Low Cost Cosplay for Beginners

Are you new to the world of cosplay, or do you have a last minute con to attend? There are plenty of ways you can become your favorite character without ordering a costume on Amazon and paying for overnight delivery. If you have these few ideas in your cosplay arsenal, you’ll never get caught dressed as a boring muggle.

Face Paint

Whether its just a simple mask outline, or an intricate design, face painting isn’t just for kids and carnivals. Some of the best cosplays have been due to fantastic paint jobs, and some are completely reliant on it. Take Mystique for example, she is a face painting must. There is no way you could buy a Mystique mask that would do her character justice. If you’re not experienced with painting, you can always try to stick with Mystique, Hulk/She Hulk, Smurfs, or any other character that is completely painted. If your skills are a bit more evolved you could also paint masks, candy skulls, pop art, etc. Having a small collection of face paint is always a smart addition to a cosplay collection.

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Makeup! Makeup! Makeup!

Ever buy a color you decided never to wear again? Pass by the clearance bin and notice the abundance of off season colors? This is such an opportunity to add to your cosplay arsenal! There are plenty of characters that you can recreate simply by applying a little (or maybe a lot) of makeup. Characters from American Horror Story, especially The Countess, are great examples for how to utilize makeup to transform yourself into your favorite character. It’s easier to look at characters that have heavy makeup, or simple looks that you can recreate without having to watch hours of youtube tutorials.

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Thrift Stores

There are so many different cosplays you can start simply by visiting your local thrift store. This can be as easy as mix and matching the tackiest items to look like Aunt Tessie, or finding a used wedding dress to dye to become your favorite princess. It’s also not just about clothing either, you can find jewelry, props, and even actual costumes. Going to the thrift store during Halloween (and especially the day after) make stock piling my cosplay closet a lot cheaper. I’ve even found wigs brand new in the package too!


Your Cosplay BFF’s Closet!

If you shared clothes with a best friend, or sibling, growing up (or still) then this idea won’t be a surprise at all. It’s an extremely untapped resource, but if you think about it, not everyone can attend the same conventions and once you cosplay at one, you’re bound to make some amazing friends! If you have friends that cosplay, and they can’t attend all of the cons you’re planning on, then don’t be afraid to ask to borrow some of theirs! Trading cosplays can be fun and you can always put your own alternative spin on it – Battle version, rave version, post apocalypse, zombie, etc. Be creative and make it your own for the con, just make sure to return it the way you received it!




Play to Your Strengths

Think about your looks and talents, then compare that to your favorite characters to make low cost cosplay simple. When I brainstorm cosplay ideas in a hurry, the first thing I think about are thin blondes to make sure I can cut out the cost of buying a wig. If dying your hair is something you’re open to, I’d make a plan for a con you’re attending for more than one day so that you can try different cosplays each day. I have used my appearance to make my cosplays as Daenerys, The Countess, Suicide Squad Harley Quinn, Elsa, and Liv (iZombie) much easier on my budget – plus traveling for a con and not having to comb out a wig is so much less stressful! So start with your hair color and google “blonde characters” or “brunette comic book characters” or whatever suits you, and get ready for the ideas to roll in!



That’s the first installment of this series! Any other ideas, feel free to comment below!

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About Jennifer

Happily married and living in Wisconsin. It may be as cold as Hoth, but it's beautiful in the Summer.

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