The Right Tools

 

As great as your sew up costume may look, it will look even BETTER with the right props. And how are you going to make props and show off your costumes if you don't have the right tools? Check out the awesome tools suppliers we have below, including shops targeted at helping crafters, photographers, and all manner of do-it-yourself-ers! 😀

 
 
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Michaels

 
 

Irving, TX, USA

 

Paints, Glues, Yarn, Scrapbooking, Framing, Woods, Baking Supplies, Seasonal Decor, Kids Crafts

Michaels is a great first stop whenever I begin a new project. Often times, I can find the most common tools (unrelated to sewing) here. From paints and gems, to feathers and balsa, Michaels carries a wide variety of items crafters of all kinds can use. I also appreciate the fact that as a chain, Michaels is almost everywhere and it’s easy to find items sold out in one store in stock in another close by. Additionally, most of their supplies I find myself using over and over again, meaning I get a lot of bang for my buck out of this place. Highly recommend stopping by here first if you need tools for your projects.

 

What do I buy here?

GLUE. Also paint. It’s also my first stop for basic foams before I turn to things that are more heavy duty. The great thing about Michaels is that pretty much anything here is going to be of good, sturdy quality, so I always check here first as often I can use coupons to get tools that are just as good here that would be more expensive elsewhere.

(Pro Tip: Michaels does accept competitor coupons! So coupons from Hobby Lobby and Jo Anns are all game. They’ll only except one in addition to any coupons you use provided by Michaels, so pick wisely and definitely sign up for their emails and/or use their mobile app.) 🙂

What do I avoid here?

There’s not much I avoid… maybe some of the kits in the children’s craft sections since they don’t often apply to my projects, but don’t write that off right away, you never know if one of those kits is all you need.

Best Thing?

I really like that they have tools that you just wouldn’t expect a craft store to have. I’ve found heat guns, fake skeletons and bones (look around Halloween time), razors, wood working supplies, all the glue you could possibly want, and even different home decor tools. I also love that they have everything from the super affordable basic supplies, to high quality painter tools.

 

Michaels' Gallery

 
 
 

Visit Michaels Here:

Michaels
 
 
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B&H Photo Video and Pro Audio

 
 

New York City, NY, USA

 

Cameras, Lenses, Lights, Microphones, Filters, Film, Computer Monitors, Phones, Drones

Even though a lot of my gallery is cosplay, the other half is primarily photography and B&H is my go-to for most everything related to photography. Started in 1973 in Manhattan, NYC, B&H specializes in all things photography, videography, and audio, providing quality equipment and services for photographers of all levels of experience.

I’ve personally never been to the in-person store, but I WANT to. I love their online shop and I’m always stunned by how quickly I receive my order – often times with free shipping and it comes faster than Amazon Prime delivery. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m relatively close to New York, but I’ll take it hands down. Their website is also hands down excellent. I’m easily able to find all the specs I need on equipment and can know quickly if they’ll work with my camera. What’s not to like about that? 😉

 

What do I buy here?

Most of the time I’m getting lenses here. I prefer getting them here over Amazon and other online stores for the peace of mind that it brings me to know for certain that B&H knows my camera will work with that lens. I tend to get other accessories too, all at great prices.

What do I avoid here?

Trick answer! I don’t buy what I can borrow from others easily, lol. But then I often go here to see how much they’d be to get my own sets of products if I really liked using those items. Then if I really like them or if I find something that may work better, I might save up and buy from here later on. 🙂

Best Thing?

I LOVE the fact that they match your camera with all of the compatible accessories and equipment. Not a lot of places do that and when they do, they tend to not do it well. B&H I can always trust to match me with the right equipment and at a good solid price for solid products.

 

B&H's Gallery

 
 
 

Visit B&H Photo Video and Pro Audio Here:

B&H
 
 
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Tokyu Hands

 
 

Tokyo, Japan
東京, 日本

 

Fabrics, Glues, Woods, EVA Foam, Papercrafting, Gems, Bags, Containers, Plastics, Trims, Clay, Paints, Other Household Products

I’m not drooling, you’re drooling. Okay though, seriously, what is Tokyo Hands? No, it’s ToKYU Hands. Get it right. XD But for real, Tokyu Hands is kinda wonderful. It acts like a mix of Target, Walmart, Michaels, and Home Depot all in one. You can find everything for the kitchen, everything for travel, everything for crafts, and everything for some heavy duty building. I love Tokyu Hands because with everything in one place, you can easily get everything you need and often times, if you realize you need something else once you get there, well, it’s right there!

Normally when I go to Tokyu Hands, I start in their craft section, which can include just about anything for projects ranging from papercrafting to sewing. I then tend to work my way around to their home improvement area. It’s smaller than a big wearhouse type store, but what’s there is effective and easy to use, particularly if you don’t want to get a massive tool for a rather small project. Last, I’ll head to the stationary section because who doesn’t love a cute notebook and pen to spice up their workspace? Tokyu Hands is technically a department store, but honestly, I prefer this kind of department store over Macy’s any day, lol.

