It’s Just a Flick of the Wrist (How to Make a Wrist Lighter)
Have you ever wanted to be an alchemist? How about a fire mage? An assassin, maybe? Well I happen to have a pretty nifty tutorial for that. It’s easy, very affordable, and such a fun parlor trick!
What you’ll need:
A grill lighter
$3.00 at any grocery store
A spark ignition (grill ignition/button)
$7.00 at any hardware store
You probably have this lying around
Something to bind everything to your hand (like elastic)
$4.00 for a BUNCH of elastic ribbon at Walmart
String or thread
Again, you probably have this lying around, but it’s not expensive.
So this awesome little contraption will cost you at most $20.00. Trust me, the looks you’ll get will be so worth it.
Start by taking apart the grill lighter. You probably won’t need tools to tear it limb from limb, but if you’re having trouble, a knife should do the trick. Just be careful.
The only part you need from this is the butane container with the gas line attached (shown below). There will be a small plastic piece that attaches where the gas line begins; this is to release the butane.
At this point, you will need your spark igniter.
This is the model I used however, many different kinds will work. I wanted an easy push button (and man is this an easy push button. I shocked myself a few times playing with it.)
Plug the two wires in as shown below and attach the other sides so that they straddle the end of the gas line.
Before you end up securing them in place, make sure they are positioned correctly. Just give it a few tries by starting the ignition and opening the gas line; if there is a flame, you’ve got it!
You will need to create a harness to secure the flame to your hand. My costume ended up covering up the wrist/hand area anyway so I used some gnarly elastic that happened to be lying around. If you can’t afford this, I suggest using flesh colored fishnets. Make sure that the flame will not touch the fabric. I mean it. You don’t want your arm catching fire. A good way to ensure this is to use a metal nut around the base of the gas line and ignition.
Harness the butane to your arm. That’s right. You get to walk around attached to a tank of butane! (Tank might be an exaggeration).
Tie the string or thread to the little plastic piece that controls the gas. Then tie a loop around your finger. Make sure the tension is right. You don’t want to be leaking all day, nor do you want too much slack. The idea is that you flick your wrist back and BAM! Fire!
So now that you’ve made it, you’ll secure every part to you but keep the ignition button tucked up your arm. I had a scarf that I lodged it into. My reason for this is that I didn’t want to ever accidentally unleash my pyrotechnics.
Have fun and be safe! Make sure your venue won’t freak out… but then again it is always better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission, right? After all, you control fire now.
Hello students! Welcome to professor Viper’s first day of con etiquette class. Today we will be taught the do’s and don’ts of appropriate convention behavior and how to avoid angry cosplayers.
We’re starting off with a biggie. Do not glomp. Under any circumstances. Glomping seems harmless but there are a multitude of reasons as to why it’s a bad idea. These reasons include but are not limited to:
The cosplayer has a very gently constructed cosplay item on them such as wings or armor that could be damaged or broken if someone glomps them.
They could be Haphephobic, meaning an extreme dislike/discomfort of someone touching them, to the point where they will scream or cry the same way someone would if a spider was touching them and they were arachnophobic.
They could have back issues where a surprise or ‘extreme’ hug like that would hurt them even more or cause them a lot of pain.
They (or you) could have unsealed body paint that could rub off onto your (or their) costume.
It could be considered sexual assault because it is usually not consented to beforehand and is meant to come off as a surprise, which quite a few people don’t take too kindly to.
Instead of glomping, try asking kindly for a hug. Don’t take it personally if they refuse.
Taking pictures is fun and getting your picture taken is fun and shows of your hard work and likeness of a character, but it’s only fun if all parties consent.
Please ask permission first in order to take a picture of someone. DO NOT TAKE ‘CREEP SHOTS’, which consist of taking a picture of someone when they’re not paying attention and you don’t know them, taking pictures up their cosplay when on the escalator, and taking pictures if they explicitly state they do not want their picture taken.
Wait until a person is done eating to ask for a picture.
If the person is sitting down and taking a break, wait until they finish their break to ask for the picture or say ‘excuse me’ and ask if you may take the picture. Do not just take the picture.
