Nearly every month I transform a storage room in my house into different backdrops for cosplay photography. Why? Well, I love creating settings that complement my costumes. I don’t have to worry about the unpredictable New England weather and it’s a creative challenge. Since I’ve been doing this for a year now, I want to pass on the methods & materials I’ve used so far in creating these settings so you can create some as well!
My first purchase for this space was fake grass carpeting. It acts as the floor covering for many of my photo sets. Be careful if you have pets… they don’t know it’s not real so it’s best to keep them away from it. Yes, I’m speaking from experience. 🐕💦😨
I use 3 different types of Ivy to decorate: single ivy strands, ivy chains, and ivy sprigs.
Ivy Chains work well for ground cover or creating the look of thicker ivy. They can hide small baseboards if twisted together.
Loose ivy strands can be wrapped around objects, hung on the wall with clear command hooks, or woven through the ivy grid.
Ivy sprigs make great filler material. You can stick them in vases or pots. They can be fed through a grid or hung from a trellis.
I use expandable grids woven in fake ivy to cover sections of wall. This grid acts as a base for me to build on and has been one of the best purchases for my home photo studio to date because of its usefulness. It can expand and contract to fit different sized spaces. I currently have 2 that I hang from nails, but these could be taped or tied to other surfaces.
I primarily use the grid to hang foliage on. It changes the scene depending on what I’m hanging or weaving into the grid.
Wisteria or other hanging flowers with long stems work well with this grid. Just feed the stem in behind the grid to create a cascade of flowers or use the ivy sprigs to thicken up the appearance of greenery.
When used in combination with a cheap wedding arch, you can create a wisteria canopy setting for your photos! I used this set up for photos of my Emilia (Re: Zero) cosplay.
If you are thinking of using an indoor space like I do, you’ll want to consider ways to hide things like light switches or air vents. I like to use potted plants for this. (Please be careful not to obstruct anything that could be a fire hazard, though.) Real or fake plants both work, but I prefer to use fake ones from Ikea so I don’t need to worry about keeping them alive. I have a spotty record when it comes to my green thumb.
Let’s talk set decorating! This is where your own furniture and household items become useful. I have a very cool birdcage chair that I use whenever I can. I’m linking it here , but be warned the price fluctuates on it wildly and it’s not cheap, so if you aren’t feeling like dropping some benjamins on a chair, you can use a cheap metal arch instead. I have both and use them equally as often.
To decorate my space I’ve bought sheer drapes in black and white, repurposed my Ikea mosquito net canopy, and saved all the petals or leaves that fell off of my fake plants. I use the latter to sprinkle the grass carpet with.
To create ambiance, I bought floor lighting and a fog machine. One of my floor lights is a color changing flood light that comes with its own remote control so you can change the hue to fit your needs. The others are table top lights that have retractable tripods built into them.
Sometimes I’ll use fake candles and lanterns as decorations in my set. For those, my go to place is Ikea because they are cost effective and good quality. I don’t recommend using real candles or any open flame. Just about everything I have listed here is very flammable.
I’m constantly expanding my collection of props and decorations while I try out new things. Occasionally I’ll use these items in combination with a white seamless or printed backdrop.
Here’s sets I’ve made with various combinations of my cosplay background supplies:
Even with a limited budget and a blank wall, you could use some of these things to create interesting photos at home. Want to know about my lighting set up? I have an old post about it here.
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Thanks for reading & good luck on your cosplay projects!
A supply list of products I have used or otherwise recommend:
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