Currently there is no online store in English and I don’t believe international deliveries are currently available, so make this a for sure stop if you see one while in Japan if you’re on the hunt for some supplies for a project! (Be careful! You may leave with more than you bargained for!) 😉

 

What do I buy here?

I tend to come here for glues, woods, and foams, along with papercrafting tools. Some of the tools here are so dainty, but strong and are perfect for those extra difficult projects where precision is key.

What do I avoid here?

Things I can get elsewhere cheaper… this tends to be heavily beaded trims. Otherwise, most things I find well priced.

Best Thing?

The selection of EVA Foam. I don’t know what it is about this foam, but I freakin’ love it. It’s smooth, cuts well, comes in a variety of colors, thicknesses, and sizes – what’s not to love? 😀

 

Tokyu Hands' Gallery

 
 
 

Visit Tokyu Hands' English Page Here:

Tokyu Hands
 
 
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Hobby Lobby

 
 

Oklahoma City, OK, USA

 

Leather Working Supplies, Trims, Laces, Cottons, Sewing Notions, Rhinestones, Ribbons, Jewelry Supplies, Home Decor, Paints, Framing, (ALSO CHRISTMAS <3 )

This. Place. Is. A. Gold. Mine. Hobby Lobby is by far one of the most exceptionally awesome craft stores I’ve ever been in. By a mile. Almost every Hobby Lobby I’ve ever been has been neat and clean. Whether you’re looking for floral arrangements, seasonal designs, leather working, baking, jewelry, painting, framing, home decor, this place has it ALL.

Walking in, you might be tempted to just grab one of the completed items they have on their center islands – I’d hold off. Just walking the aisles here can give you ideas and inspiration for projects that might result in even better outcomes then the pre-done items. So be sure to take everything in and don’t forget your 40% off coupon that you can grab from their website online! 🙂

 

What do I buy here?

When I’m not buying things to decorate my apartment with (ha, just kidding, even when I go for cosplay, I still tend to buy something to decorate my home with), I tend to go straight for paints, jewelry, and leather. They also carry balsa woods and clay, which are great for small props!

(Pro Tip: Hobby Lobby does not accept competitor coupons and only allows one coupon (a 40% off coupon you can find on their website) to be used at check out. Not to worry though! Most everything is on sale at 50% off anyway. If you’re planning two particularly big purchases though and want a guarantee of having at least some discount, bring a friend who can use the 40% off coupon and check out for you with the second item. It’s an easy way to circumvent the limit. 😉

What do I avoid here?

Sewing items… Not that their products are poor quality – if I see what I need, I’ll get it here. However, most of their fabrics seem to be more targeted towards quilters, which doesn’t help me as much since I mostly work with apparel. What they do have for apparel is fine, but I like the larger selections made available at seamstress-targeted stores.

Best Thing?

I really enjoy the variety here. It’s nice to be able to get something for leather working at the same time that I get something for jewelry. Plus, everything is very good quality, making me feel comfortable that things won’t fall off or apart. I like that peace of mind. ^_^

 

Hobby Lobby's Gallery

 
 
 

Visit Hobby Lobby Here:

Hobby Lobby
 
 
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The Home Depot

 
 

Atlanta, GA, USA

 

Power Tools, Wood, Nuts and Bolts, Screws, Nails, Piping, Some Foams, Lighting, Paints

Alright, time to bring out the big guns. When what I find at Michaels isn’t heavy duty enough, that’s when I head over to Home Depot, which has everything in your father’s garage and a little bit more. Home Depot is big and primarily targets do-it-yourself home improvement folks. But that’s just it, you don’t need a degree in electrical engineering to go into Home Depot. Home Depot staff are always friendly and helpful, happy to give their insight into various tools, ways to go about projects, and assist you in finding what you need (and trust me, you’ll need that, even if you’re a vet at this store – they’re so big and things to get rearranged!).

Normally I go to Home Depot for things like lighting, sturdy wires, screws, nails, line (ropes), wooden poles, pulley systems and paint. Lots and lots of paint and trust me, they’ll have every color you could ask for. I love the staff there as often times if I tell them what I’m trying to do, if they can’t help me, someone else there can and they’ll direct me to different ways I could accomplish creating what I’m trying to make (and sometimes they’ll have an idea I hadn’t thought of!). Super useful place and a must stop shop for those bigger projects.

 

What do I buy here?

I’ll buy spray paints, nuts and bolts, power tools, and wiring here most often than not. They have a great selection and range with their items so more often than not I can find precisely what I need if I’d normally use it on a home improvement project, even if I’m on the hunt for something super specific.

What do I avoid here?

