Cosplay has literally been a thing since masquerade balls in the 15th century. But in case you’re still wondering, “what is cosplay?” let me fill you in.
To be fair, I didn’t discover this community until 2015. Before that, I was just a normal human being– oblivious to the magic that was happening at comic-cons all around the world.
Many people have their own perceptions of the cosplay community. Some find it very strange while others are pretty neutral to the whole concept.
This community is full of fun, fantasy, and believe it or not… drama.
As a whole, we’re generally pretty welcoming to anyone who is interested in costume design. But some cosplayers have different definitions of what cosplay is and who is and isn’t accepted into the community. Some can be pretty territorial and downright harsh.
So let me just explain this whole cosplay concept from a relatively new insider’s point of view.
My first convention happened by accident. On the way to the airport (for my first ever airplane ride), we found out that there was going to be a Supernatural convention in Las Vegas… which was, coincidently, our destination.
Naturally, I convinced my sister to buy tickets on the spot. We eagerly joined the many Dean, Sam, and Castiels, fangirled at the live cast panels, and we even met Misha Collins (who plays Castiel). I didn’t need to ask what cosplay was because the concept seemed pretty understandable.
There were plenty of cosplayers roaming about the Supernatural convention, but I honestly barely paid any attention to them. The whole convention itself was pretty overwhelming and the energy was palpable enough that I couldn’t focus on anything other than my pure enjoyment.
Then my sister asked me to go to MegaCon Orlando with her in 2016. I hastily put together a Thor cosplay because I don’t need to be coerced into working with my hands. I crafted together my $10 costume and we headed out the next day.
And from that point forward, I was hooked.
What Is Cosplay?
Cosplay is a play on words for “costume play.” Most people know this.
What they don’t know is that there is no rulebook for cosplay. Cosplay, as I mentioned, has always been around. The whole masquerade era can now be considered a form of cosplay. Costume play itself gained traction in the ’80s and again in the 2000s, but now cosplay is slowly becoming a mainstream past time.
Different Types of Cosplays
There are unspoken “tiers” to cosplay as well. There are the novice cosplayers. That would have been me in my crafty Thor cosplay made out of craft foam and hot glue (still staple ingredients for any cosplayer, to be honest).
I’ve come across people in my real life who do think cosplay is a bit strange. And, admittedly, I’m always a little self-conscious about it.
That’s why I’m always so surprised when people tell me how cool they think it is. Everyone from my grandma to my childhood best friends will comment on the costumes they see me doing and tell me how much they enjoy seeing it.
Just this past Christmas, a relative (who I would instantly pinpoint as one of the people who would label cosplaying as “weird”) gushed over my character designs.
On the whole, it’s pretty close-minded to label cosplay as a “weird” past time or hobby. It’s true that it’s mostly older adults (25-35 years old) that are a part of this community. But that’s likely due to the fact that cosplaying can be expensive.
And while some people are insecure about the fact that adults are wearing costumes on a regular basis, most people are pretty cool with it. Whether you know it or not.
I’ve always thought that if people are judging cosplayers for turning themselves into characters, why don’t they do the same for actors? They’re literally doing the exact same thing.
Likewise, it takes blood, sweat, and tears to sew and to manipulate foam to make armored cosplays. Do I think it’s strange that some people put the same amount of energy into their own hobbies, like working on cars, baking, or filming YouTube videos?
Of course not.
Should You Join the Cosplay Community?
Like I said at the beginning, this community is notoriously welcoming. Most people rave about each others’ costumes or ask for crafting advice. There’s something to be said about the unequivocal bond you make with someone who’s just as passionate about Supernatural or Iron Man as you are.
However, a word of caution: be leery of the gatekeepers and the internet trolls. Reddit (r/cosplaygirls), in particular, is full of nasty people who seemingly hate their life.
Unsolicited advice is also becoming an increasing problem (“great job! But you should have made your armor a little bit redder!”). And if you know anything about the Star Wars gatekeepers, you’ll know that nothing is ever good enough for these types of people. Especially when it comes to your cosplay.
But should you join? If you enjoy art, have a passion for literally any fandom (from anime to Disney), and you don’t mind burning yourself with a hot glue gun for the rest of your life– then welcome to the cosplay community!
I am so sorry if my tutorial seemed confusing at all. PLEASE DM me on Instagram if you have any questions. I’ll try to keep an eye out on the comments under the video as well. If I change the way I do my Supergirl hair routine at all, it will be updated in this blog!
Do you guys want me to do more cosplay transformation videos? But maybe actually do a transformation this time? I’m an amateur makeup-ist so don’t expect too much. I love learning new techniques though, so I guess if I end up creating a cosplay that I’m really proud of, I’ll share the makeup transformation!
Wondering where to get cosplay supplies? Honestly, there really is no limit on where you can shop.
Most cosplayers start by buying bits and pieces from thrift stores such as Goodwill. You can come up with really cool (and cheap) closet cosplays this way. You can find starter material that you can sew and alter (or use for mockups).
