Ho, ho, ho – Merry Christmas one and all! With Christmas Day being exactly a week today, I figured it was a good time to look into presents you can give the geek in your life. However, you’ve probably heard lots about what to buy the gamer, or the comic fan, or the Star Wars nerd in your life – So I figured I’d share with you some present ideas that would make the cosplayer in your life a very happy person. So if you’re stuck for those last minute presents, whether it be large or small, check out what I’d consider some great presents for a cosplayer in 2017!
Dremel (Example: Amazon Link)
I’ve mentioned these many times before, but a Dremel is a hugely important tool for any cosplayer; at least any cosplayer that wants to work with and create props. Be it an intricate sword, or a fantastic carved staff, a Dremel reduces the amount of time it takes to create such an incredibly complex design. Once the cosplayer has stenciled on their designs, a Dremel, or indeed any good rotary tool, can assist with making a work of art a reality.
You can use a Dremel on many different materials; from foam such as EVA foam, all the way into plastics and wood. It’s a rather powerful tool though, so you do get what you pay for. The link above is for a standard model, which is an excellent starting place for any budding cosplayer. If you know a cosplayer who doesn’t own one, it may change the way they do cosplay in the future, so long as they don’t mind getting a little hands on.
Burda, McCall’s or Simplicity Patterns (Example: Hobbycraft Link)
Know a cosplayer who absolutely loves to sew their own clothes? Perhaps they like more than just the art of cosplay, but actually the act of sewing in general. It’s a thereputic, but also hugely rewarding skill to have, so with that in mind, you really should consider getting them a collection of Burda, McCall’s or Simplicity patterns. If you’ve never sewn something in your life, then this may sound a bit foreign to you, but ultimately a pattern is simply what people use to create clothes.
For cosplays, a lot of people will create their own patterns, after studying what the clothes look like. A lot of people will go to existing patterns, then alter them to look like their plans. I wish I was better equipped with patterns and knowledge on how to use them early on, as ultimately my Edward Elric costume would have looked a lot better if I had made my own coat and indeed the rest of the clothes required for the costume. In fact, so many of my pains throughout making my costumes would have been alleviated if I were good with patterns… And how do you get good at them? By simply using them.
They’re cheap enough, so buy a bundle of them; heck, buy them a sort of scrapbook where they can keep all of their new patterns and if they’re unsure what to do, why not sit with them as they use a pattern? It’s seriously such a good way to get into cosplay (especially from a creative front). Just make the patterns clothes first, then learn how to modify them. It’ll take a long time to master, unless the cosplayer in your life is an expert – and it’s inexpensive!
Fabrics (Example: Fabricland Link)
Of course, if you’re going to buy someone a couple of patterns, you may as well help them a bit more by buying them some fabrics. A really good local shop in Bristol, called Fabricland, is really a must-see place. You walk in and you just see rolls upon rolls of fabric. You pick up a roll, take it to the till and ask for the amount of meters of fabric you’d like from the roll. They then cut it up in front of you, fold it up and place it in a bag. All you need to do is bring it to the till! Easy.
Of course, pay a bit of attention to the types and amount of fabric you’re buying. Buying a black pleather with stars down it isn’t exactly the simplest fabric to make a costume out of – But hey, someone may find something to make out of it..!
Thermoplastics (Polymorph, Worbla, Thibra) (Example: Maplins Link (Polymorph))
Okay, so thermoplastic is pretty hard to just ‘find’ around the place, but if you look in specialist/hobby shops, you may be lucky enough to pick up a pack of thermoplastic. An easy enough one to find is Polymorph, which you can pick up from Maplins. The premise behind thermoplastic is simple enough; you get it hot enough and it’ll become a malleable material, allowing you to shape it easily with your hands. Once it cools down, it is possible to turn it into a solid object. Seriously useful, great for detailing, or those cosplays that need extra strength behind them – But they are pricy for the amount you get.
EVA Foam Packs (Example: Halfords Link)
Right. Cosplayers bang on about this stuff. This is EVA Foam. Yes, the link you see here? This is simply a pack of foam sheets you’d find in Halfords for cars. Alternatively, you’d find it in hobby shops, leasure shops – God damn, you’d find it all over the place. This is because it’s used for flooring and it’s exceptionally good. It’s able to retain shape after being heated; it’s sandable, it’s possible to detail it – Yes, cosplayers use this like there’s no man’s business. They also use thinner foams, such as the Fun Foam packs you see in places such as Hobbycraft. It’s definitely an easy gift, but damn, if the cosplayer in your life is an avid cosplayer then this stuff will be used up quickly enough. Want a pauldron? Done. Want a helmet? Done. Want a chest piece? Excellent. Hey, don’t forget that Dremel from before!
That’s it for our little guide on what you can quickly nip out to get; so hopefully you enjoyed this simple look at what you can go and get. Yes, sure, it’s never possible to know exactly what a cosplayer has in his or her arsenal, so be prepared to do a bit of research regarding what they have. Nothing here was overly expensive, although if you want to go expensive, a sewing machine is always important in sewing. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to be grabbing me some fabric for the week after Christmas and I’m going to make a shirt for the first time in a long time. As ever though, let us know your thoughts on today’s article in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. Got a better idea for a cosplayer? Let us know!