If the person is on the phone, also wait until their call is over to ask for a picture.
If the person is crying or upset, do not ask for a picture.
If you want to offer a snack, be careful about the distance if it is messy or could get on someone because 1) it could stain their cosplay or 2) they could be severely allergic to said snack.
Please do not touch or grab their props without explicit permission from the owner, as they could be fragile or expensive or even dangerous if made with real steel.
It is okay to gush over their cosplay but try not to put yourself down in order to make them feel good about your cosplay, saying things like “You’re the best, everyone else can go home.” or “I’d never look as good as you” might seem like good compliments but cosplay is for fun and doesn’t need to be a competition.
3.Artist Alley etiquette
Buying art and prints is always much fun but please be mindful of these rules to make sure that everyone has fun and is respectful of the artist.
Do not touch the art without permission
Do not tell the artist their prices are too high (as this is what the main source of young adult artist is and lowering their prices might be better for you but will seriously hurt their end income)
Try not to block the table or art with your body or costume parts (such as wings) as it prevents other possible customers to look at the art they might want to buy.
Do not hover around the table too much if you are not going to buy anything, simply tell the owner of the booth that they have great art and that you are still going to think it over, which gives you leeway to leave and be able to think about whether or not you want their art.
Give detailed specifications of what you want the artist to draw for you so that it comes out perfect when they finish and you will not have to ask for corrections to be made, making both you and the artist feel awkward.
Offer to bring them food or a drink if they are swamped with commissions as commission artists rarely get to leave their tables to explore the convention hall.
Talk to them! Commission artists, especially if they’re alone, might get bored during the convention when they can’t really leave their table, so strike up a conversation with them if they’re not too busy!
Careful when touching an object if allowed; Remember, you break it, you buy it!
Have your money ready before you buy so the transaction can go smoothly and quickly.
Feel free to haggle by a few dollars, especially on Sunday as that is the day that vendors start to pack up and might be lenient and give you a great deal on something you’ve been eyeing all weekend!
If they refuse to haggle, don’t push it. You might be lucky at another booth.
If you already have a bag and the item is not very big, tell the seller you don’t need a bag so you can save yourself the weight and them the bag.
Feel free to make small talk to the vendors too if they’re not too busy.
That’s all the tips I have today!! I hope these tips guide you well during a convention! Class dismissed!!
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No big introduction this time! Let’s get into it right away! (I wish I could say the same thing about my own projects…)
1. IRON, IRON, IRON!
When I was a kid, I didn’t see the point of ironing. It seemed like a waste of time because in the end, you’re just going to toss your clothes back into the washing machine so why bother? I was so, so wrong.
Ironing makes all the difference in the world when it comes to clothes, especially cosplays. Fictional characters are always wearing flawless clothing without wrinkles all over the fabric, and this is what you want. Nobody wants to look like they rolled out of bed in their cosplay or having it seem like they only just took it out of the packaging.
Be careful not to burn your fabric! Synthetics have the least heat resistance, natural fibers like cotton and wool have the highest, but blends depend. Start low and go higher if your fabric isn’t smoothing out. Spraying a little bit of water also helps a lot! Use a spray bottle even if you can fill your iron up with water as it will help your iron last longer.
When you are making your own cosplay, be sure you iron every seam as you finish sewing them. This is often the difference between your garment looking amateurish or professional.
2. MIND YOUR POSTURE
Especially with how rapidly technology is advancing, many people nowadays spend their time slouching at a desk and slumping as they walk. This can make for unattractive photos so make sure you straighten your back and slightly tuck in your chin! It seems like a minor thing, but characters are usually drawn with good posture, so people often do take notice. Even if it’s only when someone asks you for a photo, remind yourself to take note of your posture, or get a friend to remind you.
Admittedly, this is one I sometimes struggle with but I’m getting there!
Also, it is worth paying attention to how your character would stand and walk. Typically, males will not sway their hips when walking, or stick their hip out when standing. Likewise, females usually walk with their knees slightly brushing against each other and will not stand with their legs far apart. Of course, there are exceptions so observe your character, or the people around you!
