For an FAQ about our learning products please scroll to the bottom
What is Organic Armor made of?
Organic Armor is made with a unique process. The primary ingredient is natural latex, a sap-like liquid from the rubber tree (Hevea Brasiliensis). It is applied over various kinds of fibers and coated with acrylic. The fibers we use vary from foam to old blue jeans, netting to tshirts, clothesline to dryer lint. Sometimes we sculpt an element in clay first and then make a mold to cast it in rubber. Layers of various coatings bond everything and create the integrated, antique-looking surface. Lastly it’s painted with acrylic paints, and sealed with an acrylic coating that has UV protection in it. Read more about it here. The secret ingredient is love.
Is it heavy?
No, it just looks like it is! Because of the unique materials we use Organic Armor is lightweight, flexible and comfortable to wear.
Have you had a neckache or sore shoulders after wearing a heavy costume all day at a Con? Or multiple pinches and pokes from a bra after a night of dancing in the desert? Organic Armor was invented by someone who knows your pain!
We make our pieces look great but they also feel great. You don’t have to suffer for awesome style.
What size should I order?
Many of our pieces have ties or hook and chain closures, which makes them adustable and one-size-fits-most. This includes most neckwear, armwear, belts, and horns, circlets and headdresses.
The armwear has either an elastic loop/button closure or lacing.
Bras and corsets (usually available only as a custom order) come in standard American chest/cup sizes, from 32A to 38D. We can make other sizes but the price may be higher. To convert international sizes use this bra conversion chart.
Because women come in every shape and size, we usually build our bras on top of actual bras, ensuring comfort and correct fit. We purchase high quality garments in the size you order and then cut away all but the cups to radically transform them into Organic Armor.
We usually use D-ring fasteners to enable the criss-cross ties popular with belly dancers. This style allows for many cinching options.
Helmets and hats come in standard S to XL hat sizes. To figure out your hat size, look here.
How do I order something custom?
We have been accepting commissions for almost a decade from creative people all over the world. If you have a specific vision, a vague idea, or something in between, read this to learn how to commission us to make it for you. See our galleries for many examples. All custom work is priced per job and the turnaround time varies widely.
Custom Order Policies
Price quotes on custom orders are good for 6 months. Once we accept your deposit on a custom order, it is not refundable. On a case by case basis, we may be able to apply your deposit to another project or to shop inventory. Our custom designs are not exclusive unless requested. There is an extra fee for that. See Terms & Conditions page for more info.
Photographer and Model Requests
We get many requests from photographers and models to collaborate in shoots, or rent or loan our items. We rarely rent anything. Much of what you see in the galleries is not available because they were made by commission. We sometimes participate in TFP (trade for pictures) projects. Please read THIS for more info about how that works before you contact us.
How do I order armor for my pet?
All pet armor is custom made. We have some detailed measurements you’ll need to take first so we can make sure it will fit your warrior pooch. Depending on the time of year, the size of the animal and the complexity of the design, pet armor can take up to 6 months to complete.
Is it waterproof?
We cater to the merfolk community and get this question a lot. The short answer is yes, sort of. Read this for more info.
What about latex allergies?
The latex is always covered by acrylic but we make no guarantees that our work is safe for latex sensitive people.
How long will it take to get my order?
Everything in the online shop is in stock right now except the made-to-order/MTO items (read this for info on those). Once your payment clears, we will ship within 3 days. Custom orders can take 3 weeks to 3 months or more.
If you have a special event that you want a custom piece for, let us know. We won’t accept an order unless we know we can meet the deadlline. Start the process EARLY and you won’t be disappointed.
How do you ship?
We ship via US Postal Service Priority Mail, with tracking and insurance. The shopping cart will add a flat shipping fee onto your shop purchase depending on it’s size. To have something shipped outside of the US read this. More shipping info can be found here.
How do I return something?
