Across the globe people are being ordered to stay at home to help flatten the curve on the spread of COVID-19. Many of you are likely reading this inside your home right now and might even be thinking, “Duh, it’s Day X.” What better time to discover your crafty side? Perhaps you will begin with a fun, basic project or dive into the cosplay challenge you’ve been dreaming about!

In this article I will teach you the basics of getting started in cosplay. We will ease into cosplay life where I tempt you to try a closet cosplay. I’ve included small projects as well as some links to professionals who have prepared many free tutorials for those ready to start making a full costume. Hope you enjoy and have fun exploring the exciting and diverse realm of cosplay.

Closet Cosplay

A “Closet Cosplay” is effectively using clothing already in your wardrobe to impersonate or embody a character. It’s not only an inexpensive and affordable way to cosplay, but also a fun challenge to highlight details one can translate figuratively or literally. Pull inspiration from colors in your character’s garments and props.

One option is to put a spin on a character that translates into Modern times matching items you own—theme examples like hipster, pin-up, formal, steampunk, and vintage to name a few. Then dive into your drawers and see what dapper duds turn up! Lots of closet cosplay is left up to interpretation, so don’t fret over matching every little detail. To help animate your character, imitate expressions and poses from image and video sources.

While dressed up as your character, get some snapshots! Ask a family member to be involved in a photoshoot whether they dress up with you or be the photographer. If you are alone selfies are completely acceptable. Additionally, many cameras including cell phones have self timer options.  Model your closet cosplay and share it on social media!

Materials Around Your House

Besides the obvious basic craft supplies one needs like pens, measuring tools, and scissors, you may be able to scavenge for materials you already own.

  • Saran Wrap and Duct Tape—Frequently used for patterning armor or bodysuits. The saran wrap prevents you from needing to stick the tape to your skin and provides a shell after cutting the wrapped duct tape off. See “Resources” below for more.
  • Computer Paper, Scissors and Tape—Many patterns can be printed off so you can make sure the scaling to size is correct. This can be a fun puzzle project even if you don’t have foam.
  • Safety Pins—In lieu of a sewing machine or sewing skills, you can pin things for now.
  • Double-Sided Adhesive Velcro—For sticking anything and everything together, but still able to be removed.
  • Pool Noodles, Yoga Mats & Insulation—Not as easy to work with as foam made for cosplay, but can be lightweight for large props.

Easy Cosplay Crafts

If you would describe yourself as “just curious” for cosplay and looking for beginner-friendly crafts, here are some good places to start. Here are some helpful links, including Borderlands Makeup, how to Make a Magic Wand, and a Wolf Tail Tutorial. I also recommend the video projects below.

Animal Ears:

Borderlands Clothing:

Link’s Hat:

Sailor Moon Headband:

Making Your Own Cosplay

So you’ve either put together ten closet cosplays with 100 pictures accumulated on your phone, or you’ve decided nothing you own is exactly what you want. And yet you are still dreaming of being in costume and roleplaying. Sounds like you are ready to use some of your free time to start making a cosplay.

Pick a character you are passionate about, or create an original character. Having a strong affection towards the cosplay you are setting out to make will aid greatly in staying motivated as you explore new territory in the crafting world. Plan out what pieces are essential to make your character recognizable—like Jace’s cape, Chandra’s goggles, or Liliana’s veil.

Start small. Pick a workstyle you feel familiar with and are comfortable executing. For example, if you already have handiwork experience or own power tools, starting with an EVA foam armor project might be the direction you go, using equipment like a heat gun and a dremel. Similarly, if you know how to sew, starting with a fabric project for a beginning cosplay would be an appropriate starting point.

Now that you have a plan, here are some helpful resource!


If you’ve even tip-toed into cosplay online, you’ve probably already seen some of these artists’ amazing work.

Kamui Cosplay: Tutorials, patterns, and cosplay how-to books on many subjects ranging from sewing, eva foam, painting, 3D electronics and more. Check out their Youtube as well.

Kinpatsu Cosplay: Wig styling, makeup tips, foam and sewing patterns, and books and how-tos. And their Youtube.

Punished Props: Tools and technique instructionals, patterning and painting, and lots of foam specific tutorials—like a Mandolorian helmet! Youtube.

Purchasing Materials

Kamui Cosplay has organized links for purchasing materials—with global options!

Before ordering from any of the bigger cosplay material sites, I encourage you to contact your local art and hardware stores to see if they offer online options for buying materials.

Wrapping Up

The pandemic may have put us all at home, but there is always plenty to create if you put your mind to it. Please share any creations from the projects shared above—and tag me if you post to social media! Did you just cut yourself out of a saran wrap duct tape casing? If yes, then my job here is done and you’ve got a good start. If that went over your head continue reading Cosplay of the Multiverse, where I will keep breaking down cosplay into relatable terms.

There’s a lot more to cover in the patterning and foam category of cosplay. I am super excited to share a MTG cosplayer with fabulous foam builds in my next article. Stay tuned!

Zenaide “ZBexx” Beckham is an Oregon-based cosplayer, gamer, and MTG judge. Her favorite format is Legacy, because just like performing in dance or cosplay she gets to Show and Tell.

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