Cosplay is an art, but that doesn't mean it doesn't get pretty intense now and again. Whether you're working with needles and thread or saws and sanders, it's important to be prepared and keep yourself self while you're building your next cosplay. Like any craft, cosplay takes skill and patience, and while you build up your experience, you should take the time to make sure you have what you need to stay safe. In this post, we'll give you a list of cosplay safety equipment and tips to keep in mind while you work on your next build.
Important Cosplay Safety Equipment
- Goggles or safety glasses. If you're going to be sanding or sawing into wood, foam, cardboard, or anything else that might create fine particulates, you want to be sure that you protect your eyes with goggles or safety glasses. Not only can dust and particles irritate your eyes, but even the smallest piece of material can scratch or damage your eye. It's incredibly important to protect your eyes while sanding, grinding, or otherwise creating dust or particles while building cosplay.
- Respirator mask. Sometimes the best materials for making cosplay are also the most toxic materials. While these industrial-grade adhesives or compounds can certainly be used safely, it's critical that you avoid breathing in any toxic chemicals that can damage your lungs. These materials include adhesives, like contact cement, or some spray paints or coatings and more. While working outside or in a well-ventilated room can help, the best way to protect yourself is by purchasing a respirator with a filter that you can wear while crafting. Look for a high quality reusable respirator from the paint section of the hardware store to make sure you're getting the right level of protection.
- Gloves. Similarly, some harsher products or materials can cause reactions if they come into contact with your skin. When working with something like resin, for example, it's best to wear disposable gloves to protect your hands. Additionally, if you're working with something like wood or metal, you might also want to wear a pair of work gloves to protect your hands from sharp or jagged edges that can cut your hands if you're not careful.
- Earplugs. If you're working with power tools, it's also a good idea to protect your ears from the decibels of sound you might be putting out. If you're using a noisy belt sander, drill, or shop vac for example, it's safest to wear some kind of ear protection. You can purchase foam earplugs on the cheap, which will do the trick, but if you want to invest in a reusable solution or can't wear in-ear plugs, there are also over-the-ear sound dampening headphones you can purchase.
- First aid kit. Finally, accidents do happen no matter how many safety precautions you take, so it's always a good idea to have first aid supplies on-hand when cosplaying. Even small cuts from scissors or pricks from a sewing needle should be treated immediately to make sure you don't get an infection (or bleed on your cosplay). Essentials like bandages, gauze, disinfectant, and antibiotic ointment are useful to keep handy.
Staying Safe While Building Cosplay
In addition to having the right safety gear in your kit, there are some important measures you should always take to make sure you're cosplaying as safely as possible, especially when you're working with industrial strength supplies or more advanced tools. First, you should always read the label or instructions before using a new product or tool. You need to know if the materials you're working for are toxic or have potential side effects to look out for. It's also worthwhile to look up instructions for how to use anything you're unfamiliar with as well so that you know what to expect beforehand.
Along the same lines, one of the best ways to make sure you're building safely is to gain experience with the tools you're using, and the only way to get experience is to practice. That's why most cosplayers would suggest starting a new technique on a small practice project before you attempt a huge build for the first time. For example, if you've never used a heat gun before, practice on some scrap foam or a small piece first to get the hang of it without burning yourself. With just a little time, you can move up to heat forming a full foam armor build. With the right equipment, research, and experience, you can make sure that you're being as safe as possible while building your next cosplay.