Any kind of cardboard is useful for cosplay, and yes, any kind includes empty cereal boxes. If you make costumes and like cereal, you should consider saving the boxes once you’ve eaten their contents. Cereal box cardboard isn’t super thick so once you flatten the boxes, you can store them in a file cabinet or stack them on a shelf. You don’t need to keep dozens of boxes if you’re not building armor regularly but having a few on hand doesn’t hurt. If nothing else, they make fine disposable palettes or work surfaces. Here are five suggestions on how to use the empty cereal boxes you’ve stashed for cosplay:
Hat – Need a hat with steampunk tendencies? You can modify an existing hat, order a custom one, or get by with cereal boxes. Craftster user mieljolie came with a fabulous hat perfect for anyone who only wants to drop a handful of dollars. She used a family-sized Frosted Flakes box to make the brim in one section and used smaller boxes and portion of boxes to form the crown. Once you glue everything together and let it dry thoroughly, you can smooth it with paper mache and paint it with acrylics. This method could be used for any top hat, obviously, not just a steampunk one.
Use as stencils or templates – Cereal boxes are the perfect thickness for using as stencils or templates. It’s essentially like poster board. Need to make a reusable pattern for armor? Trace it onto this cardboard. The size of cereal boxes limits you a little, but you can always tape multiple boxes together to make a bigger canvas.
Cereal box costume – Many cereals have recognizable mascots, and I’ve seen more than a few costumes depicting them at Halloween and at conventions. If you dress as one of these mascots, you could incorporate the cereal box into the costume. Attach the panel of the box with logo and image to the center front of your shirt or put it on a tote bag.
Armor – You can craft armor from a variety of materials at an equal variety of price points. Cereal boxes are on the low end of the range, but they’re more than suitable. In fact, if you’ve never made armor, I’d start with cardboard before you move to a more expensive supply such as Worbla. You can layer up cardboard on its own and seal and paint it, pair it with other materials like craft foam, or go the paper mache route. Cosplayer Melanie Colley has used cereal boxes (and soda ones) in a few of her projects, including making armor for The Faun from Pan’s Labyrinth. This tutorial by Fire Lily Cosplay can help you get started.
Prop book cover – If you’re dressing as an author – fictional or real – you can help people recognize you by carrying around a book by that author. Actual books are an option, but if you want something lighter, use a cereal box. The basic structure/shape is already there. You only have to paint the front, back, and spine or use Mod Podge to attach a cover you print from the Internet or copy from the book. You can paint the non-spine sides of your faux book to look like pages.