Hello and welcome to the Ultimate Gift Guide for Cosplayers!
Updated for December 2021
The Gift Guide for Cosplayers is the latest addition to the Ultimate Gift Guides for the Geeks in your life, which went live last year. It will be following the same concept and is aimed at helping friends, family and colleagues of cosplayers find the perfect gift for the cosplayer in their life!
To help do this I’ll be explaining what cosplaying is, suggesting practical and useful gift ideas, and offering gift card and shop suggestions. I’m also available throughout December to answer any questions and help gift hunt!
What is a Cosplayer?
A cosplayer is someone who engages in a practise known as cosplay. Merriam-Webster defines cosplay as:
the activity or practice of dressing up as a character from a work of fiction (such as a comic book, video game, or television show)
Cosplay is as much an art as it is an activity, and each cosplay will mean something different to each cosplayer. Some cosplayers will enjoy the occasional chance to wear a cosplay to an event, while others are designing and creating their own items from scratch for months, sometimes even years.
As with any activity, there are varying levels of expertise, and the wonderful thing about cosplay is that it’s so multidimensional that it offers the opportunity for people to participate how they want/need to. For those who can’t/don’t want to create their own cosplays, it’s possible to buy costumes, including from other cosplayers themselves.
Identifying your Cosplayer
As discussed in my Ultimate Gift Guides for Geeks last year, it is really important to respect your cosplayer’s privacy. While cosplay has become more widely reported in the media and is becoming more accepted by society, there are still a lot of people who mock people for doing it. If you do find out that your friend or work colleague cosplayers, but they’re not open about it, please don’t “out them”. By all means, get them a cosplay related gift to show you support them and love what they do, but consider giving it to them in private. This guide does not exist to help people mock others.
So how do you identify a cosplayer? The problem is that most cosplayers are usually geeks/nerds, so any of the identifying techniques listed in my previous guides will help you with the basics. Otherwise, you’re looking for three key things:
- They’re usually the geeks/nerds who have a more creative streak, especially when it comes to the more tactile and craft-based arts such as sewing, leather work, metalwork and so on.
- They go to a lot of geek events, whether it be big fan/sci-fi conventions or local ones.
- They like to experiment with their appearance, style and accessorise with geeky items. This isn’t a definite sign of a cosplayer, but it’s a starting point.
Finally, if you have access to their social media look for cosplay photos of them in cosplay, cosplay designed and/or works in progress. Other guides suggest some light stalking, but personally, I consider that an invasion of privacy whether your intentions are pure or not. If your gift recipient wanted you to have access to their social media, then they’d give you access.
What Not to Buy
Your first idea might be to buy a costume for your cosplayer because that’s the whole point of cosplaying after all; to dress up in a costume. This is really problematic because most cosplayers prefer to create their own costume from scratch. So unless your cosplayer specifically asks for a pre-made costume or lists it on their wish list, avoid this idea.
So building materials, sounds like a safer bet, right? A lot of guides will suggest this as a great gift idea, and again I’m going to advise against it for a number of reasons. For one, there are a lot of materials out there and even if you go for one of the recommended materials such as Worbla foam, you could easily get the wrong one. Likewise, each cosplayer has their own preferred materials and while it’s nice to have new materials to experiment with, they do take up room. With this in mind, I’m going to be giving you some ideas for useful things that cosplayers always need, including storage ideas, so you can contribute to any project they’re working on without adding clutter to their workspace! So generally speaking for materials I would stick to the ‘unless they specifically ask/wish for it, don’t get it’ rule.
10 Gift Ideas
As mentioned cosplayers are also geeks/nerds which means you can browse the other Ultimate Geek Gift Guides for general geeky gift ideas. For example, if they’re gamers then check out the Gamer guide, there’s one for fans of TV shows or Anime here and if they’re artists then how about the Artists guide?
Since general geeky gifts are covered in those guides, this guide won’t be covering anything like that. So if you’re looking for places to buy gifts related to your cosplayer’s favourite video game, then those are the guides to look at. This guide is all about ways you can contribute to and support their love of cosplay through your gifts.
Here are my top ideas for gifts for the cosplayer in your life!
I normally say in my Gift Guides to not default to gift cards, however, when it comes to cosplayers gift cards are actually one of the best gifts you can give (or actual money). They can then put it toward whatever they need for their current cosplay project, and they will love you for it. Seriously, money is the most requested gift by cosplayers because while they love cosplay it is very expensive.
If you prefer to give them a gift card rather than money, here is a list of useful gift cards to get for cosplayers rather than just getting them an Amazon one or a general shopping one like Love2shop. Love2shop etc. ones are pretty useless for cosplay needs and while Amazon has some uses it’s not a cosplayer’s first choice either.
