Tips and Tricks

Sneak peak at my Carol Peletier!

This isn’t really a tutorial.  More a “things I’ve learned from cosplaying” post.  I don’t really have a tutorial ready for you guys yet, but I figured you might let me slide with this since I did 3 in one week for the Daryl crossbow.

1) Haunt your local thrift stores!

I obtain a lot of staple pieces from thrift stores.  I’ve also come across 8-10 yard bolts of fabric for $3.  You never know what you’re going to find.  If my cosplay has regular clothing (ie the Carol Peletier I’m currently working on), I try to buy clothing from thrift stores that are as close a match as possible.  Will it be exact?  No.  But I don’t care.  I can’t afford to spend $300 on every cosplay I do.  The occasional one (coughcough predator coughcough), sure.  But not every single one.

2) Take a leisurely stroll through your local hardware store.

I get a lot of materials from Lowes or Home Depot.  The Daryl crossbow is made from EVA foam in the form of gym flooring found at Lowes.  My Carol knife is a cardboard pattern covered in expanding foam, found at Lowes.  Pretty much all of the sculpting material thus far for my predator cosplay has come from Home Depot.

3) Do your research.

I have a pinterest for my cosplay.  Under cosplay ideas I will sometimes post up to (or more than) 10 different pictures.  They may look similar, but they each show a slightly different angle, or different lighting.  Reference pictures; you can’t have enough!  If your cosplay requires armor and you don’t know how to make any, search it!  Google or pinterest are great resources for cosplay tutorials (or wait a bit and I should have one up).  For Carol Peletier’s knife, I did research to find out how long the knife it, how long the blade is, etc.  That way when I sketched it out, I knew it would be fairly close.

4) Try new things.

If you don’t try new things, you’ll never expand your cosplay abilities.  The Daryl crossbow was my very first time working with EVA gym flooring foam mats.  The Carol knife is my first time working with expanding foam and fast mache.  I’m constantly trying new things.  They may not always work, but that’s how you learn.  This is also why I try to cheap my way through certain cosplay items.  If it only cost me $50 for an entire cosplay, then I can spend $150 on the next.

5) Learn to sew.

Sewing is by far the easiest and cheapest way to make pieces for your cosplay.  Especially unique pieces.  I’m currently working on a mystery cosplay that required me to do some sewing.  I was able to modify patterns I already owned to make the pieces, for the most part.  My Cheshire Cat required me to mostly make things on my own.  If you don’t know how to sew, youtube it or go to a JoAnn Fabrics.  They always have sewing tutorials going on that will teach you the basics and teach you how to read a pattern.  Or, do like I did and just go for it.  Having never used a sewing machine in my life, I bought a pattern, had the lady at Hancock Fabrics help me get the fabric that would be needed, then I just attempted it.  If I came across a tricky part, I went up to Hancock and asked for help.

6) Speaking of sewing: press your seams and finish your hems.

Don’t half ass your sewing.  I used to.  Which is why my current cosplay sewing projects look about 100 times better than my old ones.  I love my Daenerys cosplay, and I’m so mad I didn’t press my seams.  It would look so much better if I had.

7) Start simple.

If you’ve never cosplayed before, start with something simple.  Don’t pick your rogue Night Elf from WOW that has a bunch of fancy armor.  You will get discouraged.  My first tutorial here is for making foam armor.  I started working on a Predator cosplay last year.  But I quickly got discouraged because I took on too much.  It was too complicated for me, someone who had never worked with foam before.  So I set it aside.  Now, however, after 2 new cosplays, and the foam crossbow for my boyfriends Daryl cosplay, I’m feeling ambitious and ready to tackle it again.  So I did a bit more research and I’ve started painting the pieces.  Look out for a part 2!

8) If you have questions, ask.

Most cosplayers are really nice.  See someone at a con in a really awesome version of a cosplay you want to try?  Go up and talk to him/her!  Ask what materials were used, and how hard/simple it was.  I would love if someone came up to me at a con and asked about my cosplay.  It shows that all the hard work I put into it is appreciated.  Or, ask me a question here, or another cosplayer on their blog, facebook, twitter, etc.

That’s all for now, guys!  Cosplay on!

Questions, comments, suggestions in the comment section below.

Hopefully I will have an actual tutorial next week.