Everyone who is awesome wants to cosplay their favorite characters. However, sometimes money doesn’t allow a cosplayer to fund a costume that they want to create. If this sounds like you, then I have 8 simple tips to help keep costs low and stay on a budget.

TIP 1: Know Your Budget for Your Cosplay

When making a cosplay know the budget that you are willing to spend on a costume in advance. Being aware that the level of difficulty and the complexity of the costume will change how much you have to spend. The more aware of your budget you are the better your cosplay will turn out.

Tip 2: Be Aware of Your Own Skills

If you are a capable seamstress, tailor, or prop maker this will make your budget go further, as materials are cheaper than pre-made or having props commissioned by another artist who will jack up the price for labor. When being on a budget making your own clothes or props is beneficial because you don’t have to worry about paying someone. When making a costume on your own don’t venture beyond your skills. As a cosplayer, one can make armor and props using different foams. So get creative, people! Also, fabric and super glue might be your best friend if you can’t sew.

Tip 3: Choose Materials Carefully

Using materials like Eva foam or worbla can prevent damage and wear and tear. We all want to buy the nice silks or materials but these can be expensive, and hard to work with . As well certain materials don’t maintain shape or style well. Durability is another key factor as a cosplayer. You don’t want your prop that you spent a month working on to fall apart.

Tip 4: Don’t Be Afraid to Look Tacky or Cheesy.

I know this may sound like a strange tip but it’s very important. When you are working on a tight budget sometimes duct tape and string are your best options. As a cosplayer, we want to look our very best, but sometimes our budget makes that tough. So lean into it, be the best thrift store Aquaman you can be.

Tip 5: Reuse and Look in That Closet

Using things that you already own is a great way to save money. Many of your old worn out or broken things can make great cosplay pieces. Many old and worn out clothes that you don’t wear anymore may be repurposed through cosplay. Getting creative and using different pieces of clothing that we already own one can save money. Some examples are using a trench coat for John Constantine , or a denim jacket for Trunks,  or even a leather jacket to be Red Hood.

 

Tip 6: Toys That Have Been Modified Make Great Props

Modifying old Nerf guns, blasters, and swords can make some of the best props. Although modified and painted toys might become unusable after they are changed, they will make amazing props. When a cosplayer gets creative they will be able to mix and match the pieces of toys to create something new. Such as making a sword for a warrior cosplay out of an old Nerf toy. I made my Trunks using old things that I already owned.

Tip 7: Be a Smart Shopper

Stores like Walmart, Target, and Costco have great clothes and materials that can be used to make a costume better. Like I mentioned in an earlier tip going to thrift stores can get you some nice deals. Don’t forget about using apps for purchasing your clothing and props. Two great apps to use are Wish or Letgo, these apps allow a cosplayer to purchase items cheaply.

Tip 8: Have Fun

When you’re cosplaying on such a tight budget, it might feel like your work does not cut it, or that you didn’t get the most out of your work but that isn’t the reason for cosplay. It’s for fun. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a lot of people asking for your photograph; just enjoy your costume and the convention.

Do you make cosplays and costumes by hand? Who is your favorite character to cosplay? Tell Nerdbot about it in the comments and get the conversation going!