How much does it cost to make your own cosplay?
If you’re like many cosplayers, you’re trying to save some money on this hobby. Things are getting more expensive these days, and cosplay was already a pricey hobby to begin with! So you’re probably doing whatever you can to save as much as possible. Smart idea!
But a common question that cosplayers have; is it cheaper to make your own cosplay? Or are you better off just buying one?
Let’s find out!
Is making cosplay cheaper than buying?
In many cases, making the cosplay itself will cost just as much, if not more than buying the cosplay from a costume store. However, for many cosplayers it’s not about money. Being able to create your own costume is what drives the cosplay hobby, even if it takes more time and money than simply buying a costume.
Some online retailers can pass the savings to the customer by mass-producing costumes and by cutting costs with manufacturers. Also, time is money and you can save hours of sewing and cutting by just simply purchasing the same costume from a store.
With that said, costs can always vary and you can personally save money by knowing the right things to do!
So in this post, I’ll discuss the costs of making your own cosplays versus buying one online to see which method is better for you, depending on your preferences.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Do cosplayers make their own costumes?
Absolutely! As mentioned in the beginning, it might be cheaper and time-saving to just buy your costume online. But that’s not what cosplaying is about for everyone. There are TONS of cosplayers who make their own costumes, even if it does cost more in the end. Sometimes it’s not about the money.
One main aspect of cosplaying is the fun and challenge of making your own costume. Yes, there is a lot of fun to be had when challenging yourself to create a costume from scratch. A lot of fun sewing and crafting things; there is a lot of joy and sometimes frustration that goes into it. But many cosplayers love the journey of it.
It’s like playing a video game with different difficulty settings. Sure, you can play Easy Mode for a while but eventually, you’ll probably get bored. You’ll want to try a harder difficulty because it challenges and excites you.
Well, making your own cosplay is the exact same feeling! Instead of just buying a costume (which is okay) or creating a casual cosplay, maybe you want to challenge yourself to make a cosplay that involves doing an entire dress! For some, making a dress would be incredibly frustrating. But for others, it would be totally fun adding in the embroidery and little details.
It’s one thing to buy a costume and have someone ask for your photo. But it’s a TOTALLY different feeling when you handmade an accurate cosplay yourself and someone recognizes you and wants your photo. It’s a truly satisfying feeling, like you’ve accomplished something big! When someone is marveling how beautiful and cosplay is, there’s no better feeling than that.
With that said, don’t feel pressured to be obligated to make your own costume. Lots of people don’t know how to sew or craft, so they just buy their costume or get someone to make it for them. That’s totally fine! If you want to learn more about why it’s okay to buy your cosplays, click here to read my post about that.
How much does it actually cost to make your own cosplay?
In general, cosplays can be as low as $50 or even less, especially with sports Anime costumes. Or they can be as expensive, ranging from over $100 to even cost nearly $1000 (e.g. full Worbla armor costumes that are custom-made). With that said, I find most cosplayers spend between $100-$300 per cosplay. You can save money on buying materials such as fabric when they’re on sale, and buying in bulk.
The type of materials that your character has, can also greatly affect the cost as well. According to an interview I did with Sunny from Cosplay Station, a cosplay store located in Toronto, Canada (click here if you want to listen/read), special material such as embroidery will cost more because cosplay stores will have to find other places that can provide the material. That will of course drive up the price. It’s like getting a special part for your car; because your mechanic has to order it or find it elsewhere, it’ll cost everyone extra money to do all that.
I’ll give you an example below showing how cosplay costs can be dramatically different, depending on the character you want to make:
|Low-cost cosplay (Anime jersey)||Higher-cost cosplay (Fire Emblem costume)|
|Expenses||–Jersey and shorts from -Aliexpress: $25|
–Cheap glasses: $10
–Running shoes from thrift store: $15
|–Costume (Armors + Cape (two colours and emblem graphic on the back) + Top + Belt + Gloves + Red Button = $400|
–Tiara = $25
–Wig from Arda = $30
–Sword = $80 (while this was a great deal, it has broken on me several times. I’ve probably spent over $100 fixing the Falchion several times)
–Boots = $2! (No joke, I found boots that are perfect for cosplay for only $2 at Goodwill. It’s probably my biggest cosplay accessory steal of all time. :))
|Total||Around $55||Over $500|
As you can see, the costs for cosplay can great vary. Keep in mind, when you make your own costumes, you’ll also have to buy the materials yourself. Whereas buying a costume, the store does all that for you and makes the costume. So for the most part, there isn’t much cost-savings to be found by making your own costumes. People make their own costumes because they enjoy doing it!
Also, just because a costume costs more, doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. For example, I love my expensive Marth cosplay and it was worth every penny to get that costume made.
Embroidery costs a lot because a lot of time, my workshop I have to commission other workshops to provide because they could not do themselves either, so they have to go to another store to do it. So those are extra cost to it.-Sunny from Cosplay Station
Should you make your own costume or just buy it?
If it isn’t clear already, it really depends on your own preferences whether you want to make the cosplay or just buy it online. I’ll summarize the main things that will help you decide if you do either or.
|Making your own cosplay||Buying the cosplay|
|-You can control the costs because you purchase all the materials for it|
-The joy and challenge of making it yourself
-Greater satisfaction of wearing something you made on your own
-Best option if you don’t know how to sew or craft
-Sometimes cheaper than making it youself
I hope you found this post helpful! If you have any questions or suggestions, leave them in the comments below!
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!