When it comes to cosplay costumes, many people struggle to get the outfit they have in mind from the shops or online and often resort to taking the do-it-yourself (DIY) route.
However, many people believe that an iconic DIY cosplay costume will be complicated, expensive, and take hours to make. This is not always the case – many resources providing ideas on easy and inexpensive DIY cosplay costumes can be found online.
If you have always wondered how people dress up to impersonate their favorite movie, game, or book characters, you’ve come to the right place. Before we present the most iconic DIY cosplay costumes, let’s start by defining a cosplay costume and provide an idea of what it takes to create one.
What is a DIY Cosplay Costume?
Cosplay is an art form where participants dress as characters from books, television shows, movies, or video games.
Rancer.com, the digital media company that features polls on entertainment, brands, sports, food, and culture, writes, “Any kind of media is fair game for cosplay, as long as the character has a representable physical appearance.”
The site adds, “It’s common to try to resemble the chosen character as much as possible, but some cosplayers get creative and use their unique traits to bring a new twist to an established fictional personality.”
To ensure that their costumes are convincing, cosplay characters often mimic the actions of the character they are dressed like by studying the character in detail. Some cosplay actors eventually become subject matter experts on those characters.
Ranker.com traces the history of cosplay to the 1930s when “an American man named Forrest J. Ackerman turned up at a sci-fi convention in futuristic attire.” This idea appealed to many, resulting in the proliferation of conventions where people dressed up as their favorite characters and, in some cases, even won prizes for their costumes.
The University of Montana reports that, even though an American started the idea, the word cosplay is English for the Japanese term Kosupure.
The university adds, “The creation of the term is often attributed to Nobuyuki Takahashi of Studio Hard, who may have coined the word after attending the 1984 World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) in Los Angeles, California.”
What does it Take to Make a Cosplay Costume Iconic?
Even though you can get cosplay costumes from the shops or online, many people prefer creating their own. But what makes a cosplay costume iconic?
Let’s start by saying that you don’t have to be an expert to create an iconic costume. All you need is to know the character you want to portray, have the right resources, and have a little creativity.
The British supplier of fabrics, feathers, and accessories for milliners, furnishing, cosplay, and bridal and fashion designers, Parkinfabrics.co.uk, lists some helpful tips for creating an iconic cosplay costume:
- Choose your character: Take time to study the character you want to portray and collect as many pictures of them as possible.
- List the items to be made: Start by listing each item required to complete the costume. Always check your wardrobe; you may discover many things you can use.
- Download sewing patterns: It’s not always easy to find all the patterns in one place, so you may need to look at different resources for each item you want to make.
- Collect the materials: Now that you are ready to start, find the materials you need.
- Get the right tools: Nitrile gloves, safety goggles, epoxy glue, heat gun, hobby knives, glue gun, and sewing machine are the basics. If you can’t get a sewing machine, you can always hand sew your costume.
Let’s now look at ten characters that have inspired our time’s most iconic cosplay costumes.
- Deadmau5 Head
Deadmau5 is a famous DJ and music producer from Canada. The musician, whose actual name is Joel Zimmerman, is well-known for wearing his signature mask/helmet when performing.
If Deadmau5 is your icon, Wikihow.com has put together a helpful tutorial on how to make a Deadmau5 head. We can’t guarantee that it will be easy, but we can promise that it will be fun, and you will love the result.
If reading is too much effort, check out the YouTube video below:
- Boba Fett Samurai
The Boba Fett Samurai armor cosplay costume may look quite challenging because of its complex character. Still, many cosplayers take the bull by the horns and make it themselves.
If you have a 3D printer, you could easily find software that permits you to print the complete costume.
However, if you are not one of the lucky ones to have a 3D printer, Honus of Instructables Craft has put together a “How to Scratchbuild a Boba Fett Costume- Using Cardboard!” tutorial.
- Wonder Woman
The American comic book superhero Wonder Woman has inspired many people to create some of the most iconic costumes. The costume, known as the Golden Eagle Armor, looks great in the comic books but ask anyone who has experienced it in real life, and they will tell you it can look even better.
Christian Holub writes for the Meredith Corporation-owned Entertainment Weekly and follows the evolution of Wonder Woman’s costumes through the years.
If you want to try your hand on this costume, Alyson Tabbitha has put together an easy-to-follow YouTube tutorial. Check it out below:
- Ace Ventura, Pet Detective
The flamboyant Ace Ventura was the leading character in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. The comedy was released in 1994.
One of the reasons the Ace Ventura cosplay costume is so popular is that it is extremely easy to put together. You may even already have most of the things you need to rock the Ace Ventura look.
Gogocosplay.com has put together a comprehensive Ace Ventura costume guide.
Alyssa Pereira writes for the San Francisco Bay Area local news source, SFGATE, where she tells the story of how a “Bay Area man cosplayed his way into an actual Avengers movie cameo.”
Chances that you may end up in an actual Avengers movie cameo by cosplaying the characters are slim, but we can guarantee that the chances of having fun are pretty high.
Want to give it a try? Watch the DIY Black Widow Costume video below:
Would you believe us if we said that, as long as you have paint, felt, craft foam, and hot glue, you could own a DIY Thor costume and its accessories, including the helmet, vambraces, and hammer?
If you don’t believe us, you need to head over to Thethingswellmake.com. The site documents the process of creating the Thor cosplay costume. The end product is so impressive that many people will doubt that you actually made it yourself.
WikiHow.com has also put together a fun tutorial with details on how to make the Thor costume.
- Freddy Krueger
We can’t dispute that Freddy Krueger was an extremely nasty human being. He is a leading character in the film series, A Nightmare on Elm Street.
The evil character is often remembered for his burnt face, hands, and neck. For Freddy Krueger, the advice that we shouldn’t judge a book by the cover doesn’t apply because his deeds are as scary as his looks.
However, we all know that Freddy Krueger is acting, and many love to cosplay his character.
Movieclothiers.com has assembled an easy-to-follow guide if you want to rock the Freddy Krueger cosplay costume. It’s great to know that you can create costumes for both men and women from these guidelines.
- Dan Cattell Nintendo Characters
Nintendolife.com reports about a different kind of cosplay costume: flat-pack costume.
The site tells the story of Dan Cattell, “an artist with a passion for making 2D sprites into 3D, wearable cosplays, by cutting out each individual part and slapping them onto cardboard shapes strapped to his arms and legs.”
Nintendolife.com reports that even though “it takes a lot of dedication and attention to detail to make these real-world sprites look just like the chunky animations from games of old … Dan manages to pull it off in style by studying and recreating their movement.”
A YouTube video featuring Cattell has been watched over 26 million times since 2019. If you are not one of these 26 million, check it out below:
We can’t write about iconic cosplay costumes without mentioning Batman. Even though some believe that Batman has worked too hard for most of his life and needs to rest, the Batsuit still has a long way to go.
Ever wondered whether it’s possible to make your own Batsuit? We have good news! Wikihow.com has a guide on how to make your own Batman costume.
The magazine Countryliving.com explains why it makes sense to combine Halloween and Poison Ivy: Halloween is America’s favorite time of the year, and Poison Ivy is one of its favorite comic books.
Suppose you agree that combining the two makes loads of sense. In that case, you may want to read the 15 DIY Poison Ivy costume ideas for Halloween that’ll make everyone green with envy, published by Countryliving.com.