Here are some tools that every cosplayer must have.



This is a list of tools that I use for my cosplay builds

Cutting Tool, Blades and Sharpener


  • Box Cutter - I personally prefer the 18mm snap off blades for the long cutting surface. The extendable blade makes it easier to cut thicker foam. It's good to invest in a slightly more expensive (£4-£10) handle and use the cheap stuff you get from poundland and the build quality of the handle will affect your cut.
  • Sharpener - It is extremely important to keep your blade sharp. If it starts to go blunt, either buy a box of 100 blades and replace the blade or use a sharpener to keep it sharp.
  • Scissors - We all know what scissors are.
  • Scalpel - Although you can use your boxcutter to cut fine detiails, a scalpel will give you more control and cleaner edges.

Cutting Surface


I use a piece of MDF from Wickes as my surface. It's cheap and replacable. I do all of my cutting, gluing and painting on it. I prefer it to cutting mats because I don't have to worry about looking after it. Once both sides are ruined, I just pop it into the garage, sand it down and use it as a surface for storing.

Rotary Tool


This is one of my most used tool. I primarily use it for sanding and and drilling small holes. I personally use the brand Dremel but any brand should be fine. There are literally hundreds of attachements available for it. It's extremely good for sanding down edges and seams and also to get into small gaps where the belt sander can't get to.

Permanent Markers


Used for making surfaces. I would recommend the Sharpie brand as it doens't run after you mark the surface.

Metal Ruler


A lot of people just use it to mark edges but it can also be used to cut straight lines. I know it sounds obvious but the amount of times I've seen people trying to cut straight lines free-hand and ended up with "straight enough" edge is worth me mentioning. The straigher and cleaner the edge, the better the seams will be.

Hot Glue Gun


Fantastic piece of kit for gluing things together. Works well on foam but it can get extremly messy. There are lots of different makes of glue guns. I would recommend 11mm x 200mm glue sticks because if you use smaller ones, you'll spend more than looking and replacing glue sticks than gluing stuff. I'm currently using a Bosch Glue Gun. And please, DO NOT BUY WIRELESS GLUE GUNS! They suck hard balls.

Soldering Iron


Soldering irons are not just used for electronics. It can also be used to engrave patterns into foam. With the hot knife attachment, it

I would recommend getting a butane gas soldering iron as it's portable. You don't want to be engraving indoors as the smell of the fumes do linger. I got mine here

Other tools


Getting serious with cosplay? Some of these can be classed as essentials items depend on how much you want to invest

Belt Sander


The first time I've used a belt sander, it was terrifying. After having a few goes on it, I wondered how I was cosplaying without it before. The speed and consistancy you can get from a belt sander on foam is amazing. It is extremly difficult to ceate a clean, long edge with just a dremel but with a belt sander, it takes just minutes to edge a sword. You can get these in any DIY store. I got mine from here.



Hack Saw



Painter's Tape/Masking Tape


If you're looking to paint/spray paint, I would recommend tape up the edges you don't want coloured up with painter's tape. I wouldn't recommend buying masking tape from poundland. I've experienced a lot of "bleeding" with cheap tape. The effort fixing the paintjob is not worth the extra few pounds saved on cheaper tape. I have been using Frogtape (the green one) and it's doing me just fine.



I've always done shading by hand with a paintbrush and have always been reluctant on spending a large sum of money on an airbrush. Since I've first come into contact with an airbrush at the Artyfakes Training Course, I have fell in love with the airbrush. The effects you get with an airbursh combined with hand shading/ weathering will make your costume stand out from the crowd. You can use cans of compressed air but in the long run, it's much more expensive than buy a compressor. The one I'm currently using can be purchased here. For the paint, I just use a standard acrylic ink. It comes in a variety of different colours. You can use other paint such as tinned out acrylic paint but it seems a bit too much effort for what I need it to do.

Drill/Power Screw Driver

Pretty self explanatory.



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