Cosplay Tip of the Month: Confidence

Judgment, as much as beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. It takes courage to put yourself out there by wearing a costume in public — skimpy or not, crossplay or not — especially if a photo of you will appear on the internet. But trolls are as much a part of life as mosquitoes. The important thing to remember is that when someone criticizes someone else it’s not an assessment of quality; it’s a projection of values they judge themselves by. You could wear a chicken mascot costume or be a stunning replica of
Vampirella and someone will still complain about something — their comments are a product of their own experiences and have nothing to do with you, no matter how personal it seems. Ignore it. Take it as a compliment (if they really felt like they were better they wouldn’t feel the need to proclaim it to the world). Focus on the droves of people who instead give positive feedback. And if later you look back on that cosplay and think, “Yeah, I probably could have spent a little more time on that armor, I was just
learning how to work with that material that year,” that’s fine — we’re talking about the non-constructive criticism here.

So when you cosplay any character, OWN IT. Your confidence will sell it no matter how perfect or imperfect your armor, wig, butt, skin makeup, or whatever turned out. We never stop learning no matter how long we’ve been cosplaying so don’t expect yourself to be an expert from the get-go. Be the character and have fun! By just trying it you’re way ahead of most of the world. 😉

By Stefanie Hackenburg


Cosplay Tip of the Month :

Cosplay Tip of the Month: ALWAYS save your scraps

Worbla, EVA foam, fabric, yarn, FOSSHAPE, PVC, leather, whatever . . . as long as your stash is not taking over your home, keep in mind that scraps are almost always useful for some later project. Even goofs make great scraps for other detail work.
By Stefanie Hackenberg


Cosplay Tip of the Month:  

Hiding the Mundane

Don’t forget the little stuff when designing a cosplay: Where will you put your cell phone, badge, chapstick, keys, spare batteries (if your costume includes electronics), etc? Do you have pockets?   Pouch on your belt? Secret compartment? Space to tuck something in your bra?  Whatever works — the more clever the better!

By Stefanie Hackenberg



Cosplay Tip of the Month:  Weapons Policies


Before you bring that fantastic prop to the next convention, look into their replica weapons policies.  Some cons prohibit certain materials, some limit the size, some allow anything as long as it’s always holstered/sheathed, and yet others have different guidelines.  Be prepared so your hard work doesn’t get confiscated.  And always remember to practice good weapon discipline!  Don’t point it at anyone, be mindful of others when you’re carrying large props, and never put your finger over a trigger.

By Stefanie Hackenberg

JULY 2016


Move fast and gently when working with Worbla, a popular thermoplastic commonly used in armor and prop-making. Once it’s heated it’s a little hectic to handle (frequent users joke that they have no fingerprints!), it can tear if stretched too far, and it adheres to itself almost instantly. Try heating smaller areas and thermoforming gradually, rather than heating a large area that may collapse upon itself or tear. You can always reheat and patch, but your surface won’t be as smooth and even.

By Stefanie Hackenberg

JUNE 2016

Cosplay Tip of the Month:   Adhesives

           Always read the labels on your adhesives to ensure they are appropriate for the material you’re working with, know the amount of time required for the adhesive to set and whether an activator is required (e.g. Gorilla Glue must be activated with water), and wear a respirator when using adhesives with fumes. If you can smell it, so can your brain.

From Studio Cosplay

MARCH 2016

Cosplay Tip of the Month : Get Out

            It sounds simple, but juggling conventions, reservations, travel and what not can turn a good time into a drag. You’ve spent time on that costume and you want to show it off or it could just be closet bait until you use it again. However, you don’t want to travel to Abu Dabhi to wear it – so find some people of like mind and get out of the house. Easy examples are Central PA Cosplay, Central PA Avengers and Pennsylvania Steampunk all of which list and host local gatherings. Central PA Cosplay had something as simple as “Friends and I were thinking about going to the mall Saturday in costume” posted the other day. These are also the places that let you know about local activities, such as the Steampunk Photo shoot at the Omni Lens Studio in Ephrata March 19th & 20th. Central PA Avengers is a little different in that these folks are primarily focused on doing good deeds in costume, but that’s a pretty cool idea too, and they know where the fun get-togethers are as well. So go to Dragoncon and Comicon, but don’t forget that you can have fun in your own backyard as well and meet like-minded people.

