My recent move had me dealing with how exactly to pack and store my cosplays. I’m one of those cosplayers who kind of just lets their costumes hang around—sitting on any flat surface that isn’t already occupied—even when I’m not working on them. So, with my eventual move hanging over my head, I had to ditch my usual storage techniques (aka, not storing them) and figure out how to move all of my cosplays safely. And then once I moved into my new space, I figured I should grow up and store my cosplays properly. For the most part, the solutions were pretty simple. So, some of this information might seem like common sense. But, just in case, here’s some pointers.
When it comes to cosplays that are mostly just cloth, storage is easy. You should store these cosplays just like your everyday clothes. However, if your cosplay is made from easily wrinkled clothing, it’s best to just hang it in a closet until you wear it again. If not, and you want it out of the way, just fold it up and lay it as flat as possible in a drawer or a box/bin. Clothing irons were made for a reason (there’s also the de-wrinkle setting on some dryers).
So, I only own one wig and it’s not permanently styled. Which makes storage super easy. But, if you’re not like me, and have a styled wig, it’s best to store them on wig heads. On the other hand, if the wig is not styled or you don’t have the room, you can store it in the plastic bag you bought it in or use a ziplock bag. I tend to leave the bag open so that the wig can air out. This keeps it from getting too musty.
All my foam armor has ended up in plastic bins. I have a separate bin for every costume I’ve done. This seems the best way to keep out moisture and dust. I also only use dark plastic bins so that sunlight doesn’t have the chance to wreak havoc. When storing foam armor, you’re going to want to put the paint side facing up so it doesn’t stick to the plastic of the bin. Be aware of any Velcro and/or snaps you’ve attached to the armor. These can create an imprint in the foam or paint of any neighboring armor pieces. If you have Velcro or snaps, you can lay out a single layer of armor then put a towel or piece of fabric on top before starting another layer. In general, you’ll want to put heavier/sturdier pieces on the bottom and lighter/flimsy pieces on top. You can also store armor on a body form. I only do this if I’m working on a cosplay or if I’m going to a con soon.
Leather is a bit finicky. In this case, I’m talking about real leather. Not pleather. Leather should be stored in a climate controlled area. Your indoor closet is the perfect spot. Leather should also be stored away from direct sunlight. If I’m going to be storing leather for a long time, I like to wrap my leather pieces in plastic so that it helps keep moisture in.
If you have a piece of your cosplay that doesn’t keep its shape well, such as shoes or a bag, you can pack it with tissue paper so that it will keep its shape once it’s packed away.
With time, I’m sure I’ll work with more materials, which will require very different storage techniques. But, for now, this is all I’ve had to deal with. Please don’t be like past me; store your cosplays properly! It’ll ensure that they last a long time.