Looking for great content for your cosplay event? Cosplay is perhaps one of the most creative ways people spend their time. Out of love for a particular character, tons of people do their best to dress up as their favorite persona and meet up with others who have the same hobbies as them.
The Nine Tails is perhaps one of the most popular fictional characters that everyone wants to cosplay. As the name entails, the Nine-Tails has, well, nine bushy tails that spread out in a wonderful curtain from a person’s back. Just by imagining it, you can already tell that creating one can cause one problem after another. It’s not exactly an easy cosplay to do but it’s definitely one of the most eye-catching ones.
In this article, we’ll talk about the Nine-Tails and how you can deliver a convincing cosplay as one!
Nine Tails Information
First things first – what exactly is a nine tail? The nine tails is a demon fox with nine bushy tails instead of just one. It’s a powerful spirit that is based on Chinese mythology. It is known as a shapeshifter, typically turning itself into a beautiful woman. In China, the fox spirit is known as hulijing while Korean culture calls them the kumiho.
By far, the most popular name for the demon fox is kitsune, popularized by Japanese animes that feature the nine-tailed demon fox. But what exactly does the demon fox do? Well, based on mythology, the fox turns into a beautiful woman in order to seduce men for fun or just to devour them. The demon fox can therefore be bad or good, depending on the story you hear.
You will find that the fox is featured in numerous settings in literature, going as far back as the Han Dynasty. In some writings, the fox is described as being golden in color while others describe it as pure white.
Some legends state that in order to become human, the fox has to wear a skull and give worship to the Big Dipper. They also have to try out different skulls in order to find one that fits perfectly and doesn’t slip off their head.
In other legends, however, the fox itself is worshipped and given different food and drinks. Based on mythology, a fox demon is essential if you want to establish a village.
Nine Tails From Different Shows
Thanks to the popularity of the nine-tail demon fox, you will find that a lot of shows managed to incorporate them into their narrative. Some shows have the fox as their main character while others just have them on the side.
Each show manages to give a different spin to the nine-tailed demons so you’ll find that they come in different colors, tails, shapes, and sizes. If you plan to cosplay as one of these characters, you have to copy more than just the tail but the entire costume of the particular persona.
If you do a search about nine tails, here are some of the most relevant results you’ll probably get:
Naruto is perhaps the most popular character in the anime world based on the nine-tailed demon. Naruto is the story about a boy training to be a powerful ninja in his village. What he doesn’t realize is that his body is used to contain the nine-tailed demon fox or Kyuubi. It’s a combination of two words – kyuu and bi with literal English translation of nine tails.
If you’re going to cosplay Naruto’s nine tails, you would want to dress up in Naruto’s orange getup with the tails shooting off the lower back. His tail usually shows up as long and orange. You can add black stripes to Naruto himself since it helps make the costume more distinctive.
Other relevant results based on the fox include Kurama from Ghost Fighter, although his tail seems to be single and has a downward trend instead of an upright shape. There’s also Inu Yasha who isn’t exactly a nine-tail demon, but he also has the distinctive tail.
Other than Naruto, significantly relevant results based about the nine tail include Ahri from the League of Legends, who is also a cosplay favorite. Your choice of cosplay character can be any of these!
Tools Needed For Making Your Own Nine Tails Ahri Cosplay
Are you ready to create your nine-tail masterpiece? From the above discussion, you should already have some ideas about the nine-tail demon and the character you want to portray.
Obviously, you need to do some work on the costume of the person itself with the tails used as an attachment. If you’re going to do this, make sure that your costume goes well with the tails and doesn’t block any important portion of what makes your character distinctive.
Everything starts with a blueprint. Your blueprint will basically be the shape of the fox’s tail. Remember – it can’t be a straight tail! You need it to curve a little bit and create a realistic fox shape. The blueprint will offer you that shape so that the end creates a slight point with a generous bend in the middle.
Your blueprint doesn’t have to be nine different tails; it can be just one pattern that’s repeated over and over again. Your blueprint should be the actual shape and size of the tail you want to create. Fortunately, you can get some blueprint online for free so if you’re not sure about sketching your own, just download it off the internet!
Depending on your height, the blueprint may need some adjustment. The tails should be based on your specific frame so that it looks really good from any angle. Ideally, the tails should fan out on your back, curling a little bit outward from your torso. Some tails can actually be higher than your head for that eye-catching look.
You can buy faux fur from most textile stores and they typically come in different colors. However, you would want to buy a plain white one so you can change the tail’s color as needed. For example, Naruto’s nine tail is orange while Ahri has this bright blue coloring.
