Strapping is one of the final stages of your cosplay. Unfortunately, you can’t just glue yourself into your costumes (not until you have no other option when something breaks on the con floor, that is). You’ve got to decide on the best way to strap each piece of armor (and more) to you so that you can get in and out of your cosplay and wear it correctly and comfortably. For many cosplayers, this is where woven nylon comes in.
When you need to ensure your cosplay is wearable all day, you need something strong to rely on for your straps. In this post, we’ll explain why using woven nylon for cosplay straps is one of the best ways to secure your pieces as well as discuss the benefits and challenges of working with the material.
How to Use Woven Nylon for Cosplay
In cosplay, woven nylon is mainly used for strapping armor both to body parts and to other connected armor pieces. When we talk about woven nylon, we mean the flat type that generally comes in long spools or strands. Due to the material’s woven design, nylon straps are extremely strong and reinforced on their own (and they can be even further reinforced with adhesive patches), and they can easily hold your foam armor in place with just a little careful design and assembly. Strips of nylon can either wrap around the outside of your armor to hold it in place or be more hidden on the inside of your armor, and they’re typically fastened using plastic clasps or parachute clips.
However, woven nylon can also be used to reinforce other types of straps that serve different purposes but have a harder time adhering to foam. For example, elastic straps are much better suited to parts of your body that need to bend, like knees and elbows, but elastic pulls away from foam as it stretches. An easy way to avoid your elastic strap snapping off is to sew a piece of woven nylon to the end that will adhere to the foam. The nylon holds the strap in place while still allowing the rest of the elastic to stretch. Additionally, you can sew a piece of nylon to the back of Velcro fastenings to give them more adhering power as well.
To learn more about strapping your armor with woven nylon, you can check out our strapping tutorial from our Astrid build.
Finally, woven nylon could also come in handy for more permanent pieces of your cosplay you need to attach or suspend. Even if it’s not a strap you’ll need to remove, woven nylon can hold your armor in place. This will work for armor pieces that hang but don’t need to detach, adding permanent weapon sheaths, putting straps onto bags or satchels, and more.
Benefits of Strapping with Woven Nylon
There are several reasons why most cosplayers choose to strap with woven nylon. Here are a few of the benefits you can expect from nylon straps:
- Woven nylon is very strong, can hold a decent amount of weight, and won’t rip or tear.
- It’s also relatively flexible without being too stretchy to hold your armor in place.
- Woven nylon straps can be made adjustable or fixed, depending on what you need for your unique cosplay.
- Woven nylon is easy to adhere to EVA foam using double-sided adhesive sheets like Attach & Build or with hot glue.
- You won’t need to worry about your straps while you’re a convention or a photoshoot; woven nylon holds your cosplay secure.
- Woven nylon straps are relatively comfortable to wear whether your cosplay has an underneath layer of clothing or not.
- You can usually find woven nylon in a variety of colors, so you can choose the color that matches your cosplay.
Woven Nylon Challenges
There are a few challenges to be aware of when working with woven nylon as well. Though there aren’t many downsides to this material, here’s what you should know:
- Woven nylon alone isn’t the best choice for parts of your body that need the flexibility to bend. You’re better off using a combination of elastic and nylon for things like kneepads, elbow pads, and shin guards, just to name a few.
- To attach woven nylon to elastic or Velcro, you’ll need to be able to sew, either with a machine or by hand. These techniques will be easiest if you have a sewing machine.
- Knowing what length of woven nylon to cut for your straps can be a bit of a learning curve. Even with careful measurement, you might find you need to do a bit of trial and error to get the length of your straps just right, with enough clearance at the end to adhere your strap to your foam.
Strapping Your Way
Ultimately, the way you strap your armor depends on what you need for each cosplay as well as your own comfort preferences. It’s generally the location of the armor piece on your body that will determine what type of strap you’ll use, but in those situations where you need to know your strap will hold (or else your whole cosplay will fall apart), woven nylon is usually the most reliable strapping option. There are plenty of tips and tricks out there to help you make better straps and blend them into your cosplay in ways that match the look of your character, so feel free to experiment when you can and figure out what types of straps work best for you and your armor.