Alright…I am not gonna make this awkward…not gonna make this awkward…erm, hello? I made it awkward. So why am I all in a huff about this week’s feature? Well…because I, Sam, AM your feature. That’s right. This week we are going to talk about my cosplay: ThermoCosplay!
With all of the features I have written over the last few months my fellow writers and editors at FanGirl Nation wondered “Well, why not talk about you? You’re a cosplayer, right?”. Why yes, yes I AM a cosplayer so let’s just get to it. My name is Sam (if you have ever glanced at the author title for these articles you may already know that) and I was introduced to the lovely community that is Cosplay in May of 2013. I did months of research before even attempting my first cosplay. In fact, I researched from May of 2013 to February of 2014 before I felt as though I had enough of a grasp on this incredible craft. BOY WAS I WRONG, lol.
Sam’s First Cosplay
My first cosplay endeavor was not my wisest decision. I used a lot of tutorials from Kamui Cosplay and was determined to create a customized version of a Diablo III Demon Hunter using Worbla’s Finest Art. I used saran wrap to pattern myself and tested my patterns on some 2mm craft foam before cutting out the shapes in Worbla and forming it over various objects in my house to achieve the proper curve. My greatest struggle was the breast plate and shin armor. Round one of both failed miserably and cost me $80 worth of Worbla. Round 2 was better but the fit was awkward. At that time I did not understand strapping well so it was a feat to keep my armor on (I literally had TWO PEOPLE strapping me into a breast plate, shin armor, bracers and corset).
How long did costume one take me? 3 months and nearly $400.00 in tools, materials and frustration. The end result was quite satisfying and I entered a Fashion Show at Phoenix Comicon 2014 as a test run for the outfit. To my surprise, the show was judged and I earned myself a best in show. Talk about a boost!
ThermoCosplay Becomes a Team
After starting ThermoCosplay I asked one of my good friends if she was interested in trying it out. She saw my first costume and immediately responded with “Yes”. She decided she wanted to be San from Mononoke. I made her mask from Worbla and she made her costume from thrift store items. Lina also used sculpy to craft her earing and necklace for San. In October of 2014 we attended the first ever Mesa Comic and Media Expo together and the experience was dynamite!
Lina was hooked and soon after so was my husband, lol. It was an exciting time for all of us. We scheduled time to attend Tucson Comicon 2014 and the first ever Fan Fest by Phoenix Comicon. We started a Facebook Fan Page, created a Tumblr account and began to grow our cosplay interests.
2015 was the year of cosplay competitions for Lina and I. We met more cosplayers and began to form little cosplay alliances/groups all over Arizona. In June of 2015 we competed with our family and friends as a Borderlands group at PCC…
In September of 2015 we competed as Magic Knights from Magic Knight Rayearth with StevieSpade Cosplay at Saboten…
In October of 2015 we competed as Teen Titans and the Hive with OnyxSky Cosplay at Mesa Comic and Media Expo…
Each experience was unique; every skit performed only enhanced our love for the craft and action that is cosplay.
The Logistics of Cosplay: Tools and Materials
Cosplay is never as easy as it seems. There is always something you have to consider. So you want to make a body suit, just a plain old bodysuit with a single zipper. That doesn’t sound too hard until you consider footwear. Are the shoes going inside the suit? Do you need rubber soles to attach to the outside of the suit? If shoes are not an issue then how do you intend to use the bathroom? Will someone unzip you each time? Are you going to build the suit so you can unsnap the crotch? What about sanitary concerns? How will you stay cool? Ok, I am honestly not trying to scare anyone but there are many logistical concerns that need to be considered when cosplaying. Especially when you live in a state that gets more 100 degree days on average than anywhere else in the U.S.
Some of the best materials I have used (which work in pretty much any weather) are the following…
- Stretch Polyester: It’s a fabric that breathes, has great movement and usually runs me $2-$6 a yard.
- Poly Poplin: It’s firm, has little give and is excellent for jackets or pleated skirts. It also has great movement and breathes pretty well when not layered (you layer it and you’ll be great in cool weather but not warm).
- 4 Way Stretch Spandex: Stretchy, forgiving and in just about every color you can find, this material breathes beautifully but you’ll find yourself getting cold when the temperatures drop below 70 or 60 (depending on the person).
- EVA Foam: I use TNT Cosplay Supply for my foam as it is smooth on both sides and they have an incredibly fast delivery time for custom length foam. They also have varying sizes and colors.
- Contact Cement: Whether it’s Barge or DAP! by WeldWood these glues work on just about everything. My only comment is to AVOID using this on Insulation foam UNLESS you have coated it in Wood Glue.
- Wood Glue: I like Elmer’s brand but you can use just about any type. It sets clear and makes your armor stronger. It also helps keep sweat from being absorbed by your armor and Febreeze can be used on it 😉
- Insulation Foam: GREAT for BIG props. It comes in huge pink sheets OR little ones for patch work. It MUST be sealed in wood glue if you want to spray paint it or use any sort of aggressive adhesives on it. I used this for my 6’2″ Magic Knight sword.
- Hot Knife: Any sort of blade or exacto knife works for most products but a hot knife makes cutting into practically anything as easy as spreading butter.
I could keep going like this for days so instead I will just point you to CosplayTutorial.Com and wish you luck!
Well…that’s me in a nut shell. I’ve done A LOT in the past 3 years. So much more than I ever anticipated was possible. I have hosted panels at conventions, been invited as a costumery speaker, participated in contests/masquerades and met some of the best people in the world! I also get to present to all of you each week and share my love even more.
Haven’t had enough of me? WELLLLLL…I happen to be at Saboten Con this weekend so if you’re in the area please come say hello. Otherwise you can find me on…
I also have a website: www.thermocosplay.com.
It has been wonderful sharing with all of you! Here are a few of my favorite photos from the past three years…