Cosplay 101: How to Make the Perfect Portable Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit
By Skywing Knights // November 9, 2023
If you’ve gone to an event with cosplayers, you’ve likely seen them. The cosplay repair kit crew, the angels that go with the express purpose of bringing supplies to events to help cosplayers if they run into issues while wearing their cosplays. I adore these individuals. Every time I’ve encountered them, they’ve just been extremely kind and helpful. That said, sometimes your cosplay encounters a technical difficulty and the angels of cosplay repair are nowhere to be found (what rotten luck).
However, you can mitigate the likelihood that you’ll face a snag that you can’t handle on your own with a little pre-planning. The best part? You probably won’t need to carry around an entire cosplay repair station to do it. How? Well, with your own portable Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit of course!
So today I’ll breakdown what you need to make the perfect Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit that can fit into your bag while taking up a tiny fraction of the space. Le gasp, another Cosplay Tutorial?! Heck yes!! And this tutorial’s formula for what to include in your own Emergency Cosplay Repair Kits will allow you to address the most common problems cosplayers can face while out in costume. It will also allow you to customize your kit as needed specific to your cosplays’ particular challenges. (And, if you’re looking for something to give a special cosplayer in your life, this tutorial will serve you well in designing a very thoughtful gift for them!) ^_^
That said, here’s how to make your own Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit:
Step 1: Buy Your Supplies
To make a genuinely useful Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit, you’ll need the following (suggested) items:
1. A Small Tin Box/Container
This will be what you put all of your items into for your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit! So select a size that fits in your bag that you’d feel comfortable carrying around. The shape doesn’t matter – mine is a heart shape! It just has to fit into your bag and be large enough to fit what you’re going to put into it. Here are a few options you can use available for purchase via Etsy, Amazon and the Container Store:
(If your heart is set on a tin like mine, but the above have been sold, I recommend checking Etsy using the following search: Brighton Heart Tin )
2. Black, White and Invisible Thread
Thread is essential to sewing back up anything that’s ripped or a seam that’s snapped. While you can pack thread that matches your projects in your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit, I find that simply keeping these 3 colors works for the majority of any repairs I might need to make. (After all, you can always fix them with a matching thread later after you take off your cosplay once home!) That said, for now, get yourself some black, white, and invisible thread (I recommend going with Gutermann)!
Black and White –
3. A Pair of Mini Scissors
No, you do not need the Gingher scissors, as much as you might love them. A small sharp pair will be enough, I promise. Here are a few pairs that are less than 4, sometimes even 3 inches that you can fit into your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit with ease!
4. Sewing Needles
You need a needle and thread to sew, so yes, sewing needles are going to be needed for your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit. I like these packs that have several sizes that keep them all together. They’re flat too and small, which helps me keep my needles organized while also saving space in my tin.
5. A Thimble
You never know what you’ll be sewing through. For that reason, make sure you grab yourself a thimble for your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit to protect your fingers!
6. Hook and Eyes
These are so small and easy to fit into your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit that they’re worth including on the list! Plus, you can use the extras in other cosplay related ways. 😉
7. Bobby Pins
You never know when hairspray will just say ‘nope, not today!’. That’s why including Bobby Pins can prove to be a lifesaver in your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit.
You don’t need a lot of velcro typically with cosplay repairs. Just one or two 1.5 inch long strips of both sides should do it and you can easily fit that into your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit. Want to be extra safe? Get one strip in black and one strip in white! 😉
Sometimes you have to have things pinned together while you sew something back up. For that reason, grab yourself some pins like these!
10. Safety Pins
Sometimes there isn’t enough thread in the world to keep something together. In that case, bring out the first of the big guns – safety pins. 😉
Losing a snap isn’t unheard of in cosplay emergencies unfortunately. So grab a pack of snaps or your left over ones for your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit.
12. Hook and Eye Closures
Hopefully you don’t loose either side of your Hook and Eye Closures, but if you do, you’ll be glad to have these back ups.
13. Mini Seam Ripper
Sometimes you just need to cut something out that gets stuck in something that’s been too tightly sewn together. And the easiest way to do that is to rip open a seam. For that reason, get a Mini Seam Ripper for your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit.
