Anime cosplay can be heavy on the pocket. From the costume, to shoes, to make-up and hair – the bill easily climbs up to hundreds of dollars.

Furthermore, since it’s difficult to find a cosplay store everywhere, the only option is to buy the costume online. And we all know how that can sometimes turn out.

Which is why making your own anime cosplay is a wonderful solution. It is not only budget friendly, but you can also personalize it according to your choice.

While it is true that making your own anime cosplay can feel daunting when you are doing it for the first time, it is a lot of fun once you get down to it. Here is where you can truly let your creativity go wild! Scroll down below to see ideas to inspire your creative juices into action and tips and tricks to help you get your cosplay ready in time.

Choosing a character for anime cosplay

The first step is choosing the character you want to cosplay. It is a very important part of cosplaying, especially when you’re making the cosplay yourself.

In the anime world, characters are diverse in terms of cosplaying difficulty level. Some characters are easier to pull off than others, some are more on the difficult side. The difficulty level also depends on how precisely you are planning to execute the outfit.

If you haven’t been able to choose a character yet, here’s what you can do. Shortlist the ones you are gravitating towards and pick one with these points in mind:

  • The right amount of complexity:

While it is very easy to cosplay simple anime characters, it might not be as fun as doing the slightly more complex ones.

For example, if you decide to be L from Death Note, you will only need a white tee-shirt, jeans, and ruffled black hair. Add little smudged eyeliner under the eyes and you’re good to go!

If that is what you’re looking for, great. If not, then choose a character with more unique elements to their look.

  • Making the most of what you have:

If you have the right materials and skill, you can create any costume in the book. But the fact remains that the items available at home or the ones easily available in the market are limited.

To make your cosplaying easy, inspect the individual parts of the characters’ costumes. You will be surprised to see that there are several things that you have substitutes for at home.

Choose a character whose costume has the most elements already available to you.

  • Make it meaningful:

If you choose a character which holds some meaning to you (it can be as simple as them being your favorite), it makes cosplaying a lot more fun.

Not only will you enjoy making the costume more, it can also be a great conversation starter. You can strike up a conversation about why you chose the character and what makes you like them.

Who knows? You may find a new friend with similar interests!

Preparing your costume

The first thing that you need to do is to take a good look at your character’s dress. Bring forth the things that you already have at home and see how useable they are. Even if something doesn’t fit the bill perfectly and you’d like something better instead, keep it around. It might come in handy later.

Some cosplays can be done almost entirely from things you can find at home. This magnificent Integra cosplay can be pulled off with a white dress shirt, black suit, and a red tie or ribbon which are almost always available in an everyday wardrobe.

The only thing you’ll need to get is a blonde wig. And if you just so happen to have long blonde hair, hallelujah!

costume
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Identify the vital elements of your cosplay

Every character has their defining traits. If you see a cosplayer with blonde high ponytails, short black dress and a notebook which says “death note” on it, you can tell they’re playing Misa right away!

Here is a Misa costume by Jodelle Ferland (@jodellecosplays) on Instagram that we love for its effortlessness!

vital elements
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These defining elements of your character are vital to your cosplay. Take a look at your character and split their costume into vital and flexible elements. The flexible elements will be the ones that you can modify according to the materials that you have at hand.

Get creative

Here’s an idea if you’re thinking of going for a Misa cosplay.

For the dress you can take a simple black frock and accessorize it. Take a bunch of hooks or metal rings and sew them parallel to each other on the waist of the frock. Pass a black ribbon through the rings and tie a bow at the front to achieve a look similar to this.

Get creative
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The best part about this idea is that afterwards you can take the hooks off and your dress will be completely undamaged.

Don’t be afraid to experiment

If you look for costumes online, you may not be able to find a good cheap costume of your choice. To find what you’re looking for, think of alternative dresses that have a similar look to the one you’re trying to achieve.

If you want to do Nozomi Tojou from Love Live, you can search for purple dirndls or frocks and you’ll find comfortable dresses which you can accessorize to complete your look.