3. MAKE SURE YOUR COSPLAY FITS WELL
Being able to simply put the cosplay on is different from it fitting well! Sure, you can put on your dad’s suit, but it doesn’t mean you will look good.
Just like posture, this is especially important if your character wears a uniform, but I think this should apply to everyone. Different types of garments will have different signs of ill fit, so be sure to research them first. Clothing should not be very loose around you – it should leave you enough room to comfortably move, and it should not be so tight that it begins to wrinkle at the seams or buttons. Of course, there are garments with an intended loose fit, so this does not apply to everything.
Sometimes, from the artwork, characters do look like their clothes would be technically ill-fitting, but you should still strive to make your cosplay well-fitted as 2D does not always translate well to 3D.
4. WEAR A WIG AND MAKEUP
I’ve seen many a beginner ask about which hair dyes wash out easily, and if hair chalk would be easier, only for a barrage of cosplayers to urge them to use a wig. Ask pretty much anyone and they will agree a wig is the way to go – they hold styles much better and for longer, they come in a bunch of lengths and colours, they save you when you’re having a bad hair day, and they help boost your accuracy.
Of course, there are times where you can use your own hair (such as when the hairline shows or if the hairstyle is extremely short), but wigs are still the best 99% of the time. It is also a lot more cost effective than if you dyed your hair, and they can be reused over and over again!
Characters often rely on their hair to look unique and like themselves, so wearing a good wig will be worth it!
Also, be sure to cut and style your wig. Beginners will find this daunting but don’t be afraid! There are tons of tutorials out there to help you, and you can practise on a cheaper wig if need be. Just a few small snips can make the wig look a lot better and not obstruct your vision as much.
I recently had to cut my first wig – all I had to do was trim the fringe a bit, but I was really afraid of stuffing it up. I went slowly and at the end I thought, “Hey, that wasn’t so bad! I’m done and my wig is still in one piece!”
For characters whose hair sticks up a lot, spruce your wig up with a bit of strong hairspray or wax. Fan favourites include the Got2B Glued hairspray, and Gatsby hair wax. Not all wax will work on wigs so do some research first!
Makeup is also something beginners often find daunting. I started using wigs straight away but I wasn’t fond of makeup so I always skipped it. I’ve never used it in my entire life so even putting on eyeliner was hard for me, and what the heck was foundation? You just sort of smush it on your face, right? Well, that’s what I did at first and results weren’t great as you can imagine, so I started scouring the net far and wide for tutorials, then practised at home in my spare time. I’m not very good at it yet but I’m learning!
Foundation evens out your skintone and photographs better, eyeliner and fake lashes brighten your eyes and make them bigger, and contouring can slightly change the shape of your face – makeup is really amazing! Even with just a little foundation and eyeliner, you will be able to see the difference it makes.
Yes, it can be very expensive – foundations can run up to $80 or over! – but there are many cheap alternatives out there, like elfcosmetics. Take a trip down to your local makeup retailer and ask them to help you pick suitable products – most of the time they will offer you samples to take home, too!
For your viewing pleasure, here is a video of some amazing makeup transformations (skip to 3:20):
Cosplay is all about trying new things and pushing your limits, so give it a go!
5. CHOOSE THE RIGHT FABRICS AND MATERIALS
Because, of course, they are the heart of all cosplays! Different fabrics have different properties, which make them suitable or unsuitable for whatever you’re making, so be sure to know what to pick.
I’ve made a cape or two with woven materials and while they look fine, they just don’t flow as nicely as a knit is cape-able of.
Most of the time it would be fine to choose something based on aesthetics, but for people less experienced with fabric this will not always work out. Some might think broadcloth cotton will do just fine for a coat, but you’re better off picking twill or a polycotton mix. This is a little hard to explain just over an article since you need to feel the fabrics for yourselves, so next time if you need help be sure to ask whoever’s working at the fabric store. Or, if you like the work of a certain cosplayer, ask what they used!
Also, most cosplayers will agree to never pick cheap, shiny fabric. If you do want a bit of shine, it will be worth it to save up and shell out a bit more for more high quality satins – they will look and photograph much better!
