When I made my first costume, I was very surprised, when I found out it requires much more care than clothes you wear everyday. After my first event, there were scratches, tears and chipped off color on some places of the armor, and with more wearing, there were also signs of wearing on sewn buckles and other stuff. And I realised working on clothes, that you should wear all day isn’t the same as model kit building or art drawing. Everything has to be made with a plan, everything has to be made from high quality durable materials, stressed places always reinforced and even then THERE IS MAINTENANCE NEEDED AFTER/DURING EVERY EVENT (especially when you are travelling (by plane) and the costume gets handled by other people than you).
It’s not because we cosplayers can’t make anything good and durable. It’s because we are making original and fantasy creations, to which there is no real (by generations of making proven) manual how they should be made, which materials to use or how to make all the pieces of the costume work as they do in their fantasy enviroments (in comparison to historic costumes, mainly sewn or made from different materials).
From certain time of my cosplay ‚life‘, I carry a REPAIR KIT as my FIRST AID to every event. It allows me to be very efficient and nimble when something on the costume goes wrong just with few things in the kit.
Contents of a cosplay repair kit
The contents of your personal repair kit depend on the costume you are going to wear and it’s materials.
On the picture, there is a picture of my COMPLETE repair kit I carry to events, where I compete or promote a company for more than one day.
On one day appearances and non-competing cons, the repair kit is much smaller just with basic things. But let’s look at this complete one!
P.S. When travelling by plane, your repair kit should be in your checked baggage and your batteries in your carry-on baggage. If you carry spare electronics like LED’s or servos, you make the chance of your baggage opening by airport security higher.
1) Fast epoxy transparent glue
On events, there is mostly no time to wait till your glue is dry, so I prefer to use faster glues than I would use for building the costume at home. Transparency gives the glue even wider spread of use.
2, 3) Soldering Iron + small solder
I carry soldering iron with solder only when I have a costume with soldered connections. These connection can sometimes break and soldering iron can make your armor and props shine and move again!
4) Electrician’s tape
I carry this tape all the time. It is very good not only to cover soldered connections. In a universal black finish, you can use it to cover or connect different kinds of stuff, especially on mechanical parts.
5) Charger, powerbanks
If you use some bigger batteries in your build, don’t forget to carry a suitable charger for them. If you use powerbanks instead, carry a spare powerbank to exchange during the day and a charger to charge it at the hotel room.
6) Chemoprene glue
Chemoprene is on of the basic glues, that should be involved in every cosplay first aid. Even it requires knowledge and a little of time to work with, it cann connect foam or fabric pieces together and there is no foam build without it.
I didn’t have much trust in superglues for a long time, but if you really invest money in them and buy a good quality expensive superglue, you will be amazed in how many things it can help you. For me most noticeably in gluing 3D prints or fake leather. I recommend using superglues in form of gel, because you get much more control over it.
8) Denser epoxy glue
Another epoxy glue with a longer drying time and denser constistency helps you cover areas on your worbla armor or disconnected 3D prints or chipped cement. I use a quick grey epoxy, that you can use it also as a filling cement in a need. I always carry with me a spatula of some kind and a strong or waxed paper, so I’m able to work with epoxy glues everywhere.
You can carry with you a stronger epoxy with longer drying time to achieve a stronger bond as a secondary glue. In a basic repair kit you should have at least one universal epoxy glue.
9, 10) Hotglue sticks, hotglue gun
Hotglue gun should be present in every cosplay repair kit – it has universal use and I use it mainly for gluing armor straps or (almost) any repair, that needs a mass of glue to be present (filling holes). Be sure to take some more sticks of glue with you, hotglue can be consumed very fast.
11) Small pliers, spanner, small mechanical pieces
I use pliers mainly when my costume involves mechanical structures or electronics. For example for fastening nuts on screws or I use them to hold electtronics when soldering or snip wires. If you are using small pieces in your costumes like screws and nuts, take spare ones and a fitting spanner to them.
