Cosplaying is a fun hobby, but it can be expensive. Luckily, there are ways to cosplay on the cheap! Here are some tips and tricks for doing so:
You don't need a lot of money to cosplay, you just have to be creative and resourceful.
You don’t need a lot of money to cosplay, you just have to be creative and resourceful. With some time spent searching for the right materials and tools, you can create a costume that will blow everyone away at your next convention or event. If you want to go all out on your costumes but need some inspiration on how much money is required to make them, here are some ideas:
- $50 – A simple costume
- $100 – An average budget for one day at a convention
- $150 – A slightly more complicated costume (or two) with quality material
- $200+ - Anything above this level is usually reserved for full time cosplayers who take their hobby very seriously
Ask friends and family.
Asking friends and family for help with your cosplay can be a big help. If you have a friend that works at a costume store, they can give you some pointers regarding what would work best for your character and what looks good on you. The best part about this is that it’s free! Ask them if they have any old clothes or props that could be used as your costume. They may even have wigs or makeup lying around in their closet which could be used as well.
The internet is a great resource for finding cheap cosplay materials. You can search online to find items that will work for your costume, or you can also find tutorials on how to make the item yourself. If you want a specific item but don't have the money, search online and see if there's anything similar that could suffice as a substitution. Etsy is also a good option—you can check out their inventory of handmade or vintage items at any time and get inspiration from their various shops. Similarly, Amazon has many ways of saving money on costumes such as buying used items or special offers that change regularly! Finally eBay and Craigslist are great places for finding items at reasonable prices because it's not uncommon for people to post things up for sale here instead of selling them through dedicated stores like Etsy or Amazon; however this may come with some risk so make sure whatever seller you choose has good reviews first before making any purchases with them."
Check out thrift stores.
When you're looking for thrift store finds, consider the following:
Look for costumes and accessories. Thrift stores are a great place to find costume pieces that can be repurposed into an entire cosplay or parts of it. You'll have to do some digging, but if you're looking for something specific (like a full-on Sailor Moon costume), try searching by brand name as well as item type—that way, if you find something awesomely close to what you want, it's easier to tell which store has exactly what you need.
Look for fabrics and furs. Need some fabric with a specific color scheme? Or maybe some leather or fur fabric? Keep an eye out for these materials when shopping at thrift stores. They might have just what you need!
Look for styles in general instead of just one specific character's style—you never know how much will come in handy later on down the line! If there's something really unique that catches your eye while browsing through said items' descriptions online before making plans to visit them in person sometime soon then go ahead and splurge on buying something similar but different (ex., instead of buying an exact replica from Walmart because they only carry certain sizes; buy something similar from Target instead).
Buy bootlegs, but just not of the same materials.
If you're going to buy bootlegs, at least make sure they're made of the same materials as the real thing. You can find some great deals on replica costumes here. If you can't afford them, don't buy them! Don't buy less expensive clothes that aren't as high-quality because they'll fall apart after one use (or worse) and cause embarrassment in public.
Recycle pieces of old costumes.
Some costumes are already made, and you can just buy them. If you're having trouble finding a costume that's ready to wear, look for one that can be altered to fit your size. And if all else fails, find inspiration in the pieces of old costumes that may have been left behind over time (like buttons or fabric).
Attend conventions where they may have cheap items.
You can find great deals at conventions.
The dealer's room is a good place to look for cosplay items, but you should be careful about how much you spend. Some dealers will charge more because they know that their products are unique and not available elsewhere.
You'll want to check out the artist's alley as well, which is where artists sell their own handmade items. Often these items are very affordable and handmade just for you! Meet other cosplayers at conventions too; it'll help you learn tricks of the trade as well as get ideas for your next costume!
There are many ways to be creative and thrifty when it comes to cosplaying. The best way to do this is through research and understanding the character you want to play, so that you can find items that match their look or costume design (or even create them yourself!). That way, when it comes time for a convention or other event where you’ll need something new (or old), you’ll already have an idea in mind of what will work well for your budget. Another pro tip: attend conventions where they may have cheap items like secondhand clothing stores or even clearance racks at department stores!