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6 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Cosplaying

If someone invented a time machine, the first thing I’d do is go back and give my young cosplay self some advice. I could have saved myself so many tears and headaches if only I’d known then what I know now. While I’m still holding out hope for the possibility of time travel, I thought I’d pass on to you the words of wisdom I would give myself if I could…

1. Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Finish your Cosplay:

Plan for the worst-case scenario. Even the best-laid plans can go awry, so plan on weeks that suddenly get way too busy, pieces that take way longer than expected, and times when you’re just too tired to work on your cosplay costume. The better you can plan in advance, the more likely you are to avoid the dreaded “night before the con” marathon.

2. Plan Literally Everything in Advance:

When I first started cosplaying I ran into a lot of problems by not planning out my cosplay. It might be that I didn’t think about how two pieces might fit together, or that I’d end up forgetting a vital element until the last second. Write out a game plan for construction in advance, and research any elements you’re unfamiliar with to avoid cosplay disasters.

3. Do a Wear/ Movement Test:

Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Cosplaying

Fittings are all well and good, but you don’t want to end up with a costume that breaks half way through the first morning of the con. Try to walk, move, and pose in your costume. If you can, even give it a bit of a “stress test” to make sure that glued elements are solid, and that seams won’t split. You also want to make sure you know about any movement limitations you might face while wearing the costume. This goes double if you are competing. If you want to try a certain pose or stunt on stage, make sure that you are not only able to do it in he costume, but that the costume won’t fall apart when you do.

4. Do a Test Run:

When attempting a skill you’ve never tried before, or when dealing with any elements with a lot of variables, do a test run on some scraps or cheap material first. It’s much more expensive and time consuming if you ruin your nice material, or screw up the prop you’ve been working on for hours.

5. Be Flexible:

Remember what I said about the best laid plans? you might have a great idea about how you think something might work, but when you start gluing and molding it might turn into a total disaster. Maybe you won’t be able to get ahold of a material you wanted to use. Just roll with it. Use your creativity to make it work. Who knows? Maybe you’ll invent a completely new way of doing something!

6. Google is Your Friend:

These days there are so many tutorials and tricks online. Chances are, someone’s already made your cosplay, and you can learn what works and what doesn’t from them. Even if your cosplay is completely original, you can certainly find tutorials on specific elements you might use. Take advantage of the wisdom of those who have gone before, and hopefully, you can save yourself a few pitfalls along the way.

Have a tip you wish you’d known when you started cosplaying? Maybe you just want to tell me how you’d use a time machine? Let me know in the comments!

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