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Road to London Comic-Con and Comic-Con International: Cosplay Girls: A DIY Costume Cheat Sheet

23 May 2016

Cosplay girls are a rare breed, but that’s about all they have in common. True cosplay girls are as diverse, unique and creative as their outfits. You can be a total bombshell one day and a cool, understated snarky super villain the next. The best part about cosplay is that the costumes, personas and story lines are constantly evolving.

Unfortunately, being a cosplay consumer is pricey. Here’s your guide to keeping your cosplay costume Comic-Con worthy, budget-friendly and safe so you can have the time of your life:

Understand the Limits of Pre-Made Costumes

You know from years of childhood Halloween disappointment that the picture on the plastic bag of pre-made costumes does not look anything like the outfit inside. In fact, more often than not, the costume is missing the accessories in the picture that make the outfit look authentic. A good rule of thumb is, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. This means your costume will look cheap and cheesy right out of the box. There’s also a significant chance that you’re not the only one to find this bargain online, so plan on running into at least a few other cosplay girls in the same outfit at your next outing.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t buy a costume. If you want to go this route, you should consider busting out the big bucks on a costume that’s well-made, like this Harley Quinn bomber jacket. Another option is to buy the cheap costume and use it as a base to begin building a more authentic, detailed costume that will leave all the cosplay boys with their tongues wagging. Or go totally street-cred cool with one unique accessory that everyone will be asking about, like a dark and dramatic superhero hoodie.

Make Your Costume One-of-a-Kind With DIY Work

Starting with a cheap costume or a few simple staple pieces from a thrift store saves you time and lets you focus on creating details for your costume that take it to the next level. Detailed props, like weaponry, and attachments that look like they're part of your body are sure to impress. This Hellboy stone fist and play gun are great examples of props, and these foam fawn legs are the perfect attachments.

Mastering these skills takes nothing more than online research and time for trial and error. Your first attempt will most likely crash and burn, but by the time you make your second (or even third) trip to the craft store, you’re sure to get creative and figure out how to make your costume a one-of-a-kind.




Connect With Other Cosplayers for Ideas

Get ideas from Pinterest, find cosplay bloggers whose costumes you admire and ask questions. Some bloggers may not want to give away their secrets, but you’re bound to find one or two that are excited to share their passion and creativity with you, especially if you promise not to copy them exactly.

Instead of asking for the exact way they created their costume, ask for tips on making realistic-looking ray guns or what materials they used to build the frame of their fairy wings. Start the conversation with some compliments and genuine interest and before long you will have a cosplay DIY mentor and maybe even a new cosplay bestie to meet up with at the next convention.

Get Your Face on Point

No cosplay outfit is complete if your hair and makeup is not on point (unless you’re wearing a mask). Cosplay makeup has become its own genre on YouTube. You can easily find video tutorials on general cosplay makeup techniques, such as anime eyes and lips, as well as character-specific tutorials that range from Sailor Moon to Jack Sparrow to Harley Quinn.

Your hair is the crowning glory to your look, so don’t let it fall flat. If you’re feeling really brazen and your favourite character has a short hairstyle, it might be time to consider a change. If you're not feeling this spontaneous, one of the most popular cosplay options is using a wig. This enables you to play with the cut, style and colour to make sure it matches your outfit perfectly. Just make sure to invest in a good wig cap and practice putting it on before the big day. If you’re going to rock your own locks, focus on getting serious volume and shine. Start a few weeks before the event by doing some deep conditioning, and opt for a serious blowout and a great volumising product.

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