Some nine tail characters have a white-silver tail which might need some artistic license on your part. In any case, make sure that you’re buying enough faux fur to create all the tails. Measure around 9 yards of faux fur or just measure your blueprint. Remember that each tail would have two sides.
So basically, if one side of the tail measure 3 by 22 inches, you need to measure another 3 by 22 inches so there’s a front and a back. Now, you have to multiply that by nine so you have all the tails.
Dye And Hot Water
Next, you need to buy coloring for the faux fur. If you can find some faux fur that already carries the color you want, then you’re in luck! However, most cosplay participants like to dye their own costume just to make sure that they get the exact shade they wanted.
The great thing about dyeing the tail yourself is that you can mix and match different colors in order to get the exact color you’re going for. In many cases, characters don’t have plain colored tails. For example, Ahri has this beautiful mane of blue hair that starts off as a different shade of blue at the roots and then flares into a different color in a classic hombre hairstyle.
Understand that stuffing the tail is an important part of the process. You want the tail to be fluffy and soft, just how tails are supposed to be. You have to learn, however, that you can’t stuff the tail to the point of bursting, no matter how cool it looks. There’s a need to balance between the fullness and weight of the tail. You don’t want it to fall from the strap as you walk through the convention floor. Just a little bit of body is enough and the rest should be the tail’s support.
Scissors And Sewing Kit
Buy fabric scissors or any sharp scissors you have in your house. For the thread, get a white-colored one so that it absorbs the color of your dye during the coloring process. You might want to practice your stitching if you’re not used to the process. Make sure you only sew under bright light.
This can be a simple belt or a nylon belt with buckles that can click into place. Most people think that similar technologies, like garter, would do the trick but this isn’t strong enough to hold the cosplay together. Look for things like leather or even a chain that can really hold up the ensemble.
Tail Wires Or CPVC Pipes And Cap
Things like cosplay tails need some sort of support in order to keep them up. The last thing you want is to have nine gorgeous tails drooping down the back of your knees.
90 Degree Elbow Joint
This will be used to create links between the base and the tail. Make sure to measure the elbow joint – it should be the same size as the bone of the tail’s cosplay costume.
Epoxy And Sandpaper
This will be used as a binding agent. The sandpaper will help create a coarser surface that allows for better bonding.
The heat gun will be used to bend the CPVC pipes. By using this, you can basically soften up the pipes so that it will follow the more natural curve of the tails.
The brush will be used to create a softer fur surface. After the dyeing and drying process, the fur can easily look matted and lumpy. The brush will help untangle the fur and create a fluffy look for your tails.
Of course, those are just some of the most basic tools you’ll need to create your nine-tail costume. Note that if you’re not strictly following the tutorial mentioned in this article, then you might need additional tools for this activity. There’s nothing wrong with trying to improve on the basics and since this is your costume – feel free to change things and play with the design!
If you want to improve on your Cosplay, you can choose to add a few more materials. Things like glitter, ribbon, or other materials can help your cosplay look more personal.
Creating Your Nine Tails
Once you have gathered all the tools and materials mentioned above, it’s time to create your nine-tail costume! Follow the steps below, making sure to assess your work through each step just to make sure you’re happy with the results.
- Make and cut out the blueprint. You don’t need multiple copies of the same tail unless you wanted one with different curves or shapes. Most people try to use different blueprints for some variety and to add to the overall shape of the tails when lumped together. Remember: measure twice, cut once. Some sites offer free blueprints while others sell them. Before getting a blueprint, you might want to measure your height and make sure you’re getting just the right size for your body.
- Once cut out, place the blueprint on your faux fur and use sewing pins to anchor it to the faux fur. Make sure to do this on the back of the fabric instead of the portion where the faux fur is present. Once the blueprint is pinned to the fabric, you can cut out the shape with the scissors or you can trace the shape and follow the lines with the scissors.
- Cut the flip side. This is an important part that a lot of people seem to do wrong. Basically, you want to flip the faux fur fabric and cut out a matching side for the one you already made. The goal here is to cut out a front and back portion for the tail. To do this, you need a mirrored cutout of the tails, allowing you to sew them together into one beautiful fur. So basically, you already made a cut according to the blueprint. Use what you’ve cut, flip it over, placing the smooth side against the smooth side of the remaining faux fur. Use that as a template and cut away. You will have to do this nine more times. However, this is your first one so we suggest that you only cut one tail first and finish the sewing process just so you can familiarize yourself with the steps. If you’ve made things like this before, crafting the remaining tails should be easier.