The next route you might take is eBay. I am a very impatient person, so I’m not too thrilled by the idea of buying a wig and waiting a month to gauge the quality.
However, 99% of the time, cosplayers tell me that they have huge and inexpensive success shopping here, so I still recommend it!
Then you can purchase full cosplays at some great online cosplay shops or, if you’re like me, you can become an almost exclusive Amazon shopper.
To help you get started, I’m going to walk you through everything I have in my personal cosplay desk. I have two YouTube videos on my cosplay craft room, so you can get more of a visual over there.
This list is exclusively for cosplay materials that you will probably need at your own cosplay desk. If there is anything else I’m forgetting or that you recommend, please feel free to leave us suggestions in the comments below!
Shop My Cosplay Materials!
Here are links to where I get all of my cosplay supplies!
Disclaimer: Actions taken from clicking on links may yield commission for the site. All content and photos are copyright Cosplay and Coffee unless otherwise noted. Sponsored content is clearly disclosed within the post. Thank you for your support and I hope these services help you!
To give you an idea of what I think you should buy first, I’m going to list my favorites in order. The top items are what you should get first, followed by the more advanced options.
Patterns: My favorites are the Simplicity which frequently go on sale at Joann’s!
Fabric: Almost all of my material has been purchased from Joann’s. I have purchased material from Wal-Mart but your options are slim there, and it’s usually not the highest quality material.
However, I do find their little squares of fabric to come in handy, so I’ll stock up on those from time to time!
I haven’t found any place cheaper than Joann’s, although I know that other cosplayers have found local shops to have more options. If you have a great tip on where to buy cosplay fabrics, please let us know!
Rotary Sewing Cutting Set
Adjustable Dress Form
Hip Curve Ruler
Styling Design Ruler
Starter Cosplay Tools:
A good pair of scissors (for cosplay supplies only)
Glue Gun and Glue Sticks (or 5)
Box Cutter and/or X-Acto Knife
Wood Burner or Soldering Iron
There are a TON of things you can have at your cosplay workspace. I also recommend getting your hands on some of Kamui Cosplay’s patterns! They will save you so much time and it’s an easy way to learn foam smithing!
What cosplay supplies do you have in your craft room?
One thing active crafters like cosplayers dream about is their own crafting space. Even though I live in an apartment, my boyfriend and I thankfully have a spare bedroom that doubles as an office for him and a cosplay work station for me! So, just in case you’re in need of some craft room ideas, I’m going to break down how I set mine up and give you some craft room storage ideas.
A Breakdown of My Cosplay Craft Room & Craft Room Ideas For Organizing
Click here to watch the video!
I’m sure you can tell, but I don’t have a luxurious crafting room.
Honestly, if I had it my way, I would live in a house and transform an entire garage into a dedicated crafting space. It would be so convenient considering how much material we cut up and the fumes we’re exposed to (EVA foam, contact cement, paint, etc).
But if you’re looking for a convenient way to transform a small corner of your home into a cosplay area that you can call your own, I think my setup is the perfect solution.
At the very least, I hope it will spark some craft room ideas!
I was very picky when it came to my cosplay craft desk (btw, you can now shop my desk here!). Originally, I only had storage cubes that were 13×15 so I needed to find a desk that could fit those.
Also, I really didn’t plan on spending more than $150 on the desk itself. I searched through Amazon, went to Ikea, and finally settled on this desk from Wal-Mart. It can hold 8-10 storage cubes, and my giant cubes fit in perfectly.
My favorite feature about this desk is the extendable legs. It’s a kind of a pain to switch up, but I love that I have the option to stand while making my cosplays.
I found some alternatives on Amazon in case you wanted to see what options you have. But if you’ve seen the video, you can see how convenient using this type of cosplay craft desk is!
Craft Room Storage
If you’re looking for craft room storage ideas for all your cosplay materials, I’ve got you covered there, too!
I think your best bet is to get these giant, fabric storage cubes like I have. You can fit SO much in these. I purchased mine from Wal-Mart a while ago as I had a hard time finding bins this big online.
Either way, I have some craft storage materials linked down below. I also recommend getting bags for wigs, scrap material, and other miscellaneous items like jewels, velcro, and hot glue sticks.
Edit: I forgot to mention the small organization drawer where I keep my fabric markers, glue, and sewing pins. It’s something like this!
A media kit is primarily used by cosplayers in order to apply for convention appearances and cosplay sponsorships. My first sponsored cosplay came a year into my cosplay career and having a media kit was a handy tool that allowed the company to see who I was and what I had to offer. That’s why I decided to share my own kit with you and offer you a cosplay media kit template.
Do you always need to send a media kit? Not necessarily. Sometimes a well-crafted email can land you that sponsored cosplay or collaboration (I’ve done this myself a time or two). However, media kits help you establish a sense of professionalism while simultaneously giving you a way to showcase your cosplay-related accomplishments.
Media Kits shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all, so I highly recommend changing the colors and adding a few things to make it represent you and your cosplays. The platform I used to make my kit is called Canva, and it’s the greatest thing ever. You’ll need an account to get my template, but from there it’s literally just drag-and-drop, so customizing it will be a breeze.
