Top Cosplay Tips From A Pro

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Whether you’re new to cosplaying or an old pro, everyone has had to start somewhere. All costumes take practice, creativity and imagination and if you’re just starting to get into it, there are a lot of great and easy tips to help build your ideal cosplay.

  • When making a costume, find and print as many source photos of the character (or their props) as possible. Print them offline from a basic google image search but also consider looking on websites that specialize in screen capture imagery to get every angle or possible visual reference of the character correct.
  • Always check out good will stores, Salvation Army stores or any store that sells used clothing. These kind of stores offer a wide variety of clothing, shoes, hats, coats and all kinds of things that could work (or tweaked into working) with your costume. These stores also are much more affordable and can sometimes carry odd or exotic items that could even match a certain aspect of your character’s costume perfectly.
  • Consider EVERYTHING as a possibility for a costume prop or component. Everyday items around the house or that you see in stores could be used so keep an open mind. I’ve used everything from mop heads, ventilation parts, lawn ornaments, bicycle chains to even tree branches. Keep an open mind and thinking outside the box can help solve a number of delays in your costume making process.
  • Frequent stores like Joanne fabrics and Michael’s, both stores feature an endless variety of possible parts, materials and patterns that can be used to fit your needs in a number of ways. Also, if there’s one relatively close by, a Halloween/costume store that’s open all year round.
  • If you’re having trouble figuring out a certain component or part, trying Googling if anyone else has made it (or something similar) before and see how they made it and duplicate the process.
  • Always remember you can tweak or modify something to look like something else. Objects, clothing and other items can be changed thanks to a simple spray paint, fabric coating or application of something else to make it look like whatever your crying to create.
  • Give yourself enough time to prepare a costume. Time, money and patience are all vital components to cosplay crafting and if you start too late or try to rush a deadline without enough preparation to handle unexpected problems/errors, it’ll cause problems for you and your costume.
  • Be prepared for things NOT to work out exactly the way you want to the first time. Cosplay making is a trial and error process, you might go through 4 or even more attempts at making a certain prop or coat before you get the right one so be diligent.
  • This one may sound like an obvious one and not much of a tip but it’s very important when you consider the fact that passion and motivation play very big parts in the costume picking and making process. When picking a cosplay, make sure you pick one that YOU actually want to do and are not doing it because someone asked you to or because it’s going to be popular. You’re putting a lot of time, money and effort (and possibly pain) into this costume so pick a character from something you genuinely like and love and that will make a difference in your application of focus and effort if it’s for something YOU love.
  • When using make up, make sure to find a brand that doesn’t crumble or melt off easily like say grease mask paint. Experiment with different types, brands and colors and practice with them to see how hard or easy it is to apply it, to remove it and how it reacts when you’re sweating or dealing with extreme heat.
  • Stay hydrated and stay prepared with enough padding, footwear or patchwork materials to help improve tears, holes, rips or damages that may occur while wearing the costume. Staying hydrated will help prevent dizziness, nausea and prevent sweat from overflowing your body and causing possible stains on certain parts of your outfit.
  • When using eye contacts or having a large, bulky costume that impairs most of your vision, make sure above all else you can SEE CLEARLY where you’re going. It doesn’t help to have an amazing costume that you can’t see out of and you risk bumping or knocking people over or damaging your own costume in the process. If possible, get a “wrangler” which is basically a friend or helper who leads you in the right direction, clears a path and can help with overall general maintenance and assistance when wearing it.
  • Kind of piggybacking off of the previous tip, make sure if you’re wearing a costume that’s hard to move around in that you’re able to walk safely without difficulty AND climb stairs or go up ramps. If you cannot bend you’re knees, you put yourself at serious risk for collapsing or falling backwards if your costume limits your physical maneuverability.
  • If all else fails and you feel incapable of making a costume or having someone you know help make one, you can always purchase one through online websites, costume shops or go the even more expensive route and have someone custom make one for you. Or if you need one specific piece made like a special logo imprinted headband or cybernetic eye piece, simply have someone custom make the prop for you and make the rest of the costume yourself to the best of your ability.
  • Avoid using or making any props or pieces with sharp points, jagged edges or possible hazards to other people such as through using metals, carved points or certain props. You don’t want to go to a party, masquerade or a convention and have your costume confiscated or forcibly altered by security staff or be told to leave if you don’t take it off.
  • If you’re on a budget, always look for less expensive ways of completing a costume where you can and don’t go cheap where you know you cannot.