Costume Ideas and Suggestions

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Revision as of 02:02, 10 March 2012 by IsabeauVidal (talk | contribs)
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Below are some of my (Lianimal)'s ideas for costumes. I am just starting this discussion so that everyone can join in and add what they have used or used. It is a rambling but I would love for it to get a little more structured in terms of perhaps materials or type of costume or piece of costume.. perhaps, just a discussion of lights somewhere in here too..

Here is Miyong's resource list. You can figure out where to find tons of useful items in NY: Miyong's resources list

Reflective tape

Using reflective tape on your clothes is an easy way to be seen on the playa. You can sew or glue bits of it on. Here is a good website to buy different types of reflective tape:

Faux Fur

When cutting faux fur, remember to cut from the back of the fabric. It is regardless, messy working with fur but if you use scissors to just cut the fur, it is messier, because you cut the fur. If you cut from the back using an exacto knife, it only cuts the "backing" of the fur and not the fur itself. The fur will still slightly shed when you cut from the back but not nearly as much as if you just use scissors to cut straight through. I am saying this from experience - I had like 2 inches of fur all over my apartment after making my last fur coat.

One of my favorite places to get faux fur:

Where to buy faux fur (in NY) - these are the answers to the question posted on disks

  • Chic fabric at 225 W 39th Street betw 7th and 8th
  • Weavers at 257 W 39th St betw 7th and 8th
  • Diana's fabrics at 250 w 39th betw 7th and 8th
  • Elegant fabrics - Their fur selection is incredible, it runs from about $10/yd to over $200/yd - 222 West 40th Street betw 7th and 8th
  • Truemart Discount Fabrics - 7th ave and 25th (261 7th ave). They sell pornj fur for $7 a yard. Joseph said that if you start up a conversation with them about Burning Man and say that he told you all about them. They'll probably give you a good deal since he told them he'd tell people about the store.


I like using wire (it's really really cheap like $5 for a lot) from hardware stores to make a shape that stays on my head. I have a mannequin head that I bought from Ricky's when they were shutting down for like $2 and I use that for everything but I believe they sell really cheap mannequin heads for displays around the garment district for really cheap too. I make the headpiece on the mannequinn and figure out if it is the right shape, etc. For the ends of the wire, you can make little loops to put the wires together and tape them. You can cover the wire with fabric, sequinned fabric (I just did that last weekend), tape, etc. If you are not using tape, you use a glue gun to stick the fabric on the wire. I have been using twist ties to wrap things to the wire frame for the past few headpieces I've made and they have stayed up. Other ideas are also to wrap el wire in there to make it light up. After making the headpiece, you can keep it in place by putting in a ton of bobby pins. If you make the wire frame the correct shape, it should actually fit pretty well..

If you can afford it, this place sells really serious wire frames that are much sturdier than the ones I make. They weld the pieces together - I have not learned to weld yet and don't have access to a metal shop so it isn't happening for me yet..


Is something else that I was introduced to which I've made several costumes with. It is another awesome material to make a headpiece with. When you heat up fosshape (with an iron or heat gun) it will keep it's shape. It shrinks slightly when you heat it up. It is really amazing stuff - it reminds me a lot of felt. I think this is the cheapest place I have found it and it is in the city, yea!!


Wings can be made using the same wire from the hardware store. The different gauges are either stiffer or more bendable. Make a wing shape using the wire and then cover the wing shape with something like mesh, crochet, fabric, feathers, you can really use anything. You can then use an elastic to attach the wings to your shoulders.

Coat Hanger Wire and Panty Hose wings by Josh and Cody
You can also make wings very easily from a wire coat hanger and a pair of Panty Hose. Bend the wire into your desired shape. One coat hanger per wing. Twist the wire together at the base. Pull your panty hose down over the wire and tie off at the bottom. Tie on some elastic and you are done!
It is easy to spray paint, add decoration, etc.

Really easy troll hair - put a cup on the top of your head. Pile your hair around the cup and put a rubber band around your hair and the cup. You can next spray your hair some funky color or do whatever!!

