It's almost that time of year again! With the Armageddon Expo a few months away (June 1 - 3, Queen's Birthday weekend), many of us self-proclaimed nerds are starting to think and work on our costumes for this much-loved event.
This year is different from previous years though; for the first time, there are a whole range of new options for cosplayers to take their costumes to the next level on the Auahatanga | Creativity, Level 4, Tūranga Library. Let's go over some of the neat tools you can use to up your costume game*.
Sewing and embroidery machines
Perhaps one of the most useful tools for those of us (sadly) lacking sewing equipment at home, the Production Studio is home to four sewing machines, an overlocker, and an embroidery machine. Tūranga holds an Open Creative Time for sewing and embroidery on Mondays 6-8pm or Thursday 10am-12noon, which is free for anyone to drop in to. This is a great option for those of us newer to sewing or wanting to use the embroidery machine, as one of our handy Programming Specialists are there to give you a bit of a hand.
For those more experienced with sewing, come along to our Open Creative Time for an induction, and then you can pop in any time to use the machines - just trade your library card for a sewing kit.
The libraries' 3D printers are another handy tool for costuming, as it's very versatile and can be used for a wide variety of things. You can design and print things like jewelry, costume accessories, and even textures onto meshed fabric!
Our 3D printers use a biodegradable PLA plastic filament, which comes in a variety of colours. They also look very effective when painted.
Our 3D Printing Open Creative Time is on Thursday evenings from 6-8pm and again, Thursday 10am-12noon sessions are for general interest, where our specialists can help you design 3D printable items. If you've already got 3D design experience tucked up your sleeve, it's even easier; just upload your design in an .stl format to our online 3D Printing form, and our specialists print you design and email when it's ready.
But wait, there's more! Tūranga's new laser cutter is another handy resource that is versatile, and great for costuming. The laser cutter can cut and etch onto a range of different materials, making it even easier to make and personalise your costume accessories.
A few examples of the etching are on wood, as well as some hardy fabrics like denim and leather. We recommend coming in for a material test first, and advise against laser etching directly onto a finished piece of clothing. The laser cutting lets you cut out individual parts to make a more complicated item as well, like the Tardis pictured below.
We have an Open Creative Time focusing on laser and vinyl cutting, and you can join us for these free drop in sessions every Wednesday from 6-8pm or during our general interest sessions Thursday 10am-12noon. These sessions are all about supporting you through your use of the software to bring your designs to life. If your item can't get cut on the night (it can get pretty busy), our specialists will sort it out for you and let you know when it's ready.
Vinyl and craft cutter
Next, we have our vinyl and craft cutters. In terms of costuming, the most useful part of this is that you can design and print vinyl heat transfers. There's also a heat press handy, so you can get it sorted at the same time.
You can also make other custom items with the vinyl cutter, such as stickers and reusable decals. If you're wanting to have a go, pop in for our Wednesday night Open Creative Time for vinyl cutting or Thursday morning Open Creative Time.
Creative computer lab
Last but not least, Tūranga sports a Computer Lab that's free to use. Here you can access a range of special software. To name just a few, we have the full Adobe Suite, which includes software like Adobe Illustrator, as well as other software like Photoshop. Ask a friendly librarian if you'd like to use this software, and we can set you up with a special login to use.
There's no set time to come in to use these computers; they can be used anytime that they're not booked for a class.
Watch this space! New vacuum former
Hot off the press, Tūranga is now the home of a new vacuum former. This is a great tool for creating your own simple moulds, to make a variety of things, from chocolate moulds to costume masks. While you can come in and use this on our Wednesday night sessions, please bear with us, as it's still very new to our specialists, so there'll be some mutual learning.
Check out the Learning Centre's wonderful video showing how the vacuum former works.
Well, that's all for now, folks! Pop in to see us at Tūranga to get inspired, get creative, and get ready for some Armageddon cosplay.
Monday: Sewing and Embroidery, 6-8pm
Wednesday: Laser and Vinyl Cutter, 6-8pm
Thursday: General Interest, 10am-12noon and 3D Printing, 6 - 8pm
Friday: Youth Open Creative Time (general interest), 4-6pm
Can't make it to a session? Try booking a librarian for a 30 minute session instead.
With the Armageddon Expo on in June, time to get inspired with some convention reading, and have a look at some of our awesome books to help you make an amazing costume.
- Classes and Programmes: Introduction to 3D design and printing, registration required.
- More information about the equipment in Production Studio
- Want to learn more about using any of the creative software? Check out Lynda.com tutorials for free with your library card.
*Armageddon Expo have recently updated their rules around weaponry as part of cosplay so if your planned costume includes any firearm-like accessories, make sure they conform to the new cosplay and props policy before you invest too much time and energy.