Cosplays, conventions, costumes! As geek guys and gals you have no doubt seen your fair share of cosplays that range from walking out of a closet to movie set magic in different situations. Ready to learn how all this is made in some quick, ready to go tutorials? Look no further! This blog series will cover the various aspects of planning, building, and showing off your awesome creations. 

Cosplays take time, and they can be good, or great, depending on the time you put into them.

Building cosplays takes as much work as you would like to put into it – meaning if you either don’t have access to, or the knowledge/patience to sew your own pieces, no worries! (Trust me, sometimes I wish I didn’t know how to sew things.) Many cosplays (especially ones that are more uniform) are almost easier to purchase from vendors online (lookin’ at you, Attack on Titan costumes). This Geek 101: Cosplay series will follow some semblance of the process for creating a new cosplay from the ground up. Since I am at the early planning stages of building my own Lady Sif cosplay from Thor: The Dark World, that will be one of my examples.

image source: Photobucket

Lady Sif armor in battle for Thor: The Dark World.

When we start talking about materials and how everything is made, I’ll post some pictures from creating Codex from The Guild, Black Widow, and the easy creation of Sasha from Attack on Titan. It’s sometimes much easier to teach and show processes with lots of pictures than blocks of texts. I realize there are LOADS of videos on YouTube and other sites (including personal blogs) that cover building different costumes from the ground up, as well as how to use different materials; I use them all the time myself. I’m hoping this blog series will be more of a resource for people to find specifics of how, what, why, and where to find information or guidance. The world of cosplayers is already very large, and constantly growing.

How do I select a character to cosplay?

When I work on making cosplays, especially for myself, I find it easiest to look at not only my own build and find a character similar to my physicality, but also one that I am truly interested in. Designing and building costumes for other people is another battle entirely, and one that I will cover much later, once I have a better handle on it, as well as images to show best how I am doing the work. On that same note, I look at how I would build a character when I think about designing a costume. So in the case of Lady Sif, I study not only how she looks, but what materials would be comfortable and move fairly well, as well as being light weight. I swear at least one person at every convention needs someone to be their guard or babysitter to make sure that their armor isn’t too heavy, to carry their stuff or to aid them in moving about the halls. Keeping this in mind when planning a costume helps with realizing what you can or cannot do.

As for selecting the character itself, you absolutely DO NOT have to pick someone that you sorta already look a little bit like, seeing as there are people who cosplay as cats (no judgement, just a good example). It is sometimes easiest to do something where you already have some similar features, especially hair, as wigs can be tricky; I’ll cover them in more detail soon! If you want to select a character that will stand out, they typically need to be a bit more unique, such as a superhero/villain, a video game character, or a television/anime/cartoon character.  Character selection from there is entirely up to you; sometimes however, it is fun to pick a less obvious costume from time to time, such as an original character from a game, or even possibly a plainclothes cosplay (Amy Pond, Willow, anyone but Cas from Supernatural). That sort of costume gives you the chance to enjoy the convention or party without being in every other photo being taken (if you need a bit of a break).

What should I have on hand to get started?

Now, to get started on cosplays you should probably have these materials handy or readily available (I’ll go into specific things later):

For planning:

  • Sketch Pad
  • Notebook
  • Pencils/pens
  • Markers/paints/other forms of color


  • fabric patterns
  • scissors
  • fabric
  • pins (LOTS OF THEM)
  • tape
  • specific materials for costumes

I’m going to let that list trail off for now, as I go through steps of planning in other posts I will expand on how to go about finding materials and using those materials to your biggest advantage. There will be other tools and items needed for each costume that will surface while figuring out how to put pieces on yourself. And if you find yourself with questions about anything related to your cosplay adventures, don’t be afraid to ask someone! People everywhere are happy to help; I know I am!

What characters do you think you would be good at cosplaying as? What character’s costume do you think would be the easiest for you to make yourself? Leave a comment to let me know!