with core rod
  3. Viking Sword: Hybrid construction with core rod, latex blade and foamed handle
  4. Elf Throwing Dagger: No core rod, foamed structure

Durability of LARP Weapons

How long does a foam weapon last?

Our LARP weapons are very robust and durable, which makes them suitable for even the toughest of LARP battles. Nevertheless, like all foam weapons, they don’t last forever. Every weapon wears out at some point, if used frequently or improperly, they will inevitably break more quickly. As latex is a natural material, it ages over time, as the molecular chains its made up of break down. This causes the latex to slowly dissolve, a process known as ‘latex cancer’ in the LARP community, and is accelerated by certain factors such as moisture, heat or contact with fat or oil.

In order to enjoy your foam weapon for as long as possible, keep in mind our top tips: regular cleaning and maintenance; store and transport properly; avoid hitting too hard (see ’safety‘) and avoid hitting sharp edged armour pieces!

Cleaning & care

How do I clean and care for my foam weapon?

Foam weapons should be maintained regularly in order to keep them smooth. We recommend silicone spray (available from any DIY store) – this maintains the material and cleans the weapon at the same time. Ensure that the spray contains no oils or solvents, otherwise it will cause latex cancer!

Alternatively you can use talcum powder from a pharmacy, which also helps preserve the elasticity for longer. Do not use soap, dishwashers or any other cleaning agents on your LARP weapon; a damp cloth is usually enough to remove dirt.

Storage & transport

What do I have to consider when storing and transporting foam weapons?

Never leave your LARP weapon on its tip. For safety reasons, the core rod does not extend to the tip, therefore the tip will bend when strained. This is desired when jabbing with a LARP weapon, as you don’t want to hurt anyone. But if the tip is overstrained, sooner or later it will snap off and your LARP weapon will be unusable. Therefore always store LARP weapons horizontally or on the handle if it’s robust enough. Make sure that heavy objects are not left on top of your LARP weapon, as the weight will leave marks on the foam.

To avoid latex cancer, protect your LARP weapon from high heat, moisture and contact with grease or oil. Be careful when storing LARP weapons in vehicles, as petrol fumes can occur which in the long run will damage the latex!

Cold temperatures can also make the latex and the overlying sealant brittle, which in the worst case could cause the foam of your LARP weapon to tear during the next fight. The ideal temperature for storage of foam weapons is between 15 and 25° Celsius.

Prolonged contact with metals, plastics and leather may also cause latex cancer. For this reason, we recommend storing latex weapons in hemp or burlap sacks.


Can I paint my foam weapon?

Larpers are keen customizers of their armour and the same goes for their foam weapons. But it’s important to avoid oil or solvent-based paints, as they will damage the sealant as well as potentially cause latex cancer.

However the protective sealant also means that subsequent painting does not last forever and eventually will flake off. We recommend the use of acrylic paints as they don’t damage the latex and are flexible enough to last for a while.

Tip: LARP ranged-fighters should add a personal symbol to their projectiles and arrows, as when ammunition is collected again after a battle, it’s easier to see which of them belong to you. We also recommend attaching glow sticks to foam arrows for easy finding in the dark!


What can I do if my foam weapon gets broken during a LARP battle?

Especially during heavy combat, it is possible that the latex layer of an upholstery weapon may rupture. In such cases, each Larper should have silver adhesive tape (e.g. gaffa tape or other fabric tape) in their inventory to patch the area immediately, in order to prevent the damage getting worse.

When damage to the foam body of the weapon occurs, we recommend using high heat resistant adhesive such as Pattex. Apply a thin layer of this only to the exposed foam (not on the latex as it will dissolve!) then allow to dry until it becomes relatively firm – this usually takes 5 minutes or longer. Only then do you squeeze the crack together, do this briefly but with all your strength! Afterwards, re-tape the tear in the latex as usual. With a little luck and some skill you can continue to use the foam weapon again without any problems.

If the grip tape / wrapping becomes uncoiled, carefully use hot glue or Pattex to reattach it.

Broken arrows – get rid of them!

Splintered arrows or arrows which have a damaged foam tip should immediately be disposed of as the risk of injury is too high to carry on using them.

Safety & weapon check

How do I make sure that I’m not hurting anyone with my foam weapon? Are there LARP combat rules?

The first rule of larping is: be considerate and take care of each other! Live action role-playing stands for attentive and tolerant co-operation, in which everyone looks after each other – especially true in battle! Larpers should never aim for the head, if it does happen, check if your fellow larper is okay and apologize accordingly!

The second rule: larping is role-playing therefore combat is also part of the performance! Part of good role-playing is that despite the foam weapons being light, you fight as if they were real! It would look silly and unrealistic if you were to wave about a massive war hammer like it was made from cotton wool! Blows are never executed with full force but rather slowed down just before impact. Rule of thumb: If the hit claps too loudly, you hit too hard! Even if you become pumped full of adrenaline if the final battle, always fight controlled!

As a player you are responsible for checking your weapons before and during live action role-play. Ensure that there are no cracks or weak points otherwise you could hurt someone. A smooth LARP weapon treated with silicone spray or talcum powder not only lasts longer, it is also safer because it glides away from other foam weapons with more ease. Poorly maintained foam weapons damage the armour of your opponents and can also cause burns due to frictional heat. Hardened Larpers who fight in freezing temperatures must also remember, that their weapons become harder and more brittle in the cold – so be extra careful in winter!

Larp etiquette, how should I act?

In order to guarantee good cooperation, some „laws“ have become established in the LARP community over time. Here are the most important ones:

In battles, when someone says ‘stop’, it raises the alarm that something unplanned has happened and the game must be interrupted. All larpers must then raise all weapons and cross them over their heads to signal there has been an accident. This is important for help to be administered quickly in an emergency.

Next, it’s important to understand the level of who you are fighting against. Am I up against a two metre tall professional orc, who can take my blows thanks to plate armour and is up for a tussle on the ground, or a first time larper who only has a foam dagger. In other words: You must be considerate of the experience level of your fellow players, as well as knowing what you are capable of. Understanding this is key in making the game exciting and safe for everyone!

When performing moves like sneak attacks from behind, you don’t hit someone extra hard until they are unconscious! Instead, saying ‘Pömpf’ in combination with an implicated blow to the head has been established to represent the sneak attack. The effect in battle is the same, just without the headaches afterwards!

Finally, keep in mind that LARP battles aren’t about winning – but about playing well! A battle is much more glorious, as well as more fun, when you’re left wounded and let the drama play out in a believable manner, rather than fighting dirty to win.

So off to battle and fight safe!

Your team from Andracor

back to top