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– by Dayna Verhey

Credit: Michael Connally

Every time cosplayers attend a convention there are a few items that they should not be leaving at home. Sometimes not every item is needed, but here are some of the less-obvious essentials of cosplay:

1. Duct Tape

Duct tape is a quick-fix essential in cosplay. If props or EVA foam armour break, or get damaged, duct tape is usually the quickest and best way repair it. Small rolls of duct tape can even be carried around on the con floor, just in case. If you forget duct tape, however, there is usually some at a cosplay repair station if that convention has one.

 2. Hot Glue Gun

Another quick fix essential, the hot glue, is sometimes more useful than people realize. If a prop breaks in a way that duct tape could not repair without the damage being made more obvious, hot glue is a good backup. If you don’t own a hot glue gun, craft glue is also an option. The brand I recommend would be E6000, which you can get at Walmart, or nearly any craft store. Don’t be afraid to use hot glue and duct tape together if it’s a bad break. Glue will hold the pieces together from the inside out, and duct tape will help secure that bond and hold it when wrapped around, or applied over, the damaged area.

 3. Sewing Machine

If you made your own cosplay, a sewing machine, or needle and thread, is a must. Even if you did not make it, you may very well need it anyways. Walking around on the con floor, interacting with other con-goers, and posing for pictures leaves wear on your costume. Tight outfits, or articles of clothing made without fabric that can stretch, pose a higher risk of busting a seam from things like bending the wrong way, or sudden jerky motions. It is also a good idea to, if a cosplay has buttons on it, bring extra buttons just in case. It’s easy to pop a button and not notice the damage until later, especially if the button is on the cuff of a sleeve, or if the button is not holding something together.

 4. Hair Pins

Hair pins can be important whether you are wearing a wig or not. If you are, they can be used to pin the hair that the wig cap doesn’t hold well, and if you are not, it can be used for styling, or to get the hair to lay flat under a hood or helmet. Hair pins are also generally used to secure a wig to your head. This is done by discretely pinning the wig at your hairline and making sure it is pinned to your actual hair.

Credit: Michael Connally

 5. Wig Comb

Wigs tend to get incredibly messy incredibly fast, especially while at a convention. The longer the wig, the more tangles one will have by the end of the day. When detangling wigs, it’s important to do it the right way. You can use any old brush, however, that’s a surefire way to tear out a lot of synthetic hair, and end up with bald patches on the wig. The best way to detangle a wig is to gently work the tangles out from bottom to top using a wide-tooth comb. If you’re going to be wearing a wig, particularly if you’re going to be wearing it for multiple days, then bringing a comb is a must.

 6. Umbrella

Life happens, and weather is a part of that. Conventions happen year round regardless of the weather, and it is a well known fact that rain and cosplay do not mix well. You can spend an hour in front of the mirror perfecting your makeup for your awesome Beast Boy cosplay, and then walk outside to go to the con and have all that green running down your face getting on everything. An umbrella is also good to have during outdoor photo shoots on hot days. Cosplays with untreated foam, or thermoplastic like worbla, can start to melt if it gets hot enough.  Remember the weather and make a preemptive strike by bringing an umbrella. It may not go with your cosplay, but it will certainly save it.

Credit: Michael Connally

7. Sunscreen

Like the umbrella, remember that the weather does not adhere to your con schedule. If your cosplay shows skin, and you go outside in the sun for a cool summer photo shoot, remember that even if you’re cosplaying the coldest of characters, you’re not immune to sunburns. Go ahead and put on sunscreen, and prevent the pain later.

8. Sharpie/Marker/Pen

It’s happened, you’ve met your voice acting hero, and while Vic Mignogna or Tara Strong is saying a rushed hello while trying to suck down a cappuccino on their way to a panel, you realize that you don’t have a pen for them to sign anything. Just like that, they’re gone, and you have no evidence that you met them. Always bring a sharpie to cons, for autographs, to scribble down information, and to write your name and phone number on your badge. Speaking from experience, make sure your name and phone number is on your badge because if you drop or lose it, there is a good chance someone will find it, and you want them to know who to return it to.