405th Regiment Officer
Member DIN
***This is a living document and will be updated periodically
***Please feel free to comment with corrections, tips, or horror stories in the comments below

***Disclaimer, take any advice in this post or in the comments with a grain of salt. No advice is the end all be all. Your situation/application/products may be different and require different safety steps. Do your own research, test small and always be overly safe if you are unsure***

Also, I am not an expert. I just do my research before attempting anything new and we all feel like there needs to be something on the 405th that instructs new members to do the same.

This is not a tutorial, if it was it would read:

1. Wear the appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) ie. gloves, long sleeves, respirator etc
2. Be in a well ventilated and safe space
3. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL FIRST - at the end of the day, your safety is your responsibility

Instead we'll just cover what some of the PPE items are, what it means to be in a safe space and some safety protocols for products we commonly use in cosplay.

When should I use safety equipment?

Always. But especially if you are:
  • Working with any kind of chemicals
  • Cutting something
  • Sanding something
  • Using any power equipment
  • Any kind of Painting, especially if it uses air
  • Mixing anything
  • Gluing something
Very especially if you are:
  • Sanding or Cutting hardened fiberglass (this is the worst!)

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

Gloves -

For the most part Latex gloves are a must have on-hand product for crafting (pun intended). Note, some people have allergies to latex. Nitrile has also become very popular in the workplace as it is stronger, less likely to tear.

Note, some chemicals can disintegrate gloves. If you want to be sure, consult a chart like this one below. You can online search the “active ingredients” of the product you are using (or read the label!) to see if they have any of the bad interactions with the different types of gloves listed at the top. Other glove options being Neoprene or PVC.

I would recommend avoiding Vinyl gloves (aka PVC), which are used mostly for non-chemical things like food prep. They are a cheaper alternative but will disintegrate from a wide array of common chemicals.

Glove chart.jpg

Long sleeve shirt and pants –

I put this one high up on the list because people don’t often think about it. You may live in a hot environment and rarely consider wearing longer sleeved shirts and pants, but it can really save you from chemical burns and physical abrasions. Head to your local Thrift Store and pick up some thin long sleeves or even pajamas!

But be careful with the ends of your sleeves accidentally dipping in things or getting snagged. Best practice is to pull your gloves up over your sleeve cuffs so nothing gets inside. You can even grab a couple rubber bands to keep the gloves tight against your wrists.

Eyewear –
You can never have too many cheap pairs of safety glasses around the shop. I am in the habit of just before I turn power equipment on I touch my forehead to see if I have glass on or on top my head. If not, stop right away and go put some on. You will want to make sure they sit on your face well and stay close to your skin. You can buy different shaped glasses. If you can’t find a pair that fit well consider buying safety goggles.

If you wear corrective glasses be are that those are not safety glasses. They are not rated for impact. You can buy cheap OTG (over the glasses) Safety Glasses and I would recommend having a few on hand.

Some applications have particles or debris that fly everywhere or if the particles/debris/vapors are particularly dangerous, then you will want to purchase safety goggles that can protect the sides and above and below the eyes.

Respirator/Masks –

The respirator is really the best way to keep out both particles and chemicals from your airways. Search this term on google shopping and you will see they range from $20-$50, they look like gas masks with small replaceable side filters and are a really good investment in your health. Be sure to read what the respirator and specifically the filters are rated for.

At the very least you need a N95 mask when doing any crafting. Make sure the mask cups against all parts of your skin and you've tightened the metal nose clip. This will not protect against everything, but it is way better than nothing.

If you the kind of mask that do not press tight against your skin (like a surgical mask or cloth face mask) then it will not help you in most crafting situations as those are meant to keep your water vapors in your own mouth.

Ear protection –

When operating loud equipment or when near sharp loud/banging sounds, ear plugs are a must and an easy protection addition. You know how older people have to ask you to repeat yourself? They probably didn’t use ear plugs enough in their life. The cheap squishy expanding kind are great and are good enough for most applications.