Keep thin fabrics (like the aforementioned broadcloth) to linings and learn the properties of knits and wovens. Wovens keep their structure and do not stretch much (if at all), so they are more suitable for coats and uniforms. Knits can stretch and flow very well, so they are often used for bodysuits and capes. If you use a knit for a coat, it will look wobbly and weak. If you use a woven for a bodysuit, it will be uncomfortable and wrinkle a lot.
If you are using thermoplastics like worbla for armour, be sure to do some research on how to use them first. Generally you will have to reinforce it with some craft foam instead of using it by itself. Look up the different types of foam – craft foam, expanding foam, and styrofoam are all types of foam but they are extremely different to work with. This applies to wood too. Pine may be harder and stronger than balsa, but balsa is softer, lighter, and easier to work with – not to mention it is sometimes the only type of wood cons will allow.
Well, I hope you learnt a lot from this article! Best of luck on your cosplay endeavours, and let us know in the comments what else we should all look out for!
While not every cosplay needs fake eyelashes and lipstick, particularly for male characters, you still want to remain looking out of this world fabulous and with just these small makeup pieces, your cosplay will look as great as ever!!
Whether you’re in cosplay or even out of cosplay, BB Cream can take your looks to a whole new level!
I personally use the Tony Moly brand Goddess Aura BB Cream, though it can get pretty pricey. The reason it’s so expensive is because it smoothens your face and makes it all an even color with a touch of light so that you look radiant. It evens out uneven skin and hides pores and smoothens out acne you might have right before the big con! This product isn’t just for girls either, a lot of KPOP stars use BB Cream on their faces because it stays on for a while and makes you look gorgeous in front of the camera. It’s one of my highest recommendations and you can find BB cream at any local beauty store!
Now that you have your BB cream on, you can move onto contouring your face so that you can have a better defined and more pronounced face. If your facial structure is similar to that of the character, just do some light contouring with a dark color underneath your cheek bones and the sides of your nose, as well as a little bit on your jaw line, and don’t forget to highlight using a light color on your nose and the apples of your cheeks!! Contouring can make someone’s face go from a baby face to a stronger looking face in just a few minutes!! It’s definitely recommended for older characters.
The eyes are a key focus to any good cosplay, so regardless of gender, try your hand at a good eyeshadow to enhance the look and create a more natural looking cosplay. For girl characters, go for a color in their general theme and go either intense or light depending on their personality. For male characters, use a nude palette with brown and peach tones to give the eyes a little bit of pop and use the eyeshadow to create dark circles under the eyes for a more natural tired look.
Sticking to the key focus of the eyes, eyeliner (while it isn’t always necessary), can make your eye shape look wider or more sleepy in order to match a character. If you have a shaky hand or just need help when it comes to eyeliner, have a friend do it for you or use the tape method, where you add a piece of tape to the corner of your eye in a diagonal slant so that your eyeliner will come out in a perfect wing. Liquid is usually preferred over pencil for the top of the eye but feel free to use a sharp eyeliner pencil for both if that works for you. Even male characters can use some light eyeliner!
While no one would expect you to use lipstick for male characters, a light dab of a nude color can really help create a natural look as male lips tend to be paler in color than women’s lips. For girls, go for a pale color in pink or peach for younger girls and for older girls, go with a deep red or plum pink if it matches your character’s color scheme and personality.
You’ve got the rest of the components down, now to add a pop of color to your cheeks! Anime characters tend to have this “perma-blush” going on that makes it look like they’re usually embarrassed or nervous or just happy!! For this, you can use a light dust of rosie pink or peach color to brighten up your cheeks, but don’t use too much!! Anime characters aren’t THAT shy!
While contacts aren’t necessary, they add an extra zing to cosplay that makes it come to life!
Find a contact seller such as Pinky Paradise, Honey Color or Lens Village and choose a pair in the color of your character’s eyes. Remember to know your prescription and ask a doctor before ordering contacts to make sure that you’re able to wear them!
