I had the honor of going to two geeky cons last month, first PAX the video convention we always go to in Seattle and then the very first Salt Lake Comic Con. Both were fantastic and one of my favorite parts was seeing all the amazing and creative handmade costumes. Seriously people are SO talented and they go all out.
I figured those of use getting ready for Halloween could use some of the tips and tricks that these megafans have discovered which make their costumes awesome.
At SL Comic Con I was able to sit in on a session of all about cosplay and costume making so I thought I’d share the top 12 costume tips from cosplay pros I gleaned from the discussion while of course sharing some of my favorite cosplay shots I got at both cons.
- When making a costume out of your favorite character there is a range from total accuracy to original rendition. Both are cool in their own way it’s more about your own style. As long as you have key elements of the character you’re good to go. Think colors.
- Look for every day things and how you can use them in your costume. The whole panel raved about the usefulness of cardboard, duct tape, and even those rubble refrigerator liners. Go figure.
- Spray pain is like magic. You can build a costume out of every day items or even trash but add a coat of spray paint and it can take on a life of it’s own.
- Plastic boning (like for corsets) aren’t made to be worn for long periods of time. If you’ll be wearing your costume all day (or many days like they do at the conventions) industrial strength zip ties from Home Depot are a great substitution.
- Another Home Depot find: the strapping that they used to transport plywood (that they just throw away) is bends but also holds it’s shape. This is great for the bottom of skirts so you can pack it but when it’s own poof it out.
- Let your brain run wild in unexpected stores. Don’t just limit yourself to craft and costume stores. Kitchen stores often have great pieces that can be used in costum
- Seamstresses and professional tailors often times have trouble bringing 2D imaginary characters off the page because they are so stuck in their training. Go ahead and break the rules and use unconventional methods.
- You can get used 3D glasses from movie theaters often times for free and those lenses can be popped out and used for cool things like scales and armor.
- Vecro is a costume maker’s best friend. For odd pieces and details sometimes it works best just to have those parts attache with velcro. They were saying this was great for unwashable emblems and tool belts.
- If you want to paper mache anything like a mask or head piece for instance, coffee filters work great because they are strong but breathable. Plus they are white so unlike newspaper you don’t have to deal with the print.
- Keep in mind stress points and air vents. Think about which parts of your costume will get the most wear an must be strongest. Also make sure to allow yourself plenty of ventilation. Humans need air. If you have a helmet or headpiece it will work better if it’s a little suspended off of your head to allow air flow. Consider using sections of breathable fabrics, spandex, or even mesh to help with temperature control and air flow.
- Finally bond with your character. Figure out what it is you like about the character and let that fuel your creativity.