Cosplay on a Budget: Tips on Household Items

IMG_2138How many of you have hoarded clothes you’ll never actually wear? Toys or trinkets that aren’t particularly useful that you’ve stuffed in a corner somewhere? Well now, it may just be their time to shine. Lots of people use their closets as a great asset for their cosplays. Whether as a last minute “Hey I’d like to wear a new costume to this event, what could I do?” to something useful to add to a cosplay you’ve already been working on.

Just like thrift shop searching, scouring your closet and old stash drawers is a useful habit. Do you have a box of old computer cords that you think you need but don’t? Paint them and attach them to your steampunk or cyber costume. Think beyond what you see. Those old tupper wear containers that have lost their lids? Cut them up, make them into that transparent accessory that you weren’t sure how to construct. Bottle caps, old shirts, shoelaces, gloves…the possibilities are endless. I’ve even painted the glue sticks  you use for hot glue guns to make a flute. All I had to do after that was grab an old dream catcher and snip off some of the feathers and strings and viola! A forest flute.

IMG_2144For my Raven cosplay I took an old belt I hadn’t used in years, and painted it yellow. The gems were made from the kind you can find at craft stores. People use them in plant bases and put them in vases and such. I had some in a variety of colors and shapes. Simply taking the clear ones, I painted the bottoms red and set them in a clay base. After the base had been molded to the gem and the belt, I baked the clay and glued it all together. IMG_0961

Scouring your closet or those boxes of old clothes that don’t fit, are out of season, etc., is a great place to find cheap material. There are plenty of tutorials, sometimes not even cosplay related, that can help teach you how to modify something to fit your needs. What about an old pair of pants that have pockets all over? Why not rip out the seams and put those pockets on something else? I’ve had old sweatshirts with faux fur on them that I was able to tear apart to use somewhere else. Faux fur isn’t cheap – but that was!

10958710_294856630638240_7622423890428861114_n (1)The X-23 pictured was all stuff I already had. The only thing I made was the gloves and claws. The only thing I bought was the chain belt. Black leggings? Several pairs. Tank top? I took an old one that had holes in it and cut it short. The choker is made from ribbons, the pendant from craft foam I had lying around from other projects. The belt buckle was made from cardboard.

On the subject of cardboard – it is an extremely versatile material. I’ve used it for swords, belts, batarangs, and all sorts of accessories. For my Rogue cosplay I cut up an old soda box and formed it for not only the buckle, but for the top part of her boots. All I had to do was cover it in fabric and find a sturdy way to attach it to the boots (I used snaps).

Depending on the cosplay you’re going for, the clothing might also be exactly what you need, just as it is. Maybe all you have to do is roll up the sleeves, add a few buttons, or cut something off here or there.  Either way your own house can contain a great stockpile of items you never knew you could use. So dig into your boxes, ladies and gents, and find what you’re looking for right at home!



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