But before you get started, you should probably take a look at what exactly a media kit is used for and what you should (and shouldn’t) include in this file.
A media kit is essentially a beefed-up cosplay resume. It holds all of your graphics, statistics, and experiences in one document. This document (typically in PDF form) is then used to send to conventions or companies in the hopes that you will be hired as a cosplayer, crafter, streamer, or what have you.
These documents are fairly easy enough to make, but I decided to send you my personal cosplay media kit template that I made just to give you a head start (I’m not a graphic designer, so please don’t judge me). You can use the same program to tailor your own or use one of the many templates they have available.
You can also just add your media page to your website! But I’ll get into that in a minute.
What To Include in Your Media Kit
Everyone’s media kit should be different. And depending on the reason behind your media kit, you may need to tailor it in different ways. For example, convention runners may not be interested that the RPC Studio sponsored you a cosplay, and likewise, a makeup company might not put much thought into your convention appearances.
You can try to squeeze it all in there, but just like when you tailor your resume for a specific job, consider doing the same for your media kit depending on who you’re trying to work with.
Besides your contact information and social channels, here are a few more things to include in your cosplay media kit:
Pictures: Showcase your best cosplay photos here. I would also suggest putting in a decent personal photo just so companies can get to know the real you.
Services: Do you write blogs, make YouTube videos, or stream on Twitch? In most cases, companies are going to look at what you have to offer them. This is also where you can include panels you’ve hosted or competitions you’ve been a judge for.
If you’re only looking to get free (sponsored) stuff, consider offering multiple services (i.e. a dedicated blog post and an IG post) in order to land the gig. It will be really hard to sell yourself on just a single Instagram post if you have a small following.
Previous collaborations: This includes convention appearances and sponsored posts. Let them know what you did for the company and include any statistics and positive outcomes that the company benefitted from during your collaboration.
Statistics: Include your demographics (age range, gender, location of followers) and social media stats. The easiest way to get these is by using the two platforms I have listed down below.
Awards and Press: This is where you want to highlight any awards, press, and publications you have been featured in. I would only include one photo here and then just link to the publication so the reader can view it at their leisure.
What Not To Include
There is such a thing as too much when it comes to your media kit. Here are a view things that may make your media kit look unprofessional or novice:
Too many pictures/colors: Yes, this is cosplay, but don’t let your media kit act as your primary portfolio. Ten photos is more than enough to include in your media kit (high-quality, of course!).
I made the mistake of incorporating too many colors and graphics in my media kit the first time. Try to stick to 3 core colors and fonts so that your media kit looks clean.
A background image: A background image is way too distracting. You want your media kit to have a fresh and easy to follow format. Likewise, sometimes bold colors such as red or blue are a bit too much for a media kit.
Work history: This isn’t your resume. It’s cool if you’re a hard-working barista, but companies aren’t really going to take much stock in your daily work hustle. Keep it brief and professional.
If you are sending out a pdf Media Kit via email, I recommend keeping your file at 2 pages max (similar to a resume). Chances are, the company is only going to do a quick skim at first, and you don’t want to overwhelm them with too much information.
However, if you have a website, you can also just include your Media Kit as one of your dedicated pages. I still have to do this, but I still have a PDF version, just in case. Momo Kurumi’s Media Kit webpage is another terrific example you can use for reference.
Ready To Send?
Not so fast. Before you start sending off your Media Kit for collaboration inquiries, have a friend look it over. It always takes a second pair of eyes to spot any errors in your copy.
I would also recommend showing it to an unbiased source, such as a cosplay friend who you know will give it to you straight. Preferably, you will want to have someone who has experience in landing gigs (such as convention appearances or sponsorships).
If you need some advice, I’d be happy to share my opinion. Just DM on Instagram and we can exchange information there!
Cosplay Media Kit Template and Alternatives
As promised, here is where you can get my free cosplay media kit template. Just click the photo below, drop in your email, and I’ll send it over. If you have any questions, please feel free to respond to the email or DM me on Instagram.
Media Kit Alternatives
Not everyone has the time to put together the statistics for all of their cosplay accounts (even with a template!). To make your life a little bit easier, I recommend utilizing these two free platforms as well and include them in your pitch to potential sponsors.
Influence.co: This handy little platform allows companies to see your total reach, engagement, and social platforms all in one place! All you have to do is link each social site and Influence spits out the stats for you (including demographics). You can customize it a little with a bio, and you can even add previous sponsored or promotional social media posts. You can see mine linked for reference
Social Bluebook: If you are questioning how much you can charge for collaborations or conventions, you definitely want to invest in Social Bluebook. There are paid versions where you can add all of your accounts, but I just write down the information it gives me for each platform and then I remove it from the list.
The rule of thumb when it comes to sponsored posts is $100 for every 10K followers. However, if you have a high engagement rate or grade (my Instagram is A++!) then you can probably charge a little higher. Social Bluebook allows you to see how much to charge for dedicated posts, shout outs, direct links to company websites, and more.