What is Frog Juice and Why is it Used in Cosplay?

Despite the name, Frog Juice does not involve actual frogs. Frog Juice is a chemical product from the industrial sector. Its original purpose was to make outdoor vinyl signs weather-proof. At a retail business with an outdoor sign, they’d use this to coat the sign, assuring it lasted longer and the colors didn’t fade. Hence, weatherproof, like an amphibian.

With this narrow commercial use, Frog Juice sold by the can for under $10 and still ships today for around $20. For years, it sold in a home-made plain text label with a 1-800 number on the can for the purpose of ordering more Frog Juice. Then the DIY crafters and cosplay community came along.

Applications of Frog Juice

They discovered that an application of Frog Juice helped preserve all sorts of costume props. Its shiny, glazed coating lends an authentic finish to metal gear, fire and ice effects, and decorative jewelry. Its protective properties help preserve your World of Warcraft shield or Lord of the Rings staff, saving all the hard work you put into it. It keeps all your molded and painted props in brand-new condition.

An important detail to Frog Juice is that it does all this without making the coated item rigid. This is important because your Final Fantasy character’s magnificent infinity +1 sword may not pass the security check at the convention center if it is rigid.

Frog Juice works like a final coat of clear sealant or laminate. It takes about thirty minutes after application to dry. It’s a spray-on aerosol, so it leaves no brush strokes, and it can be applied so it’s almost imperceptible. Once dried, it doesn’t have a tacky feeling to it, which counts when you’re standing around posing with a prop for hours in a hotel hallway. It protects against not just moisture, but UV rays too. It doesn’t smudge, smear, or scratch.

Why Do Costumes Need Durability?

Durability in costumes is just as important as cosplay makeup or aesthetics. This is because assembling a full, customized costume is something you only want to do once, and then get many uses out of it. Since nobody wants to put too much expense into something they can’t wear to school or work, costumes are typically made from the most affordable materials. But at the same time, being a pro cosplayer on the convention circuit is rugged on everything, including the costume.

Typical conventions are crowded, chaotic, and have a high concentration of guests carrying food and drink while trying to elbow their way through a crowd of Avengers. It’s a long weekend at least, 16-hour days with a bathroom break or two to navigate in there. So cosplay get-ups can take a serious beating, and then in between events they get peeled off and tossed in a trunk somewhere. So making a costume prop as durable as possible goes a long way, especially if you’re doing business as a cosplay designer.

Some typical deployments of Frog Juice

  • Weapons – Swords, battleaxes, halberds, firearms, wands, staves, and bows
  • Armor – From helmets to gauntlets to crakows, anything that should look bronze, iron, or tungsten
  • Jewels – Not just jewelry, but tiaras, crowns, and big decorative gems set anywhere
  • Shiny materials – Anything that’s supposed to be made of ice, glass, kryptonite, and so on
  • Special effects – Glowing red fiery wigs, glistening faerie wings, glazed food effects, and glimmering power artifacts
  • Puff paint – Another common DIY trick, puff paint is used to simulate embroidery, which can then be sealed over to prevent flaking.

You should never apply Frog Juice to your skin, and it’s not made to go on most fabrics or leathers. For anything artificial and especially foam, rubber, or plastic, it’s perfect.