(Tip! I very much so prefer my Seam Ripper by CanvasWoodworking on Etsy. They are a veteran based small business that creates custom seam rippers. One of the best parts for today’s tutorial? You can take the seam ripper ends off and pop one in your repair kit!)
14. Mini Tweezers
You would be surprised by how often a pair of tweezers can be a lifesaver when it comes to getting something that just refuses to be snagged and removed. They can also help you hold things in place as you repair them. For that reason, mini tweezers are a must!
Depending on the cosplays you wear, if you’re worried about losing buttons, make sure to grab a couple that match your cosplays to include in your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit. If you don’t think you can remember to do this, you can include a couple of basic styles that can easily blend in with most cosplays. These typically include Black, White, Silver, and Gold buttons. Below are a couple options for black and white buttons in particular!
If you have a particularly small tin, you might find it worth the time to take your threads and wind them around Bobbins to store in your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit instead of full spools. I love this hack!
17. Mini Superglue Tube
I don’t typically recommend this, particularly if you plan to store it within a tin with lots of sharp pins and needles. But some people like to include a tiny tube of superglue. My opinion? If you’re going to do this, make sure to get item #19 as well and put it in that and not the tin.
18. Mini Hot Glue Gun and Mini Hot Glue Gun Sticks
Hot Glue Guns will in all likelihood NOT fit in your tin. However, MINI Hot Glue Guns and Mini Hot Glue Gun Sticks CAN fit into a small pouch (again, see #19 on this list!). So if you have the room and want extra security, make sure to include these items in your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit.
Mini Hot Glue Guns –
Mini Glue Sticks –
19. A Small Pouch
A Small Pouch with a zipper is ideal for storing any of the bigger items (or items such as superglue which can be poked and make a mess) that are part of your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit. I like clear vinyl ones designed to get through TSA lines in particular as it makes it easy to see everything while being small and compact at the same time.
20. A Collapsible Brush
If you’re going to buy a small pouch, do yourself a favor and include a tiny collapsible brush in your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit. It will be a lifesaver, particularly if you’re wearing a long, flowy wig that’s sole goal is to get tangled!
21. Travel Lint Roller
Oh, the places that lint, fuzz and pet hair will go. These little things are great to have and absolutely worth including if you choose to expand and include a pouch in your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit. (This way, even the smallest things, like debris from carpet, can’t ruin your cosplay!)
22. Mini Tissue Holder with Tissues
These maybe seem a bit random, but this is honestly a life-saver to have at conventions. Especially as they can really help with clean up of things or touch ups for make up. Not to mention, it’s small and easy to stuff into a travel pouch. So consider getting these mini tissues and perhaps a colorful tissue holder to keep them in (mostly I mention the later just because I like mine lol). 😉
Amazon – 5 Pieces Tissues Purse Pocket Tissue Holder (POUCH HOLDER ONLY!! Does not include Tissues!)
Similar to function as the tissues, Q-Tips can be very useful for make up touch ups as well as removing anything sticky with a bit more precision. Consider grabbing a pack below if you get a pouch, but don’t feel like you have to stick the entire travel box inside if you lack the space. You really only need about 10 or so, which you can keep together with a small rubber band.
24. Fabric Stain Remover Stick
Heaven forbid something stains your cosplay, but in the event that it does, you will be SO glad to have this with you in your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit. Again, this is an item for the pouch, but even if you don’t get a pouch, it’s useful to just have on hand in general. But in particular, you’ll be VERY happy to have it on hand in the event something gets on your beautiful cosplay! Typically, the smaller, the better, so I recommend the option #1, but either of the other two options will work as well.
Step 2: Organize Your Items.
Now that you have everything, it’s time to organize your items and arrange them in your Tin (and/or Pouch). Here are a couple of ways to keep everything together so you don’t end up with a mess inside of your tin:
1. You only need a few of each item.
So don’t try to stuff everything into the tin. Just include a couple of each item. You can use the extras for your normal day-to-day crafting!
2. You can use safety pins to keep the majority of like items together.
This works with Bobby Pins, Safety Pins, and Hooks and Eye Closures particularly well. (See above!)
3. Keep your Hooks and Eyes in their ‘Pods’.
You only need 2 or 3 sets of Hooks and Eyes. So a great way to keep them together is to simply cut out a set of the ‘pods’ they come in and drop them into your tin.
