Essential Items For Your Cosplay Toolkit

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Thinking of getting into cosplay and making your own outfits and props? In this blog, we’ll take a look at the essential tools that you should invest in to help you create a stunning cosplay outfit to be proud of. And, while these tools are not an exhaustive list they should at least help you get started and allow you to tackle a range of different cosplay projects.

Cutting and measuring

Whether you are working with foam and fabric or wood and metal a good quality cutting mat, metal and plastic rulers and measuring tape will make your life easier. As well as measuring tools you’ll also need some good quality cutting tools including a craft knife, utility knife, fabric scissors, rotary cutters and wire cutters.

Glueing

Sticking things together is one of the basic skills involved in many cosplay projects. This means that you’ll need to have a range of different types of glue available. While different materials will require a specific type of glue there are some that you will use on a regular basis and these are a glue gun, PVA glue, super glue and wood glue.

Heat gun and wood burning tool

For moulding thermoplastics and shaping materials like buckram, a heat gun really does come in handy. You’ll need it for shaping and setting plastics that are used to create everything from armour and weaponry to accessories for your outfit. While a heat gun is an absolute must the next item is an optional extra when it comes to cosplay and is the wood burning tool. This tool can be used for cutting, puncturing, detailing and smoothing wood and other materials.

Sewing equipment

If you are creating a costume then you’re going to need to do at least a little bit of sewing. For those just starting out then a sewing machine is probably a step too far, unless you already have some interest in sewing. A basic sewing kit with a few additional tools should be all you need to start creating your first costume and you can always invest in a sewing machine if you find you need it.

Rotary tool

Until you start using a rotary tool you won’t realise what you are missing out on. With a huge range of accessories and bits available rotary tools have a wide range of applications from cutting and grinding to drilling and sanding and everything in between. They let you engrave, detail and smooth a huge range of surfaces and materials and can be used on a huge range of projects.

Basic tools

Common toolbox items such as a hammer, pliers, wire cutters and screwdrivers are all useful items when it comes to cosplay. These tools will help when it comes to bending, shaping, prying and fastening different materials and are a useful addition to any home.

Safety equipment

Stay protected while creating your cosplay vision with the help of some basic safety items that should include goggles or glasses, ear plugs, rubber or nitrile gloves and a good quality dust mask.

The UK’s Best Cosplay Events For 2019

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Over recent years popular culture has changed dramatically with the rise of popularity of comic based films such as Black Panther, X-Men and the Avengers to name just some. Cosplay is no longer a geeky underworld and events such as Comic Con attract hundreds of thousands of visitors. In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the best upcoming cosplay events for 2019.

Birmingham Anime & Gaming Con – 4 and 5 May
A great event for those in the Midlands, the Birmingham Anime & Gaming Con is the perfect event for gamers and anime fans as well as cosplayers. Run by Animeleague, this event features a couple of Cosplay contests as well as plenty of talks and workshops by some of the UK’s best cosplayers. Take part in gaming tournaments, play RPGs and meet top comic and Manga artists. The Anime & Gaming Con in Birmingham is a great event with something for everyone.

MCM Comic Con London – 24 – 26 May
Boasting a fantastic list of special guests, this three day convention takes over the ExCel exhibition centre in London for an entire weekend. From the stars of film and TV to sci-fi and pop culture, MCM Comic Con London is one of the UK’s biggest conventions.

Heroes & Villains Fan Fest – 25 and 26 May
Another option for those in the capital, Heroes & Villains Fan Fest has some amazing guests and exhibitors on offer. It promises to be a great event for anyone who is a fan of the DC franchise or the Walking Dead. Join the Cosplay fun at the end of May at the Olympia in London.

Dublin Comic Con – 10 and 11 August
Dublin Comic Con is a fandom event which offers photo opportunities, costume contests, table top gaming, a large trader’s hall and more special guests then you can imagine. Quite possibly one of the UK’s and Ireland’s best events and one that is full of something for all the family. Dublin Comic Con happens twice a year with a spring and summer edition.

For the Love of Sci-fi – 7 and 8 October
Started in 2015 as a Star Wars convention, For the Love of Sci-fi has grown to encompass the whole Sci-fi genre. Guests have included stars from Predator, Stranger Things, E.T. and Star Wars to name just a few. Based in Manchester, For the Love of Sci-fi is a great event for those looking to get started with Cosplay in one of the UK’s friendliest cities.

Making your own cosplay armour using thermoplastic

A growing number of people are getting into cosplay and while shop bought outfits can be appealing a lot of people are choosing to make their own costumes. Using thermoplastics can help anyone who is looking to take their outfit creation to the next level and lets cosplayers create complex armour, weaponry and detailing. In this article, we’ll take you through some tips for making your own armour with the help of thermoplastic such as Wonderflex and Worbla.