Don’t be afraid to experiment
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How to cosplay without a wig?

In anime, hair is often what makes or breaks a look. Since anime has a penchant for bright eccentric hair colors, many characters are often defined by their hair. This makes hair a very important part of your anime cosplay.

Unfortunately, wigs for cosplay are not always hassle-free to come by. Firstly, finding the color of your choice is difficult, and if you do, your options for styling the hair are limited.

You may also be hesitating to buy a wig for cosplaying because good quality wigs are expensive. It seems excessive to spend so much on something you’re going to use so little.

If you’re not on-board with buying a wig for your costume or if you want to explore other options first, here are some alternatives that you can try:

Temporary Dye Spray

If you’re not passionate enough about your cosplay to straight-up dye your hair a crazy color, you can use a temporary spray-on dye. But it has both pros and cons:

Pros:

  • The color is temporary and your hair will be restored to their natural color after one good wash.
  • You can dye all your hair or add only streaks, whatever your cosplay requires.
  • It is much cheaper than a wig. (An average cosplay wig will cost you around 30$ to 70$ as seen on (source), and temporary hair sprays range from 10$-30$ (source)
  • Perfect for short hair and streaks.
  • Manic Panic Amplified Color Sprays come in 8 vibrant shades including glitter and glow-in-the-dark colors. Just what you need for an extra punch to your look!

Cons:

  • It cannot change the length of your hair so if you need a different hair length for your cosplay, this won’t help with that.
  • Application is difficult on longer hair and requires more spray.
  • It can stain your clothes. If you sweat during the day and your colored hair catch any moisture, it might leave stains.
  • If you ever want to do the same cosplay again, you will have to spray your hair again.

Making your own wig using ribbons

If you want to spice up your look and stand out from the crowd, you can make your own wig using ribbons!

This will not only be fun to make but will also give your cosplay a fun, chirpy look.

Here’s how you can make your own ribbon wig.

What you need:

  • A wig cap
  • A needle
  • Ribbons

Step 1: Set up your base

Get a wig cap and set it up on a base to make it easy for you to work on. You can use a foam head, if you have one, or any spherical surface like a ball or a globe.

Step 2: Get your ribbons

Get the ribbons of your choice, depending on the color you want. You can choose one color or go with as many as you like.

Step 3: Cutting the ribbons

Decide the length of the wig that you want and cut the ribbon into portions. Every portion should be 3 times that length.

If you want the length of your wig hair to be 12 centimeters, cut the ribbon into portions of 12×3=36 centimeters. This extra length will compensate for the curling.

Step 4: Sewing

Take a big needle. It should be large enough to pass the ribbon through the eye.

Pierce the needle through the mesh and bring it out on the same side. This will give you two “hair strands”.

Step 5:

Repeat this until the entire surface of the mesh is covered evenly.

Step 6: Curling the ribbons

Take a pair of scissors or a knife and curl the ribbons one by one. Adjust the curling to achieve your desired length and shape.

wig using ribbons
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How to make horns for cosplay?

Horns are a popular accessory in anime cosplay. There are lots of easy ways to make horns. Here is a way that we love which exclusively requires products that you can easily find at home.

Aluminum foil horns

This technique is so simple and looks so good that even the devil is impressed.

Take some aluminum foil and roll it up into the shape of the horns that you want. Attach it on top of a hairband using a wire or the aluminum foil itself.

Paint it using spray paint and it’s done!

If you are hesitant to use up so much aluminum foil, you can use newspaper instead.

Crunch up newspapers into the shape that you want. Wrap aluminum foil around it to strengthen its shape. Attach to the hairband and paint.

Remember to have fun:

The most important part of making your cosplay yourself is to have fun with it! Let your creativity show and don’t get too caught up in the turmoil if something doesn’t go as planned.

Like anyone who has ever made their costume themselves will tell you; cosplay is never as fun as it is when you’re wearing your own creation.