How to Make Cosplay Props

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You can make a cosplay prop, such as a sword.
You can make a cosplay prop, such as a sword. (Image: confederate officer sword image by Robert Young from Fotolia.com)

Cosplay, or costume play, is a hobby that involves making accurate re-creations of character costumes from movies, television shows, anime, books and video games. The costumes are often worn to fan conventions or used in photo shoots, during which the cosplayers are acting or posing like the characters. Cosplay costumes tend to be fairly detailed, with appropriate wigs, makeup accessories and even props. You can make your own cosplay props using this fiberglassing method.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy cardboard, wood or styrofoam
  • Pencil
  • Craft knife or saw
  • Trash bags
  • Masking tape
  • Acetone
  • Rag
  • Vapor respirator
  • Latex gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Fiberglass resin and hardener
  • Plastic cup
  • Plastic spoon
  • Fiberglass cloth
  • Scissors
  • Squeegee
  • Particle respirator
  • Power sander
  • Sandpaper
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrushes

Create a template of your prop out of cardboard, styrofoam, or wood. Draw the basic shape of the prop onto the material, then cut along your drawn lines.

Prepare a well-ventilated work environment either outdoors or in a room with several open doors and windows. Cover all surfaces, including the floor, with trash bags and masking tape. Put a container of acetone and a rag in the workstation, just in case you spill resin.

Prepare yourself for working with the resin. Put on a vapor respirator, a pair of latex gloves, and safety goggles. Do not work with resin without this equipment.

Pour some of your fiberglass resin into a plastic cup. Add the hardener, following the instructions that came with your brand of resin, and stir the resin mixture well.

Take your fiberglass cloth. Cut the cloth into a shape that is a little bigger than the shape of your prop template, and drape it over the template. If your prop is oddly-shaped, cut the cloth into a few smaller pieces and drape them separately over the template until half the template is covered.

Scoop some of the resin out of the cup and drip it all over the fiberglass cloth. Once the cloth has become sticky, stop applying the resin.

Take a squeegee and smooth out the resin with slow strokes, pressing the fiberglass cloth against the template. If you have applied too much resin, simply sweep it off the prop, onto your covered work surface.

Let the fiberglass dry for a full day. If the material is still wet at this time, let it dry for another day. In some climates, fiberglass takes a long time to dry.

Flip your prop template over to the other side. Repeat steps on the opposite side of the prop.

Put on a particle respirator and your safety goggles, so that you will be protected from toxic resin dust.

Sand down the surface of the whole prop with a power sander. Remove any extra fiberglass from the sides of the prop, and make sure that the "seam" between the pieces of cloth is smooth.

Take some regular sandpaper and sand the surface of the prop again, making the prop as smooth as possible.

Paint the prop as desired, using acrylic paints. Let the paint dry completely before use.

References

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