Liquid Latex - an awesome way to paint yourself. It takes a few minutes to dry and you may need a few coats but a seriously interesting thing to play with. There is a camp at BM that in the past let you go wild and paint yourself - I think it's called Deviant Latex. Here is a supplier that I like and have used.


You can also use liquid latex to build or shape things on your skin. For example, Gearoid made little babies in liquid latex and then we stuck them on our faces for Zombiecon. You can also build up a nasty scar with liquid latex. You would then cover it with blood. For zombie makeup, you can also use things like toilet paper too..

Spirit gum - This is theatrical glue. This is pretty essential. We use this to stick things to our skin. I stick pretty flowers and gemstones to my face with this stuff all the time. Gearoid uses this to stick many different things on his head. Note: You can actually use liquid latex to stick things to your skin as well.

Patterns - This awesome burner website decided to discontinue their business but they posted up all their patterns on the website. You can print them out and make some really awesome items!!!

You will need Photoshop or a image program to be able to print them out, but they are worth it! Here is a pic of a yellow Jumpsuit I made for my niece last week from the Illanio Wear Pattern. by Josh and Cody


Online resources

Youtube video showing you how to make some clothes - very simple instructions:

Another making clothes website:

A cosplay website with some awesome tutorials (including wig tutorials!!!) -

I thought I (Madeleine) would add a couple places that might be helpful

    • __Leather and Fur__**
    1. **Native Leather** at 203 Bleecker st has incredible leather selections, including cheap ($45 ish) waist belts! Lots of belt pouches, hats of all kinds and killer belt buckles.
    2. **Vice Versa** at 241 Bedford Ave (Williamsburg) has racks and racks of leather and fur. I got a full length fur there of top quality for $75. They also have lots of military consignment and a rack of vests that will make your nipples hard.


- **SPANDEX WORLD USA!!!!** At 228 West 38th st. This place is amazing. More sparkle and glitter and UV reactive fabrics than you could use in a lifetime. Definitely not cheap, but if you're looking for that perfect stretchy, glowing material - they will have it. 
  • Spandex House - 263 West 38th Street is my preferred location!!! (Lianimal)

__**Pasties, Whips and Naughty Bits**__

  1. There are many stores near the **West 4th** (on West 4th) that specialize in naughtiness (and belly dancing gear and other sexy aspirations). Any kinky props, costumes and pasties can be found here within wide price ranges.


  1. **Trash and Vaudeville** at 4 St. Marks Place has an entire floor of shoes and practically every awesome boot that has ever been made, including my favorite, Stacks. However, they jack up the prices, I suggest trying on your dream pair of playa boots there and then ordering them online where they will undoubtedly be cheaper.
- STICKY fabrics like vinyl and plastics can get stuck sometimes in your sewing machine - so I use a layer of tissue paper on top so it can glide through my machine and then it just rips off once finished, otherwise you can also purchase a Teflon foot to make things easier.
  1. RUFFLES! - tutus anyone? of course you have yards of tulle that your just dying to gather up-don't have a ruffling foot on your machine? Use a zig-zag stitch over a line of dental floss so the floss is free in between the zig-zag stitches and when you are done just pull the floss line on one side and the gathering is easy and fast. Once gathered stitch on top with a normal straight stitch to hold your gathers in place.
- SOFT LEATHERS - I often find soft leathers to be very difficult and my machine tries to swallow them up. So to solve this problem I use a fusible (iron-on) interfacing available at most sewing and fabric stores. This stiffens it up a bit and make it able to pass through my machine, you can also just use a strip of interfacing along the seam and leave the rest of your garment looking softer like tribal draped skins.   
    • Pasties** - Making your own pasties is easy with your favorite fabric scraps. Most art stores in the city carry "Double tack" art paper which is like a sheet of double sided sticker paper.Peel off one side and place your favorite fabric scrap, then on the back draw and cut out you favorite pastie shape (hearts, stars...ect. the list goes on)

When your ready to wear them just peel off the paper like a sticker (non re-usable but they are custom and fun!)