Cosplay - dressing up as anime, manga, game and film characters - is becoming increasingly popular in the UK.  Every Expo, convention and anime event sees growing hordes of people don ninja headbands and shinigami cloaks, and the cosplay competitions at the London Expo have gotten so busy you now have to pre-book your entry!  But with so many people making costumes and so much competition for cosplay prizes, you really need something special to set you apart.

MangaChild is a self taught cosplayer from Bristol, and one that knows what that special something is - a decent prop.  Dressing as Allen Walker from Viz's latest manga hit D.Gray-Man is fine, but if you really want to turn heads you need something more.  In the manga exorcist Allen Walker can activate his latent powers in battle, turning his left arm into a massive metallic gauntlet that carries the holy power of exorcism.  Most cosplayers don't include this arm in their costumes, choosing instead to stick with his exorcist outfit and scarred eye.  The problem is that the arm is nearly the same size as the character, and a replica would have to be huge, sturdy enough to keep its shape but also light enough to be carried on one arm!  This difficulty of making this would stop most people in their tracks, but not MangaChild.  He not only did it, but has written a step by step guide for any budding cosplayers to follow!  Get your PVA glue and stanley knife ready, and read on...


Always use common sense!  This tutorial involves the use of glues and fibreglass resin, as well as saws, power tools and craft knives.  Younger cosplayers should ask a responsible adult for assistance, and everyone should ensure they follow standard safety guidelines.  NEVER use glues and resin in enclosed spaces, fresh air is needed as fumes can build quickly and we highly recommend the use of safety masks and protective clothing.  We also recommend asking for advice from professionals before using tools and specialist materials like resin and hardener.  You use these materials and tools at your own risk, Animetion.co.uk and MangaChild accept no responsibility for any accident or injury that arises.

Okay first of all if you want to make the whole thing from scratch you need to get the following items, most of which can be picked up from craft and DIY shops:



This is what the bulk of the arm will be made out of.  Sheets of polystyrene can be bought quite cheaply from most DIY shops. You may need to use more than one sheet glued together to make it thick enough.


Used to shield the polystyrene from the resin and paint as polystyrene is easily corroded by them.  Get as much newspaper as you can find!

Fibreglass Resin

Used to provide a tough and durable coating for the arm.  Any fibreglass resin to be mixed with the paste type hardener is fine.  Resin is available from your local Autoparts Store, Boat Repairer or Yacht Chandlers.

Fibreglass Hardener

Exactly what it says on the tin, this is used to harden the resin.  Refer to the picture - good hardener is needed, bad hardener won't work.  Hardener is available from same places as above

Fibreglass Finishing Cloth

You can use regular fibreglass cloth with Finishing Cloth on top HOWEVER this will dramatically increase the weight of the arm.  I usually just use finishing cloth as its lightweight but still pretty strong.  Depending on size you'll need around 3 sq meters available from the same places as above

Webbing / Strapping

Used to strap the arm to your own.  Webbing is the stuff bag straps are made from (here's a pic).  You'll need about 1 metre.

Bag Strap Loops / Bag Strap Adjusters

Needed so you can adjust the straps, you'll need two

A3 Fun Foam

Used to add detail to the arm, and provide padding.  You'll need about 10 - 15 sheets, Grey or Silver if available

PVA Glue

Essential!  Most glues melt polystyrene but PVA doesn't.  You'll need it to stick the newspaper on and to stick the polystyrene sheets together.  Get about 5 litres.

Stretchy Lycra

Needed to make the flexible sleeve that will allow you to move the arm.  You'll need about 1 metre, Grey or Silver if available

Stick On Velcro

Used to ensure the lycra doesn't slip, get about 1 metre


Needed to make a handle inside the arm.  1 piece of wooden doweling or a broom handle is ideal.

Empty Litre Cola Bottles

Cut the bottoms down to use as mixing pots, as you'll be mixing hardener and glue it's better to use something disposable like this for mixing.  Get a lot of them.

Empty 500ml bottle

This will be your measuring jug for resin, use a real measuring jug and fill 50ml in your empty container, then mark this line and cut the top part of the bottle off a little above this line.

Plasti-kote Metallic Spray Paint

Used to paint the arm, so make sure you get silver!

Double Sided Tape / Carpet Tape

Used to attach padding to the arm, just get one roll.  You can pick it up from DIY shops and cheap shops like Poundstretcher and Wilkinsons.


Paint brushes

Get as many as you can!  Only the cheapest ones you can find, you'll be using them to spread resin and glue so they can only really be used once

Stanley Knife

Get a few, but again keep the cost low they will only get wrecked

Rubbish Scissors

Again, they'll get wrecked so it's not worth getting expensive or good ones.


This is an amazing and unexpected help, it looks like a cross between a cheesegrater and a wood plane

Electric Sander

For those finishing touches.  You could do it manually with sand paper if you can't get your hands on one, it'll just take longer


A saw will save you lots of time when cutting larger pieces, but also use an old / cheap one as it will get wrecked

Marker Pen

Used to draw shapes and mark bits to be cut.  Any colour is fine.

A helping hand

no pun intended but you will need a helper

Okay once you have all this you'll be ready to begin!