Most of the places mentioned in this guide have gift card options, but here’s a quick and easy list for you. As this is an international list, I’ve marked all links by country of origin. Although most will deliver internationally, be aware of shipping costs.
|Cosplay Much? [US]|
Cosplay Supplies [US]
JoAnn Fabrics [US]
Cosplay Pros [US]
Hobby Craft [UK]
Red Moon Cosplay Solutions [CA]
Moonlight Feather [US]
The Ring Lord [CA]
Tandy Leather [US]
Sew Scrumptious [UK]
|Arda Wigs [US]|
Ardani Costumes [US]
The Five Wits [US]
Doctored Locks [US]
Cactus Mafia [US]
|The Moster Makers [US]
Manic Panic [US]
Pinky Paradise [US]
Surreal Makeup [US]
Nail Polish Direct [UK]
Rainbow Connection [UK]
There are a lot of things to store when it comes to cosplay. There are the costumes themselves, the materials and craft supplies, tools and then all the little bits and bobs such as safety pins, glue gun refills, and pens. Having smart storage helps minimise space, however, it can be costly, which makes these great gifts for people who like practical gifts that they’ll actually use.
If you want to make the gift a bit extra special rather than just hand them an empty box, spruce it up a bit by filling it with some of the Cosplay Supplies in the next section!
4 Piece Resin Woven Storage Basket Set£28.99
Strata Under-bed Smart Plastic Storage Box 35 Litre£19.49
Really Useful Storage Box Starter Pack£43.26
Black Iron Clothing Rack£140.00
Wooden Clothes Rail with Shelf£85.00
Set of 3 Copper Wall Baskets£32.00
Black kraft set of 3 drawers£7.50
5 Plastic Studio Storage Baskets£13.09
Weapons of Mass Creation Zip Pouch£11.90
General Cosplay Supplies
After money/gift cards, the most asked after gift by Cosplayers is general cosplay supplies. These are things that probably sound like general run-of-the-mill craft supplies to you and I, however, they’re lifelines for Cosplayers, especially when they’re working or heading to an event. They’re items that they constantly use and pretty much need a never-ending supply of which means a goody bag of these supplies is like a pot of gold to cosplayers. Combining them into a travel-size kit that cosplayers can take with them to events is also a fantastic gift idea!
Here are a few ideas for supplies that cosplayers are guaranteed to always need:
Hot Glue Sticks£5.99
500 Assorted Safety Pins£7.99
Cordless Hot Glue Gun£21.88
Cosplay Starter Foam Build Kit£62.31
Crafts 4 All Acrylic Paint Set – 12 Paints for Canvas, Wood, Ceramic, Fabric – Non Toxic, Vibrant Pigments for Beginners…£9.99
Mont Marte Premium Paint Brush Set 15 Piece, Includes 15 Different Brushes in a Roll Case with Magnetic Closure…£29.99
Tarp Ground Sheet£16.49
Sharpie Permanent Markers£6.99
Fursuit and cosplay care and repair kit£37.00
Cosplayers are eager to improve their work, to challenge themselves and learn new techniques, which makes tutorial books a wonderful gift idea. Here are some of my suggestions to get you started:
Kamui Cosplay Guides make your own bundle£60.00
The Hero’s Closet: Sewing for Cosplay and Costuming£7.49
Epic Cosplay Costumes: A Step-by-Step Guide to Making and Sewing Your Own Costume Designs£16.99
Steampunk & Cosplay Fashion Design & Illustration: More than 50 ideas for learning to design your own Neo-Victorian…£11.99
The Costume Making Guide: Creating Armor and Props for Cosplay£21.49
Make-Up & Special Effects
Wigs and costumes are not the only thing that cosplayers use to get into character; they also use make-up and special effects to recreate their characters’ appearance. Make-up palettes that include a wide range of colours, especially those with vibrant and unusual colours, are fantastic for cosplay. When at an event all day long it’s important that a cosplayer’s make-up remains fresh and vibrant, so when buying make-up aim for high-quality products i.e. those in the mid-high price range.
My top picks for make-up palettes for cosplayers are:
A subscription box is a box of products that gets delivered each month, and you can choose to sign up for a subscription for 1 month, 3 months or more. Subscription boxes make fantastic gifts for cosplayers because they offer useful cosplay items all in one place. Cosplayers are always looking to improve their work and learn something new, so you really can’t go wrong with a subscription box that offers something like that.
You can either choose to order an actual box or buy them a subscription/gift card which they can then choose to use when they wish.
Unfortunately there are not that many subscription boxes aimed at cosplayers. The only two active ones at the moment are:
Handmade gifts are not only an amazing, and beautiful way to show someone you care for them, they’re also unique. In the geeky world, handmade items are especially precious to us because they are created by fellow fans who share the same passion we do. It is very hard to find geeky items in stores sometimes, and that means there is a thriving market for handmade geeky products online. That goes double for a small niche like cosplay, and you’ll have noticed that a lot of my gift suggestions come from the first place on this list.
Etsy – Etsy is handmade heaven, and you may find yourself losing several hours browsing there, so if you’re short on time, go in with a plan. You can find literally everything there, including things you haven’t even considered. It is also an international site which means you have access to creators from all over the globe!
Store Envy – Another great handmade site that has a vast range of handmade goods for sale by creators.
Folksy – Folksy is the British Etsy, so to speak; it’s described as the “the home of British craft”. They have some fantastic items available that you probably won’t find anywhere else.
Over to You
That brings us to the end of my ultimate gift guide for cosplayers. If you have any further questions or need help finding a gift for the cosplayer in your life, I’m available to help find the perfect gift during December. Just get in touch or contact me on social media.
If you’re a cosplayer yourself, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on this guide as well as any gift suggestions, especially any places you’d love to receive gift cards from, so I can add them to the list.
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