From Harley Quinn to Wonder Woman: How to Cosplay On a Budget

Cosplaying has been a popular hobby among comic book and movie fans since the 90s. However, the intricate detailing of some costumes can quickly make this hobby an expensive one. Is it possible to transform yourself into your favorite character without getting into financial trouble? 

We’re here to tell you that it’s absolutely possible to make authentic costumes even if you’re on a tight budget. In this post, we’ve provided some techniques and clever shopping ideas so you can make elaborate costumes without emptying your wallet. You’ll see that you don’t have to be loaded with money to transform yourself into your favorite characters. 

Thrift Stores May Have Accessories You Need 

A thrift store is a shop that sells second-hand items at a reduced cost. You can find all sorts of items at these shops, such as jewelry, shoes, pants, or jackets. If you’re looking for specific pieces, thrifting can be an easy way to find unique items that you need for your cosplay. 

We also recommend trying online thrift shops because you can search for the items you need easily without going through racks of random clothes. There are stores that specifically collect and resell items at a cheaper price, and they’re in excellent condition. 

Reuse Items You Already Have 

You would be amazed at the costumes you can make out of the items and clothing you already have at home. For example, you can cut up old T-shirts and pants to make skirts and tank tops. There are cosplayers who craft hooves or different shoe designs over a pair of sneakers or heels they already have. 

Take a look at all the accessories you have in your wardrobe, like scarves, hats, and belts. These items can be modified using paint or sequence to make new pieces for your cosplay. What’s more, you can use crafting materials you already have, such as foam or cardboard, to make weapons or armor. 

Buy a Cosplay Costume Second-Hand 

There are many cosplayers that sell costumes they’ve made to anyone who’s interested in them. This is another way that professional cosplayers accumulate the funds to buy materials to make new costumes. Keep this tip in mind when you no longer need your costumes. 

Consider buying your cosplay second-hand from a professional cosplayer. Or you can purchase your outfit from a costume shop. 

These costume shops sell character outfits for Wonder Woman or Cat Woman and random characters like a Joker Queen. The only problem is that they’re not always well-made. If you buy a costume second-hand, you can always modify it to make it look more authentic. 

Rewear The Same Cosplay to Multiple Events 

It can be tempting to make different cosplays for every event that you attend, but it can get expensive. Additionally, making different cosplays can be time-consuming and put you under a lot of stress. 

So consider making one intricate outfit and wearing it to all major cosplay events like Comic Con and Anime Expo. Choose a character that will really turn heads so that you can get the recognition you deserve for your hard work. 

When you get bored of wearing the outfit, you can sell it second-hand to someone who’s also looking for costumes on a budget. You can then use this money toward making a brand new cosplay for next year’s events. 

Ask for Cosplay Items For Birthdays and Christmas 

The easiest and cheapest way to accumulate the items you need for your cosplays is to ask your loved ones to buy them for you as gifts for Christmas or your birthday. Ask for the following basic crafting materials:

  • Worbla 
  • Crafting foam 
  • Faux leather 
  • Faux fur 
  • Foam clay 
  • Sintra (type of thermoplastic)
  • Craft paint
  • Glue gun and sticks 

If people buy you all the materials and tools you need to make outfits, weapons, and armor, you won’t have to spend money out of your own pocket. 

Use Your Real Hair 

Most cosplayers will buy wigs to create the exact likeness of their favorite characters. But there are ways you can use your real hair for your cosplay, which will save you a lot of money. Use semi-permanent hair dye if your character has funky color hair. You can also use hairspray and gel to style your hair accordingly. 

Final Thoughts 

Cosplaying is a fun hobby to get into, but most people make the mistake of splurging money on materials they don’t always need. Use the tips in this article to start buying your cosplay materials at a cheaper cost. You can then make elaborate outfits even on a strict budget!