Five Ways to Use a Picture Frame in Cosplay

frame tiara

If you’re like most people, you probably have some stuff around your house that you no longer want. I don’t want to encourage you to hold on to absolutely everything forever, but a surprising number of those items can be used in cosplay. From the obvious like all the extra buttons you’ve kept to the less apparent, like old picture frames. Once you carefully remove the glass (you can recycle it or safely store it for future projects), empty frames are full of potential. Here are five suggestions on what to do with the items in costumes:

Headdress – If you have an oval or circular frame that roughly fits the crown of your head, you can use it as a base for a headdress. Add padding or foam to the inner edge so it doesn’t cut into your scalp too much and build a wire frame on top of it. You can add anything light to the frame – some clay, feathers, you name it. Alternately, you can use a piece of a gilt frame to make a crown like Wendy McDermott did in the above photo (source).

Painting costume – Bear a resemblance to Vincent van Gogh or the Mona Lisa? Put together an ensemble representing anyone featured in a portrait and make the finishing touch a large and lightweight frame. You’re not just a character, you’re a piece of art. Carry around the empty frame and use it to uh, frame, your face. To really sell it, make a placard like you’d see in a museum and attach it the bottom of the frame. Make sure to include a “no flash photography” note.

jeopardy costume

photo source

Walking trivia board – Frames in the five by seven inch range are small and light enough that they could be worn around your neck. You can insert an iPad, chalkboard, or dry erase board into the screen and be the Jeopardy! board. You could even translate the concept to board games and become a walking version of Pictionary.

Texture – Empty frames don’t have to be the main portion of your costume. Since you can break square or rectangular frames apart into four pieces, you can use them as accents. For example, if you’re modifying a pair of boots for a costume, use one edge of a frame (cut to the proper length) on the outside of the boots. It creates a cool ridge that you can paint, sculpt, or place fabric over. You could apply the frame pieces to shields, shoulder pauldrons, etc. Ornate curlicue styles would work wonderfully on chest armor.

Handle of a weapon – I’ve mentioned the weapon possibility before in previous posts about everyday objects in cosplay, and I’ll keep doing so because you can use so many components to make cosplay weapons unique. Breaking down a straight-edged frame or even cutting up an oval-shaped style can give you pieces to incorporate into the handle of a weapon. This is probably more useful for cosplay of an original character.

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