We ask all the cosplayers we interview what tips or tricks they have for other cosplayers. There are so many amazing suggestions here, I thought I’d make them easier to find! Dont forget to read the rest of these stellar interviews.
Be patient and be creative. Spending money for others to make your gear is ok, but it’s way more fun to do it yourself. Learn and see!
As much as you’re able to, create or buy pieces that you can use for multiple characters. In the long run this will save you a lot of money and space. And if you have a character you absolutely love and know that you want to keep cosplaying it may be prudent to consider spending more money on pieces/material for that character. Obviously you’ll need to do research and search for quality items, but personally I’d rather spend $50 on an item that looks great and will last for a long time with proper care then spending $10 over and over again on an item that looks bleh and falls apart even if I take care of it.
Learn as much as you can. Even if the skill seems pointless now, you never know when you’ll need it.
Yes sound silly, but there’s a reason to that. Swag is a way of saying your own style based on your confidence in yourself. I cosplay with my own swag and own look.
Regardless of what anyone else thinks, it’s your cosplay. You’re the one wearing it, so feel comfortable with your body and with what your putting on to last a whole con.
Don’t compare yourself to others – it will make you go nuts. Don’t obsess over details, again it will make you go nuts. I’m a perfectionist and sometimes I need to realize that if someone gets that close to see the imperfections, then they need to back off.
Take your time… Hot glue guns are amazing and find patterns they help or videos.
Some tips/tricks I have are using wig clips to secure head pieces, drying dollar tree slime with a heat gun to mimic resin while making jewels, and spending a little more on wigs because when it comes to those you get the quality that you pay for. Also before cons, if you wish for people to take pictures of you have a few poses prepared in mind and practiced.
8. Fedeowl Cosplay
Learn to enhance yourself with a good make-up! it is essential! and choose personages that resemble you
9. Emily J.
If you’re sewing, painting or decorating a cosplay, and it isn’t working out as you want it to be. Don’t panic and get frustrated. Let it sit, take a breather and continue when you’re more relaxed.
10. La Femme Nagita
Start making your cosplay WAY earlier than you think you need to. Everything always takes longer than it should. Also, keep an eye out for Joann Fabrics coupons.
11. Mutant Glue
WATCH YOUTUBE TUTORIALS. You can learn so many tips and tricks from just mocking what they do. Have fun with it. Don’t take it seriously.
Foam is the solution for everything. 😉
13. Rus S
Start slow. Take it easy. You can’t build a cosplay overnight (although there are some people that always seem to wait til the last minute and get con crunch). Beware of frauds that use you and turn their backs on you when they get what they want out of you (namely photographers).
Do it for the love of cosplay and not for likes or to promote a side business. There are a lot of cosplay models out there that just use the industry to promote themselves but don’t actually know about comics or the culture.
Practice!!! Ask other cosplayers for help. Use Q-tips to fix eyeliner mistakes. Lighting matters when trying to get a flawless picture. Cheaper makeup works just as well as the expensive stuff.
In construction there is a saying, “Measure twice, cut once.” That is just as important when working on cosplay. There’s nothing worse than ruining a prop or costume you’ve been working on because you cut the wrong spot. Trust me, I’ve done it. Also, I know crunch time happens and you end up skipping sleep to work on things but you have to give your body some rest time. When you’re working on little to no sleep you make more mistakes and sometimes end up putting yourself further behind.
16. Luta Cosplay
Old makeup brushes make good contact cement applicators, so do foam brushes.
Contact cement is toxic so make sure your workplace is ventilated, its also flammable, found that out the hard way.
You can use a belt sander on foam pieces if they are dense foam.
Wood glue is just as good at mod-podge.
Learn as much as you can. Even if the skill seems pointless now, you never know when you’ll need it.
For me at least, hot glue is to cosplay as duct tape is to repairs. If you don’t know what to do, hot glue may work. Also, sheets, table cloths, and drapes from thrift stores can be easily altered for fabric, especially if you need a base for a cape or something large and can’t afford new fabric. In general, thrift stores are quite helpful. Cheaper items that you can destroy and deconstruct without feeling guilty or destroying your budget.
19. Ciel Stone
Use glue and eyeshadow to paint your eyebrows, and if you have doubts about something (makeup, sewing…) Ask other cosplayers and watch a lot of YouTube tutorials!
20. Rumplestilt_Seam Cosplay
Youtube and Google are your friends haha! I can’t count how many times I’ve had to consult the all knowing Google when I’ve gotten stuck on certain projects or techniques.
21. AlyMoon Cosplay
I do not really have any tips and tricks but what i can tell is, even if you think your cosplay is not good…. it is good ! Even when there are people saying so. They are wrong ! Keep doing what you like !
22. Lady Jupiter Cosplay
Do what you love. If you aren’t into it, don’t do it. And even when you’re frustrated, keep going.
Try to learn a bit of everything. It’s not because you’re really good at crafting with foam that you should leave sewing alone. It’s nice to find out what you can work with by trying out different things.