Also make sure to brush up on contact care and replace the solution often so they don’t end up drying up before you get the chance to wear them! Also remember not to stress out the first time you put them in, it could take a while.
Anime characters are usually known for their big eyes, so to get this effect, use fake eyelashes or use mascara on your real eyelashes in order to gain that anime appeal. These usually come in sets so you have a few different options to choose from. Use bigger ones for females and shorter ones for males. Choose the one you like best and apply the eyelash glue and blow on it so it will become tacky and stick better. Apply right on your eyelash line and position it well. Now go bat those eyelashes~
With these small essentials, your cosplay will look a million times better than ever before!!
Also known as clothes I find myself using over and over again.
Having these readily available in your wardrobe will make your life a lot easier as you wouldn’t have to keep going out to buy or make them again. This list will vary for everyone depending on what kind of characters you tend to like to cosplay, but here’s mine!
1. WHITE DRESS SHIRTS
Long- and short-sleeved ones are equally essential!
2. TROUSERS – BLACK, BROWN, WHITE
Something like 10 of my cosplays need black pants haha. Brown is also standard (but less popular), and I’ve been seeing more and more characters wear white so it is definitely worth picking some up. Incorporate them into your daily outfits and it’s a win-win!
3. A NICE, WELL-FITTED BLAZER
Black is the most versatile in my opinion. They’re also great for when you just want to do a casual photoshoot and you can just chuck it on for a suit variant of your character.
Like dress shirts, suits are also made for different figures so be sure to wear the right one!
The fit of the blazer can really make or break a cosplay so be sure to familiarise yourself with how it should look on your body before you make a purchase, or have one custom made to your measurements.
4. NECK TIES
You can really tell I’m a big fan of formalwear, haha. Black, again, is the most common, but with how cheaply you can buy them why not get a couple more colours like dark blue or red? Go wild and make your own rainbow tie rack!
5. LEATHER BELTS
Of course, this list would not be complete without the mention of a belt. And yes, you guessed it – black is again, the most common! I currently have a black, white, and brown belt. If you have small hips or a thin waist, you might have trouble finding a belt that will fit you so invest in a leather hole puncher (this is something I am constantly forgetting to buy…)
Brown and black are the only ones you really need, and sorry black but I think brown beats you on this one! I love loafers because they’re perfect for casual wear and they’ve very comfortable, plus there’s no need to tie any of those pesky shoelaces. They’re also very common so you should be able to easily find a pair at your local mall, shoe shop, or thrift store. I actually found my favourite pair at a secondhand shop for $8!
Make sure you keep them nice and shiny by polishing them.
7. WHITE GLOVES
Ah yes, the favourites of mechanics, posh people, and characters from ambiguously dated time periods.
Wearing gloves can make it hard to use touchscreens, but you can follow this tutorial to sew some conductive thread into the fingertips or use a stylus.
This one is pretty obvious but I thought I’d mention it anyway. I use both black and white (not at the same time) but until halfway through my time as a cosplayer, I never had black socks! That was weird.
White socks go with everything but sometimes you need black socks to fill that space between your shoes and trousers, where white would stand out too much.
If you’re like me and tend to cosplay male characters 99% of the time, you only really need socks that go a bit past your ankle. However, if you cosplay a lot of female characters, you might want to get socks that go up to your knee and maybe even thigh highs.
9. CHEST BINDER
Last but not least, you’ll probably need a chest binder! Please, please invest in a good one and not those $12 ebay ones, and definitely do not use tape to bind your chest! They are uncomfortable and can be very bad for your body. I’ve worn really cheap binders before and it restricted my breathing and hurt my back even though it was the right size.
Many people swear by GC2b binders and while they can be a bit pricey, it really is worth investing in a good binder. This is something you will be wearing again and again over a very sensitive part of your body so you’d want a product of good quality!
If you can’t get a binder, try wearing a sports bra and wearing one or two regular bras over it, but backwards – the clasps will help flatten your chest. Remember not to do physically intense activity while binding, and only bind for a maximum of 8 hours a day.
That concludes my list! What other things do you find yourself wearing over and over again? Let us know in the comments!