I have been interested in cosplay ever since I started seeing people dress up for it. It’s got to be an amazing feeling being recognized as some of the world’s most famous heroes and villains. Have you ever pondered on exactly how those costumes are made? Beyond that, have you ever wanted to actually create your own? I looked into this recently after watching some prop making YouTube videos and gathered a ton of information on how to get started on crafting your very own cosplay props and attire!
First off, it’s not nearly as expensive as I thought it would be. I mean it definitely can get pricey when you go for movie quality, but just starting out it’s not bad at all. All it takes is some time and a small list of tools and materials. To start this hobby (with tools and the materials for your first prop) it costs between $135-200 depending on the brands of tools and materials you want to use. I highly suggest checking out some YouTube videos on the subject to get a look at how more experienced designers make their creations.
The best and cheapest way to start out is with EVA foam. This foam is primarily used for floor mats in children’s play areas and in workshops. I stand on one every day at work (two actually, because it helps my feet hurt less). EVA foam is dense, so your props and armor won’t be too flimsy. They also won’t break or crack if you drop them, unlike other more expensive materials.
Tools won’t break the bank if you stay on the cheaper end. Once you get a few projects under your belt, you can upgrade if you like. The way I look at it is if you end up not wanting to continue this hobby, you won’t have sunk much money into it. I’ve compiled a list of tools you will need below priced from Harbor Feight:
- 1 Utility Knife – $6
- 1 Knife Sharpener – $3
- 1 X-Acto Knife – $4
- 1 Metal Ruler – $3
- 1 Heat Gun (not a hair dryer) – $15
- 1 Dremel Tool with bits – $20
- 1 Palm Sander – $20
- Sand Paper (320 grit) – $20 (50 pieces)
That’s all you NEED when it comes to tools used with EVA foam. There are more that make the jobs easier and quicker like scroll saws, band saws, belt sanders, spindle sanders, etc.
I’ve also made a list of the materials you would need to make your first prop. I say prop because costumes take a bit more talent and require different tools such as thread, sewing machine, and whatnot. Props are more simplistic for a beginner. These materials are priced from Amazon:
- EVA Foam 6 Pack – $15
- 6mm Craft Foam – $11
- 2mm Craft Foam – $6
- All Purpose Contact Cement – $8
- Super Glue – $5
- Super Glue Accelerator – $7
- Plasti-Dip Spray Paint – $15
- Acrylic or Spray Paint – Varies
Now that we’ve gotten what you need to make props, you’re going to need a prop template. These are easy to make on your own for free with google images and some Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator know-how. There’s many videos on how to make templates of your favorite weapons and such on YouTube. The 3 part video series below can help you from beginning to end!