Cosplay Tips for Beginners: The Art of Costume Making

Many of us, especially for newbies didn’t know on what materials should be used in their costumes. But worry no more coz’ were giving some tips on making a costumes. especially on materials.

Jhuma

Rubber Sheets

Rubber sheets is one of the most common material for costume making. Because of its versatility, its most commonly preferred by props makers and props specialist. Also this material is flexible, waterproof (When it is sealed tightly), and too though because of its strength. The only problems with the rubber sheet is that its bit more expensive, and also, it is available in few places like Marikina, Caloocan and others.

Paper

This material that used by more than the whole population can transform your costume into something awesome. How? lets look.

Papers are usually used in Paper Mache, which is also known as PEPAKURA. Mainly composed of paper and Binding Material, which is Glue. Different kinds of Papers can be used. Same also with the Binding Material, which gives the Paper Mache various strengths and Qualities. Paper Mache is beginner-friendly, easy to use, materials are very easy to obtain. But also, it is also requires sealing, not as strong as rubber sheet (unless thick), impractical to use when the character is exposed to too much movement.

HOW TO USE?

Paper Strips..

This one requires a mold, most common mold is the Balloon. To do this:

1.) you must prepare strips of paper. Spread oil throughout the mold.
2.) Dip the paper strips in water + Glue solution.
3.) Lay it out on the mold. repeat. lay it in criss-cross fashion. Continue until the strips cove the mold
4.) Allow to dry a bit, then place another layer of strips. The more layers you add, the stronger it will be.
5.) Allow the paper to dry overnight, ten carefully remove the mold.
6.) Cut/trim the edges to obtain the desired shape. Seal before priming and painting.Flour and water is also good for making a paste in this method. Just remember that flour and water should be in equal amount before using. Then don’t forget to add just a little amount of salt to prevent the growth of mold.

Paper Pulp

1.) Shred paper and soak in water overnight.
2.) Macerate/grind the pulp (still in the water) until it separates into fine fibers. Drain excess water. Mix w/ diluted glue if want to do so.
3.) Form into desired shape (note: for thin and/or large props, it is recommended that a wire armature is used).
4.) Allow to dry overnight.
5.) Cut/trim the edges to obtain the desired shape. Seal before priming and painting.

REFERENCE: http://www.amethyst-angel.com/cb/special_papermache.html

Paints

NOTE: ALWAYS prime sealed surfaces before painting (unless the primer that you used is also a sealant). Applying paint directly on a material MAY cause premature flaking of the paint after drying. When using canned paints, it is best to follow the recommendation on the can/package. You may use this guide as a general reference.

Enamel Paints

Enamel paint is an oil-based paint that can be used to coat wood/metal. Enamel paint can be thinned using paint thinner (NOT LACQUER THINNER). Paint thinner can also be used to clean spills and clean your brushes.

How to use: Instructions are usually printed on the can. Prime surface first before applying enamel paint (the appropriate primer is usually indicated in the can). Apply using brush/roll/spray.

Spray Paint (Aerosol paint)

Spray paints are probably one of the most well known among cosplayers. Like other paints, proper application of spray paint requires much patience and practice.

How to use: Instructions are usually printed in the can. Take note of the required primers, if any.

Types of Spray paints:

  • Primer: Used as a base (1st coat). The primer helps the base coat stick to the surface of your props (prevents flaking off of paint). Some primers may affect the color of the base coat. Comes in red and grey (red is usually used for gold base colors)(use 2-3 coats)
  • Base Coat: This coat is the one that gives color (use 2-3 coats)
  • Clear Gloss Coat: This coat is optional, but it will add protection to the paint. It acts as a transparent barrier against scratches. Not recommended if you do not want your props to be glossy. (use 1-3 coats)
    (NOTE: use cans labeled as clear gloss, not clear lacquer, or else the paint will come off)
    (NOTE: NEVER USE CLEAR GLOSS COAT ON CHROME SPRAY PAINTS)

Brands:

  • Bosny: Available in almost all paint shops/hardware. High gloss. Cheap
  • RJ: More expensive than Bosny, but more opaque and more glossy. Colors are also more vibrant (in general). Usually found in Ace hardware and Wilcon depot. Usually not available in general hardware stores
  • Nikko: The cheaper brand that you will find in Ace/ Wilcon Depot (as opposed to RJ). good quality

General spray painting tips:

DO NOT spray too near or too far to the object to be painted. A distance of 15-30 cm is appropriate. Spraying too near will cause runs (paint drops) and bubbling.
Allow drying in between coats: 5-15 minutes for light coats and 30 minutes for medium coats. Avoid drying spray painted rubber sheets under the sun in between coats, especially if you used epoxy primer alone as sealant on the rubber sheet. Doing so may cause bubbling of the paint.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic Paint is a fast drying paint. Acrylic paint has a more vibrant finish compared to other paints. Acrylic is water soluble when wet, but water resistant once dried.

Poster Paint

It is usually used for paper/cardboard. Ideal for designs/lining, and not as a general purpose coat.

Rubberized Paint

Rubberized paint, as the name suggests, is a rubber-based paint that produces a rubber-like finish when dried. Like acrylic, it is water soluble when wet, but water resistant once dried. It also fast drying like acrylic. It gives a semi-glossy finish to surfaces.

Fiber Glass: For Experts

Fiberglass is a mixture of glass fibers and a binding matrix (plus catalyst for hardening), OR fiberglass mats + binding matrix (plus catalyst for hardening)

STRONG WARNING: You’ll be needed to use a gas mask because of the strong odor that may affect you’re health.

How to use:

online guide here: http://tripleacosplay.com/2011/08/05/resin-and-pepakura-a-simple-guide-to-the-safe-use-of-fiberglass-resin/ and here: http://www.paper-wings.org/tutorials/armor/fiberglass.html

Pros: very strong, lightweight

Cons: hard to use/handle (not recommended for beginners), a bit hazardous to use, requires a mold.

FOREWORD:

This is the the Guide that we have research from the time we have joined the community. Every time, there are new material that we can use.. or if there is no budget, why not try to improvise? its not bad to improvise props for as long as it didn’t affect the character you are cosplaying/portraying.. 🙂

Always remember Cosplay is for FUN!

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