I made a sparkly wig for an Alexandrite cosplay fit for the Land of the Lustrous. All the decorations are removable so that I could reuse the wig for other costumes.
Assembly Part 1 - Cellophane wefts
Assembly Part 2 - Sparkly Hair Part
Add more Sparkle & Pizzaz
I added some extra glitter to my wig to blend in my "glitter top" by hand applying chunky glitter to cellophane strands using toothpicks and E6000. I've seen people use rhinestones or glitter flakes and I've seen people make cowlicks with cellophane. Do what you want to be your true gem self.
Being able to make your own gems for projects can be a good way to save money plus get the exact look you are aiming for. You can buy resin casting sets in custom colours, however, colours are limited (red, green, blue and that's all folks) and resin dye can be expensive or hard to come by. You can also cast clear gems and paint the backs, but the colour is not visible from sharp angles. After some testing I found this method works great.
Casting resin with acrylic INK!
The colour options are limitless since you can mix your own shades and you can control the opacity of the gems. It's also cheap since a bottle of ink costs about $6(CAD). In addition, the ink can be used for many other purposes such as dyeing wigs, whereas resin dye has one specific purpose.
I've made a video tutorial below but you can also find all the steps and materials listed below.
At 1 drop per 10ml of mixture the gems are relatively clear. At 2 drops per 10ml, the gems were more opaque or milky in appearance. The thicker the gem the more opaque it was.
For the glowing gem look, place a metallic backing to the gem. In the 2nd and 4th photos, as well as the completed armour below, I use metallic wrapping paper. Embossing foil and silver foil will also work. The effect is very nice and noticeable at 1 drop per 10ml and visible but not as vibrant at 2 drops.
Here are the gems in action. Happy crafting!
Tutorial: Swatch Catalog
Step 3 : Categorizing
Create subsections for your catalog using fabric types, attributes, or colour. These header cards will help in indexing the swatches. Whatever works for you. I decided on a mix of types and attributes.
Step 4 : Attach Swatches
Tape swatches to the card and add a brief description of the fabric (See above). Include whatever information you find useful. I tend to include a basic colour description, material type (silk, cotton, etc.), and stretch information if necessary (2-way, 4-way, slight stretch). If I used a fabric for a specific costume in the past, I also include that in the description section. It creates a great point of reference.
Blank cards can be used to keep track of scrap fabric - shorter pieces not worth measuring.
Step 5 : Insert Swatch Cards into Book
Wig Dyeing Guide V.2.0
I recently made a mermaid inspired costume with a sea shell bra for my Takane cosplay. I doubted any shell would be the right size while miraculously contouring my cups, so to avoid hover shells magically floating above my chest, I made a pair from scratch. Here's how...
*If you have a dressform you can probably skip to Step 2 and make the pattern directly on your dressform without using the KobraCast. Any reference to the "cast" will instead refer to your dressform. I do not own one, so I made a cast instead. *
I’ve found that keeping track of my cosplay inventory, as it slowly expands, is a valuable resource to saving money. My situation is little different than most since my workshop is out of town so I don’t have access to my materials all the time.
When it comes time to shop for new materials, knowing what you already have lying around is useful information. Even if you live where your supplies are, sometimes its difficult to remember what you have on hand. Here a list of a few thing I recommend keeping an inventory of.
A general inventory template can be found at the bottom of this blog.
Contributing to the Con Scene
Conventions can be a place of fun, discovery, and learning. I've been going to conventions for over 10 years and I find there are many things a conventions can offer to enrich a visitor's experience. Conventions have brought me so much joy with great experiences with friends and that's why I find it great to give back to the events that have given so much to me.
Participating in an event, be it as a panelist, volunteer, or staff, can be a great way to learn about how the event is run and to create more connections with the community. It can be especially important if the convention is run by fans or volunteers, but it can still be an enriching experience when it comes to profit-based events.
I'm going to focus on cosplay-oriented activities one can do to contribute to conventions and the local cosplay community.