We want you to be happy with your armor. If it is damaged in transit or there is a sizing or other problem, we will rectify it as best we can. If you are not satisfied with a piece purchased at a festival or from the online shop you can return the piece for your money back (minus shipping) within 30 days of receipt. See Terms & Conditions page for more info.
Custom orders cannot be returned or exchanged.
How do I care for my Organic Armor?
We have fifteen year old Organic Armor that is in great condition. If you take care of it it will last a long time.
It is water resistant but not fully waterproof, though you can swim in it under certain circumstance. Read this detailed info for mer folk. Generally, if it gets really wet, just blot off the water and let it sit in a position that doesn’t stress any parts of it until dry.
It will hold it’s shape for many years and will bounce back from twists and bends, up to a point. If you crunch it under a pile of books or shut it in the car door for a week, it may permanently crease. Or it might not. It is surprisingly resilient but we don’t recommend rough handling.
To clean it, just wipe it with a damp soft rag. A spritz of water from a spray bottle is okay. Soap may leave a residue. Don’t store your armor in a sunny window or near your oven. Prolonged sun and heat will degrade rubber. Our armor is UV protected but use common sense. We recommend storing in a hatbox type container when not in use.
If the finish gets worn or dirty (that sticky playa dust!) you can refresh it this way: clean it well, then lightly brush a very thin coat of semi-gloss or satin clear acrylic over it; let dry and you’re good to go again.
Can I use an image from your site?
All images on this site are protected by a Creative Commons License. This means you can share the images but you must attribute them to us and to the photographer if listed. You may not use them for commercial purposes, and not alter them. Thanks for respecting this. Good karma will be yours.
How do I get on/off your mailing list?
We use a service called MailChimp to collect names for our mailing list which we use for our seasonal newsletter. We never, ever give your name/contact info to anybody else. If you want to get on the list find the sign up form just above the footer. To unsubscribe click the link at the bottom of every mailing.
FAQ for online courses & workshops
What are the Organic Armor Arts?
The Organic Armor Arts are the techniques developed by Paul Hersey to sculpt and construct costumes and props out of liquid latex rubber, various kinds of fibers, and acrylic glazes and paints. These techniques enable an artist to make an amazing range of wearable art. They include: dipping and manipulating cord, cutting and layering foam and fabrics, making molds for casting latex, constructing armatures and base forms, and painting in the dry brush technique. The Introductory Course is a foundation course in the Organic Armor Arts.
Who teaches these courses?
Paul Hersey is the founder and lead designer of Organic Armor. He has developed and refined these techniques for more than a decade. You can see some of the wonderful commissions he’s done, expressing the versatility of the Organic Armor Arts here. Paul’s wife Jennifer has been an arts educator for ten years. She does the lesson plans for the courses as well as the admin and marketing.
What will I get if I buy the online course?
The Introductory Course includes eight videos that take you through the process of making a set of upper armbands from start to finish. It also includes online support in the form of discussion forums on the course site and a private Facebook group. Lastly you will receive access to downloads like detailed materials lists and bonus videos. Read more about the course here.
How will the course material be accessed?
The courses are being hosted by Ruzuko, a platform designed to make online students’ studies simple and inspiring. After your purchase you will recieve Log-in/registration info and be able to access the videos on-demand whenever you want, without expiration. All you need is internet access.
Where are the workshops held?
We hold the weekend workshops in our studio in Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville is a charming small city in the Blue Ridge Mountains with great hotels, restaurants, outdoor activites, beer and live music. Definitely a fun place to visit. Read more about the workshops here.
What will I learn in the Intro Course?
You will learn the seven steps of the Organic Armor Arts process. You will make a pair of upper armbands as the learning project. When they are complete you will have the basic understanding to go forward and create any number of amazing wearable art items.
What if I am not satisfied with the online course?
We have a 60 Day Unconditional Money Back Guarantee, described here.
What if I need more help?
We have three ways to get help: there are forums on the course website where you can ask questions specific to the lessons. There is a private Facebook group where you can show off your projects, ask questions, share resources. Lastly you can always email us directly if you can’t figure something out.