Adding Details & Finishing Touches to Cosplay Costumes -Tips & Tricks

 In Cosplay

Everyone’s heard the old cliche, ‘the devil’s in the details.’ When it comes to cosplay costuming though, it couldn’t be more true. It’s often the extra details, the finishing touches, or the right pattern shape that can take up a large portion of time, but it’s also these items that can turn a good cosplay outfit into a great one. Keep reading to learn more about materials, tips, and tricks for taking your cosplays to the next level, including an informative infographic to help!

Infographic on adding cosplay costume details and shaping foam

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There are many materials you can use to add fine details and intricate designs to your cosplay outfit. Here are a few options that are widely used when it comes to cosplay armor and props.1. Worbla – As explained in my intro to Worbla tutorial, Worbla is a thermoplastic that becomes malleable once heated. You can use a mold to achieve a desired shape or roll your heated Worbla into long, thin, snake-like pieces and work with them from there. What’s great about Worbla is its self sticking property, which makes building easier when using Worbla for both the actual piece and its detailed designs.Making baby Groot out of worbla

My unfinished Groot sculpted from Worbla
Elspeth Sun's Champion Godsend hilt
Raised Worbla details on the base of a sword

2. Foam
– Just as you can build entire costumes out of foam, you can also use foam to create finishing details. Often, thin 1-3mm craft foam is used for these decorative designs. The great thing about foam, like Worbla, is that it can be so versatile. See the infographic below for tips on shaping and working with it.

3. Clay & Resin
– These two materials should technically be in their own sections, but when it comes to finishing details, they are often used in similar ways. Resin is great when you want to make a detail that repeats itself. You only need to make one mold, then cast the rest of your identical pieces from there. While resin can get pretty technical, I’d suggest starting with local craft store brands (such as Amazing Mold Putty Kit & Alumilite Amazing Casting Resin) for smaller pieces until you have a chance to learn more and play around with applications (these craft store options tend to be less expensive, easier to learn/use, and less toxic).
Clay is also good for making highly detailed designs/sculptures. It allows for a lot of great flexibility and customization in the final design. Crayola Model Magic is a great choice for an extra lightweight finish.
Astrid cosplay skirt skull
Resin molding and casting for Astrid from How to Train Your Dragon
clay lions
Clay lion creations for Elspeth, Sun’s Champion cosplay
4. Moldable Plastic – This material is also super versatile. It starts as little plastic pellets which you then heat up to a moldable goo. Shape it with your hands (or tools) and then, once cool, it hardens and retains its shape. This stuff is quite strong and is reheatable for additional reworking.

5. Hot Glue & Puff Paint
– These materials are another option for creating 3d designs on your piece. If you’ve got a steady hand, they can make the process much faster when compared to cutting and/or rolling strips from foam or Worbla. Just be careful not to smear your still wet lines.
Did you find this article helpful? Cosplayers -do you have any tips or tricks to share for adding finishing details that I might have missed? Please share in the comments!




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