- Once done, you will be left with two faux fur tails. Place the two faux fur sides with each other and start sewing. Use sewing pins to secure the two pieces in place. This is important – you should be sewing on the plain side and not the part where the faux fur is exposed. Understand that the thread shouldn’t be obvious on the tails when finished. Don’t close the tail end; leave it open because you will be using this opening to flip, stuff, and reinforce the tails. Keep the full width of the tail end open.
- Are you done with the sewing activity? It takes some experience to do it beautifully. You can hand sew or for best results, you can use a machine to get the job done. You can also get some help from someone who is used to sewing clothes. Closing the tail is pretty simple and shouldn’t cost too much if you choose to get the help of a professional.
- Remember: you have to keep the tail ends open for future use. Once the edges have been stitched close, the next step is to flip the tail inside out. This is something you have to do carefully, like trying to roll a really long sock inside out. You don’t want to rip out the side stitching while doing this so keep things slow and precise. Once you learn the rhythm for this, the other tails should be a faster activity for you.
- Once your tail has been completely reversed, improve the texture with a brush. Specifically, you want to brush out the portion where the seams are obvious. This guarantees that the seams will be hidden beneath the fur and at the same time, you’re getting this amazingly soft layer of realistic fur. Brush slowly and gently – you don’t want to pull out any fur content and make your Ahri costume look like they’re going bald. A good technique is by pressing gently on the roots of the faux fur as you try to brush the top layer, making sure that it stays in place.
- Once you’ve brushed your tails, the next step is to dye them the exact color you want. This is where the fun starts as you customize the design based on the character you want to portray. As mentioned, Ahri from League of Legends – perhaps one of the most popular personas – has this beautiful mane of fading blue tails. Naruto is orange and Kurama has this beautiful mane of silver. Choose your colors wisely.
- This is where the fun part begins! Start by heating water up to boiling and putting it in a container large enough to dip your fabric. A bucket of water filled up to one-third should do it. Put in a spoonful of dishwashing soap – this will improve the color so that it looks brighter once done. Now add your dye, making sure to follow the recommendations for the mixture. Mix the water thoroughly until you’re sure there are no lumps of powder dye in the water.
- Dip your faux fur into the dye content, making sure that it is fully dipped into the dye. You can use tongs if you don’t want to dip your hands into the dye. Leave it there for 30 to 60 minutes and just do whatever! This is your time to relax and wait it out.
- You may have some questions about creating different colors for the tails. For example, with Ahri, the base can be a dark blue and then fade to a bright blue shade to the tips. To do this, you can make two dyes: one dark blue and another a lighter blue. Just perform the action twice, dipping one edge in the dark dye and another edge in the blue dye. If you’re hoping to create stripes of different colors, you can try covering certain portions of the tail with plastic so the colors don’t mingle. Remember – the water for dyeing should be hot.
- After an hour of soaking in the dye, take it out and squeeze the excess water off the faux fur. Take the stitched faux fur to the sink and rinse it using cold water, making sure that all the excess dye is rinsed off. Use gloves when performing this task so you don’t have to worry about dyeing your skin. Note that you only have to squeeze out the water, NOT wring the faux fur as this can damage the material.
- Once all the excess water has been squeezed out, hang the tails out to dry. It’s best to dry them indoors instead of exposing them to heat like the dryer or the sun. Allowing the tails to dry naturally will give you a better texture for the faux fur at the end of the day. Plus, it will help maintain the color that you tried so hard to work on during the last stage. Click them into place using a clip or just hanging them out to dry on a rack – make sure they’re away from any dirt or things that could blow into the fur. Drying period can take more than a day, depending on several factors. Just try to check on the tails now and again to find out if they’re still damp. It’s not a smart idea to speed up the drying process by ironing the faux fur or using a blow dryer unless, of course, you already know what you’re doing and can be careful.
- Is it dry already? After placing all the tails out to dry, you can now get all nine items back and review what you’ve made. Are you content with your Ahri tail or does it feel like something is missing? This is your chance to add a few touches to your League of Legends costume or any other character costume you might be working towards. You can use a paint spray to add colors to the tail, perhaps place some stripes or just make bolder shades to really deliver some authenticity. This part is completely up to you so feel free to add any designs you may have to stay true to the character.
