Something I love: seeing cosplayers at conventions, admiring their handiwork, and swearing to myself that I'm gonna give it a go
Something I hate: being too broke to try
What's that saying I used to hear growing up? "You can't have champagne dreams on a bologna budget"
When it came to trying my hand at cosplay, I was filled with "I could never" and "who is financing this cosplay?". But attending the panel Cosplay Accessibility: Cosplay on the Cheap at Naka Kon removed that roadblock of "I'm just too dang broke."
Running down the hall of the convention center, press badge flying in the wind, I made it just in time for the panel to start.
The first thing I notice is Jace, aka FullElven Cosplay, and they are just about to start. There's something...calming about the room. Which sends me in an unessacary panic. Do I have a spot on my face? Is my skirt hiked up around my waist from all that running?
Nah, this panel, as well as Jace, just gives off a chill atmosphere. Everything about this panel was amazingly well organized. There were slides created ahead of time, and Jace answered everyone's questions very well. It was done in a laid back, non-preformative matter, and I think that opened it up for so many people to feel comfortable asking at the end. So kudos to you for that, Jace!
There was also a wealth of information at this panel. Maybe I didn't know this info already because I'm not a seasoned cosplayer (unless you count the extensive plans I have in my head that I never execute). But by the end of the panel, I found cosplay builds A LOT less intimidating.
Here's just a few of the tips mentioned in the panel to make your cosplay cheaper
You ever want to build an entire suit of armor but, you know, purchasing armour costs money and food is nessecary to survive? Cause...you need to obtain food with money...and armor costs...ok, ok, you're following me.
So Jace suggests either using foam or cardboard to build your armor. Both are really inexpensive and foam can take shape really well.
I have very VERY basic sewing skills. I know enough to be dangerous with attaching a button or fixing a hem but that's about it, y'all. Some tips on sewing for those of us who need it:
- It's much cheaper to just buy a sewing machine that's used and tune it up in lieu of buying a brand new one. I would not have even thought to look in a thrift shop for one, so I'm glad that was put out there.
- There's also a way to get cheap sewing patterns (just wait for the sale, instead of buying at full price), but you can spend exactly $0.00 by using your own clothes and tracing them out to create your own pattern.
- You can also get cheap sewing supplies at Walmart.
Speaking of sales, Jace let us in on a secret (might be widely known, but I get excited over saving money so it's like a juicy secret to me.)
Stack. Them. Coupons.
Joann's allows you to use multiple coupons online and in store. Sign up for their emails, download the Joannes store app,
g ive them an offering at their doorstep and right there you've got several different coupon codes you can use on the same transaction.
With all that money you'll save at Joanns, you could buy me...idk candy or something
I normally would steer clear of any cosplay with lighting because I lacked the skill as much as the funding. But how did I forget that fairy lights were a thing? Most of them even come with a battery pack so no electrical experience needed.
Jace mentioned that if you want to make the lights appear brighter, using regular foil as backing works amazingly well.
During the Q&A section a few questions came up and some GREAT recommendations
- ELF makeup is just as good as expensive makeup and a LOT cheaper
- An audience member recommended using Pros-Aid instead of Spirit Gum if you're alergic to latex. It's a medical grade adhesive.
Amazon and Ebay are cheap places to find cosplay supplies HOWEVER it varies from shop to shop. Quick Tip: read the reviews. Trust accordingly.
I asked a question myself about what brands are NOT recommended. They mentioned Maker Geeks was a no no. They even have an investigation with the Better Business Bureau so steer clear, guys!
Gush Post on FullElvenCosplay Incoming in 3...2...
I know this is about the panel but the panelist deserves quite a bit of praise. Any question about their expertise would be erased by looking at THIS
They built this costume and nothing else needs to be said because the level of craftsmanship, detail, and experience speaks for itself. Just take a stroll through FullElven Cosplay Facebook and IG pages for further evidence.
I'm also going to be giving their Twitch channel a follow. I could definitely get behind watching their cosplay builds after a long day.
Jace has an impressive skill set. You can see through their cosplays that it takes a lot of time and effort to create. It's also quite inspiring to know that you don't have to sacrifice craftsmanship just because you're working within a budget.
This was just a short version of what was discussed in Cosplay Accessibility: Cosplay on the Cheap. Wanna know all the tips and tricks we discussed to save you money? Here's a Google Drive link to the presentation that has all the tools you need. Now go forth, cosplay, and be thrifty!
Have any of you guys tried your hand at cosplay? How much do you typically spend? Do you find these tips helpful? Give us a shout in the comments section (and feel free to drop a pic of your cosplay too)
Cosplay has got to be one of the most fun and exciting hobbies to have. After all, half of the word is "play". But I think we forget that cosplay is also an art form. It's something that you build and pour all of your time, efforts, and heart into. When you present the product of your blood, sweat, and tears to the world, it's extremely validating to be rewarded for it.
Being a friend and fan to many cosplayers, I've witnessed the stress, the con-cruch, the pain, and the tears leading up to cosplay contests. It's a lot of work to prepare for.
But let me tell you, there wasn't a single one of you that didn't put a smile on my face
If you were crying backstage, if you were stressed all week on your cosplay because it wouldn't be finished in time, if you ever felt you weren't good enough to compete in the first place...
I just want you to know, from where I'm sitting : I absolutely adore you
You give me, and everyone else in the audience for that matter, a totally new reason to smile. To fall away from the ever running list of adult responsibilities for a bit and soak in this fun and amazing artistry.
If you were nervous, its ok! If you didn't win an award, know that you (yes YOU) were recognized, not only for your hard work, but for the joy that you bring to all of us watching.
When you walked across the stage, I saw your eyes sparkle. That energy you gave off was contagious. It filled the room with an array of happieness.
We laughed with you. We clapped for you.
When you bring our favorite characters to life, it sets off a chain reaction. Those of us watching are able to access those happy memories and smile.
Think about it this way, some of us in the audience haven't smiled in weeks or even months. Life has a way of bringing you down. But you, you amazing cosplayer you. You gave me, and everyone else, a chance to just be in the moment and enjoy it.
To my Naka Kon 2019 cosplay contestants, know that I was watching you and know that you set off a joy that will show light in a darker world. Thank you so much.
Never stop what you're doing