4. Pins can be stored using the same plastic that some hand sewing needles come in or you can keep them together with scotch tape.
This keeps them all together and helps prevent you from accidentally poking yourself when you open your tin!
5. For snaps, keep them on the cardboard they come in.
(Who says you have to snap them off, am I right?)
6. Keep sticky items outside of your tin and in a separate pouch (as suggested above).
Depending on the type of velcro you may choose to include, this might include your velcro.
7. If you have to eliminate something sharp, eliminate the scissors.
They likely will take up more space and a seam ripper can do the majority of the same jobs that a pair of scissors can.
8. Do your best to lay things out in a ‘flat’ manner as you stack items into your tin.
This will increase the number of items you can place inside.
9. If you’re including buttons, stuff them in the weird, empty spaces you make in your tin.
This will help them fit inside better and to make the most of your space in the tin.
10. You may want to add make up items in your pouch (if you decide to use one).
If you have extra space in your pouch, during the duration of any trip, you might be able to easily add little make up items to touch up your look with into the pouch. I would not store them in the pouch long term, particularly if they are not ‘standard’ items you use for every make up look you do for cosplay. But doing this does help to keep all of your cosplay tools together while you’re out and about!
11. Finally, if you get a pouch, don’t eliminate getting a tin.
Keeping your smaller items in the tin and the rest of your items in the pouch will prevent you from losing the smaller items any time you open the pouch and pull something out that they could get tangled up in or stuck to on accident.
Step 3: Label Your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit
Yep, I’m telling you to label your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit. I do this mentally, but if I lived with anyone who might try to touch my kit, I’d label it. Why? SO THAT PEOPLE DON’T TOUCH IT!! And that includes ME. Why? Because an Emergency Kit of any kind is just that – for emergencies. I don’t want anyone touching it for any other reason, and that includes myself, unless I’m at an event. Labeling it, even mentally, keeps me honest with myself. And trust me, if you do decide to dip into it at home, you are FAR more likely to forget to restock it with the items you’ve now depleted from the kit. It’s just too easy to do. So label it and let everyone, yourself included, know what it’s for and to keep their hands off of it!
Step 4: Put your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit in a Safe Place.
Store your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit in a safe place, aka, NOT with your regular crafting equipment and ideally with your suitcase/cosplay travel items. Why? Similar to the above, this helps prevent you and others from using it when they shouldn’t. Meanwhile, keeping it with your cosplay travel items or suitcase means you won’t ever forget it! A double win!
Step 5: Bring your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit with you to Events!
An Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit does no good for you if it’s just sitting at home. So remember to bring it to conventions, photoshoots, and other events where you cosplay! As mentioned above, putting it with a suitcase is a great way to remember to bring it. Then when you get to wherever you’re going, put it in your bag or purse for the duration of your trip and use it as you need to!
Tip! If you know your costume may require something particular for repairs, such as a specific button or thread, don’t hesitate to add it to your kit prior to going to an event. It definitely doesn’t hurt to be extra prepared!
Step 6: Remember to Restock your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit after Events.
Finally, after going to whatever it is you went to cosplay at, remember to restock your Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit if you used anything from it. Always take an inventory of what you used and before you put it away, make it a priority to restock any depleted items. Then, once again, put it away until the next event! This will keep your kit always fresh and ready to go. Plus you’re less likely to forget to restock it if you do so before putting it away! And a well stocked kit is the purpose of an emergency kit after all, so make after every use that you replenish it so it’s good to go!
See how easy it can be to design and create your very own Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit? So easy – and awesome! And it takes so much stress out of worrying what you’ll do in the event that an item you’ve made for your cosplay breaks down in the middle of wear. Not to mention, as much as we love those angelic Cosplay Repair Station saints, now you won’t have to bother them as much as you might have needed to in the past. You can take care of yourself and keep right on going!
So what do you think? Have you made your own Emergency Cosplay Repair Kit before? What did you include? And if you used this tutorial to make your own, I’d love to be tagged in your photos and see your creations on social media or in the comments below. Until then, I hope you’ve found this useful!
Till next time, Happy Cosplaying!