By Jeff Young

Don’t forget our good friends at StudioCosplay also have lots of great activities as well



Cosplay Tip of the Month: Cosplanner

Outstanding cosplay app! It’s free, available to multiple mobile platforms, and has evolved into an incredibly useful tool. You can create projects that you’re planning or have already begun, name each by character and source material, and upload reference photos — very handy when shopping for components or materials. You can enter a start date, a target completion date, list elements you need to purchase or make, track costs and effort, post process photos, enter events where you plan to wear it, add shots from photo shoots, list achievements (not just awards!), and jot down notes about anything. All info is shareable.

By Stefanie Hackenberg


Cosplay Tip of the Month: Velcro

Velcro is a popular material for securing costume pieces, particularly for bulky costumes with attachments that need to be easy to remove for quick changes (and bio breaks). Adhesive Velcro is convenient, but even the heavy-duty version doesn’t stick well to many textiles and body heat will degrade the bond. Sew on your Velcro strips whenever you can.

By Stefanie Hackenburg



Cosplay Tip of the Month:  Care for Wiring

If you have wearable lights or electronics incorporated into your costume, be sure to protect your wiring — sweat can cause corrosion over time (especially with EL Wire).  There are many solutions, but one is example is silicone wire; it has built-in waterproofing and is strong and flexible.




If you have any electronic component to your costume or prop, especially wearable lights, be sure to bring spare batteries with you when you cosplay it and keep them handy even if you’ve fully charged your batteries the night before. Murphy’s Law will put the kibosh on your bling when you least expect (or want) it!

Studio Cosplay

Having successfully run their kickstarter and secured a location for their operations, Studio Cosplay is now entering the building phase. You can be a part of this exciting experience by volunteering your time. Visit the Studio Cosplay website or like them on Facebook to find out more about how you can help create a space where everyone can work to make something unique and special that makes you stand out from the crowd.


JUNE 2015


Don’t Skip Dress Rehearsal

Spend time walking around in your costume. Spend an evening or two at home as a full dress rehearsal before you debut it at a con or event. Notice what pieces are vulnerable, what’s uncomfortable, the difference in your personal space (or hit box, for my fellow gamers!) both horizontal and vertical, the weight of your costume and/or prop, visibility if you’re wearing a mask, any heat from electronics, and how long you can tolerate your shoes. Anything poking, scraping, coming apart, melting adhesives? Anything too heavy to carry after a while? Bonking your head on doorways? Gouging people with your prop? Feet killing you? Hard to see through your mask? Preparing in advance gives you time to fix issues and maximize your fun and comfort at the con!

By Stefanie Hackenburg

MAY 2015


Peltex is a washable sew-in fabric stabilizer that comes in fusible and non-fusible types. In short, it adds stiffness and structure to material. Its uses are endless, from home decor to quilting to accessories to costuming, and is available in various weights. Last year it was part of the blocky legs and head piece of a Lord Business costume from “The Lego Movie” and could be used in a variety of
robot, Minion, and winged costumes.

By Stefanie Hackenburg

APRIL 2015

Cosplay Tip of the Month: Stop the Bleeding!

 When dyeing fabric, to reduce the risk of the color bleeding or fading your final step should be soaking it in cold water and a little bit of white vinegar. This is also useful for fabric you’ve bought that you’re discovering isn’t colorfast, which often happens with reds and purples since these tend to be over-dyed. Don’t throw the dyed fabric into your regular laundry until it runs clear when rinsed!

By Stefanie Hackenburg

Studiocosplay Congrats




February 2015: Cosplay Tip of the Month:
Never underestimate how much paint weighs.

When you’re making a headpiece, delicate accessory, or prop, factor the weight of your primer, gesso if you use it, paint, top coat, or any other paint treatments into its stability — the more layers the more it weighs. Polymer-based tape (electrical tape, duct tape, etc.) and some adhesives can also make components marginally heavier.

Studio Cosplay image - banner


Cosplay Tip of the Month

Non-smear Makeup!

 Cosplaying an undead character and need to make your skin grey, white, green, whatever? Going to a con with some serious face makeup that needs to last all day? Not all brands or types are equal so it helps to use something sturdy, but regardless of which you choose a great way to seal it in is to lightly brush powder over the makeup-covered skin (best to use a fluffy powder brush so you don’t smear the makeup while you’re trying to prevent it from smearing!) and follow with a finishing spray. You can buy some pretty nice finishing sprays at cosmetics stores such as Ulta & Sephora, or if your budget is tight there are decent ones at most costume stores.

 You can find more of Stefanie’s cosplay adventures


Be sure to like her page

and you can also find out more about Cosplay at


October :

If you use thermoplastics such as Worbla, Wonderflex, or EVA foam in making armor or props be sure to store and transport them in a cool place. Hot attics and hot cars in the summertime will melt your project!

By Stefanie Hackenberg




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *