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A Cosplayer’s Gift Guide

We’re in the hub of the holiday season, Secret Santas and family and friend gift-giving is just around the corner. So what do you get for someone who cosplays?

I’ve seen a few short blog posts shared among my Facebook friends offering inspiration, but I felt like some of them shared the same ideas or were missing out on great gift ideas. So I’m here to help simplify things for you!

Under $20

Amazing-Goop-3.7-oz-Household-Adhesive-and-Sealant-L13849494

Item: Amazing Goop

Uses: One of the best adhesives I’ve ever used. A little goes a long way and it cures perfectly. There are various types of Goop and if you’re not sure which one to get, All-Purpose is pretty standard. But since a lot of materials used for cosplay are made of some type of plastic, I’m pretty partial to Plumber’s Goop. But you can even get Automotive Goop, which can adhere to metal.

Approximate Price (CDN): $9

Item: Paintbrushes

Uses: Good paintbrushes can be hard to find, and even when you do find them, they’ll eventually wear out. Picking out a few high quality paintbrushes can make a cosplayer’s life much easier, especially if they’re ergonomically designed.

Approximate Price (CDN): $10

Item: Craft and EVA Foam

Uses: If your cosplayer is into building foam armor or props, you really can’t go wrong with topping up their supply pile.

Approximate Price (CDN): $13

Item: Utility Knife & Blades

Uses: This might seem like an easy tool to pick up, but I’m sure there are cosplayers out there who either use a cutter that’s too skinny or could be more ergonomic. Plus, refills on blades are always needed.

Approximate Price (CDN): $17

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Item: Cutting Mat

Uses: I know I’m more than guilty in using my table as a cutting surface. It’s a good thing the table I use has been specifically purposed for using in my workshop. But a self-healing cutting mat not only offers a proper cutting surface, but the many measurements, grids, and templates imprinted on it offer much more precise lines which, ultimately, lead to better quality work.

Approximate Price (CDN): $18

Between $20 -$40

Item: Emergency Kit

Uses: If the cosplayer you’re buying for is taking their show on the road, it’s possible they may experience the pain of seeing a piece they packed didn’t withstand the flight very well or a patch of glue might separate after hours of wear. A very thoughtful gift would be to piece together an emergency repair kit for them with adhesives, safety pins, Band-aids, duct tape, a mini sewing kit, and anything else that might help patch their costume back together so they make it to the show floor.

Approximate Price (CDN): $20

Item: Storage Containers & Organizers

Uses: … Really? You need me to tell you what these are for? I’m sure the cosplayer you know has a junk drawer or a catch-all bin for those leftover findings, oddly coloured thread, and bottles of acrylic paint. And months later, they need those same things and end up buying more of them, completely forgetting what they already have because they’re sitting in the bottom of a box.

Approximate Price (CDN): $25

Item: Apoxie Sculpt

Uses: Another wonder material like Worbla, but unlike Worbla, this is basically a 2-part plastic clay that you can mold into anything, no heating required. This product is great for making sculpted details as well as filling in areas to give them more rigidity or added thickness for detailing with a Dremel later.

Approximate Price (CDN): $25

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Item: Glue Gun Kit

Uses: Nothing shocks you more than the sudden burn of hot glue. So help your cosplaying friend keep their fingers safe by protecting them from the beast that is hot glue. Throwing in a pack or two of glue sticks doesn’t hurt either, but make sure you know if their gun takes full or mini-sized sticks.

Approximate Price (CDN): $25

Item: Sewing Scissors/Rotary Cutter

Uses: Crafting scissors will never work as well on fabric as a good pair of sewing scissors, and nothing will give you nice, smooth lines the way a rotary cutter will. Either one of these are great investment pieces to have in your work space.

Approximate Price (CDN): $25

Item: Reference Material

Uses: One thing’s for sure about cosplayers: They never stop learning. So why not gift them some books to read about armor building, rigging up light effects, improving their sewing skills, or even an art book from the series of their next planned cosplay?

Approximate Price (CDN): $30

Between $40 – $100

Item: XACTO Knife Set

Uses: This can be a luxury tool for a lot of cosplayers. XACTO knives are designed for making precise cuts, making it the perfect tool for doing intricate and fine detail work.

Approximate Price (CDN): $50

Heat-Shrink-Gun

Item: Heat Gun

Uses: If they’re currently still melting Worbla and sealing foam with a hairdryer, it’s probably time to upgrade. Heat guns make quick work of heating up thermoplastics, craft foam, and EVA foam to a workable temperature.

Approximate Price (CDN): $80

Item: Paint Pens & Markers

Uses: Sometimes, you need a cleaner or more precise line than what a paintbrush can offer. A set of paint pens or markers can help make detailed paint work mess-free.

Approximate Price (CDN): $80

Item: Dremel Tool Kit

Uses: You don’t really understand how much easier it makes things until you actually have one. It makes sanding and detailing a breeze and can be used on virtually any kind of material.

Approximate Price (CDN): $100

Over $100

Item: Mannequin or Dress Form

Uses: Obviously, these require more room space than other gift ideas on this list, but having another body around, albeit an inanimate one, is amazingly helpful in tailoring clothing, rigging up armor, or as temporary storage for a currently ongoing cosplay build.

Approximate Price (CDN): $180 +

airbrush-kit

Item: Airbrush Kit

Uses: What was stated about the Dremel tool can also be shared with a airbrush. An airbrush, while expensive, is one of those tools that you don’t really know how much you needed it until you have one. They’re versatile in that you can use them for painting props and armor, but also are super handy for body painting.

Approximate Price (CDN): $160 +

Variable Price

Item: Gift Cards

Uses: A certain yellow-skinned nuclear power plant worker once said, “Money can be exchanged for goods and services.” In all seriousness, if you’re really stumped, give a credit card gift card. But if you want to get creative, go with a gift card for craft or fabric stores or even online shops that offer supplies they might need, like wigs, cosmetics, or other specialty items. Even a shoe store can be incredibly helpful.

Approximate Price (CDN): Variable

Item: Organize a Photoshoot

Uses: Plenty of cosplayers enjoy commemorating a cosplay with photographic proof of their efforts – and those who opt to pursue cosplay from a business standpoint may appreciate an opportunity for new prints. You may need to consult with the photographer about the distribution rights of their photos as some may charge a fee to give the cosplayer full ownership of the final photos.

Approximate Price (CDN): Variable

Item: Classes

Uses: If you’re lucky enough to find them, classes for sewing, small scale electronic, or even photography modelling can be a great addition to a cosplayer’s skill set.

Approximate Price (CDN): Variable

Worbla_Sheets-xl

Item: Worbla, BlackArt, TranspArt

Uses: I’m sure I don’t have to tell you about Worbla and how it’s become a staple material in many cosplayers’ arsenals. It’s also not a cheap material, but a little can go a long way, especially when you consider that even scraps can be used and re-pressed to make new sheets. If the cosplayer you’re buying for has never had an opportunity to play with Worbla, this might be a great chance for them to get a test sheet to play around with and see if it’s a product worth investing in for themselves.

Approximate Price (CDN): Variable

So there you have it. A ton of options in various price levels to make the cosplayer in your life happy this holiday season. Do you have any other gift ideas for cosplayers? Let me know if you have more suggestions!

J. Tanooki is a Contributor for aybonline.com. She has been a lover of cosplay for over 10 years and regularly works on new and exciting cosplay projects. She actively posts about her cosplay plans, progress, and random shenanigans on her Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram. Her opinion is her own.

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