So maybe you’re tired of buying cosplays online and decided you want to start making your own costumes! Well that is totally awesome. But what materials and tools do you need in order to start your costume-making journey? Do you only need some thread and fabric, or is there more? Which cosplay necessities will make your costume-making a lot more easier?
In this article, I will give you 10 items to all cosplay necessities you need! I’ll give you the materials that are necessary and how to obtain them. I will also give general tips on how to use them.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
DISCLAIMER: I have some affiliate links in this article if you’re looking to wear any of these cosplays. Either I myself have bought from those stores, or I believe they are fairly sweet deals. If you’re buying from these sites, you’re also supporting me and my hobby so I appreciate it!
1. Needle and thread
The first of many cosplay necessities is of course this. Basically the bread and butter of any costume-making, you absolutely need a needle and thread to put anything together. It’s like the pen to the paper. Fortunately, you can easily get a needle and thread so easily, you don’t have to worry too much about this.
Another essential item for costume-making, you’ll absolutely need scissors to cut and shape materials. The scissors will cut the cloth, fabric and even the patterns you designed beforehand. With that said, it’s important to get the best scissors you can. Don’t buy any cheap ones because it’ll hurt your hand over time if you’re over exerting yourself because you need to press harder on the scissor-cutting. Also, make sure you use fabric scissors to cut only fabric and nothing else.
Click below if you want to buy scissors for your cosplay:
Now you might be wondering why in the heck you need gloves for making costumes? Well, it’s to protect your hands from getting cut. When you’re making a cosplay, you’ll be doing a lot of cutting with scissors or knives. While I’m sure you’ll be careful, there may be times where you could make a mistake and hurt your hand. So you’ll definitely want to wear gloves when doing any sort of cutting. It’ll protect your hands for sure!
4. Sewing machine
Ah, this thing will make your life a LOT easier when it comes to costume-making! While a sewing machine could technically be optional, as a long-term cosplayer I consider it essential. Because of instead of hand-sewing your entire costume, you can get things done a lot faster with a sewing machine.
Like with many home appliances, the quality of a sewing machine can definitely vary. While you don’t need to break the bank to ensure you have a good quality sewing machine, you should try to spend at $100 USD on a decent one. If you want to just practice using a sewing machine first, I suppose you can buy a used one off Kijiji or Craigslist. But don’t use that for any big projects!
If you’re ready to buy a decent sewing machine, you can click below to buy a high-quality one I found on Amazon:
5. Respirator or dust mask
You might be thinking, “Why would I need a respirator for cosplay? I’m making a costume, not doing construction work!” Well, if you plan on making any sort of armor material or even using glue for an extensive period of time, you definitely need some of sort of mask. All those particles going up in the air while grinding that armor is definitely not good for your respiratory system. I used to work a job where the air was bad, so I know what it was like to not breathe fresh air. So it’s important you protect your lungs while working with these kinds of materials and chemicals.
I’m no doctor or safety expert but when it comes to comfort, I would recommend a respirator over a dust mask because it’s far more comfortable. I’ve worn both and in my experience, a respirator feels waaay more comfortable than a dust mask. Fortunately, you can always take a break from the protective masks, so give yourself lots of time to create any armor or using any chemicals for any extended period of time.
6. Heat gun
Another useful item for all your costume-making adventures. A heat gun will help you shape armor-related material such as foam and Worbla. It’ll also help you melt some of the fabric together, although you do need to be careful as to not burn the fabric and make it go on fire! In any case, a heat gun will make your life easier if you plan on doing the advanced cosplay stuff.
Click below to buy a heat gun for your cosplay:
7. Marker or pen
You’ll definitely need a marker or a pen of some sort if you plan on making patterns for your cosplay. It’ll help you pinpoint the things on your cosplay as well as any pattern-related materials.
Click here to buy a bunch of sharpies:
If you plan on working with foam, plastic or even patterns in general, you’ll need a knife to do so. You don’t want just any knife though; you want that’s very precious because you’ll need precision when it comes to costume-making. One of the most popular knives to use for cosplay-making is the X-Acto Knife. It is super-precise, cuts extremely well and you can make things to the way you want them to be.
In a pinch, you can also use regular scissors to do this. But if you can, you want a specialized knife for costume-making!
Click below to buy an X-Acto Knife:
Like many arts and crafts projects including cosplay, glue is essential to hold things together. Most cosplayers use super glue to put things together, as it’s the easiest way to do so. However, anything with armor may require specialized glue because super glue may not be compatible with the materials; it could eat the material away!
As mentioned in the section regarding masks, you’ll want to wear protective respiratory equipment if you plan on using glue for any extended period of time.
10. Measuring Tape
A measuring tape is definitely essential in order to make sure the cosplay fits perfectly on you. Not only should you use a measuring tape to know your body measurements in general, but also for cutting and stitching the right portions for each costume part. Fortunately, measuring tapes don’t cost that much, and you can pick one up at your local retail store.
Optional items that are useful
What is a seam ripper? Well as the name implies, it’s a tool used to easily remove seams in case you made a mistake in your sewing. You might be great at sewing but there are times when you’ll make a mistake (especially during con crunch). So when that happens, a seam ripper will come in handy as you can easily correct that mistake. You could just also use something sharp to remove the seam, but I recommend a seam ripper to make your life easier!
Click below to buy a seam ripper:
If you plan on doing armored cosplays, then you’ll need the paint to color it. Having some of that paint will make your EVA foam or Worbla look so bulky and strong! As mentioned earlier, you’ll want to use a mask when painting anything, in order to avoid inhaling any chemicals from the paint. Be sure to air out the room after you’re done!
To summarize, here are the 10 cosplay necessities you should have:
- Needle and thread
- Sewing machine
- Respirator or dust mask
- Heat gun
- Marker or pen
- Measuring tape
And there you have it; 10 cosplay necessities that will easily guide you on your next cosplay project!
Here are some other helpful posts you may enjoy:
- Cosplay prop guide (a beginner guide on how to make cosplay props)
- Cosplay prop ideas (from Master Swords to googles, I give you prop ideas to spice up your current cosplays)
- Closet cosplay ideas (these are cosplay ideas that are simple and budget-friendly)
If you make your own costumes, which item is your favorite to use? Or your least favorite? 🙂 Let me know in the comments!
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!