You’ve always wanted your own costume, but weren’t sure how to get the materials together? We can help you.
Do you ever look at cosplay pictures your friends took during cons or in the internet and ask yourself: How do they do it? What kind of magic do they do to achieve such amazing costumes? How much did these cosplayers spend to get these amazing results?
Well, today I’ll let you in on a little secret on how to get started. A simple and easy-to-use start-up kit checklist of cosplay prop materials any up-and-coming aspirants need to get them started on the exciting road of cosplaying.
Table of Contents
1. Elmer’s Washable White School Glue
Let’s start with something familiar. Elmer’s White Glue is a must-have for any cosplay start-up kit due to its wide usage and availability. Anytime you’ll need to put two materials together, you’ll always be needing Elmer’s White Glue.
Need to cover your armor foam with fabric? Glue.
Need to keep your costume pieces from falling apart? Glue.
Need to create an intricate medallion out of metal and wood? Glue.
Due to how much reliance you’ll have to glue it’s important to have easy and abundant access to it that’s why Elmer’s Glue is the first of our recommended materials for cosplay
2. Sharpie Markers
While you are making a DIY cosplay costume, it’s always prudent to make sketches first before applying the final product. Using markers as a guideline on your costume materials helps give an outline for when you start doing paint jobs, sewing, and cutting them into place.
Sharpie markers also provide added intricate details to your build and also to your body like tattoos thanks to its vast array of colors.
Speaking of colors, there is one more special trick that makes Sharpie markers a great include for your Cosplay Start up Kit: Wig Dye.
With the help of some rubbing alcohol, you can turn your brightly colored Sharpies as a dye for the synthetic wig you’re planning to use for your cosplay.
You can find Sharpies at your local arts and craft stores.
3. Fake Fur
Faux fur or fake fur is a staple in the cosplay materials due to its near-mythical mystique that we often search for in cosplays. From the historically accurate materials making cosplay armor furs to the more anime-inspired cat ears, beginners would always have a use for furs in their start up kit.
Though prices for having fake fur can vary depending on sources, don’t be afraid to look into alternative options like blankets and carpets found in furniture stores and repurpose them for your own use.
Remember, creativity is the foundation of cosplaying.
4. EVA Sheets
Have you ever wondered how cosplayers are able to mold those amazing armor or set pieces for their cosplay builds? Well, the secret ingredient here is EVA sheets.
EVA sheets or foam are lightweight materials made from elastic polymer expanding rubber which are perfect for securing your body from impact. If you translate it to cosplay terms, EVA sheets are durable but relatively comfortable materials for cosplay props that are malleable enough to be formed to whatever shape you want.
Amateurs and veterans alike swear to this material and the level of creativity you can do with it is a rabbit hole every aspiring cosplayer should aspire to dive into.
Most hobby shops would often carry EVA sheets available, but if you’re planning to get them in bulk, you can find them easily online since the material is often used in other applications.
5. Foam Sheets
Foam sheets or craft foam are also another type of foam cosplayers use for their projects to give life to the characters they are portraying.
But what makes it different compared to EVA sheets? The answer is detailed. While EVA foam is used more as the base where cosplayers mold their costumes, craft sheets are used for more intricate designs. Craft foam has thinner densities and are far more flexible than EVA sheets.
A good example is this: when you make a shield, you use EVA sheets to make its base form, and you use craft foam to create the insignia and other smaller details to give your shield character.
Just like EVA sheets, Foam sheets are easily found in online stores, especially those that focus on cosplay.
What is cosplaying if not for wigs? From short dark hair to long, rainbow-colored manes, wigs are often the piece de resistance of anime-inspired cosplays. Managing synthetic wigs allows for a lot of personalisation; you can cut at any length, dye it, wax it, and even braid it however you see fit.
And that’s just for custom-made wigs mind you. The beautiful thing about acquiring wigs is the more popular you’re cosplaying for, the more resources available for you online to get at an affordable price.
So if your first cosplay project involves someone well-known then you’re in luck because there are a lot of other cosplayers willing to sell or rent their wigs to aspiring amateurs.
Cosplaying is the art of making fantastical characters appear in real life. And alongside that fantastical nature is the unnatural way their clothes flair up in gravity-defining positions. We here in reality can also achieve said positions using fabrics like Buckram.
Buckram is a stiff cotton material that is generally used in cosplay as a stabilizer to keep the fabric and other garments in stasis to help sell that fantastical appeal I’ve stated earlier. So if you want those villainous capes standing menacingly while you’re wearing them, then this material is a must-have for your kit.
Fortunately, Buckram prices are not as stiff as the material itself and can be bought in bulk or in pieces online like Alibaba.
8. Feathers & Boas
Fake fur’s lighter alternative and supplement if you need more frills to your cosplay props. Feather & Boas’ lighter texture are perfect for angel wings, dusters, or anything you need a line of feathery lace to spice up your props.
Fortunately, you don’t need to go for the expensive ostrich version to get yourself your own feather & boa. Halloween stores have a great abundance of these materials and if you’re feeling particular you can always check in online stores again to get a more precise piece that’s perfect for your project.
9. LED Lights
Being a cosplayer means being in the spotlight, so what better way to have all the eyes on you than having LED lights? Do you want to glow like a hero? Or do you wish to give your villainous entrance the proper light show, all these are possible simply by sewing or gluing LED lights to your cosplay props?
One way to decorate your props with LED lights is by sewing them in by carefully bending an LED coil to a needle and sewing them into your clothes. You would need to ensure that the coil goes around properly and reach the battery source to make sure they work out.
Finding affordable LED lights will lead you to two paths: online and hardware stores. Though online shops can provide cheaper and more options, hardware or even some cosplay stores near can give you a guarantee that they are in top condition.
FAQ: How Do I Start My First Cosplay?
First, what are your goals? Do you want to make it an annual tradition? Or is this just something you want to do once for fun? How many people will see your costume? Who will be in it? What characters are popular in that fandom at the moment? These questions will help you determine what you should do with your costume, who with, and where/when/how.
Next, consider how much money you have available for materials and supplies. Some cosplayers spend hundreds of dollars on their costumes while others get by with homemade materials or thrift store finds. If money is tight and time is short, look into cheap alternatives like paper mache or cardboard armor!
Finally, think about what kind of character you want to portray. Then you’re all set!
Key Takeaway: Buying Cosplay Or Buy Cosplay Materials?
There is also the question of whether is it cheaper to just buy a new costume instead of making your own one. You can depend on others to make your dream costume, but materials plus labor to do so can get really pricey. And if you’re looking for cheaper alternatives might give you a substandard product than you might have expected.
Do keep in mind that this is just an initial list of prop-making for beginners and not the definitive kit for all cosplay builds ever. Cosplaying is a challenging but rewarding hobby that pushes your inner creativity to its limits. Don’t be afraid to explore out of the box and experiment with what you have. Let’s start your cosplay prop-making journey here.