Cosplay is a popular activity that involves making and wearing fictional outfits and accessories that resemble specific characters as close as possible.
Cosplay can be a great hobby if you love video games, anime, comics, or TV shows.
However, most people are concerned about the cost of getting into cosplaying.
So, How Expensive Is Cosplay As A Hobby?
Cosplay can be an expensive hobby because of the skill amount and material to create costumes. There are so many pieces you require to consider, including wigs, props, shoes, costumes, and specialized makeup supplies. As a beginner, you will also need to get some basic items, including a respirator, thread, needle, glue, hot gun, measuring tape, etc., which can all add up.
However, it does not have to be. Like most hobbies, you will need to spend some money on participating in the hobby, but you will spend as much as you want to. Cosplays as a hobby can be as low as $50 or lesser, particularly the spots anime costumes, or as expensive as hundreds of thousands of dollars, such as the custom-made full armor costumes with the best fabric and expensive material. It is also important to consider the cost of traveling to conventions that suit the costume and take a lot of time to create.
How much you spend will depend on the character you are cosplaying.
Fantasy characters with elaborate outfits set you back a lot of money, but it can be very cheap if you are just cosplaying the regular characters.
The cost will also depend on whether you already own a lot of equipment or materials.
If the costume is something you can easily assemble from regular ‘off the shelf’ clothing materials, this will help bring the cost down.
With this, most cosplayers spend about $100 to $300 on each cosplay.
Ensure to select the cosplay you want to do depending on how much money you can readily spend. However, if you have fun making costumes, this will feel less like a cost.
Nine Ways To Cosplay on A Budget
Despite the high prices of cosplay as a hobby, there are various tips you can use to reduce the cost.
Some of the tips for cosplaying on budget include;
1. Purchase Second-Hand Cosplays
One way of cosplaying on a budget is buying used or second-hand cosplay.
You can search for people selling their used cosplays on Facebook, eBay, Etsy, and Storenvy.
Here, you can find dresses or shirts similar to what you require at a thrift store and add a different collar, cinch the waist or cuffs to make it resemble the costume you want.
2. Buy Budget Cosplays From A Single Source
You can also consider buying a cheap costume that fits your budget.
While it might not be the highest quality costume, this is no reason for not having fun cosplaying your favorite character.
You can also go for cheap cosplay characters from the clearance section of most cosplay stores.
You will also be able to save on the overall cost of materials and shipping by purchasing in bulk.
3. Use Materials In Your Closet
This involves using everyday clothing from your closet or cheaply available materials in stores to make a costume rather than making it specific for the character.
This will work best with characters with simple costumes or if the character has a plainclothes outfit in a few episodes.
4. Buy Generic Items For Your Cosplay
When starting cosplaying as a hobby on budget, you don’t need to worry so much about the details.
You don’t have to worry about it if your shoes are generic boots or you can’t find the exact skirt color for a low price.
With generic items going at a lower price, why not opt for them instead of the expensive high-quality items that you can barely afford.
5. Use Your Cosplay Materials Multiple Times
You can also consider reusing cosplaying materials from one cosplay costume to another.
You can reuse most of the basic costume pieces, such as simple wigs and white undershirts, repeatedly to make your future cosplays to be a bit cheaper.
6. Use Your Hair
Wigs can sometimes be expensive, depending on type and quality.
Fortunately, you can avoid spending on wigs by growing your hair and dyeing it to work with different characters’ hairstyles.
You can also become creative by changing the character’s design to work with your hair.
For example, as a sailor moon cosplayer, you can use your natural hair to design Afro puffs instead of the anime’s pigtail-buns.
7. Learn To Alter Clothing
Most clothing can be converted into a good costume piece with just some alterations.
You can easily find dresses and shirts at a thrift store similar to what you require and add a different cuff, collar, or cinch the waist for it to work as a costume.
8. Group Cosplay Orders To Save On Shipping Cost
Ordering your cosplay materials or costumes online can result in expensive shipping costs.
Fortunately, you can save on the shipping cost by ordering your materials as a group of five to ten people.
So, why not find other cosplay enthusiasts around you and buy as a group.
9. Sell Your Unused And Old Cosplays
Commonly known as ‘CosSwap,’ selling your old and unused cosplays can help generate extra money to fund your future projects.
Selling off your old cosplay costumes will earn you more money and provide more space in your home for your new costumes.
What Are the Benefits of Cosplaying as A Hobby?
There are several advantages of getting into cosplaying as a hobby.
One of the main benefits of cosplaying is that you can be whichever character you want. It also allows you to meet new friends enthusiastic about it.
Cosplaying is a creative and enjoyable hobby that will help you boost your self-confidence and learn more about making props, sewing, and designing different loos.
You will enjoy attending conventions and even going out in public and hanging with friends dressed in your favorite characters.
How Much Time Should You Spend Making Your Costumes?
While it might be cheaper in the long run, time can be more valuable than money.
The number of hours you should spend making costumes will depend on how elaborate the costume is and the amount of time it will take to be ready.
Spending an hour daily is enough for simple outfits, while more detailed and elaborate costumes might need several hours daily to complete.
If you don’t enjoy making cosplay as a hobby, you can spend your time better elsewhere.
Can You Make Money as A Cosplayer?
With practice and passion for cosplaying, you can start earning some money as a cosplayer by selling your artwork of different costumes or even being paid to appear in events dressed as a particular character.
While you won’t make much when starting, it is worth hanging in there and working your way up.
To become a professional cosplayer, many schools provide courses in design and sewing that can help you perfect your skills.
Cosplay can be expensive, especially if you always purchase or make new costumes, and cheap if you get it the right way.
Also, you can look incredible in a cheap cosplay and not look great in a costly costume.
Therefore, spending more on a costume doesn’t necessarily mean it will be great.
With the reviewed tips and some planning, you can have a fantastic time without spending a lot.