If you have a cosplayer in your life, you may not know enough about the hobby to really get them a good gift for the holidays. That’s why we decided to step in with a nifty gift guide to give you all some awesome ideas!
First, figure out- what kind of cosplayer is the gift receiver? Do they prefer to sew, paint, make weapons or armor? Do they always talk about needing wigs, or wanting new materials to try? These are all things to consider, because one gift won’t work for every type of cosplayer.
Note: I linked a lot of items off Amazon, because it was the easiest way to find everything, and in my opinion, usually the cheapest. Do some shopping around if you’re the type to need to, but we are in no way affiliated with Amazon.
For the Sewing Cosplayer:
A good pair of scissors is a must have. We actually own two pair of these scissors, and use them ONLY on fabric, plus have a pair of leather shears and at least three other pairs of scissors for regular crafting. These are some of the best scissors I’ve used on fabric, and personally recommend them. Even if your cosplayer already has scissors, it’s always good to have backups, because they love to go missing. You can find these in almost any craft store, or online at Amazon.
If they are always complaining about their terrible, cheap sewing machine, then a new one is definitely a great gift if it’s in the budget. This one has a ton of great reviews, and I personally like it because it has a ton of room to work. If you’re working on a huge costume, and sewing a gigantic skirt or cape or really anything that requires a lot of fabric, then having a lot of room on the sewing machine is a must. We don’t own this machine, but we’re in the market for a good one, and are definitely keeping it on the list. From the Amazon page: “The Quantum Stylist features a one-touch automatic thread cutter that automatically trims the upper and lower thread leaving your machine ready to start the next seam. With additional features like programmable needle up/down, slow sewing speed option, LCD screen, electronic twin needle control, automatic tension, extra-high presser foot lifter, free arm, drop feed, and warning animation, this machine truly has it all.” Having used a machine that had an automatic thread cutter, and automatic needle threader, I can say that you never really know how amazing these things are until you have them. You can buy it here, on Amazon.
If your cosplayer is the type who likes to embroider designs on their costumes and prefers an embroidery machine, this one by Brother also comes highly recommended! You can even download and put new embroidery designs onto the machine. Found here, on Amazon.
A sewing kit is another useful tool for a cosplayer who loves to sew! Any kit that includes anything that one would need for repairing or making costumes last minute in a hotel room would work perfect, but this one can be found on Amazon.
For the Prop-Making, Armor Building Cosplayer:
The right tools are what makes or breaks making a costume. An exacto knife can be useful in so many ways, so we think having several of them in a kit makes them even more useful! We have this kit, and we have worn down these knives so much that we’ve replaced the blades a ton of times. That’s what’s so great about these knives, though- the blades can be easily and cheaply replaced! You can find these in many craft, hobby, and hardware stores, but also online here.
Wonderflex! (Clicking the photo takes you to a WONDERFUL tutorial by Volpin Props!) Wondeflex is a thermoformed plastic type material that can be really useful with making armor. We buy ours from Dazian!
Worbla’s Finest Art is kind of like a big brother to Wonderflex, and we very much recommend it if you can get your hands on it! The website does ship to the US. It is much smoother and easier to use than Wonderflex, and can take complex curves. You can buy it here!
Some type of vibratory sander (or oscillating tool, as they’re called) is very, very handy to the prop-making cosplayer. It doesn’t matter too much what brand you get, but what is most important is make sure it has a lifetime full warranty. These sanders are not made for sanding pink foam and everything else we cosplayers use it to sand, and so we have broken ours and had to take it in to get replaced at least six times now. Just make sure that it is fully covered if it decides to choke up and die. Also important- if you are buying for a female cosplayer, please make sure that the handle is small and easy for her hand to fit around. I actually injured my wrist using the one we have, which has a very large body, and now have tendonitis thanks to it. So, make sure the handle is comfortable to hold! This one can be found here, on Amazon, but you can also find them in any hardware store.
Bondo! Volpin uses this on pretty much every prop and armor he makes (if you checked out the wonderflex armor tutorial, you would see how!) and it is so, so useful for filling in any imperfections in any prop or armor being made. If they aren’t familiar with it, make sure to link them to some tutorials on how to use bondo, and explain how it could be useful to them with cosplay! Found at pretty much any hardware store, and here.
If your cosplayer is very adventurous, or has talked about wanting to try out fiberglassing or resin, then this could be a good gift as well. Maybe a smaller set of the resin and a small (maybe a foot by a foot) amount of fiberglass cloth. A box of gloves, chip brushes, measuring cups, and a mask would make a good set with this gift as well. Safety first! All links go to the respective product.
Assorted sandpaper always comes in handy while working on armor or props! These can be found at any hardware store, or here.
Clamps! We use clamps constantly with our props, and they come in handy whenever you need something held together or in one place, such as to stabilize odd shaped props, or to hold things to tables while you are sanding them. Also found at any hardware store! We have this set, and highly recommend them!
Gifts for any Cosplayer:
Wigs! Wigs are so, so important with most costumes, and they really are the finishing touch, in my opinion. My favorite wig brand is Arda, and they are coming out with new styles and colors constantly. Unless your cosplayer has said that they want a particular wig, then a gift card is usually the best bet. If they don’t need wigs now, but do cosplay often, then a color ring is definitely a great gift if they don’t have one already. It makes it so much easier to find the exact right color for your costume.
Glue guns are also one of those things that you just can’t have enough of. We own four, two large ones, one mini high temp and one mini dual temp. I suggest a dual temp glue gun, found at any craft store, or here on Amazon.
We did a review and giveaway on this a while back, but I still use it every time I pull out the glue gun. It helps prevent glue from getting all over the table, and the hot glue peels right off of the mat. The tweezers are useful when glueing little stones to things (not just for hot glue, either) and the finger caps help prevent burns! You can find it here, on Amazon.
(Artwork by the lovely Lyeric! She does commissions! Please ask her before using this art.)
If you are the type of person who loves to make a personalized gift, then a Cosplay Emergency Kit might be what you’re looking for! This is a kit- a box or bag full of useful things that a cosplayer might need last minute at a convention. Some suggestions might be small scissors, a mini glue gun, various thread and needles, super glue, granola bars, Tylenol, Vitamin C pills or powder to mix with water, and paint brushes, to name a few. These can be customized by them with extra paint and fabric to match their costumes. Here is a good list of things that can go in an emergency kit!
Yes, an iPad. I honestly wasn’t even interested in an iPad- I have a computer and a laptop, why do I need a tablet? Then I saw Tonksceratops using her iPad to look at reference photos for her costume, and I immediately wanted one. We have one now, and it is so useful for reference photos- we’re saving a lot of money and space by not printing out a ton of photos for reference, plus we can take it with us to a fabric store to help us choose the right fabric for the costume! This one is from Amazon, but of course you can find them used and refurbished and pretty much anywhere.
Their favorite TV season set or movie would be a great gift, or even some CDs to listen to, as I personally know many cosplayers who watch TV or movies while they are working on costumes! This one is from Amazon.
Lastly, gift cards are always a good choice if you know they need something crafty, but aren’t sure exactly what they need. Jo-Ann Fabrics, Hancock Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, and Michaels all offer gift cards- just make sure the cosplayer has a store in their area before purchasing a card!
We hope this guide was helpful, and if anyone has any further suggestions, please comment so others can see! Happy holidays to everyone!
Alice and Mario