Some of your cosplays can be easy and quick to do while some may need huge build-up. And you might be overwhelmed with all those Armor build-up showcased on Instagram. Props like swords and axes painted in acrylic, are also a charm.
Now, you must be wondering how on earth do people create such fabulous cosplays parts and pieces which look as good as real or the way they were in movie.
And what are they made of? Are the materials too expensive? Where are they available?
Well, these are some of the questions you might be having when it comes to cosplay supplies and materials.
So, in this post we are going to answer almost all your questions related to cosplay supplies and materials.
We have included the most commonly used supplies which can also be used with versatility to different cosplay costumes, costume parts and even props.
We have also mentioned where you can buy these materials.
So, we start with our list of the most commonly used Cosplay supplies and materials.
Thermoplastics is a plastic polymer material which is easily moldable or pliable when exposed to certain degree of heat. It also solidifies back upon cooling and therefore, it is one of the best materials to use for different cosplay stuff like armors, weapons and other props.
It’s easy to work with because of its plying tendency.
There are many different types of thermoplastics but the most widely used-type is Worbla.
The other types of thermoplastics are acrylics, fluoropolymers, polyesters, polyimides and nylons which can be melted down many times and re-shaped into different forms.
Worbla is a brand of thermoplastic modelling materials used by various but it is more popular among cosplayers.
Worbla products have been used internationally, from Disney to Star Trek to Cirque du Solei, stage to screen, by crafters, cosplayers, sculptors, schools and architects – and the list grows every day!
Image Source: Kamui cosplay
You can buy it online from www.cosplaysupplies.com. They offer FREE shipping for USA & Canada but international shipping is also available for a cost. If you’re in Germany you can check www.mycostumes.de. In general, if you’re searching on a local shop that offers Worbla, check out the website of cast4art, which has a list of all Worbla distributors worldwide!
Other types of thermoplastics similar to Worba are Thibra, Black Worbla, Cosplayflex.
Thibra, Black Worbla and Cosplayflex have some different properties than worbla but they can also be easily used for different cosplay purposes.
Black Worbla is the smoothest of all types of Worbla and it is easier to give shape.
Cosplayflex is similar to the regular broen Worbla but it is smoother and brighter than it and a bit more stretchable. Lastly, Thibra on the other hand is much more smooth and stretchable. It doesn’t have any texture so it can be painted directly
However, the regular brown Worbla is the most commonly used thermoplastic for cosplay needs.
2. HDPE Sheets
Can’t afford worbla, but want to work with a plastic that will form with heat? You can get HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) on www.tap plastics.com. Of course with these plastics, you will have to work with it a little more than worbla. There won’t be an adhesive side, so you’ll need to find a very strong adhesive to apply the HDPE to base, I recommend craft foam.
Image source: tap plastics.com
However, painting these sheets can be difficult as they have a really smooth surface. Applying primer before painting can ease the process for you.
3. EVA Foam
EVA is one of the most important materials out there to all levels of cosplayers. It is a strong, flexible, formable and cheap material. It can be used for nearly everything cosplay from armors to props. Its main use is for metal or composite replication, meaning armor and all kinds of it! If painted properly the foam can look just like metal or composite materials like Iron Man Armor, Mass Effect Armor or even Dragon Age Armor.
Image Credit: @sofishticated_cosplay on IG
There are three main types of EVA foam which are tile packs, roll mats and craft foam sheets and can range in size, thickness and price. The roll and tiles have two finishes with one side smooth and the other patterned. The two most popular patterns on these EVA foams "diamond plate" and "Cross Pattern" finish.
The cross pattern is easier to work with as it has less gaps when gluing together but it tends to be more scarce.
Tiles are used for the main pieces of armor. Armors that required a thick edge to it to resemble a heavy armor such as the Mass Effect Armor.
Roll Mats! Roll mats come in a 2' x 6' solid piece roll which comes in a thinner .25" thickness. The rolls are slightly harder to find. These are great for thin edge costumes like Iron Man and is also a must if your making a helmet.
Image Credit: @cosplaysass on IG
Craft Foam! You can get this nearly anywhere and has varying thickness. This is great for detailing costumes, adding that extra layer to give it some flare or used to cover seams.
Some costumes just need more of fabric than foam or worbla and some may not need any foam or worbla. You can easily find fabric for a sleep suit in your local market but you may not get the fabric for your cosplay suit in the local market.
The fabric used in costumes many times have different textures and shades which is not easily available locally. You need to buy them from suppliers who specialize in cosplay fabric.
Image Source: Joann.com
Just expose these websites and you may find something suitable for your upcoming costume.
5. EVA Contact Cement
Not all glue work well on EVA Foams and if your depend on EVA Foam for most of your cosplay plans, then you also need to get the contact cement for it. Some people use barge cement on EVA foam but its not available everywhere.
Image Credit: punished props academy YT channel
Therefore, the best thing to use is contact cement. It is easily available globally and is also easy to work with.
Image Source: cosplayshop.be
You have to apply it in thin layers on both sides, let it dry a few seconds and press together afterwards. The resulting contact is so strong that it should be almost impossible to separate two pieces again without damaging them.
You can easily shop it from https://cosplayshop.be/en/product/contact-glue/ and it is easily available in major countries.
If you work with Thermoplastics like Worbla or even EVA foam you’ll need primers. That’s because thermoplastics like Worbla and EVA foam don’t have a smooth texture. So, if you paint it without applying a primer first, the final look would be rough and unfinished.
In general, applying white glue and the letting it dry works perfect as a primer. Elmer’s Glue available in USA has a really smooth texture and does the job very well. However, yoy can use any other white glue available in your area.
Image Source: rosco.com
There is another better alternative called Flexbond. It is a transparent primer and is quite similar to white glue. However, it is more elastic and flexible instead of solid and cracking. Flexbond is almost like white glue mixed with latex, which makes it a perfect primer for Worbla and foam and stops paint from chipping of, even when bending your material. You can easily find it on www.cosplaysupplies.com.
7. Acrylic colors
Acrylic colors are on of the best choices when it comes to painting your cosplay stuff. The reason is simple. It can be used on wide variety of surfaces besides canvas, such as wood, metal, fabrics, and ceramics.
Image Credit: @heylookitsthatgirlcosplay
They are also easy to mix to get new shades. The most popular brand for acrylic paints is Amsterdam and they are easily available on Amazon. So, finding them is not an issue.
However, they’re not available in shades with great metallic effect.
Image Credit: @deanpackwood on IG
If you want great metallic shine, you can use sargent liquid metal from Pidilite brand and it is also not hard to find as it is easily available on Amazon.
8. Airbrush Colors
Using an airbrush offers a more professional painting experience. Airbrush can be used for different painting needs such full-painting or even weathering. However, it's important to remember that you can’t use acrylic colors or any other general-purpose colors with an airbrush. You need to buy airbrush colors for your airbrush.
Image Credit: @koanicosplay on IG
Vallejo and Aclad are the best brands when it comes to airbrush colors. Vallejo has nice standard colors as well as some great metallics and special effects. Alclad is specialized in all the shiny, glossy metal chrome stuff.
Those were some of the essential cosplay supplies and materials every cosplayer would need for their cosplans. We have tried to cover the most basic ones and if we’ve left something, please let us know. We would be glad to add it. You can also suggest if you have any cosplay material which can be extremely useful.