Lifestyle & Culture

So, you want to cosplay?

Sophie Austin shares her top tips to get you geared up for your next convention. Get ready to dish out the spandex and body paint!

Welcome to the world of cosplay! After cosplaying for two years, I’ve learnt a few tricks of the trade and it seemed fitting to dish out my hacks to new cosplayers.

For those don’t know, cosplaying stands for “costume roleplay” which involves dressing up as a character for events.

The pop culture convention Supanova is just around the corner so you might not be able to become a master cosplayer right now. But save these handy tips for your next convention and you may just find your calling.

Planning, just do it

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” rings true in the art of cosplaying. After you’ve chosen your favourite character, it’s time to write everything down.

  • Lists are your best friend,  so write plenty of them. These include the materials you’ll need and each part of your cosplay. It’ll make sure on the day you haven’t forgotten your Ninja Turtle mask, or your Naruto headband.
  • Diagrams work well too. But if you’re a black hole when it comes to drawing (like me!) print out plenty of photos of your character from every angle for references. You’ll thank me later.


Worbla? What’s that?


It’s not a type of Pokemon, Worbla is a thermoplastic regularly used when making props and armour in cosplay. It is one of the many materials favoured by cosplayers for its ability to be heated and shaped and its light weight. Here are some more materials that you can use when creating:

  • Thermoplastics: WonderFlex, Worbla’s Deco Art, Cosflex.
  • EVA foam
  • Fiberglass
  • Paper Mache
  • PVC
  • Tools: hot glue guns, sewing machines, priming paints, spray paint

If you’re a struggling university student, there’s always cheaper alternatives. I prefer using EVA foam from yoga mats and sewing most of my cosplays. Second-hand shops, Lincraft and Kmart are your secret weapons when it comes to finding the things you need.

[!] Hint: learn how to prime your foam and thermoplastic before painting, it will save you a lot of time (and effort) later on. Here’s a tutorial on how to prime foam properly.


Wigs, makeup, and all the rest


  • Many cosplayers cut and style their own wigs, which is handy if you have a wig from a convention that you want to reuse.
  • Hair nets may make you look like you’re ready to handle some raw chicken, but they work wonders underneath your wigs. It’s an easy way to keep everything under control.
  • If you’re having a photoshoot, matte makeup is advised. Unless you want to shine bright like a diamond, then go for it!
  • If you’re cosplaying someone like Princess Bubblegum, or Raven from Teen Titans, and you don’t have pink or purple eyebrows, there is a solution! Starting with an ordinary glue stick, concealer and finishing with an eyebrow pencil. Here’s a tutorial on how to do it. 
  • If you’re wearing contacts, please be cautious. If you have sensitive eyes, you might have to leave the eye colouring to post-production on Photoshop. If you’re keen on popping in some contacts, make sure they are from a trusted and highly reviewed seller. You only have one pair of eyes!


On the day

  • It’s important to stay hydrated, some of these cosplays can get you sweating. Don’t be afraid to grab a bite to eat, too.
  • Pack any extra make-up, hair clips, pins, sewing kits, sticky tape... anything you think you might need to top yourself up throughout the day. Some conventions can run for 12+ hours, and if your face paint can survive that long then that’s a miracle.
  • If you have a friend who’s keen to come for moral support, bring them along! They also make great bag carriers, if they’re okay with holding your extra supplies.
  • Have fun! Cosplaying is a great way to meet fellow fans and members of the cosplaying community. Whether you’re new to the scene, or a veteran cosplayer, you’re going to do great out there!


If you use any of these tips or just want to share your own cosplaying experience, use the hashtag #yaksnap on Instagram, we would love to see your creations.


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