Online Resources for Cosplay
Here's a list of the most frequented websites I use related to cosplay. This listing is slightly tailored for Canadians/Americans but many of the stores listed do ship internationally. [Square brackets] are used to indicate the store's country.
Currency listed is CAD dollars.
Farthingales [US/Canada] - Corset supplies including boning, coutil, tools, books and patterns
Elizabethan corset generator - To make your corset to your measurements. Plug in your numbers and it will tell you how to make a pattern.
Arda Wigs [US + Canadian Store]
- Price Range: $30-$90
- Color variety and unique styles
- Accessories and styling tools
Epic Cosplay [US]
- Price Range: $30-$70
- Color variety and unique styles
- No lacefronts
Wig is Fashion [China]
Price Range: $20-90
–Colour variety - mostly unatural colours / big selection of lacefronts
Cosplay Wig USA / Gothic Lolita Wigs / Rockstar Wigs [US]
-Price Range: $30-100
-Colour variety and custom styles
-Market tailored: by that I mean they have specific wigs for specific geek communities "Lolita wigs" for example.
eBay.com , Aliexpress.com , and Taobao.com [mostly China]
- You can often find character specific wigs on these sites
- Check feedback before ordering and consider shipping times. Two or more months in advance is a good idea.
- Quality greatly varies - watch out for sellers who have multiple watermarks belonging to other stores
- Unless you can read Chinese characters, I suggest using a reseller for Taobao. They charge a fee to process orders on your behalf
Note: The camera used to photograph the fabric and the calibration of your screen affects what the colour looks like on a monitor. When in doubt order a swatch if it's available.
CosplaySupplies [US/Canada] – Worbla, Transpart, wonderflex, Fosshape, friendly plastic
YayaHan.com [US] - Worbla
-Also be sure to check out local plastics stores in your area, you may be surprised at what you find. I get my styrene from a signs shops.
BUYING IN BULK
Beads, feathers, fabric, trims, lace, wigs, etc
- Check the feedback of the item before purchasing, which is conveniently found on the item page itself
- If you run into a problem with a product be sure file a complaint, you will likely get a partial refund.
-Check for coupons, they often have store specific and site-wide coupons.
eBay [Worldwide] - Check the store's feedback before purchasing and try to find feedback on your item.
Taobao – [China] You may have to order from a reseller who will charge you a handling fee.
-Has a great collection of tutorials broken down in categories and sub-categories, such as: Accessories, wigs, shoes, armour, dyeing, and sewing.
Replica Prop Forum
- Mostly props focused
- Look up people's builds and post questions
- Search available tutorials or post a question
- General how-to website that has many costume oriented step-by-steps
Google - Put your search skills to use
- Search "character name" AND "tutorial" to see what comes up
- Use different terms while searching for a tutorial
- Bilingual cosplayers, switch languages and see what results pop-up
I'm going to detail most of the advice I give out at "Cosplay on a Budget" panels, which are almost a permanent fixture at cosplayer heavy conventions.
If you ever get a chance to check one out at your local convention, do it! They may have even more tips to give you, especially ones specific to your region. Some of my tips refer to Canadians/Americans companies, but overall it is general advice for all.
More blogs in the 10 year Cosplay Retrospective Series:
Week 1 -Wigs | Week 2 - Make-up | Week 3 - Armour | Week 4 - Cosplay Closet Purge | Week 5 -Planning | Week 6 - Inventory | Week 7 - Controlling Cosplay Costs |
Sometimes it's hard to say goodbye
Unless they have unlimited storage space, eventually cosplayers have to go through their cosplay closet and make some tough decisions. I'm throwing this blog in the "retrospective" series because I find this is an activity I've done repeatedly throughout my cosplay life and a little wisdom helps make the process easier.
More blogs in the 10 year Cosplay Retrospective Series:
Week 1 -Wigs | Week 2 - Make-up | Week 3 - Armour | Week 4 - Cosplay Closet Purge | Week 5 -Planning | Week 6 - Inventory |
MeltingMirror's Cosplay Blog
Learn more about my experiences in the cosplay world, from conventions to photoshoots and everything in between.