24. Digital Surgeon Cosplay
Always make sure you’re well hydrated in warm outfits and wear sensible shoes. I’ve made the horrible mistake of wearing the wrong shoes and receiving foot pain early in the day as a result.
25. Miles Yagami Cosplay
Save some money. Shop at thrift stores. Not only can you get some of your cosplay without having to spend a ton on fabric, thread, time, etc. but you can also often find cheap fabric. Check out the bedding section. Bed sheets come in a variety of different fabrics and sizes. You can get a ton of fabric for way less than you would at a store or online. My pleated sleeves for Kylo Ren are made from a bedsheet. Had I gotten the fabric at a fabric or craft store, it would have cost me 4x as much.
I don’t really think I do anything special that may help others. I look at a LOT of how to videos. Even if I can’t afford to do something or it’s not practical, I’ve found starting points or fixes for when I’ve gotten stuck. I’ve been to a couple of workshops that just happened to come to my area. I’ve found pictures online or talked to people who are into things I’m not even into but they introduce me to something inspiring. I guess what I’m saying is that inspiration is everywhere when you follow your passion. One other thing: keep in mind where you will have to store the finish product and how you will transport it if necessary!
27. Anthony P.
Be very patient when creating your costumes. Puff painting my Superman suit took me around 2 months to complete but was worth it when complete.
TAKE YOUR TIME! Plan out your time to try and avoid con crunch. Work a little bit each day instead of crying and dying for 3 days before the con.
Learn to sew. Learn to sew using a machine. And using basting! Basting stitches are the most crucial sewing technique you could ever learn.
Invest in good materials, especially fabric, body paint, and wigs. There are places where you can cut corners, but using the wrong fabrics or cheap wigs and makeup from the dollar store will just bring you down.
Work inside your own ability range. You’ve been cosplaying for a month? Not the time to try and do a ballgown or a full suit of armour. It’s good to push your limits at times, but always be reasonable.
29. Jasmine A.
For beginners, choose characters that are relatively easy to work with. You don’t have to do a full fledged armored cosplay in the first go. As a cosplayer myself, I’ve seen many others who shame other artists, this should not be done because you have no idea how much that one comment can affect someone.
30. Locus Fabrications
Work outside of your comfort zone. It forces you to learn something. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Branch out and start hording skills like some horrifying talent-dragon. Learn foamsmithing. Learn to sew. Learn electronics. Learn everything you can and you will build an arsenal of skills that you can put into practice and create amazing things!
31. Madi Barnicoat
Youtube and experimentation is your best friend when wanting to make stuff. I am completely self taught in what I do. Whenever you start something you are going to be at the bottom but it takes time and patience to refine a skill! And have fun! There is no point in doing it if you don’t enjoy it! Don’t go along with the crowd and do mainstream cosplays if you don’t what to! If you want to cosplay Harley Quinn then do it, if you want to cosplay Naruto then do it, but if you also want to cosplay that background character in your favorite game or anime or movie then do it! Don’t let others control you.
32. Abernathy Valentine
Never skimp on needles for sewing 4 way stretch. Ball point is the way to go. Learn from my heartache,
What you wear UNDER your cosplay can make or break the look, a 3 pair of cheap hose (tights) can go a long way to smooth out any lumps and bumps.
If your making a corset, learn to lace it properly, so you can cinch it yourself. Life becomes infinitely easier. Promise.
HAVE FUN if you’re miserable, you’re doing it wrong. Find your joy in cosplay and then you will be unstoppable!”
33. Sawyers mess Cosplay
Don’t glue your hands to your head!!
My two biggest tips would have to be: 1) Follow a routine for making cosplays, so you don’t get overwhelmed. This will also increase the quality of your final product. 2) For taking photos, lighting is key. You’ll look absolutely amazing in your cosplay, so don’t let some bad lighting ruin that for you.
35. Shannon from Diamonds and Dynamite Cosplay
Go to Thrift Stores/Charity Shops for your material, trust me. Sometimes, your best cosplay will be made out of a curtain. A friend taught me that.
Invest in a glue gun, even a small cheap one will do. Always bring a charger for your phone or camera because you will never have enough battery for the entire convention day. Also wet wipes are your best friend.
36. YOKO X AOI Cosplay
Ironing a pleated skirt makes a huge difference! Also, using interfacing fabric in stand-up collars is amazing, and yes, good character makeup improves the overall cosplay look!
I’m not sure how many people use it already, but Polymorph moldable plastic has been amazing for me – it’s so easy to use, you just heat it up and mold with your hands into whatever shape you like. I’ve made so many cosplay props with it – bracelets, hair clips, ears, horns and all sorts!
I would say that you never know when you will find a prop or item for a cosplay. I tend to head to second-hand shops and you can find really unique items and costumes. Look around your house, you would be amazed at the items you have that would make a prop. I made my first prop out of a box and a PVC pipe.
Try to be unique. A lot of people do the typical generic characters instead of really making it their own. Be creative and try to find things you already have around the house and turn it into a prop for a character.
Find your way of cosplaying. It is not good to copy friends or some “cosplay stars”. Be and stay yourself.