Cosplayers come in a variety of creativity. Some like to buy their cosplays online and act out their favorite characters, others like to mix and match pieces of cosplays to be different and out from the norm, and some like to make their cosplays from scratch. Sure it’s time consuming, but it gives one a great feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. Unfortunately, not all of us can afford everything we need to make our cosplays, and therefore have to resort to closet cosplaying or putting off our projects until we can afford it. Fear not! This easy tutorial will help any cosplayer who’s struggling to make a cosplay on a budget.

Second Hand Stores Are Your Friends

Believe it or not second hand stores like Goodwill, Savers, and Thrift Shops are treasure chests in disguise to any craftsman. They are full of clothes that can easily be converted and altered into pieces for cosplays (an example would be if you found a green skirt and a white button up shirt these could be used to cosplay the character Kagome from InuYasha). There are rows of dresses and suits that are also sold at second hand stores that are at least half the price of a new dress or the material you would have to buy to make that dress. There are thousands of cosplays that can be made from a plain white dress, plus they can be used as material for a different costume all together. Also, almost all second hand stores have a “material” aisle where fabrics that range from a yard to five or six yards can be found. The best part: all of these are cheaper than if you went to a fabric store to buy them!

Craft Stores

Have you been looking for the perfect kind of clay or dye to use for props to go with your cosplay? Believe it or not you don’t have to buy everything for your project online, stores like Michaels, Joanne’s, and Hobby Lobby have the same kind of product cheaper than the ultra-expensive one online. There are also discount aisles and half-price bins to be found throughout these stores that have materials that you would never expect to help you in your project. For example, I was trying to construct a fake bird to be perched on my shoulder for a cosplay a while back and found a black feather wreath at Michael’s marked down right after Halloween. Instead of buying a ton of feathers to glue onto this bird (estimated around $6 a bag) I bought the wreath and was able to use every single feather on it to cover my bird and it only cost me $2.

Your Friends

Running out of material? Can’t afford to spend even a penny more on your cosplay? Friends are always a good option in helping with your budget. Simply ask them if you can have any torn or old sheets/blankets they may not be using, or even old clothes they are planning on getting rid of. These are great pieces to use as material without spending a dime. You might even get lucky if they have old craft projects they don’t mind giving away to you. You can always take bits and pieces from old projects to make a cosplay.


It might sound weird, but cardboard, newspaper, sticks/wood, and even regular old printer paper are a craftsman’s best tools. With just these supplies you can make a variety of armor, props, and weapons for little to no cost at all. The only thing this requires is time and thinking outside the box. Need to make Lavi’s hammer from D Gray Man? Simply find durable cardboard, a long tree branch to sand down, paint, a lot of glue and you have yourself everything you need to make that hammer look good. Another great thing about paper, you can make any solid object in any shape you want with paper mache. It’s a wonder what a little water, flour, and newspaper can create when you put your mind to it.

Who ever (or whatever) you decide to cosplay, it doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars to do it. Make a plan of everything you need to make, think outside the box, and ask for help when needed. And always remember: Cosplaying is suppose to be fun, not a chore. ^w^