If you find the sounds are still fairly loud with the plugs in then consider buying safety ear muffs to put overtop of the plugs.

Note, if you can, try to position yourself in your workspace so you can visually see entrances and exits so that people don’t startle you since you can’t hear them.

Hi-vis clothing–

Not super common for our line of work, but still can be useful. Say you share a yard with other families or children, a hi-vis vest will let everyone be aware that you are working on something and safety is a concern.

Another possible situation maybe you want to have your buddy filming you in costume running down the street. Have your buddy wear the vest so that they don’t get run over. Safety First.

Hardhat –

Another less common PPE for our applications, but be aware of what is over your head. Maybe you are at a buddy's garage and notice they have a bunch of paint cans high up on a rickety shelf next to where you are working... Ask them if they have a hard hat. Another situation, maybe you are hammering pieces of metal, you never know if your piece might pop up in the air and then fall on your head. It is where all of your brain is so try to keep it safe.

Well Ventilated Area

You may hear us talk about this one a lot, but what does it mean?

Even when taking the PPE precautions, if the dangerous particle/solvents are confined in one area and lingering there... you are increasing and prolonging your risk of being harmed by them. The term “well-ventilated” means some ability to get the air moving and move the harmful elements away. This can vary depending on your needs.

Low Risk particles/chemicals :​
Something like using a small paintbrush near your indoor crafting desk or using contact cement with your EVA foam on the living room floor… wear an N95 mask and open a window.

Medium Risk particles/chemicals :​
Something like spray painting in your garage or mixing and applying Bondo® in your garage…. Wear a respirator or N95 mask and open up your garage door.

High Risk particles/chemicals :​
Something like sanding Bondo® or grinding fiberglass… wear a respirator and work outside or in your garage with a large fan blowing air out the door.

Safe Work Space

Be aware of the space you are in:

  • Uneven walking surfaces
  • Uneven table surfaces
  • Loud Noises
  • Other people, especially children
  • Clutter
  • Blinding lights/reflections
  • Water Hazards
  • Electrical Hazards

Be aware of things in the space:
  • Sharp Things
  • Hot Things
  • Moving Things
  • Cables/Chords/Tripping Hazards

Be aware on the safety risk levels of the products you are working with
  • Knives
  • Solvents
  • Chemicals
  • Aerosols
  • Heavy Things

Cover it -

Show of hands... how many of us are working in our parent's basement/garage/yard etc? Be respectful of their property and cover things up. Using a table? Put some cardboard down. Doing some painting? Put a drop cloth down. One cheap option to quick cover things is large black garbage bags and masking tape. Cut the garbage bags along two seams and you now have a decent sized disposable tarp.

Along the same vein, close lids. Tightly I might add. Even if you're going to come back soon, just hammer down that paint can lid. It's a pretty crummy feeling to think something is closed only to spill it all over your project.


Take the time to read ALL of it. Below are sections or bolded words to look out for

Read First:
  • Precautions
  • Warnings
  • Danger!
  • Important
  • First Aid
  • Emergency

What is it? Research:
  • Contains
  • Active Ingredients

Do you want it to come out good?
  • Preparation
  • Directions
  • Cure
  • Clean Up
  • Storage

Know your symbols:
  • Look up hazard symbols if you are not sure, probably different for different countries.

Pay Attention

In my job, my customers are all wood workers and iron workers and I can tell you from their experience that most accidents happen from complacency. If you have cut a wood board on a table saw 1000 times then at some point you are likely to lower the respect you have towards how much harm that saw or even the wood can cause you. One day you'll look at something at the wrong time and lose a finger.

The other big one is stupidity, obviously. Don't try to make the square peg fit in the round hole, especially when power equipment is involved. Think it through. How will this react if I do this? Pressure and force are real things.

