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Cosplaying the Simple Way

Updated on October 20, 2016
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How I Succeeded in Cheap Cosplay

You probably would like to cosplay as a TV show character, a favorite book character, or maybe even your OC. It always is hard to have high quality costumes without having to order hundred-dollar Etsy creations online. What if I told you you could just make one yourself without having to pay more then thirty or twenty dollars? Most people would say "that's impossible" or "yeah right", but I can assure you that it is spot on the amount I paid to make a high-quality cosplay. And in a few simple steps, I assure you that you could do it two - without going broke.


Step One: Planning It Out

This seems cliché, I know, but it really is the most important step in the cosplaying process. Simply opening up a google document or a word document makes everything much easier. Make a numbered list of the steps you would need to accomplish the costume you would need. If you want, you can also add a list of materials and estimated prices. For example, I will be cosplaying as Blake Belladonna from RWBY this year, so I made a list that went like this:

Steps for my Blake Belladonna Costume

  1. Get a white t-shirt and cut off the arms.

  2. Get a black long-sleeve shirt and cut it into the vest type of thing.

  3. Get a silver button and fasten it to the bottom V of the shirt.

  4. Use the arms of the black long-sleeved to make her wristbands.

  5. Get a silver band or make one out of tinfoil.

  6. Use white shorts and black leggings.

  7. Get black boots and make the felt part and use buttons.

  8. Get black cat ears and/or a bow. Try to sew neck scarf out of extra sleeves.

(Also get a long black wig if possible. If not, temporarily dye and curl hair. If not, curl hair.)

Step Two: Look Through What You Already Have

Why bother go out and buying everything when you might already have what you need? A good place to look is always in your closet. Since I will be Blake Belladonna, I went through my closet and was able to find a black bow, a white tank-top, some white shorts, and black leggings. All of these things I already had - there was no need to go buy them again. Still, I was missing most of the other components of the costume, and you most likely will be too. Unless you have a huge wardrobe, which I do not I'm afraid!

Step Three: Look Around for Other Materials

Now is where you start getting the more complex parts of the costume. Good places to look are small stores that sell basic clothing. Stores like Family Dollar, Walmart, and any other place like that all work well. Since I was being Blake Belladonna, I went to Walmart and bought a long-sleeve black shirt that I would use to make my vest. After buying, the total only came out to about six dollars. This shirt would make three parts of the costume - the scarf, the black vest, and the arm-bands. Nonetheless, I was still missing the boots. This is where you have to do some work - I ask that you start yardsaling. By doing so, you can get what you need for cheap. When I did this, I was able to snag some nice black boots for a mere two dollars.


Step Five: Start Building The Final Product

As I would say, this is where the fun starts. Now you get to start making the different attributes of the costume. To start, you probably will need a needle and thread as well as some basic sewing skills. Sewing the parts of the costume together will make everything more need and less crowded. Also a pair of scissors will most definitely be needed if you need to "edit" some of you attire. For example, I was able to easily cut off the sleeves of the black shirt and cut the V shape and the coattails in the front. I cut off the sleeves, and cut slits in them, making the armbands that pertained to Blake. Now was where I began sewing - and it was barely hard. The scraps I had left from the sleeves-turned-armbands threaded together to create a perfect-sized infinity scarf. Finally, I had all I needed to create the actual costume - the product I will be wearing on Halloween night.


Step Six: The Final Touches

Here is the end of the process. You have the basic costume, and I promise you look like the character. For me, final touches were putting Blake's emblem on the leggings, patching up the boots, and sticking buttons where they needed to go, as well as making my hair and eyes look like Blake's. If you need to put an emblem, symbol, or some words somewhere, a good idea is to buy some transfer paper. If you put that paper in your printer (which is obtainable at Michael's or online somewhere) you can print the thing you need and iron it on to the fabric of your costume. I did so with Blake's emblem and easily transferred it to my leggings. With some buttons I found in my room, I was able to fix up the boots and the vest. Lastly, in terms of the costume, I took a black sharpie and fixed up the heels of my Blake boots. All I needed now was to fix my hair and eyes, which is what you will most certainly need to do to successfully cosplay. I bought cheap spray-on hair dye, and got amber contacts through online ordering and shipping. All we need to do now is wear it.

Step Seven: Cosplay!

You're done! You have your costume, you've made the final touches, and you've compared yourself to a picture and thought "We're twins." It's time to impress your friends and family and even your fellow cosplayers. What they do not know, though, is that you were able to complete this costume in the length of a few days, and in only twenty dollars.


Note From the Author


Ah! At Halloween and at school, anyone who knew who I was said I looked exactly like her. I couldn't stop looking at myself in the mirror because I was so astounded! I was able to buy a sword at Dollar Tree and I took some makeup to make fake blood and scars, so I could be like a true huntress. This isn't even lying. By using the exact steps above, I could have played Blake Belladonna in a movie. In fact, I'm wearing the costume right now! I am proud, and I believe you will be too if you start using this cosplay method I created. Even if it doesn't work for you (and if it does) I wish you happy/merry cosplaying!

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© 2016 Jay LaFountain

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