How To Make Cosplay Costumes Using Recycled Materials

How To Make Cosplay Costumes Using Recycled Materials

So, you want to be a character from your favorite show, but you don’t have the money to buy a fancy costume. Not to worry! You can easily make a costume that is just as good as anything you could buy. All you need is some ingenuity and a few simple materials. So get started on your project, and show off your fantastic creation at conventions or on Halloween!

Creative Costume Ideas Using Recycled Materials

Creative Costume Ideas Using Recycled Materials

Start making a list of materials you will be needing for your cosplay costume and props. Then begin by looking for the things that you can find around your house. Check your closet for any available garments that can be transformed or restyled according to your needs. You will be surprised to find tons of stuff in your closet that have the possibility of being made for or used in your project. With the help of your imagination and creativity, you can transform the hats, scarves, belts, bags that you have into your characters’ props or accessories. Visiting the nearest supermarket in your area can also help you collect as they usually have discarded cardboard and newspapers that you can use among other things.

What Materials Do I Need?

What Materials Do I Need

As we’re making something from recycled materials, you will not have a hard time sourcing this stuff. Meanwhile, tools needed to start crafting may just be found lying in your house. This includes a hot glue gun, some pens or pencils, markers, duct tape, along with your painting set. Ribbons and a stapler may also be needed along with adhesives such as white glue, your sewing stash, and some glitters.

Are Paint Brushes Essential?

Along with your paint set, brushes are necessary to paint your costume later on. There are a lot of costume ideas that you can pattern your creation with. You can use these so that your cosplay outfit will be complete. There are different paint colors that you can choose from. Depending on your needs, various brush sizes and designs are also available. You can easily get one from a local craft store or buy one online.

Foam is the ultimate cosplay material you can play around with when making your costume. Look for an EVA foam as they are versatile and easy to work with. They are easy to cut and are made from soft yet sturdy material. You can use scissors or a box cutter for cutting and shaping. EVA foams can easily bond by the applying heat so you can mold them to your desired shape. These foams are normally used as a Yoga mat and sports gear. They can hold their shape and can help you achieve that polished, high-end look when donning your costume. Use it to make weapons and accessories as well as headpieces and armors.

Fabric Vs. Foam

Recycled items for a cosplay outfit should use cardboard boxes instead of fabric or foam. However, you can always incorporate a cardboard box design with fabric. You can even attach accessories made with foam, ribbon, newspaper, a headband, or basically anything that you can throw especially when supplies are readily available at home.

Other Materials To Use

If you have some crepe paper leftovers, strips of mesh, and other recycled material that are thought to be of relevance to what you are making, feel free to make use of these, too. You will need your measuring tools including a measuring tape and ruler. These are very important because you have to measure the exact sizes needed before starting the cutting process. You can also have a steamer or an iron on hand. This will help flatten hems on a dress or any fabric you’d be using so you won’t have a hard time sewing it later on. It can also make stitching easier.

If you spray paint your cardboard box, you got to have a respirator mask or a regular mask to cover up while doing this process. It also comes in handy especially when you are using strong glue and other paints. Protect your eyes and use some safety goggles, too. Meanwhile, if you are looking for patterns in creating your costume, there are instructions available online, including this one. You can access free downloadables and get them printed.

Characters Wearing Costumes From A Cardboard Box

Characters Wearing Costumes From A Cardboard Box

There are numerous characters that you can choose to create a costume for. The costumes can be made with recycled stuff as well. Depending on how creative you are plus your ideas, you will be able to use almost anything that is available at home. If you are looking to make a universe-inspired costume, then a box, a hot glue gun, a ribbon set, and old clothes should do the trick. Meanwhile, if you are looking to create a dress costume, you can search for old clothes and redesign them according to what the character you choose looks like. Kids can also join and create their own costumes. This can be a fun activity as well as it can save you from buying brand-new costumes for your children.

A notable Halloween character costume that you can make is the Frankenstein monster. You will need a box that can fit best into your head. Get your cutter and put holes in it; enough for you to see, breathe and talk. Try to fit it after to see if the holes indeed fit your eyes, nose, and mouth. After that, you can start to paint it. You can put it on once again after it has completely dried. Typically, Frankenstein is colored light green or you can choose whichever color you want. Your kids will surely love creating this Halloween costume.

Another costume you can make out of boxes is a martian or a rocket launched into space. This is another great Halloween idea for kids who want to dress up uniquely before trick or treating. This type of costume will require cutting skills as you will need to attach this to your children’s dress. After you have carefully created a rocket, you need to stick it on one end so it gets that launched into space appeal.

FAQ On How To Make Costumes Using Recycled Materials

FAQ On How To Make Costumes Using Recycled Materials

Do I Have Recycled Materials At Home?

Second-hand stuff can be found scattered at home without you even knowing it. Try checking your storage or the basement as some rare finds might be there laying around unnoticed. You can also look at your craft stash as some materials from a previous project might be there. You may even have some cup sets that are not in use anymore that you can repurpose for your DIY costume. This way, you can still use it for children’s Halloween costume projects.

Where Do I Get Recycled Materials?

You can try visiting second-hand stores or thrift shops for some great finds. You will be able to get good deals on an old pair of shoes that would probably match your cosplay clothes. Your child can also find costumes here that would definitely draw their attention. If your child is interested in making his own costume, show support and be willing to teach as this hobby or interest is for all ages. This will be a good example to spark their interests and their creative side as well.

Meanwhile, did you check your closet for an old belt or some stored away straps? There might be some gems hidden in your closet and it would also be a good idea to get them cleaned. This way, you will find extra stuff for your DIY project. Aside from checking your home, try asking supermarkets for old newspaper packings that they can give or sell you at a cheaper price.

Should I Use Hot Glue Gun Or White Glue In Making Wings?

If you are thinking about making a pair of wings, then making use of hot glue is a good way to go. Although white glue can also hold pieces together, it might not be as sturdy compared to using hot glue. You will also need a pen, a large box, some elastic straps, tape, paint, and some brushes. You will also use newspaper, scissors, and a mixing bowl.

Get the body measurement of your child. After that, draw the wings’ pattern on the box. Give some allowance on the edges so you won’t have a hard time cutting it. Once you’re all set, use scissors that are sturdy enough to cut through the flattened box. Gently fold it in half to make your wings set. Some wings won’t set right away so you can repeat the gentle folding process for a bit of time until the right shape is achieved.

Then, you can tape in some velcro straps or you can make a hole where you can attach some elastic bands that can be worn around on the shoulders of the child. This will attach the wings on their back. You can also accent it with a flower to make it look more enchanted than that of a fairy. Add more accessories such as a belt to ensure the wings are kept in place. Don’t forget to let your child use some open-toe sandals or some sparkly shoes to complete that fairly outfit.

With a character in mind, you can start making their ensemble come to life piece by piece. Being able to connect to the character that you love and start making its costume can be a great motivation for you to finish it. Cosplaying a character that you know fully well is a lot of fun since you are familiar with them. You can pose for photos and act like them when you are attending conventions.

You can also fill out subscription forms on a website offering free downloadable patterns. Some blog sites offer these services after you sign up. However, you have to check your spam messages as some of their emails might end up there. You can check out a comment from your fave cosplayer on forums on how to make costumes using recycled pieces, too. Remember that you have all the freedom to design your costume and add details as much as you please.

Make your costume way ahead of the date that you need them to avoid the rush. You need to estimate how much time you have to make them and balance it with your other activities. Be realistic with your skill level and start with the simple ones that you can replicate, working your way up to the complicated as your skill progresses. In this way, you can have fun making your cosplay costume and be confident enough to play your character during conventions.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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