$20 Cosplay · diy

Under $20…Steampunk Inspired Costuming!

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”


This photoshoot around downtown Winston-Salem,NC with Julie Jackson was so much fun! She is an amazingly beautiful as a person and photographer. Her and her assistant (aka her hubby) are so great to go out and adventure with. She has such a creative eye,knows great spots and is just zero stress. It’s like hanging out with a friend!

“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”


I was in Greensboro for this shoot and had very little costuming materials around me. We wanted something dystopian…steamy….but I had left my favorite goggles elsewhere.

I shopped around,trying to find something really cheap that could work but found no options. I went to Wendy’s for a frosty….and my frosty became my goggles. I picked up a random pair of broken glasses from a parking lot,thinking I may use them in the project,but I didn’t. In the end I painted the lids and sewed on some .99 elastic…boom. There is nothing easier.

Cost of goggles $3.00

  • Plastic/plus Frosty .99
  • Elastic .99
  • Black spray paint .99

Super fast,super easy accessories for cheap. I can always find Nerf guns at Goodwill or other thrift stores. They range from .50-$8 depending on size. Add some paint and you’re golden. YOu can get as creative with this as you want! There are SO many ways to upcycle and mod a Nerd gun. I had one day to do this step so I didn’t get too involved with it…because it had to be dry by the next morning !

Cost Of Gun: 1.40

  • Gun, .50
  • Gold Paint .99

Not too shabby for last-minute! 🙂


“The past is whatever the records and the memories agree upon.”


The clothing worn in this shoot is all from the thrift store. It consists of a buckled strap tank and two skirts from my closet. The ruffled longer skirt I pinned behind the shorter one to give an illusion of a petticoat/bustle. The thigh highs I always purchase at Spirit Halloween after season for cheap. I have an endless supply of striped leg wear 🙂 The necklace is simply a piece of lace tied around my neck.

Price Of Clothing: $0

  • All from my closet but let’s dive into that a bit just to show how I work it. I thrifted the top a few year years back for $2.99,the main skirt is from an old Halloween costume and the overskirt was given to me. There are so many ways to reuse fabrics and articles of clothing for costumes! It can help keep your costumes/cosplays super cheap! I also order all my wigs off ebay. I paid $7 for the one pictured,that includes shipping.


“Why should be fruit be held inferior to the flower?”

So for me the total price of this costume is just what I paid for the accessories… a whopping $4.40!


“You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you”

Downtown Winston truly has some amazing spots for a Dystopian feel photoshoot! I think we took advantage of as many as possible that day!

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped.”


Quotes taken from George Orwell’s 1984

All photography by Julie Jackson

Until next time…

In goggles and flowers,



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