I tend to avoid the wood here, but not because it’s not good. It’s good quality wood, sturdy, hard, and reliable. But for someone without a garage, it’s difficult to work with, cut and store, at least where I live (Instead, I tend to use balsa, a lighter, softer wood – though that comes with its own set of issues). Essentially when it comes to wood products, I think  lot about what type I’m going to use before I purchase it, because I have to be ready for it.

Best Thing?

SPRAY PAINT. I know that sounds weird, but they tend to have a much bigger selection than you’ll find at a normal craft store with different shades and finishes. You can also much more easily find sealers and primers, often times in a color closer to what you’re actually going for, making it less crucial to be sure you’ve covered your entire area – it may very well just blend in! 😀

 

The Home Depot's Gallery

 
 
 

Visit Home Depot Here:

Home Depot
 
 
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Lowe's

 
 

Mooresville, NC, USA

 

Power Tools, Wiring, Hosing, Lumber, Paints, Screws, Lighting, Gardening Supplies

I’ll be honest, I don’t go to Lowe’s very often, but that’s primarily because there’s not a lot near me. I tend to feel that if you have a Home Depot close by, you probably don’t have a Lowe’s and vice versa. That said, Lowe’s carries pretty much everything that Home Depot has and is great for those heavy duty projects.

Now that said, Lowe’s always has a very knowledgeable staff and it’s very easy to find things. I also feel like depending on what you’re looking for you may have a lot of variety based on ‘sizes’ if that makes sense, making their selection great if you’re in need of a specifically sized drill bit or piece of wood.

 

What do I buy here?

I feel like I tend to buy wiring here most times – like, that seems to be the trend. I think that’s because it’s harder to find a good variety and selection. I’ll buy various garden related supplies while there too.

What do I avoid here?

Things I can find cheaper elsewhere, as I do tend to find them to be a bit more expensive than average. This makes Lowe’s for me a more ‘specialized-hard-to-find-item’ type place to go, for which it is very good.

Best Thing?

As I alluded to before, their wiring selection. It’s nice because they have super malleable items along with very stiff supplies too. Handle them with care! ^_^

 

Lowe's Gallery

 
 
 

Visit Lowe's Here:

Lowe's
 
 
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Daiso

 
 

Hiroshima, Japan
広島, 日本

 

Apparel Fabrics, Notions, Trims, Southeast Asian Traditional Fabrics, Home Decor Textiles

Daiso is what is called a “Hyaku En Shop” or a 100 yen store – think a dollar store. There are many through out Japan – in fact, they’re just about everywhere. But Daiso is my favorite, simply for the sheer number of things that you can find in there. While most of the time you might think of Hyaku En Shops as places you can find little knick knacks, the truth of the matter is that you can find just about ANYTHING inside. From flashlights to bento boxes and plastic sheets and spray paint. It’s all there. Tape, scissors, tacks, socks, fake eyelashes, even those late night snacks. All things useful in a pinch, especially for a cosplayer.

Daiso is primarily operated in the Southeast Asia region, however it is attempting to expand into the United States. Currently, their website in English seems to only be for ‘bulk’ orders, but even those are pretty decently priced. If you’re in Japan though, be sure to check out what they have – it’s awesome and you might find the exact thing you’re looking for while there.

Final great thing – they tend to have a lot of cheap ‘Japanese’ items, which can make for good props in a pinch if you’re shooting a cosplay that takes place in Japan. Gives it that little extra touch and in photos, you can’t always really tell that you got those items from the dollar store! ^_^

Oh and be sure to check out their outdoor home section! On occasion, you’ll for a real gem of a tool there you can use for multiple kinds of projects! 🙂

 

What do I buy here?

… What do I NOT buy here? I tend to get cardboard, plastics, paints, stationary, toys, belts, various containers, etc. I like their small spray paints, particularly for tiny projects (I’m not forced to get a huge can, you know?). They also have some great toys that can be modified or used as bases for various props – you just have to get creative.

Additionally, check out their make up section for their fake eyelashes. I know that sounds weird, but there’s so many and I kinda love how cheap their are compared to the ones at a drug store. They’re one use lashes, but honestly, how often do you want to reuse lashes anyway? 😉

What do I avoid here?

Honestly, there’s not much, though probably snacks if I had to pick… I find you can get better snacks and more of them for less at konbini コンビニ (convenience stores) in Japan. I’ve also never tried their stockings… but again, that’s because I love the ones at 7-Eleven out in the land of the rising sun. ^^; I would also avoid their sewing supplies. They’re good in a pinch, but you can find better options at those stores listed on my Fabric Shops page.

Best Thing?

Ugh, this is hard – either the fake eyelashes, like I referred to before, or their plastics, cardboards, and styrofoams. You really wouldn’t expect them to even have these, but they’re really great for a variety of projects and having them right there means you don’t have to go trekking all around the interwebs for worbla or other foams.

 

Daiso's Gallery

 
 
 

Visit Daiso's English Page Here:

Daiso
 
 

Looking For More Supplies?

 

Check out our other lists of Shops here!

 

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