- When you’re done coloring the tail, make sure to improve the texture by brushing out the faux fur again until you get this soft layer of hair. Remember, your costume must look fluffy and healthy, just like an actual fox-tail. If you check out League of Legends, you’ll find that Ahri has this luxurious tail that seems to move with the wind and just stands out. Things like drooping fur or matted hair will definitely ruin the settings. Do this slowly and deliberately by holding the base of the fur on location and then gently brushing the ends of the hair until there’s no resistance. In the same way that you brush your hair, you want to move the fur going towards the same location each time. Again, we don’t want any of the faux fur to fall out! You’ll know you’re done when the fur looks pleasantly fluffy and soft to the touch.
- This is where the hard part comes in. There are actually several choices for you to add integrity to the tail so that it can rise up to its full height and width. The most common one is with the help of a white CPVC pipe, approximately 1/2 inch in diameter or 20 mm in width. Measure the length of the pipe to match with your tail and cut it. Again – measure twice and cut once! Be careful and wear gloves when doing this activity.
- Lay the faux fur tail flat on the ground and place the pipe on top of it. Take your pen and start marking where the tails bend. The goal here is to bend the pipe according to the shape of the tail. This way, when you insert the bone inside the tails, it bends according to the shape of the pipe. This is best done before stuffing the tails so you can get this clean and flat surface without squishing things like the stuffing inside.
- This is where you need to be more careful, especially when you’re not used to using a heat gun. The heat gun will be used to soften up the CPVC pipe so that you can bend it according to the shape you want. You might need to learn the technique first but once you get it, the rest of the pipes would be easy. This activity may take a few minutes as you try to hit that balance of heat. Once you have the pipe sufficiently melted, slightly bend it in the shape you want based on the original markings you made. Hold this position in place for a few seconds until the pipe rehardens. Repeat multiple times until you get the shape you want. Don’t worry – as you do this activity more often, your speed and technique will improve.
- Finally, you’re content with how the cosplay tail looks, and that all the bones have been reshaped! Once you’ve managed to customize the outside of the cosplay, it’s time to stuff it. You can buy stuffing online through a simple search from your browser. You can also check out local arts and crafts stores in your location to find possible sellers. Stores advertising cosplay products can also be a great source of stuffing. The stuffing helps improve the volume of the cosplay costume so that there’s more life to it. Don’t worry – you don’t have to fill the tail to bursting. Just a bit of stuffing will do because you need to save some space for the bone or the PVC pipe. Too much stuffing can also add to the weight of the tail and make it more difficult for you to keep it upright.
- The next step is to get your 90-degree elbow joint which will be the main attachment between the bone and the base. The end of your pipe needs to be sanded down a little to create a coarse surface that allows for easy epoxy bonding. Put some epoxy on the end and then carefully insert it in the elbow joint. Leave it there for a few minutes so the two parts can really connect together.
- This is where things get tough because the elbow joint needs to be attached to the base, or basically the material that will be strapped to your back so that it looks like the tails are coming out of your body. The base has to be strong and capable of holding all the additional weight of all nine tails. Unfortunately, creating this base needs a little skill on your part. A smart technique is by using plywood or thick plexiglass. The base itself should be big – perhaps as large as your typical notebook. You can also measure the width of your lower back so you can get the exact height and length you want for the job.
- You can drill a total of 9 holes, each measuring 1/2 inches in diameters on the plywood. A great technique is to arrange the holes in a smiley face style so the tail will be fanned out beautifully behind your back. Measure the distance between these holes, around half an inch away from each other would be great as you customize how the tails would fan out behind your back. Some cosplay services sell base plates or can 3D print these bases for you according to your personal preferences.
- Next, you can start inserting the elbow joints into the holes of the plywood. Use some epoxy to hold the elbow joint in place and then attach a cap on the other end. You may have to test this out several times as the integrity of the tail’s bones may be compromised by bad attachments. Remember – don’t attach the cosplay fur until you’re happy with the bones. The bone should be firmly attached to the elbow joint and the elbow joint should be firmly attached to the plywood.
- If you’re already satisfied with the base and the tail bone attachments, the next activity is to attach the strap that will be tied to your body. You can use an old belt for this or a nylon strap with buckles that can click into place. To attach the belt to the base, just drill two holes on the two opposite sides of the base. You will use these holes to loop the belt around the base so that you can firmly strap it around your back during the cosplay activity.
- Finally, place your tail pieces onto the pipes and you get your cosplay costume as Ahri of League of Legends! The faux fur should be fluffy enough to hide a large portion of the base, allowing you to easily wear the getup without ruining the full effect of the design.
