At every con I have attended so far there is always a panel titled something to the effect of “Cosplay on a Budget,” or my personal favorite, “Poor Man’s Cosplay.” Of course, as an impoverished millennial with a bachelors degree I fall into the category of “on a budget” so, I inevitably attend in hopes of being party to some magical solution to this dilemma. Of course, there is no single nor magical solution to the expense that is cosplay and I certainly have no idea how to offset the cost. I am merely here in solidarity to offer my solution to this particular cosplay. So, without further ado, here is our “how to” on cosplaying the 2016 Ghostbusters without a 3D Printer!
For a single costume and proton pack/gun, this cosplay cost around $500 which, for a cosplay of this detail/difficulty, is not that bad. There were an absurd amount of trips involved to Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store, Michaels, Hobby Lobby (yes, I know how homophobic they are and I dislike every cent spent in that store, this is in no way a suggestion to shop there), Ace Hardware, Harbor Freight Tools, Home Depot, Lowes, ReStore, Walmart and the Dollar Tree. Furthermore, I had a hell of a time finding resources online for creating the proton pack and certain details for the actual costume. Fortunately, @GhostbustersFans had some good forums on their website with other people in the same boat sharing their experiences. I do have the unfortunate attribute of being a perfectionist. If it is not movie quality I have a hard time convincing myself that it is right so, there may be some things that I chose which would have had a less expensive option. I will try and supplement for you whenever these situations arise. Our Cosplay Pintrest board has all of the pins that helped in our brainstorming, but the ones most relevant I will link when referred to so you do not have to sort through our dumping ground of cosplay ideas.
@Sky_Berry_13 is the costume designer, though all the small details are left to me. So, she started with a McCalls “Button Up Utility Jumpsuit Sewing Pattern 7330,” about eight yards of a sturdy tan cotton fabric and three spools of tan thread. Keep in mind that these numbers/measurements are for one XS and one XXL of everything. With @Sky_Berry_13’s trusty “Brother at your side Lightweight and full size sewing machine,” and a bunch of pins we managed to create two jumpsuits. There were some modifications to create the notched collar that the movie jumpsuits have as well as the trifold breast pocket. If interested, I’m sure @Sky_Berry_13 might give you some insight into how she altered those.
For the reflective bright orange accents we used three spools of bright orange ribbon, three spools of iron on reflective tape and two spools of bright orange thread. It was suggested in the Nerdy Girl’s Blog: Jillian Holtzmann Hair &Cosplay Tutorial that reflective tape would reflect poorly in pictures and, though from phone to professional cameras we encountered no problems, just grey ribbon would be less expensive than reflective tape.
The Ghostbusters logo embroidered iron on patches were purchased from Etsy seller Sitthikrai Kaewkluean and were movie accurate. The seller offered free shipping and despite being shipped from Thailand came pretty promptly.
The embroidered iron on name patches were purchased from Etsy seller HeatherOstrow and worked out well, though, if you are going as Holtzmann *I suggest buying her child size one as the mass amount of letters in her name made the patch a bit too big.*
The black lace up boots were purchased at Target. The accents on the boots are cut out of black foam with four square indents increasing in size as they recede. That bright orange ribbon with iron on reflective tape mentioned above is cut to the size of the foam and attached with E6000. The foam is then riveted with one rivet on each square through to attach onto the boot.
The belts are four yards of white 2″ Polypro belting from Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store dyed with 448 Orange Jacquard iDye Poly Fabric and detailed with silver fabric paint. *I would suggest just using a bright orange Sharpie, as this dye was rather ineffective on this fabric and did not give off the desired color of orange.* 38mm silver rectangle buckles were woven in and the main 1.5″ black turf plastic side snap buckles were attached at each end, we then fastened the belt ends into the silver rectangle buckles.
The gloves are Hardy brand polyurethane coated work gloves with the fingers cut off at the knuckle.
The cuffs/gauntlets are recycled fabric from a Monster High cosplay we did in 2015 with our sorority for Halloween philanthropy of black pleather detailed with black, white and silver fabric paint. I made the pattern by shortening a gauntlet pattern I found online to fit both the XS and XXL sized wrists. I would be happy to share that pattern if anyone is interested. To fasten the cuff I punched in three rivets on each side and used 1″ black ribbon to lace through like a corset.
Holtzmann’s goggles are Bouton 5900 Traditional Safety Glasses with Smoke Frames. I popped out the clear anti-fog lenses (wearing gloves this time, if you would like to know how I regrettably learned the importance of taking safety precautions please see our first Blog) and tinted the lenses with Rit Dye, Golden Yellow 42-1.125oz.
