So you're all set to go to a convention, eh? Got your fursuit? Your suitcase with all your clothes? Your travel tickets? But here's something you may not have thought about: Have you got a Fursuit Maintenance Kit
? What is a Fursuit Maintenance Kit? Good question.
Basically, it's the supplies you'll need to successfully clean, maintain, and repair your fursuit for when you're at a convention or some other event when traveling with your fursuit. What items you take and the amount of each item you take is optional and completely up to you.
The items I am listing here are suggestions only. Not all the items I mention may be found or available in stores or in different countries. Please check carefully in craft stores, hobby stores, websites, etc. when shopping for the below listed items. What works for one person/fursuit may not always work for another.SAMPLE LIST OF MAINTENENCE KIT ITEMS -
Sample pic showing some various items that I'll describe: Click picture for larger image.This list can include, but is not limited to the following:
1. Various colors of spooled thread. - Black and White will probably be the two main colors you'll want to have. Make sure to use very strong thread, but don't buy any waxed thread.
2. Extra nylon strapping/webbing - You never know when your footpaw sandals might need repairing.
3. Glue gun and glue sticks. Definately a necessity!
4. Measuring tape.
5. Package of various sized hand sewing needles.
6. Small sized clamps for holding things together.
7. Aluminum foil - When you go to set your hot glue gun down after gluing something, It's best if the hot tip of the glue gun and/or dribbles of hot glue didn't accidentally touch any clothing, furniture, etc. Lay down some sheets of aluminum foil to put your glue gun on.
9. X-Acto knife (Make sure the blade is well wrapped or properly sealed to prevent punctures, cuts, etc. when traveling.
10. Small scissors.
11. Marking pens/markers.
12. Various colors and sizes of pins.
13. Safety pins.
14. Small bottle or tube of household cement, epoxy, or other glue. Be very careful if buying/using any Cyanoacrylate (CA) super glue. CA is very strong and if not used carefully, will bond your hands or anything else, together instantly. Be sure to also buy a bottle of CA De-bonder!
15. Travel case/container to put everything in.
16. Travel size packets of Woolite (Shown on the left of the pic.) - These may be difficult to find. I found them at a store that specifically sells luggage and travel items only.
17. Various brushes for brushing the fur on your suit.
18. Sponges and/or rags to wipe spills off your suit or other cleaning duties.
19. Tide stick pens and/or other small laundry travel sized cleaning agents.
20. If you bring along any cleaning deterrgents (Woolite) or other anti-stain solutions to a convention, you probably won't need to bring the entire bottle. You can simply get away with pouring a small bit of solution into smaller spray bottles to take to the convention.
21. Seam ripper - For removing/tearing apart seams on suits. (Not pictured)
22. Take along small scraps of excess fur fabric or foam that you have for emergency repairs.
23. Extra zippers
24. Duct tape and/or masking tape.
25. Extra elastic bands, velcro, buttons, snaps
26. Zip ties (Otherwise known as cable ties.)
27. Some other items to consider are when people have more complex fursuits that may have animatronics, LED's, or other electronic/mechanical devices built into the suit. You may want to bring along a small tool repair kit, multimeter, extra wire, spare parts, extra batteries, etc. Also, a small portable soldering gun too if needed.
If by chance a person does forget to bring along a fursuit maintenance kit to a convention/event, then you may be able to borrow a friend's sewing kit if they have one, OR.....sometimes conventions may have a "Fursuit Repair Station" set up in a special room/area for fursuiters to make emergency repairs to their suits. Not all conventions/events may have such a section though as some events are limited by space they can provide, How big or small the event is, and What other resources the event can provide. Also, if you see the fursuit maker that you commissioned a fursuit from, at the con that you are going to and you ask them to make repairs or changes to your suit during the con, They may or may not be able to do this depending on time constraints, Their event schedule, Materials they have, and most importantly.........They are at the event for rest, relaxation, and to have a good time. The last thing they would want to do is spend numerous hours at an event helping people with repairs and alterations. Remember folks, Once you commission (or build your own fursuit) and wear your fursuit, It is therefore YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to take care of it. SPECIAL NOTES ABOUT CLEANING/DISINFECTING SOLUTIONS -Important:
If you do take along any cleaning solutions of any type, Please test them at home first on some scrap pieces of fur fabric to make sure that they don't inadvertantly ruin the color of the fur fabric or damage it in any other way. Please make sure to follow all directions carefully.
Two sample solutions to try are Woolite and Resolve. The best cleaning solution (If you can find it.) goes by the name of Folex. Website: http://www.folexcompany.com/
I have a bottle of the stuff and it works wonders.
In regards to cleaning/disinfecting agents and the spray bottles mentioned in #20 above, Here's a sample picture of some cleaning/disinfecting stuff you may want to try/bring.Click picture for larger image.
I am not going to talk about how to clean/disinfect a fursuit here. For disinfecting and cleaning a suit, please see this guide here:LINK: http://forums.furtopia.org/index.php?topic=36325.0
This thread is just about what you should consider taking to an event.
For disinfecting fursuits every time after you fursuit, You can try Febreeze Anti-microbial Spray, or the better option would be the Blue & Purple can on the right in the picture above. The spray disinfectant can is the exact same stuff as End-Bac (Same ingrediants). It can be found at Wal-Mart stores for as little as $2-3 per can. Another option might also be Lysol Disinfectant Spray. I've never used Lysol before, so I'm not sure how well it works.
A lot of cleaning agents and solutions will change brand names, logos, container shapes/sizes, or even be discontinued or not found anymore in stores over a period of months or years, or the solutions I mention in this entire thread may or may not be found in another country.
An example of this is End-Bac. An original End-Bac spray can may look something like this below on the left picture
. But End-Bac when sold in stores has changed colors, logo, etc. as shown in the following right picture
and Livejournal links:Click each picture for a larger view. LINK: http://fursuit.livejournal.com/3431424.htmlLINK: http://fursuit.livejournal.com/4011637.html
For cleaning stains/spots on suits, you can try Folex which I already mentioned further above. This stuff will get out just about anything. You can also try finding it at "Bed, Bath, & Beyond" stores or "Linens n' Things" stores. But the price may be higher at $10 per bottle.
Other bottles of cleaning solutions in the picture much further above are Resolve and Woolite. Unfortuneately, I haven't had much success with Resolve, so I won't be taking that to an event. Like I mentioned earlier before, You don't have to take the entire full size bottle of cleaning solution to an event (Unless you think you're going to get REALLY dirty.) . You can pour a smaller amount into smaller bottles as shown in the picture below and take that with you. For "disinfecting" suits though, taking the ENTIRE bottle/can of disinfectant spray would be preferable.
If you don't want to take any disinfectant spray or cleaning solutions with you to an event, You can choose instead to wait till you arrive at your destination/event and then buy what you need at a store near you, or maybe a friend will let you borrow some stuff that they have. But the downside to this is that what if there is no store in the immediate vicinity and/or they don't have what you need? Make sure to choose wisely.
You don't need to buy and use a full size bottle of a cleaning solution at an event. But, It's personal preference if you do so. A better option is to use smaller travel size containers and spray bottles as shown below. Just make sure that the lids/caps are firmly closed/on tight to prevent leakage. You may choose to put the smaller bottles inside of a small Ziplock bag in case something does spill out. Also make sure to label all the bottles so you know what solution is in which bottle.Click picture for larger image.