12) Feet odor spray
I know it looks ridiculous to carry something like that, but if you have a leather costume with armor pieces added to it, it is very hard to keep it „clean and good smelling“, especially when you have to wear it everyday. You won’t make your armor smell better with adding new smells with your parfumes. Take a odor remover and spray it with it – you won’t smell like a parfume shop and feel much better.
13) Strong hairspray
Hairspray is one of the key components of almost every repair kit. For most cosplays, your wig needs to look a certain way and any travelling or wear can destroy it’s styling. If you want to have a good wig game, have a good hairspray near you.
14) Universal scissors
Scissors are a universally used tool, that you should not forget to put in your future cosplay kit – cutting fabric, thinner foam or different straps is much easier with scissors tahn with a knife without a proper cutting pad. I personally carry one pair of normal sized scissors in my repair kit a smaller and much sharper pair of (cosmetic) scissors in a cosmetic bag.
15) Fixing spray
Fixing spray (by Kryolan) is one of the best helpers you can take to a con, especially if you plan to have an elaborate makeup or a bodypaint. It can be involved in your makeup kit, but due to it’s larger size, I carry it rather in a repair kit.
16) Screwdriver kit
Another tool similar to small pliers in a very small package. Small kit with different screwdriver heads used to maintain mechanical parts and connections – if your costume has some.
17) Acrylic colors
Set of basic range of acrylic colors, that were involved in the process of making of a particular costume.
Set of basic brushes or sponges to be able to apply colors to your armor.
Lighter is very useful to clean edges of some fabrics or make hotglue formable again. It should be a part of any basic repair kit.
Hobby knives are also an important of any repair kit – there is no cleaner edge with a good sharpened knife.
21) Spare batteries
If your build involves small electronics, spare batteries are necessary part of your repair kit. Be careful on airports, since you can’t have batteries in your checked baggage.
I have ussually a separate bag for makeup and accessories, but for some bigger projects, I carry some bigger makeup parts in my repair kit to spare room or to have it ready at the con if the bodypaint gets damaged.
23) Strong duckttape
Important part of any repair kit is a strong duckttape (in black color). Thanks to black color, it can be hidden much easiser than the silver one and it can save you a lot of trouble at the con.
24) Wig styling accessories
IF your cosplay involves wig, you’d need at least a compact comb to be able to style it if necessary. On some events I carry also a mannequin head to be able to style the wig at the hotel and transport it more safely.
25) Small sewing kit
Any cosplay requires a sewing kit with threads in colors depending on a cosplay you are having on. I always take black and brown + additional colors and needles.
26) Spare cord
I wear a lot of corsets, so I always carry a spare black cord if I lose mine or I forgot it. If you don’t have one I once went with two shoelaces bind together, but a spare cord is much easier!
27) Pre-sewn straps
I carry some pre-sewn brown straps, that are very useful when something doesn’t hold properly or when you make your strap too short, or get a little bigger overtime. It helped me a bunch of times already to have them with me ready to be used.
Velcro is one of the basic stuff you have to have in your repair kit. I use velcro on all my builds and I love to work with it. If yomething doesn’t hold, is to short or something fails, you can count on velcro straps to help you.
I mostly carry just 2mm thick foam pieces with me and for most purpuoses it is enough. I’ve used it for small decorations, that fell off, or on foam, that teared for underglueing.
There are also things you may need to prepare for an event at the hotel, so you don’t have to take them with you. It’s mainly a hairdryer, flat-iron and electricity adapter (in foreign countries).
There are so many other things you may need for your particular costume! Think about what can go wrong, what is fragile and which materials and tools you’ve used when making your costume!
A smaller repair kit
If you want to build a smaller and more „practical“ repair kit, you should include (depedning on your costume):
On needle with a thread, scissors, knife, chemoprene glue, fast epoxy glue, hotglue, ducktape, velcro, basic paints (mostly black and silver) and lighter.
I hope this article will be useful for someone and if yes, you can follow my work on cosplay (and other stuff) on my FACEBOOK PAGE or TWITTER or INSTAGRAM.
And if you like this stuff I do, you can support my work by donating on my PATREON, because their donations made this tutorial possible.
Published: 06.05.19 5:04, Pacific Standard Time