Yates’ glasses were white ‘Abary’ wayfarer fashion sun-glass frames with the lenses popped out (yes, they were Kevin glasses). I taped the earpieces and decorative silver notches with painters tape before spray painting the eye-rims black. After that set, I removed the tape and Sharpied the earpieces yellow.
Holtzmann’s necklace is a silver jump ring with a 1-1/2″ screw fastened in the middle of a 1-1/4″ key ring and reinforced with E6000. I put a ring around the jump ring at the upright point and reinforced it with E6000 onto a thin silver curb chain.
And, of course, what Holtzmann is complete without a 5.68oz can of Pringles? I spent all of Santa Fe Comic Con with a can of Pringles under one arm!
Warning: the next section is not light reading so, if you are here for a fun blog I do apologize and refer you to scroll past to the end of the blog where I cover the cons we attended. This section is more for those who need suggestions for creating a proton pack/gun.
With the proton packs I was going for lighter and less expensive rather than movie perfect, however, for the purpose of this tutorial I will refer to the Paul Feig diagram on The Mary Sue. The parts I’ll list are for a single proton pack. These packs begin on a plexiglass base spray painted black on one side. I then mounted the two largest and heaviest elements with screws: the Steel Black 19’ toolbox, which was detailed with a strip of striped black foil scrapbooking tape that I Sharpied yellow and the “Hydgogen Ionization Chamber and Proton Injector with the Faraday Cage.” Now, this central part of the proton pack will not be easily replicated from mine, for that day fortune smiled upon me. While I was spray painting PVC pipes near the dumpsters at our apartment complex the handymen were preparing apartment units for those moving in at the end of the month. One of the upgrades for these apartments was removing the rather dangerous open coiled heaters in the bathroom. These were carelessly dubbed trash and would have been dumped were it not for my presence. These heating/cooling units were the perfect centerpiece for this proton pack. I apologize that these did not come to me in a usual way, however, there was still allot of detailing to be done. *When mounting these elements make the holes first with the screwdriver on as flat a surface as possible. If need be reinforce after mounting with black duct tape to avoid breaking*
Inside the coiled unit I cut four strips of rainbow ribbon and glued them down across from each other with E600. Inside of the loop made by these strips replacing the coil I used metallic orange mesh tubing for wreath decoration and strung a 10 ft battery-powered flexible LED light string through the tubing. I spray painted the battery pack silver and glued four screw tacks on the corners, mounting it on the plexiglass with duct tape for easy removal. Once those two large components of the pack are mounted, you are halfway done! Yay!
There are four different sizes of 1/2″ PVC piping used: two 2″, two 3″, two 4″ and three 6″. These pipes are held together with six 90󠇫° plastic elbows and five 45° elbows. Once attaching the pipes to fit the pattern depicted here, the center pipe on the bottom is hot glued in place to look like wielding and then spray painted. I would suggest reinforcing this glue with E6000 once dry and before painting. Unfortunately, I found no alternative and ran out of time to mount the pipes on the plexiglass with anything, but our trusty E6000. Surprisingly, this worked out rather well for me, but for your own peace of mind I would not suggest it. I would try to locate some screw tab caps instead. To lock the pipes in place on the Faraday Cage I used four 1/2″ stainless steel two hole rigid conduit straps secured with two screws each.
The various sized square elements mounted around the central unit are a plethora of plastic and metal plumbing and electrical boxes spray painted silver. For the accents on these I used black distress ink and printed out a sheet of decals by KoCo. Once the radioactive danger love decal and the red radioactive symbols are cut out they are painted on both sides in Mod Podge before being adhered to the boxes.*Do go light on the distress ink over these decals because the Mod Podge increases the amount of ink that attaches* The radioactive danger love decal is attached to the bottom center of the second square element on the top left of the pack-which is a PVC electrical box 1-1/4″deep, 2-3/8″ wide and 3-1/2″ long. The red radioactive symbol is attached to the right side of the first square element on the top right of the pack-which is made out of a 1-Gang 18cu.in. PVC New Work Outlet Box with a bracket.
The knobs and proton injector base were purchased from All Electronics including: a 1/4″ shaft blue knob, a 25mm diameter pointer knob, two 6mm knurled shaft 0.9″brushed aluminum knobs with a dot and a fan guard for a 92mm square fan. The two aluminum brushed knobs are E6000-ed onto the third square element on the top left of the pack-which is a steel electrical conduit square junction box with a square of cardboard spray painted silver in the center and faux wielded on with silver fabric paint. The red and blue knobs are E6000-ed onto the rectangular square element on the bottom right of the pack. I manipulated the fan guard to resemble the proton injector base by laying it on saran wrap fitted tightly around the mouth of a cup and held in place with a rubber band. I filled the inside edges of the fan guard with fabric paint and let it dry till it was solid. Gently lifting it off of the saran wrap revealed a solid base and I then spray painted the entire piece black. I cut four toothpicks the size of the fan guard and spray painted them silver, attaching them opposite each other evenly with E6000. The finished fan guard is mounted to the Faraday Cage with four screws.
