Convention season is coming up, and that means many people are gearing up in the spirit of cosplay. Cosplay is quickly becoming more mainstream, with us nerdy girls and boys excited to dress up as our favorite fictional heroes and villains, but some people don’t know where to start when it comes to costume making.
If you are new to the cosplay scene and are interested in starting your first cosplay, this post will provide you with a bunch of useful tips to get started!
Who do you want to be?
You have the freedom to cosplay absolutely anyone you want, from movies and T.V. to gaming and comics, so what character speaks to you? Pick a character that you love because you will be spending time, money and energy recreating their costume.
Please note: There are no rules in the cosplay community which state you have to dress within your ‘body description’. Your weight, age, height, skin color, and gender do not inhibit you from cosplaying anyone. Who you add a special something-something to your look, and is your personification of said character. Cosplay is a combination of the words “costume” and “play” and gives you the freedom to dress up different for fun. Just pick a character you love, and have fun with it!
What materials are out there?
Here is a list of some popular materials:
- Fabric: Huge variety of textures and colours, versatile, found at fabric stores or online retailers.
- Cardboard: Lightweight and found for cheap or free almost anywhere.
- Craft foam: Thin, soft, flexible, found single sheets or rolls at a local craft store or online retailers.
- EVA foam: Comes in various thickness grades, soft, flexible, found at local home and hardware stores or online vendors.
- Thermoplastic: Thin, sturdy, warm up with a heat gun to bend and mold over various shapes, ordered from online vendors. Look up Worbla and Wonderflex.
- PVC piping: Plastic, rigid tubes usually used for plumbing but provide excellent internal structures for props, found at local hardware stores.
- Expanding foam: Easily shaped with X-Acto knife, lightweight and found at local hardware stores. Check out a previous post on one way of using expanding foam to make easy horns!
Remember your budget
Cosplay can become an expensive hobby, and the money you spend on material and new tools add up quick. It is a good idea to research different methods and find a material that suits your budget. Take into account, too, the additional tools you may need to buy in order to work with special materials, such as a sewing machine or heat gun. There is an initial start-up cost that comes along with starting your cosplay journey, but once you have the main tools you are set for a while.
Know your skill level
In your enthusiasm, it is easy to jump into a big project without quite knowing what you’re getting into. If you don’t have any or a lot of experience with the materials you are about to use, try making a small test piece, for example, a bracer. That way if you make a mistake and want to start again, you only used a small portion of your material. Also, when you are learning a new technique, it is totally okay to work slow. Even seasoned cosplayers spend time just thinking about their costumes and taking the time to work with new material. Take your time, but have confidence in your abilities as an artist and develop your skills with good practice.
Thank you for taking the time to read my advice for people just starting costume design! Cosplay is an amazing hobby that gets you to really explore your creativity and unleash your inner nerd. If you have any questions, tweet me @AshleyOshley or visit my Facebook page, Oshley Cosplay. I’m always happy to give tips and advice!
Written by Guest Contributor: OshleyCosplay