Tools you’ll need

We’re going to assume that you already have common items such as marker pens, rulers and a craft cutting board. Some of the essential tools you’ll need to make your own cosplay armour include heat gun, craft scissors, hand punch, roller, sanding sponges, soldering iron, safety glasses and gloves.

Pattern making

In a similar way to how you need a pattern when sewing a costume the same is true when it comes to making your own armour. Luckily there is a simple way to make sure that your armour fits perfectly. Cover the part of your body in cling film and then wrap this in a couple of layers of masking tape. You can now draw the armour shape on the tape and then cut this out to make your pattern. Once you’ve cut out your patterns make sure you test them before tracing these onto your thermoplastic sheets.

Sculpting your armour

Wonderflex and Worbla are both for sculpting but in order to form armour, you’ll probably want to add two sheets together to help add more structure to your creation. Craft foam can also be used as a base to help give even more rigidity where needed. Most thermoplastics can be bonded together by simply heating and rolling together to form a stronger sheet.

To make curves you’ll need to heat your thermoplastic sheet and mould over a form, this is where having a mannequin can really help for creating a chest or back plate for your armour. For arms and legs, you can use different sized pipe or bottles to make the curves that you want. Once you’re happy with the shape and curve you can now cut out the shape of the armour. It is best to cut once the armour has been shaped as this stops the shape from distorting when being stretched and moulded.

 

 

 Add details

The great thing about working with thermoplastics is that it is easy to add new pieces to your armour including additional detailing. Spikes, borders and layers can all be created using thermoplastic and then bonded to your armour by heating and putting in place.

Priming and painting

When you are happy with the look of your armour it’s time to start priming and painting it to get the look that you want. A primer will help you create a nice smooth surface and make the finished paint job that much better. If you’ve already put the time and effort in so far then it is well worth taking the time to properly prime your armour.

When painting start off with a base paint that is darker than the end armour as you’ll also be adding highlights and shadows to create contrast. Don’t be afraid to go bold with your highlights and shadows as this will help your finished armour stand out.

Armour fixing

There are many ways to fix your armour but the most important thing is to make sure that it is comfortable to wear. It doesn’t matter how great it looks if it is uncomfortable then you won’t enjoy the experience. Test different fixings including magnets, buckles, belts, and Velcro until you find something that works for you.

Beginners guide to creating your own cosplay outfit

Cosplay is growing in popularity and over recent years it has really taken off with fans of anime, Manga, sci-fi and fantasy games all wanting to dress up as their favourite characters. Increasingly people are looking to create their own cosplay outfits and in this guide we’ll take a look at some of the things you’ll need to craft your very first cosplay outfit.

Choose your character

The starting point for any cosplay outfit is to pick your character and collect as many pictures as you can of their outfit, preferably from different angles. Depending on how crafty you are you may want to avoid anything that will require too much intricate detail.

Work out what you need

Take a look at your costume and work out what you’ll need for each element. Don’t forget to check your wardrobe to see if you already have something that closely matches your chosen outfit e.g. belts, buckles, boots etc. The easiest way to work out what you need is to make a list of each item and then what materials you’ll need to make this.

Download sewing patterns

Most costumes will require some form of sewing to create the finished outfit and if you’re creating your outfit from scratch then a sewing pattern will help to make your life a lot easier. Do a search online for sewing patterns that match your outfit e.g. if your character wears a corset then try to find a corset pattern that matches. An advantage of a sewing pattern is it will also tell you how much material you need and give you information for creating the right size.

Pick your materials

Depending on your chosen costume you’re likely to need a range of fabrics in order to create the look you want. Popular fabrics with cosplayers include Buckram, which can be used to make masks, hats and help add rigidity to costumes, Gala lining and 7000 duchess satin for creating your outfits and of course Worbla, Wonderflex and Fosshape thermoplastics, which can be used to mould armour, weaponry and many other items. When looking for materials, colour swatches are your friend as they’ll let you get an idea of the colour and material that will work for your costume.

Get the right tools

Nitrile gloves, safety goggles, epoxy glue, heat gun, hobby knives, glue gun and sewing machine, these are just some of the tools you may need to create the cosplay outfit of your dreams. For sculpting Buckram you need nothing more than a steam iron, multiple layers can also be bonded together to create a stiffer material that’s perfect for creating self-supporting shapes. And while a sewing machine can help to speed up the costume creation process it isn’t a necessity as you always have the option to hand sew your costumes.

It’s all about having fun

Remember that cosplay is all about having fun. Creating your own costume is part of this process and can be a fun activity working out how to make a certain part of your costume. From wings and armour to weapons and accessories you can really go to town on crafting a beautiful costume that’s custom made for you.