10 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Cosplayer in Your Life!
Updated: Dec 6, 2020
With cons and events having been canceled this year, cosplayers are still finding ways to create while staying at home. I’m astounded at how positive cosplayers have remained during these recent months and how they’ve been able to continue this artistic hobby through things like pass-the-brush cosplay challenges or building studio sets in their living room. But I can also say from a first hand account that it requires serious motivation to get into the crafting mood these days. Without the usual con deadlines and cosplay gatherings to fire us on, we have to find other motivating factors to craft. And like many cosplayers, I sewed face masks instead of costumes for multiple months and didn’t want to go near a sewing machine after the day was done.
This is why, during a year where we can’t easily see family and loved ones, I thought it would be neat to share some gift ideas for the cosplayer in your life. I have compiled 10 cool gift ideas that every cosplayer would love (and use a lot), and I guarantee that if any one of these showed up at a cosplayer’s door, it would help motivate them on to design and create.
I selected items priced between $50 - $400 that cosplayers might not always splurge on for themselves, but that are extremely helpful, even essential sometimes when making costumes. And I tried to keep this list manageable without overwhelming you with item links (I could write a whole separate guide on just cosplay books).
(Whenever an item is linked on Amazon, it is because it was out of stock on the brand’s website or they are offering a special price in their Amazon store.)
1. JOANN Gift Card
JOANN is the largest fabric and craft store chain in the United States and most, if not all, cosplayers frequent its locations (especially in the days before a con…). The company has made deliberate strides in the last few years to become a one-stop shop for cosplayers, stocking their shelves with cosplay-centric fabrics, trims, EVA foam, patterns and more.
A JOANN gift card is always useful to cosplayers, whether it’s to help procure precious materials for a new costum
e project or to stock up on crafting essentials like paint or jewelry findings.
I personally spend an obscene amount of money on notions and thread and have definitely used gift cards as opportunities to buy these items in bulk.
2. Arda Wigs Gift Card
Wigs are essential to cosplay, sooner or later you’ll need one (or 10), and Arda Wigs is a company made for cosplayers by cosplayers. Their high quality heat-resistant wigs come in a huge range of colors and styles and they also carry some crafting materials. I use Arda wigs for most of my costumes, including my latest KDA Evelynn hair horns.
Arda just announced their Cyber Monday Sale and you can save 15% off full price items with the code “MOVINGSALE”.
This sale starts on November 30th at 12pm CDT and ends on November 30th at 11:59 PM CDT. That’s only 12 hours so don’t miss it! More info can be found on this blog post.
If timed sales aren’t your thing, you can always make the cosplayer in your life overjoyed with an Arda Wigs gift card!
3. Dremel 3000 + Flex Shaft
I’ll say it now - every cosplayer should own a Dremel rotary tool. This versatile handheld tool can be used in all sorts of useful ways for cosplay, especially to shape and sculpt EVA foam, clean up resin casts and smooth out 3D printed pieces. Seriously, most cosplay armor and props require a rotary tool at one stage or another.
The Dremel 3000 is the golden standard in my book, a reliable tool with variable speed (and power) adjustments that handle foam equally well as wood. I’m really proud to have been able to put together the Dremel 3000 + Flex Shaft kit with cosplayers in mind! With all the weird nooks and crannies we have to deal with on costume pieces, the Flex Shaft gives you added flexibility and mobility.
4. Ceramic iron + pressing cloth
Something many crafters take for granted is the power of a good iron. A lot of us invest in nice tools and sewing machines but work with hand-me-down family irons. This Christmas, give the cosplayer in your life a new steam iron and a silk pressing cloth! It will make a huge difference in their workflow and keep their precious fabrics safe from iron stains.
I’ve been using the Chi Professional Iron all year to press costumes as well as thousands of face masks this year, so I can attest to its quality firsthand.
For an extra thoughtful gift, throw in a sheer pressing cloth (or press cloth) such as the one Dritz makes. This silk cloth allows you to see what you’re pressing, which has come in super handy for me while pleating face masks and installing decorative zippers in costumes such as Lio Fotia from Promare.
5. Steel Dressmaker Shears
A good pair of fabric scissors is absolutely necessary for cosplayers, and unfortunately, it is the one item many don’t think to invest in. Usually because they already have scissors in the house so there isn’t as much incentive to buy another pair. However, I can’t overstate the importance of using a pair of professional scissors to cut fabric. Partially because fabric is surprisingly fussy to cut and there is nothing more annoying than snagging scissors while trying to keep the material laying flat, and partially because prolonged use of “bad” scissors can really hurt your hand.