It really comes down to paying attention and reacting accordingly. You notice someone walk into the room while you're cutting something? You don't need to react/wave/talk to them, focus on what you're doing. You see a board flying at you? React quickly and get out of the way. Another one I've learned is if something is failing/falling just step back and let it go. You can always start over or fix the project, but you try to catch or grab the wrong thing and you can really damage yourself.
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Specific Products or Common Cosplay Crafting Situations

I will leave this section to be filled in based on 405th member's comments below as to things or situations they experienced and learned from. For those commenting- I know some of you may be professionals with industrial safety knowledge, but please keep in mind this index is geared towards home hobbyists and tailor your comments towards what is need and readily available worldwide. For instance, professionals fiber glassing typically wear full body plastic suits and that is just not something most people will run out and buy to try their hand at it.

As an example, here is what I know from Fiberglassing:


Fiberglass is flexible strands/fibers of glass reinforced with plastic resin. The fibers can be pressed into mats or woven into cloth. A liquid polyester resin is then poured overtop the fibers and hardens to create a very strong non-brittle surface. It is a way to strengthen costume pieces and is more commonly used on plastic car and boat exterior pieces. We use it primarily in the Pepakura Method and sometimes to strengthen 3d prints.

Research your own tips and tutorials on doing this, these are just safety highlights.

Handling the flexible mat or cloth should be done with gloves. Best to precut all your pieces with scissors ahead of time since it is about to get very sticky.

You’ll be adding a hardening agent to the liquid resin which will start making the liquid hard within ten minutes. These kinds of rapid changes mean chemical vapors will be released while mixing: wear gloves, eye protection and respirator or mask. Also worth noting, the process can make the liquid resin become quite hot.

Keep all previous PPE on. Work in small batches of resin. Don’t reuse cups. Change your gloves often. If you get any resin on your skin you can clean it off with Acetone. Wash the acetone off immediately with water as it too will cause skin irritation. But, acetone on your skin is better than fiberglass resin on your skin.

Allow the full time in a well ventilated and dry area to cure. It will harden within minutes, but can take several hours to cure. This stuff is stinky! It can be stinky for 3-10 days after being cured!

THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT! This is some of the WORST stuff to cut, grind or sand, but you will need to do it. The fibers will often stick up on the edges causing very pointed and rigid surfaces that can easily pierce your skin. You will need to cut or grind these spots down. Doing so means you will be sending tiny particles of plastic/resin in the air (which can cause long term health issues if ingested in any way) AND tiny particles of glass in the air (which can cause immediate health issues if ingested in any way).

This means you have to keep these particles from getting into your eyes, ears, mouth, nose and ANY pores on any of your skin! Respirator required. Goggles Required. Long sleeve shirt tucked into long pants Required. Put your gloves over your shirt cuffs and use rubber bands to keep them down. DO THIS OUTSIDE or at the very least next to an outside door with a large fan blowing directly on you.

Clean Up-
FIRST THING is to take care of yourself. Strip down, shake off your clothes outside and take a cold shower with soap IMMEDIATELY. The cold water will close your pores and reduce the amount of glass particles that can get into your blood. You don’t want glass in your blood.

Let your workspace air out before re entering. Re apply gloves, glass and mask. Sweep up gently or vacuum up and dust particles on the floor and on work surfaces and deposit in an outside trash can. You can use Acetone to clean up any uncured resin that may have spilled. A chisel can also remove cured droplets on your work surface.

If at any point later that day or the next you feel ITCHY not itch it. This is the glass cutting your skin. Stop and immediately wash in cold water gently with soap. This includes days later if you are handling the work clothes you wore or any of the thing you touched when working with it. I'm getting phantom itches just reliving all this after typing it up! :lol:

You did it! - I find fiberglassing a very useful skill to have and have used it on way more than just cosplay. It sounds like a lot of safety protocols and it is, but it mostly just boils down to bundle up tight and take a shower.
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Fantastic list that you've put together, it wraps just about everything up!

I'd say one more thing that you could add is to be mindful of all cables, I've burnt myself with a hot glue gun and soldering iron more times than I can count because I wasn't paying attention and clipped a cable with my hand or foot!
Fantastic write up! I'll be adding this to my list of tutorial threads I use as references for new members and con people with questions.
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