Cosplay 101 – Troubleshooting

Water's baaaaahd for makeup

Hello, I hope you’re all safe from the heat of summer. (If it’s summer where you are, that is!) I’ve been putting off some of my WCS work because I don’t have A/C and can’t face using the heat gun. Maybe tonight,  we’ll see.


For a bit of a break after last week’s body image post, I’m here to share advice on how to troubleshoot your cosplay/con experience. Each one of these is learned the hard way, either by me or someone whom I’ve met.

Pre-Con Prep

The vast majority of costume issues can be discovered and mitigated before you ever set foot on the con floor.

Try it on, before the con

Weiss Sneak Peek

  • Can you lift your arms to a reasonable degree?
  • Can you sit in a chair?
    • Can you get out of the chair?
  • Can you go to the bathroom easily without needing ten helpers?
    • If no, fix that issue, or get depends. Preferably, fix.
  • Do you need to put your shoes on before anything else?
    • protip: if a corset is involved, this answer is ALWAYS yes.
  • Can you walk?
  • Can you see easily?
  • Any of the above is ‘No’, you probably need a cosplay handler. Aka a friend to help you navigate the crowd.
  • Does the costume still fit?
  • Does anything need reinforcing?
  • Have you done a makeup test?


  • Is your spot at the hotel confirmed? (if applicable)
  • Do you have your pass confirmed?
  • Do you have your transit confirmed?
    • Do your costumes fit into your luggage?
    • Is there enough room for your luggage in the vehicle?
      • If train/plane: do you meet luggage restrictions? weight, oversize etc.
    • Are delicate items packed carefully?

Van and Kudrel

Remember to pack water and snacks for your pet Kudrel.

  • Have you packed a Con Kit?
    • Crucial:
      • Bandaids
      • hand needles and thread in your costumes colours.
      • flash tape
      • bobby pins
      • spare wig cap
      • safety pins
      • scissors
    • Suggested:
      • Hot glue / super glue
      • advil
      • hair spray
      • Tide-to-go
      • blotting paper
  • If you’re competing in a Masquerade:
    • Do you have your masquerade audio ready? Have you tested it in another machine?
      • MAKE A SECOND COPY. I don’t care if you thnk it’ll be fine. DO IT.
    • Do you have reference material of your character?
      • This is a good idea regardless, especially if you forget which side a ponytail goes onto -_-;;

Too late, I’m already there!

Ohshit! What if you’re already at the con and something happens?

Problem: Someone stepped on the train of my costume and it ripped!


Elsas and Ellises of the world, beware! Your trains are delicate and long.

Solution: Do you have the con kit mentioned above? if so, do a quick whipstitch to close up the tear. If not, see if your con has a Cosplay first aid table. There you can find the usual suspects for costume repair: glue, pins, tape and some thread and needles.

Prevention: is your train able to drape over an arm while walking around? (Detailed-Illusion, above, does this) what about adding a removable train that snaps into place? Or loops to pull it up?

Problem: My music doesn’t work!

Masq photos by Eleventh Photograph

It happened to us… it can happen to you too!

Solution: do you have a second copy? Can you beg/bribe/plead with a friend who has a usb key to let you use it? If not, ask the audio techs if they have any spare songs available for you to use. If they don’t, go out there and do your best.

Prevention: Test it out in advance on another machine and have backup copies.

Problem: My shoes really hurt!

Wendy's boots were made for walkin'

These, with socks, were a size too small. okay for short periods of time,
but ONLY short periods of time…

Solution: Yeah they’ll do that. if you can, find somewhere to sit and take the load off, or wear a pair of flats while wandering around, pulling your cosplay shoes on for any photos or competitions.

Prevention: bring a spare pair of flats, or pad your cosplay shoes with insoles and heel grips so they’re more comfortable.

Problem: I’m feeling a little faint…

hard at work

Solution: Sit down somewhere cool or shaded, have a friend get some cold water. You might be dehydrated, or suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke. (protip: if you’ve stopped sweating, it’s time to forget the costume and take care of yourself) It’s a good idea to change out of your costume if it’s bulky and hot. If the feeling doesn’t pass, find the first aid area.

Prevention: Stay hydrated and eat healthily. Be sure to wear sunscreen too. Cosplay tanlines are the worst.

Problem: My cosplay is falling apart!

Full Costume

If you watch long enough, you can see the armor falling off!

Solution:If you have hot glue, and you’re out in the sun, the glue might warm up enough to lose some of it’s hold. Try using E6000 or duct tape to hold things together. 

Prevention: If you have enough time, make sure the connections of your cosplay are sturdy and will hold up to wear. (protip: don’t use hockey tape!)

Problem: My wig is all tangled 🙁

Weiss scowl

Shooting outdoors is great for light, bad for wigs.

Solution:If a friend has some Mane n’ Tail, ask to borrow it and comb it with a wide tooth comb, starting from the bottom up.

Prevention: If you have a long wig, keep it braided until you need it loose. It’ll keep from getting tangled. Also, if you can find a wide toothed metal comb, you can use that to periodically comb through it and keep it sleek and awesome.

Problem: My makeup is running.

Water's baaaaahd for makeup

This was before I tried an underwater shot. Guess who’s makeup wasn’t waterproof?

Solution: To prevent this, use a primer, and then setting spray or setting powder. Blot through the day if you’re sweating. Also, if you know you’ll be near water, or sweating a lot, use waterproof makeup so it doesn’t get everywhere. If your makeup is running, clean up what you can with water and soap, and then touch up the areas that need it.

And when in doubt…


The best way to solve problems is to prevent them! This means less stress and more time for awesome fun at Cons.

I’m sure that there’ll be more problems and issues that I think up, but for now, I hope I’ve covered the major problems you might run into!

oxo Calamity