Desks and file cabinets are often packed with items that can be turned into costume parts. I found five useful items just on the surface of my desk last month and digging through the drawers would have just given me more cosplay fodder. Manila file folders are thick enough to use for patterns and props, and vinyl folders come in handy as well. Vinyl folders, pockets, and report covers come in a variety of colors, and they’re usually translucent. They can be heated and formed into curved shapes, too. Here are five suggestions on how you can use vinyl folders in a costume:
Visor – Vinyl folders are sturdier than colored film and still translucent enough to see though; that makes them suited for incorporating into a helmet as a visor. Replica Props Forum user eidylon took this approach when he made the faceplate for his Mass Effect and Dragon Age crossover Blood Dragon Armor. He needed a red visor and was considering using one from a motorcycle helmet but found his solution while wandering around Staples. He could see through the material well enough and since it’s thin, he only had to apply a little heat to shape it before attaching it to the faceplate with hot glue.
Neon Genesis Evangelion plugsuit gloves – In Evangelion, one of the gloves of Asuka’s plugsuit has an orange screen on the back of the hand. You can cut up an orange vinyl folder like Nyu Nyu Cosplay did and attach it to the glove with glue. To make it a more permanent solution, you could poke small holes into the folder piece and stitch it into place. This is a specific reference, but you can apply the idea to similar costumes.
Organization – Using folders for organization sounds obvious but most of us could stand to go through our cosplay supplies and tidy up. Vinyl folders that expand to pockets (like these) are wonderful for storing small, loose items like buttons, gears, ribbon and leather scraps, and more. Putting those kind of items in pockets and storing them in vertical file cabinets makes them easier to find than going through a giant tote stuffed with plastic containers and baggies.
Ghostbusters proton pack – The Cyclotron and battery pack of the Ghostbusters’ proton packs both light up, and you can diffuse the LEDs a little by cutting and placing red and plastic folders over them. If you don’t feel like rigging lights, the plastic folders will at least add a little color.
Glass lenses – If you need a pair of colorful glasses and don’t want to purchase and cut acrylic, go with vinyl folders. Start with the frames; if they’re a wacky shape, you can craft them from scratch or buy inexpensive plastic frames and build onto them with air dry clay and paint them. Once your frames are done and you’ve bought folders that you can see through (double check this before purchasing them), measure, cut, and shape the vinyl folder into place. Hot glue should be enough to hold the lenses in place. This tutorial reviews how to make rimless glasses using folders.