• 3D printing is a dumpster fire, but steadily improving. Get a head start learning the jargon and tools…some, like TinkerCAD, are free.
  • Alternate the gender of snaps along a seam…innie, outie, innie, outie…easier to align when closing a costume.
  • If airbrushing a smooth gradient from color “A” to “B,” introduce at least one additional and slightly off color “C” for a more vibrant transition. Two-tone just looks linear and flat somehow. This is true in digital printed gradients as well!

LEFT: 2-color (red, black) gradient vs 3-color (yellow, red, black). Bam! 3-color red-purple-black would also look good here.

  • Baking powder or spit instantly sets super glue.
  • Baby powder (talc) and super glue makes a workable paste, useful for building up structure and patching holes in resin casts.
  • Set hot glue quickly using Dust-Off spray, holding the can upside-down to release liquid.
  • Remove hot glue with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This doesn’t dissolve the glue, it just peels off cleanly!

If your costume has electronics powered from a USB power bank, design a pocket to fit this with the port opposite the opening and cable doubled back to keep it from pulling out.

With the tight bend, check the cable for fraying after every outing…or better yet, get a right-angle USB cable for this.

  • Use a seam ripper’s shorter, ball-tipped point to quickly “unzip” along a seam; the longer point is to pick individual threads. Maybe obvious for some…but most sewing notions don’t include directions, and even experienced costumers sometimes don’t know the routine.
  • With your scissors sharp and cutting in long strokes, you can pivot both the scissors and the work piece as you go to cut smooth curves. “Chop-chop” cutting looks like a kid’s art project or low-poly game graphics.
  • There’s a strong tendency to want to machine sew everything…but learn some basic hand-stitching to mend your suit when away from home.

For complex or form-fitting costumes, a “duct tape dummy” of one’s body can be a vital aid. You can search for and find tutorials elsewhere…that’s beyond this guide…but here’s specifically the cosplay hack part…

  • Instead or in addition to EMT shears, a safety carton opener (such as Klever® Kutter) is more comfortable in tight spaces like the elbows, and less likely to nick skin elsewhere. If it still tugs uncomfortably on skin, a spritz of isopropyl alcohol helps it glide like butter!

This guide was first published on Sep 06, 2022. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Techniques) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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