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The Phases of Cosplay 4: Basic Construction

Process shot of Bayonetta guns.
Have you got all the supplies you needed for your cosplay? Good! Let’s begin piecing it together. I’m going to change things up from my past format, as the work you’ll need to do with this phase will vary greatly. Instead, I will offer some helpful dos and don’ts to make this as painless as possible.

Do take your time and really plan a course of action. Draw on your foam, trace out your patterns, get reference photos and make mock ups.

Don’t be intimidated to make that first cut into your products. It’s going to happen eventually, it might as well be now.

Do make steps for yourself, if necessary. Don’t just dive in willy nilly. This will save you time, in the end, as well as resources.

Don’t feel like it has to look exactly like the finished product. A lot of that can come with finishing and details. Just try to achieve the basic shape.

Do keep yourself motivated. It can be discouraging when you see cut panels of foam all over your floor and clothing half made and not see how it will all come together in the end. No one can finish it but you.

Process shot of Bayonetta guns.

Don’t get upset if you have to rip out your stitches because something was backward or needs some reshaping. It happens to the best of us and it doesn’t mean your whole cosplay is ruined.

Do further your research while you’re building. If a piece of foam isn’t shaping right, guaranteed someone else has encountered the same problem and may have posted tips of their own online.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Not every adhesive you buy will be perfect for the job you wanted it for, and not every garment will hang exactly the way you planned. But it’s how you improve the skill you’re already learning.

Do stop and take breaks. Give your back and hands a rest, take a little walk, just get away from your work space every now and then. This is especially important if you’re getting frustruated with something not turning out exactly like you had hoped. You’ll let off your steam and come back with a fresh outlook on how to tackle the situation and make it work for you.

Don’t get ahead of yourself. Certain types of glue take a while to cure and you can ruin your build if you try to rush it. Move on to another part of your project, if you can. If you don’t have any other pieces to work on, then at least leave it alone overnight to properly cure and enjoy your free time while you have it.

Do test-fit the components of your cosplay frequently for look and comfort. You’re wearing this cosplay all day at a convention, so it’s very important that nothing’s too tight or rubbing you too much. This is the time to make those alterations.

And most importantly, have fun during this time. This phase in your cosplay can be just as entertaining as actually wearing it. You get to see your hard work and late nights start to turn into something tangible that you can be proud of.

Once you’re done this part, you’re ready for Phase 5: Finishing and Detail Work!

J. Tanooki is a Contributor for She has been a lover of cosplay for over 10 years and regularly works on new and exciting cosplay projects. She actively posts about her cosplay plans, progress, and random shenanigans on her Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram. Her opinion is her own. 

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