We all see them at conventions with their stylish clothes and outlandish personalities; cosplayers are dominating the pop culture scene. With their grandiose costumes, people often wonder: “How much are cosplay costumes worth? “

The truth is, if you are interested in cosplaying, it’s always important to be mindful of the true cost of cosplaying (costume, travel, event fees, etc.), and carefully consider ways to minimize costs. Some of you may also be worried that with all the costs involved, you won’t be able to afford to have a fun time or have a good enough costume that is “worthy” of creating great content. 

So let’s break down just how much are cosplay costumes and then factor in other potential expenses so that we get to understand the true cost of cosplay.

The Costume Budget

The bulk of your Cosplay Budget will often go to the creation of your costume, whether you’ll be making it yourself or commissioning costume designers to create one for you. This makes a lot of sense because the whole the biggest part of being a cosplayer is the costume. An awesome thing about your cosplay budget is that you can actually spread it out over multiple events and conventions as you re-use your costume or parts of it.

So just how much are cosplay costumes? Well, let’s break it down to find out.

Commissioning a Costume

The cost to commission a costume varies widely depending on the complexity of the design, the materials used, and the experience level of the person creating the costume. It’s best to ask potential costume designers how much are cosplay costumes designed by them.

On average, a commissioned costume can cost anywhere from $200 to $2000 and sometimes even more. Some factors that can affect the price of a commissioned costume include:

  1. Design Complexity: The more complex and intricate the design, the more expensive the costume will be. Costumes with lots of details, layers, or accessories will require more time and effort to create, which can increase the price.
  2. Materials: The type and quality of materials used will also affect the price of the costume. High-quality fabrics and materials like leather, fur, or metal can be expensive, while cheaper materials like polyester can lower the overall cost.
  3. Experience Level: The experience and reputation of the costume maker can also affect the price. Highly experienced and well-known costume makers may charge more for their services, while newer or less experienced makers may charge less.
  4. Props and Accessories: If the costume requires props or accessories like weapons, wigs, or special effects makeup, these will also add to the overall cost.

In general, it’s important to do your research and shop around when looking for a costume commission. Be sure to get quotes from multiple makers and ask to see their portfolios and references before making a final decision.

DIY Costumes

Costume Materials

The cost of materials will depend on the complexity of the costume and the quality of the materials used. Basic materials like fabric, foam, and glue can cost between $50 and $100, while more advanced materials like resin, fiberglass, and LEDs can cost upwards of $500 or more. Don’t worry; you don’t need to buy everything at once. Start with basic materials and upgrade over time.

Sewing and Construction

If you plan on making the costume yourself, you’ll need to have basic sewing skills and construction knowledge. You can either learn these skills on your own or take classes, which can cost between $50 and $200. There are also many online tutorials and resources available for free. Think of this as investments for future projects, something to consider if you’re serious about cosplay.

Props and Accessories

Props and accessories can add to the overall cost of your cosplay. You can’t exclude these when talking about how much cosplay costumes are. Depending on the complexity of the props, they can range from a few dollars for basic items to several hundred dollars for more complex items like weapons or armor. You can make basic props from materials like foam and cardboard and upgrade to more advanced materials as you improve your skills.

Wigs and Styling

Wigs are an essential part of many cosplay costumes. A good quality wig can cost between $20 and $100 or more, depending on the length and style. Styling the wig can also require additional materials like hair products and styling tools, which can add to the overall cost. You can check out BehindInfinity for tips and tricks on wig styling.

Jin creates magic through creating their own props and wigs. One of their posts include samples of previous work and videos of their wig styling process.
Photo: BehindInfinity

Total DIY Costume Budget

Based on these estimates, a basic cosplay costume can cost anywhere from $100 to $500, while a more complex and elaborate costume can cost several thousand dollars. For a content creator who wants to get into cosplaying, a good starting budget would be around $500 to $1000. Remember, cosplay is all about having fun and expressing your creativity, so don’t feel like you need to spend a lot of money to get started. Start small, learn as you go, and have fun!

Miscellaneous Expenses

In addition to the main expenses of designing, making, and accessorizing your cosplay costume, there are also miscellaneous expenses that cosplayers should consider. These expenses could also easily add up so make sure to take note of them when planning your budget.

Travel Costs

When calculating the cost of cosplaying, you need to take travel expenses into consideration. Some of the best venues to showcase your newly-made costume are at conventions such as Anime Fest Asia. This means you’ll spend money traveling to these events.

The traveling cost will vary depending on how far the event is and what travel options you have. If you can take a train or a bus to the venue then it shouldn’t cost that much versus if you have to fly in.

Consider going to conventions closest to your home to cut down on travel costs. Enjoy the company of your fellow cosplayers where you don’t have to worry about overshooting your budget. One of the best ways to enjoy an event is with peace of mind.

Entry Fees, Accommodations, and Meals For Conventions

If you are going to a cosplay event, you most likely will have to pay an entry fee. The cost of a convention will vary greatly from event to event. For instance, a convention in a major city is likely to have much higher entry fees than a local cosplay convention closer to home.

If you are traveling a great distance to the event and would require lodging, accommodations are another added cost to consider. Hotel costs can add up quickly, especially if you’re staying in a major city.

Therefore, a substantial way to cut costs is by choosing an event close to home so you don’t have to pay for accommodations or hefty entry fees.

You’ll also want to take into consideration meals during the event. Consider packing some snacks that you can leave in your car if traveling by car.

Final Thoughts: Is Cosplaying an Expensive Hobby?

Cosplaying can be relatively inexpensive in some instances; however, cosplay can also turn into a costly hobby if you don’t set a clear budget for yourself.

Having an expensive cosplay costume isn’t the grounds for having a fun experience at a convention or creating quality content for your followers.

There are a number of ways to cut costs while still being able to have an enjoyable time at a convention. From choosing to go for a closet cosplay with items already found in your wardrobe to choosing to travel to an event closer to home, if you plan ahead and are mindful of costs to look out for, you can stay within your budget while still making great content and many fun memories!

How much does a professional cosplay costume cost?

The cost of a professional cosplay costume can vary widely depending on the complexity of the design, materials used, and the level of craftsmanship. It can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

How much does it cost to make a cosplay costume yourself?

The cost of making a cosplay costume yourself can also vary widely depending on the complexity of the costume, materials used, and your skill level. A basic costume can cost anywhere from $100 to $500, while a more complex costume can cost several thousand dollars.

Is it necessary to spend a lot of money on cosplay?

No, it’s not necessary to spend a lot of money on cosplay. You can start with basic materials and props and upgrade over time as you improve your skills and budget.
How can I save money on cosplay?

How can I save money on cosplay?

You can save money on cosplay by using basic materials, making your own props and accessories, and shopping for materials and supplies on sale or in bulk. You can also borrow or rent items when possible.

Is cosplaying a sustainable hobby?

Cosplaying can be a sustainable hobby as long as you are mindful of your spending and resource use. You can also consider using eco-friendly materials and methods in your cosplay creations.


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