Shiva Sister Nix from Fianl Fantasy XIII by cosplayer Kudrel

Shiva Sister Nix from Final Fantasy XIII by cosplayer Kudrel of cosplay.com

Here’s a topic that can take over your life: cosplay. If you are unfamiliar with cosplay (short for costume play), it’s a subculture of anime and sci-fi enthusiasts that combines role-playing and fashion into a type of performance art.  Cosplayers are often are very dedicated, spending all their free time and money on impressive and elaborate outfits.

The best site I’ve found for learning about and engaging in cosplay is cosplay.com. Cosplayers like to share their skills and tips and are usually on a budget so you will find many, many tutorials on this site (look in the forums).  Jiajem also has a good set of tutorials.

My favorite cosplay blog, this Otaku Madwoman covers a range of topics including cosplay on the cheap.

She outlines the basic tenets of all budget costuming:

  • Keep it simple
  • Break it down into key elements
  • Thrift stores are your friend
  • Learn some basics
  • Get creative

This is especially important in cosplay because the costumes are so complicated and often do not conform to regular human bodies.

Odds and ends:
sewing patterns for martial arts and anime
giant bow (think Birdo or Sailor Moon)
Sword from Legend of Zelda (foam)

Furry stuff
Great site with many tutorials, including toony eyes, foam mask making.
Make a furry tail
More about fursuits

World of Warcraft costume made by us for 2009 Blizzcon

World of Warcraft costume made by us, for 2009 Blizzcon

We get frequent inquiries from cosplayers wanting to commission us to make wild and crazy stuff like this:

Samus from Metroid

Samus from Metroid

Organic Armor specializes in organic flowing shapes and textures, often distressed looking. We do not take commissions for armor that requires machine like precision, chrome or shiny bright colors. So – those of you on a quest to embody Samus or Megaman X, take note of the following armor tutorials and resources.

Organic Armor breastplate

Organic Armor breastplate

Armor
Fosshape, Wonderflex and Friendly Plastic are interesting materials you can mold into hard or semi-hard shapes like pauldrons and helmets. It seems to have amazing potential. Cosplaysupplies.com offers instructions on how to use them.

This site will give you basic printable patterns for particular armor shapes, useful even if you are not making traditional armor – you have something to start with and adapt.

paper mache armor tutorial
books on cosplay armor making

Have fun, and let me know if you have a useful tutorial or site to add.