COSPLAY POWER LEVELING : LEVEL 5
PROPS
Prepping your Gear
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When picking out props to make or buy, consider:
  • Is this prop an iconic part of this costume?

  • Will my whole costume benefit from having it? Some props will make posing for photos easier.

  • Will I have problems getting it peace bonded? (Peace bonding is the process events use to certify if your prop meets their rules.) Can it be replaced with something that is more event friendly?

  • How expensive will it be? Can I budget for this prop? Props are generally less critical than other parts of your costume and are often optional. Think of them as a stretch goal for your budget.

  • How will I transport it when traveling?

Crafting or Buying Props
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  • Want to try your hand at making your character’s iconic prop yourself? There are many beginner-friendly tutorials online for making props out of foams and thermoplastics.

  • Have access to a 3D Printer? There are models for sale online for all sorts of props. (Some rec centers & libraries now offer maker spaces with printers!)

  • Some props like swords, knives, and bows can be modified from practice polypropylene weapons available on Amazon. (They may not be event friendly, though.)

  • Etsy is a great place to find expertly crafted props made by people in the cosplay community.

Be your own Blacksmith
Craft Foam
  • Craft or EVA foam is easy to work with & cheaper than many other options. It can be cut with a craft knife & manipulated with heat, but be careful when heat shaping or cutting it with a hot knife- it releases toxic fumes when heated! Only heat it in a well-ventilated space & wear proper safety gear.

  • Clay Foam is a product that can be manipulated like dough. It dries into a foam consistency. It bonds well to craft foam and can be used to create detailed shapes that craft foam is not well suited for.


3D Printing
  • 3D printing is a growing part of cosplay now that printers cost about the same amount as sewing machines. Higher-end machines print in finer resolutions and have bigger print bed sizes, saving you time assembling and finishing your costume piece, but low-end machines are still just as great for crafting if you don’t mind the prep work!

    • PLA is the most common filament type. It is easy to use, and less toxic than other options.

    • ABS is a durable filament, great for printing durable items you don’t want snapping when used, like joint pieces and handles.

    • Resin is perfect for high-resolution prints, but requires more steps to work with & resin is toxic so a number of safety protocols are necessary.

Thermoplastics
  • Thermoplastics such as Worbla, Thibra, Wonderflex, and Cosplayflex are malleable plastic sheets that can be shaped with a heat gun or a high temp blowdryer. Some brands are more popular than others due to them not needing as much prep to smooth their surface texture before painting.

    • Worbla is a thermoplastic brand that comes in several varieties that range from having a cookie dough type texture (Original Worbla) to a smooth finish texture (Black Worbla)

    • Thibra is a thermoplastic brand with a very smooth surface that is known for needing less prep work before painting

 

Papercraft
  • Similar to origami, and very kid-friendly, Papercraft is a low-cost option for props & armor. Patterns can be found online or created with a variety of programs. These patterns are printed out and taped together to form a paper base for building a prop or costume piece with cardboard or foam.

  • Pepakura Designer is a popular program that allows the user to import 3D data pulled from games and ‘unfold’ the design into a pattern.

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Level 6 is just around the corner!