I traced the transparent digital numbers in green sharpie from a stock photo I found onto clear plastic from deconstructed bubble cases that protect electronics or other store bought items. There are two sizes required, two about an inch tall and the other about half an inch tall. The larger ones are for the slanted square elements on the very top left of the pack -which is also constructed entirely from that plastic and tape then spray painted black, since I could find no box in that shape. The smaller ones are for the slanted square element on the bottom left of the pack -also constructed entirely from that plastic and tape and spray painted black then E6000-ed to a square element I created out of a Q-Tips box spray painted black. These elements are then back-lit by floral LEDs inserted in circles screwed into these boxes by wood boring bits.
The liquid helium fill valve is a 2 ½” Ball Valve with yellow rubber -now these valves do come with green rubber or you can get them to dip it in some, however, our Ace Hardware was out so we did the next best thing and Sharpied it green (it took two coats). A 5″ grey braided polymer faucet connector is screwed into the top end of the ball valve and wrapped in 5 feet of entwined red rubber coated wiring and and blue rubber coated wiring. *I would suggest getting an extra couple feet to account for entwining* This is all then secured in place with alternating black and white zip ties about five inches apart. The other end of the plastic wiring is attached to the gun with a black plastic “end of flush cap” used in irrigation. On the other end of the ball vavle is attached two feet of 1-1/2″ clear braided PVC tubing which is then adhered to the left side of the fan with silver duct tape. I mounted this from the ball valve to the pack on the top right corner with a 3/8″ nylon cable clamp.
The backpack straps were made utilizing the expertise from BackPacking Light Forum. Fortunately, we had some old backpacks and deconstructed them to re-purpose for this cosplay. We added bright orange fabric to the straps and sewed them back together with charcoal grey grosgrain ribbon. We used 10 feet of dark grey strap and cut it to our shoulder size sewing it onto the straps and attaching a 3/4″ ladderlock to each side. We screwed a large circular washer into the top center of each strap and mounted them to the back of the pack in the same fashion as the toolbox and fan.
Had I the time or money I would have added two more elements to the pack: a long row of bicycle lights right above the toolbox on the bottom left side and a jumbo black plastic checker on the bottom right in between the two boxes.
The proton guns are mostly PVC pipe and Fuse boxes. The center part of the gun is a 1-1/2in 2-Gang PVC FS Box with a junction box PVC screw mount cover. Each screw securing the box has a square washer on each of the four corners.
The barrel of the gun is 2-1/2 feet of 1-1/2″ PVC pipe spray painted black and with two sets of three rows of holes screwed at the top set about an inch apart. A black bicycle grip is rolled over the PVC pipe in between these rows. The original plan was to have LEDs for these holes, but I ran out of time and money. Fit this PVC pipe into the gang opening and screw it in place. Over the gang opening secure a large stainless steel panel nut about 2″. Using a wood boring drill bit make a hole on top of the gun right above the gang opening for the red push-button 0.51″diameter red plunger and 0.74″ diameter metal bezel.
The base of the gun is 1-1/4″ black PVC pipe about 15 inches long and secured into the PVC box. Attached at the bottom of the PVC pipe is a 130mm gray/black Sunglit Ergo Form II Comfort bicycle grip. Screw the end of the flush cap attached to the pack into the PVC pipe under the grip. The last details on the PVC box are to E6000: two sets of two copper 90󠇫° elbows attached with copper piping, a 0.90″ diameter knob spray painted black, and a cutout of the Warning label. Since there were no good shots of it from the movie, I was barely able to decipher the wording enough to created my own in Canva that you are welcome to use. This was attached in the same way as the other decals using Mod Podge.
So there you have it folks, the 2016 Ghostbusters: Holzmann and Yates. We had a great time in these costumes at Santa Fe Comic Con, however @Sky_berry_13 is a true procrastinator and, like professional cosplayers, this was us mere hours before the costume contest:
While the costume contest at Santa Fe Comic Con is not judged in the professional way most Anime cons are, one of the friends we made, who had a pretty epic Overwatch cosplay, managed to place!
I also got to attend Con Jikan in this cosplay where I met my personal cosplay hero: @DBCosplay (Facebook) @dbunnycosplay (twitter)! Her boyfriend actually worked on the Feig packs on set of Ghostbusters 2016!