Anime & Manga Cosplay Corner

Cosplay 101: How to budget

Halloween and various anime and comic conventions are coming up soon, and you know what that means? COSPLAY.

Story by Taylor Boswell

Cosplay is a great way to show off your talent, creativity, and most importantly, your love for a character. Although it sounds like it’s all fun and games, it’s not. One drawback to cosplaying is that it can get extremely expensive… That is, if you don’t know what you’re doing. I, Taylor Boswell, am here to swoop in and save the day before you spend too much on your next costume.

Cosplayer and Shuffle Anime & Manga writer Taylor Boswell crafts a Wonder Woman logo out of foam. Photo by Taylor Boswell.
Cosplayer and Shuffle Anime & Manga writer Taylor Boswell crafts a Wonder Woman logo out of foam. Photo by Taylor Boswell.

Craft foam, craft foam, craft foam.

Craft foam is easy to cut, shape, glue, and paint, which makes it a great material to use when cosplaying. Craft foam is inexpensive; you can get an extra large sheet of it for less than a dollar, and packs of standard printer paper size foam can be bought for around $5-$10 (depending how much you’re buying, and where you’re buying from). You can also get it in varying degrees of thickness, which is good if you need something to be more stable and less flexible.

Many pieces of clothing can be modified.

If you do not have a sewing machine, do not fret, my pet. Many clothing pieces can be modified to suit your needs. For example, my first cosplay was of Gaige the Mechromancer from Borderlands 2 (any Vault Hunters out there?), and part of her costume was a skirt with a missing piece of fabric on the side. Instead of sewing together a whole new skirt, I took a skirt I got for cheap at Forever 21 and cut out a triangle-sized piece that matched the character’s skirt. It worked perfectly and I saved tons of money! Other things you can do with clothing are: dye it, rip/tear it, bleach it, shrink it, use fabric paint, etc.

Boswell takes a selfie, donning her leather jacket, gloves, and jumpsuit for her Rogue cosplay. She is currently working on this costume. Photo by Taylor Boswell.
Boswell takes a selfie, donning her leather jacket, gloves, and jumpsuit for her Rogue cosplay. She is currently working on this costume. Photo by Taylor Boswell.

You don’t need real leather.

Many costumes (especially for girls) require leather jumpsuits, jackets, and pants. You don’t need to pay top dollar for a real leather jacket, or a real leather anything to add that perfect flare to your cosplay. A quick Google search will show you that there are many fake leather jackets/jumpsuits/pants that work well on a tight budget. People who take pictures of you in your costume are not going to notice that you used fake leather; they’re just going to see how much time and effort and love you put into this costume. This also goes the same for boots and any other piece of leather clothing you may find yourself having to buy.

If you can, reuse some of your cosplay!

If you have a costume that has a jacket with little alterations that have to be made to it, wear it around in the cold weather instead of buying a new one. One of my next costumes will be of Rogue from X-Men, and her costume calls for a (fake) leather jacket that has an X-Men patch on each shoulder. Instead of  putting the jacket away after my next comic con, I will be wearing it around in the winter time, because it’s cute, shows my love for X-Men, and saves me the trouble of having to buy a new jacket.

All in all, it is very easy to make a fabulous cosplay you’re proud of and save money. You don’t need to spend a lot to make people’s eyes light up when they see you walking around at a convention. Along with saving money, it allows you to put away a little more green towards buying merchandise at the convention! (I mean, really, how can you pass up those adorable plushies that you can’t find anywhere else?!) Have fun building your costumes, guys! Maybe we’ll one day see each other on a crowded convention floor.

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