That’s why dressmaker shears are a great holiday gift idea for the cosplayer in your life. They might not think of buying them but they will definitely use them! I recommend the brand Famore, which makes a full array of high quality steel cutting tools. The Famore 730 is their 9 inch heavy duty tailor shears use checkout code SHARP2020 for 20% off!
While you’re at it, also get your cosplaying loved one a pair of thread snippers such as this pair of 4 inch fine point scissors.
6. Iwata NEO Airbrush + compressor
Airbrush painting might have once been looked at as a specialty art but these days, anyone can get into airbrushing and you might be surprised how easy it is. Airbrush paint is perfect for cosplay because you can paint EVERYTHING with it: Props, armor, fabric, wigs... even yourself! Using quality airbrush bodypaint of course. You can also combine airbrushing with other paint techniques and do all kinds of cool effects with it. It’s a great skill to learn, and this holiday season, why not encourage your cosplaying loved one to try something new?
I have the Iwata NEO dual action airbrush which allows you to control the spray power:
You can also select from the wide range of NEO airbrushes that Blick Art Materials offers.
And here is a standard air compressor that will work with the NEO airbrush. Having to buy a compressor along with an airbrush is often what holds cosplayers back from getting into airbrush painting, so this duo would be an amazing Christmas gift!
7. Dewalt Heat Gun D26950
I’m recommending this item because a “standard” $35 heatgun simply won’t do anymore. This Dewalt heat gun has more power than other heat guns I’ve used, which means it heats up faster/hotter and cuts down on your work time.
This tool is also easier to hold, well-balanced in construction and very reliable. In the past, I have “fried” no less than three run-of-the-mill heat guns until I bought this 1550 Watt whopper, and it’s still going strong after 6 years of frequent use.
Do yourself a favor and get this heat gun.
8. Pinnable Dress Form
When I first started cosplaying, I couldn’t afford a dress form, which meant years of having to pin garments on myself and contorting in bizarre ways while avoiding stabbing myself with pins. Once I finally had a dress form, it changed the entire crafting game for me, and I became a better and faster creator. Today, there are tons of dress form options (even fancy 3-D printed forms) so I’ll give you my honest opinion on the two types of dress forms I have:
First up, Foam Dress Form With Metal Base.
I bought a foam dress form many years ago and still use it! I couldn’t find the same one while researching recently, but this female dress form is fairly similar in construction. A solid base, preferably metal, is key in using your dress form for cosplay. Since we often work with unconventional materials or create outrageous shapes, you will aggressively shove pins into your dress form at some point, trust me. Having a form that holds steady and doesn’t wobble around is important.
With this dress form, you will need to choose a size, and this listing offers 4 sizes. You can also pad out your dress form to fit your shape! I sewed a bra onto my dress form and padded it in places with foam, then sewed another cover to go over it.
Second option is the Dritz My Double Delux Dress Form.
This is a study adjustable dress form that gives you a lot of fit flexibility. The shell is plastic with a padded cover so you won’t be able to pin as deeply into this form as the foam dress form, but the 12 adjustment wheels really make up for it. You can even adjust the neck size! The base is stable and comes with an off-center pole for making pants and skirts, which is an extra feature you won’t find on all dress forms.
9. Ring Light + selfie remote
More and more cosplayers self-shoot their costumes at home these days, and even if you only take selfies, a ring light makes all the difference. This style light is made for portraits and lighting you up evenly, and I really think it would make for an awesome holiday gift for your cosplaying loved one.
I bought this Neewer dimmable ring light and love that it came with a phone holder and a blue-tooth remote.
10. Scrapbook Die-Cutting Machine
Last, but not least, I want to suggest a scrapbook die-cutter as a gift because it would truly make the holidays over the top for your cosplayer! For real, you would be the holiday MVP.
There are so many creative and fun ways to use such a die-cutting machine for cosplay, from cutting iron on vinyl to drawing on leather to scoring EVA foam. The scrapbook industry has grown so big that there are endless materials and gadgets available for these cutters and you can be so creative with their uses. The best part is that you can create whatever designs you need!
The three top rated machines on the market are the following:
This machine not only cuts up to 2mm thickness but also allows you to scan in a drawing and turn it into a cut file directly, without having to use a separate program. The bluetooth feature comes in handy and the machine has a 12 x 12 cutting mat size.
Cricut Explore Air 2
Cricut has arguably the easiest to use program, which is important for cosplayers who have to design and import files often. The brand also fosters a strong DIY community and there is a lot of support amongst crafters who cricut. They just ran a big sale so the mint Cricut Explore Air 2 seems to be the only one left in stock. I like the color!
Or buy it directly from Cricut.
The 4th iteration of the Cameo is faster than ever and comes with a cross cutter in the back. It also cuts up to 2mm thickness and has a 12 x 12 cutting area.