Understand that this is just one way to create your nine-tail cosplay costume. At the end of the day, it is your choice on how to proceed with the project. For best results, however, try making simpler costumes first before attempting the nine-tail look. You can also improve on the look by using other methods or checking other ways to create links between the different parts of the tail structure. For example, some people like to use things like a bar and Chicago screws instead of CPVC pipes. Try to figure out how and when you’ll be using the cosplay. Different settings demand different techniques to customize your designs so look into your choices before proceeding.
Nine Tails Cosplay – Online Offer
Of course, it’s always possible to purchase your nine tails costume online. You can search for different nine tail characters there – the internet offers tons of cosplay costumes for different characters. While the factory-made variety may not match your exact vision for your nine tails costume, it’s always possible to customize it upon delivery. Popular characters like Ahri from League of Legends usually have a strong following so it’s easier to find Ahri costumes online.
You will find that many cosplay creators are advertising their artistic products on the web. If you have the cash for it, you can also order your nine tails from a legitimate creator close to your location. You will be surprised at how many people customize cosplay costumes and have the experience to deliver a visually stunning nine tails costume. Just make sure to order your cosplay costume ahead of time because the period to deliver the product may take longer. This is especially true if you live in an area where health protocols are still in place.
Note, though, that these services can be expensive especially if you’re buying from someone located far from your home city. In many cases, being able to customize your own is the cheaper and more exciting way, more so if you have very specific ideas about your nine tails design.
Upright Or Down Tail For Cosplay?
You will find that most nine-tail cosplay makes use of upright tail designs. This means that the tail actually rises in height, like a peacock. In the recommendations we’ve provided, the instructions are for an upright rump. However, some people prefer a downward rump which means that the tail is actually dragging down the floor.
This looks stunning, too but lacks the “oomph” factor of a convincing cosplay performance. In either case, however, you will need to learn how to sew your faux fur, dye the material, and create a harness for the structure.
But what makes one different from the other? Well, a downward tail basically requires less integrity. It doesn’t need a pipe or some other metal material to keep it up. In many cases, it can just be filled with stuffing or some wire, depending on your choices and use of the tail.
Similar Technologies In Cosplay
One interesting thing happening these days is the use of cosplay with technology. For example, you can find that some Ironman masks manage to slide up and down on voice command. Things like tails can now have little motors with controls so that it moves up, down, left, and right. It takes a little work but it can definitely be done with additional tech data. Similar technologies have been used in TV shows, movies and other performance events. Of course, being able to deliver on all these tech ideas require very different tools from those already mentioned.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to create a nine-tail cosplay costume?
The amount of time you need to make the nine-tail really depends on your level of experience especially when it comes to sewing. The dyeing process itself can take 20 to 30 minutes at a time per tail. Of course, you have to take into account the drying time for all the tails.
To be on the safe side, it’s usually best to set aside at least 72 hours’ worth of time to get the job done. Note that most of those hours are dedicated to drying time after you dye the faux fur. Hence, you can get to do other things or do an activity you like while waiting. Just to be sure, you should start doing League of Legends tails one full week before the cosplay event.
This way, you’ll have enough information and can choose technique recommendations that will work best for you. Experience is still your best teacher here.
Do I need to learn sewing to make this cosplay costume?
Analytics show that you only need to learn basic stitching techniques in order to make the Ahri tail and others. However, having some skills in stitching definitely helps and will help give you a cleaner look for your designs. Ideally, though, you should practice your stitching on different materials first before doing the real thing.
The good news is that there are tons of recommendations on what kind of stitching style works best for your project. Check out videos specifically on sewing and you should be able to get relevant results and helpful content.
How do I pack a nine-tail cosplay costume?
Packing up a nine-tailed cosplay costume can be difficult as you want to prevent it from getting damaged on the trip to the venue. The extent of packing you have to do depends on your location and where you actually intend to go for the cosplay event. You can customize your own box too just to make sure your costume is safe.
Some creator made the choice to create an Ahri costume that can be detached from the set, allowing for easier use and storage. With the right packaging, you can fly all the way to Europe or even deliver the item to Europe and it would still stay intact.
To wrap it up, you can customize your cosplay costume as much as you want using all the recommendations mentioned above. Understand that experience plays a huge part in your cosplay results so if this is your first time – you might want to start small and get different ideas before proceeding with your project.
Once you succeed, however, it would be the most amazing feeling in the world and you can cosplay Ahri from League of Legends or any other nine-tailed demon you want! Repetition is an effective way to improve and pretty soon, you’ll be amazed at your performance with each event!