Crafting Tips for Epic Cosplay Costumes

Crafting Tips for Epic Cosplay Costumes

When it comes to cosplaying as a content creator, sometimes you have time to plan ahead and be meticulous. Other times, you have to be quick in order to stay on top of relevant trends. Fortunately, there are a variety of strategies and techniques to help you create a quality cosplay quickly and efficiently, even if you’re in a rush.

Wigging Out

Hot glue guns are the unsung hero of cosplay, offering many versatile techniques and applications.

Keeping a collection of “stock” wigs on hand is a great way to be prepared. Start with the basics: short, medium and long wigs in common colors like blonde, black, brown, white and red/ginger. Those options will cover most characters. For anime characters, multiple shades of blonde and even some “unnatural” vibrant colors like bright red, pink, blue and green are helpful.

Closet Cosplays

If you can’t make an elaborate costume from scratch — or if you prefer to try a quirky twist on a character — then a “closet” cosplay, assembled from items you already have on hand, is a great way to go. Think of these casual versions as representing your favorite characters when they’re “off duty” or lounging around at home! Rather than going for screen accuracy, try putting together an outfit that evokes the color scheme or general style and vibe of the character. You can do the “T-shirt and jeans” version, a more formal suit-and-tie approach, or a sexy boudoir incarnation featuring lingerie in the character’s signature colors.

Your Cosplay Toolkit

Whether you prefer simple closet cosplays, lingerie, upcycled thrift finds, premade cosplays or something made completely from scratch, there are a few go-to items every cosplayer should keep on hand.

Naturally, being able to sew helps! If you don’t have a sewing machine, learning some basic hand stitches can be super helpful for putting together and upgrading cosplays. A good sewing kit should include pins, sewing needles, standard white and black thread and fabric scissors.

Various types of adhesives can help add detail and finesse to a cosplay. E6000 is commonly used for adding embellishments and making props, when you have the time to allow it to cure and dry thoroughly. If you’re someone who loves to add rhinestones to costumes, my personal favorite is Gem-Tac. It goes on white, but dries clear and is very sturdy. This is my favorite glue to use on almost anything: fabric, plastic, even wigs or other unusual surfaces.

Another adhesive that’s great for fabric is E6000’s Fabri-Fuse, or a similar off brand. If you don’t know how to sew, or don’t have a sewing machine, these are super-helpful alternatives, and can be lifesavers in some situations! There are also options like adhesive hem tape or iron-on hem tape, which can help make a clean edge if you don’t have a machine to hem the border of a garment.

You could also use a thin strip of hot glue in a pinch. Hot glue guns are the unsung hero of cosplay, offering many versatile techniques and applications.

Thrifting for Parts

The simplest way to put a cosplay together is by thrifting the pieces you need. I try to start with local nonprofit thrift shops and clothing swaps. Otherwise, I go to Goodwill and similar secondhand shops, or Buffalo Exchange if I’m looking for something a little higher-quality than I’d find at a regular thrift store. Stores like Rainbow, Rue21, Forever 21 and H&M are also very affordable for finding base pieces for costumes on a budget.


Of course, thrifting isn’t always an option — especially with unusual items. Sometimes the only way to get what you need is to make it from scratch.

In that case, start by finding a pattern that matches your needs. Stores like Joann, Michaels and even Walmart, as well as other department, craft and online stores, sell sewing patterns. Use drafting paper to make a “test run” version, which will help you adapt the pattern to your particular size and shape. You could also use newspaper, broadcloth or even old bedsheets to draft the pattern.

If you’re not very experienced or confident with making costumes from scratch, drafting might seem like a tedious and excessive step, but it gives you a lot of room for trial and error. With a draft of a costume, you can figure out what parts might be too small or large, and make adjustments before using more expensive high-quality materials for the final version.

Commissions and Secondhand

If you don’t have the time but do have the budget, or if you feel you need help with a particular item, you can always commission someone to help create your costume. I always recommend independent creators in the cosplay community. There are tons of talented cosplayers who accept commissions for wigs, cosplays and props! I personally take some wig and cosplay commissions, but I especially enjoy making accessories. Currently I’m obsessed with rhinestoning, so if you need something blinged out, I’m your guy.

There are also websites and Facebook groups for cosplayers buying and selling used or unwanted cosplays and wigs. I have acquired several pieces this way!

Pre-Made Cosplays

A number of companies sell complete cosplays for under $100. Many can be ordered to arrive within a month or less. I often use Miccostumes. They have an Amazon storefront where you can often get two-day shipping or even overnight delivery in some cases. I’m not affiliated with them, or with any of the companies I’m mentioning — but I’m very open to sponsorships!

For high-quality fetish cosplay, one of my favorite companies is Artifice Clothing, which specializes in PVC clothing and costumes, and can customize pieces. I got my Team Rocket cosplay there, and I look forward to having the budget to get more costumes from Artifice in the future.

Reach Out to Your Peers

There are plenty of resources out there for anyone looking to cosplay. When I’m putting together a new cosplay, I often look at tutorials and TikToks to check for tips, shortcuts and existing resources that can save me time and money.

A lot of professional cosplayers have Patreons offering tutorials and one-on-one consults. Personally, I’m always happy to try and help out fellow cosplayers who need advice or are looking to source pieces. However, it is definitely an acquired skill and can be time-consuming, so small consulting fees and tips are always appreciated!

I know that’s a lot of information, but don’t feel intimidated. Bottom line: Cosplay is a super-fun hobby that can be very rewarding. I hope this helps you on your cosplay journey, and I can’t wait to see what awesome cosplays you put together!

Kit Kendal is an award-winning cosplayer and creator who can be followed @KitKendal_ on X.com, Onlyfans.com/KitKendal and Instagram.com/KitKendal.

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