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June 4, 2014 AT 5:55 pm

Five Ways to Use Wire Clothes Hangers in Cosplay

Is your closet overflowing with empty hangers? If you’re hesitant to let go of them, take five or so and store them in a bin with miscellaneous everyday items you might use for cosplay one day. Wire hangers can be cut apart and used for random costume bits and even for quick fixes. They’re as functional as duct tape. Here are five ideas for putting hangers to use in your cosplay projects:

clothes hanger wings

Frame for wings – If you’re dressing like a fairy, bumblebee, bat, lady bug, or any other creature with wings, you can construct a frame from wire hangers. It’s affordable, and the gauge of the wire is usually thin enough to bend while still being sturdy. Depending on the size of the wings, 4-8 hangers will do the trick. After you’ve sketched out the general shape for your wings, use pliers to untwist the hangers and straighten them and gently bend them into place. Close the loops by twisting the ends together. Review this tutorial for a step by step. You can cover the frame with sparkly fabric, stretchy nylon that you cover with feathers – whatever you’d like.

Armature for sculpting props – Sculpting a prop or accessory for your costume from the ground up? Build the framework from wire coat hangers before you start adding clay. Use pliers to straighten out the coat hanger, and twist and flex it into the basic shape for whatever you’re making. Armature wire does exist, and it’s easier to manipulate, but coat hangers will do in a pinch. Make sure to wear work gloves to minimize the risk of scratching yourself.

homestuck horns

Attaching horns to a wig – One of the more easy methods of wearing cosplay horns is attaching them to a headband, but that’s also uncomfortable and difficult to blend into your hair. If you want smaller horns to look more natural with a wig, you can leave a hole in the middle of them and glue in a folded piece of wire that you cut from a clothes hanger. Take the ends of the wire that are sticking out from the bottom of the horn and insert them through the top of the wig cap (you should be able to do this without cutting the wig). Twist the ends into a flat spiral against the wig, and that should be enough to hold them into place. Review this how-to for pictures of each step.

Pippi Longstocking braid – Need to make your hair stick out in an unnatural way? Coat hangers can help. Pippi Longstocking braids are a good example since they practically sit at a right angle from the head. You’d just need to put your hair in two braids, use wire cutters to cut a piece from a wire coat hanger that matches the length of the pigtails, and then slide the wire through the back of the braid. You can use the hangers with wigs, and I could see the trick coming in handy for several anime hairstyles as well as characters from the Capitol in The Hunger Games.

Structure for a tail – Plenty of characters from furries to Tigger to fantastical creatures have tails, and wire is a suitable material to make sure your costume’s tail hangs in the right way. Again, straighten a wire hanger with pliers and bend it into the desired form – straight, curlicue, or something in between. Twisting together two wires will provide more strength. You can cover the frame with fleece, foam, latex covered foam, or whatever works best for the costume.


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