Cosplay Family Spotlight: Thrifty Props

Thrifty Props Family photo as Shredder, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and princess.
Thrifty Props Family photo as Shredder, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and princess. Photo by Jenny Rüdel.

Cosplay is becoming more and more popular around the world and at conventions. I’ve personally found a lot of joy and personal confidence doing cosplay at conventions, and the number one reason I started was as an activity with my son. After seeing a great panel about Cosplay Families at Rose City Comic Con, I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk to parents and families who cosplay and spotlight them here on GeekDad!

Cosplay Family Spotlight is a new recurring segment where I interview and spotlight a cosplay family. This week, I interview Liam from Thrifty Props.

Interested in participating? Leave a comment here or reach out to me on twitter @billythebrick.

GeekDad:
How many members of your family are involved in cosplay?
Liam:
We’re only just getting into cosplay. Right now it’s more accurate to say we all like dressing up. Jamie, my five-year-old son loves super heroes and ninjas. And while my three-year-old daughter, Nova, likes putting on a dress, she certainly isn’t afraid to wield a sword either. Then you have my wife and I who love a good fancy dress party.
GeekDad:
How did you and your family get in to cosplay and prop/armor making? Did one particular member start it or did you all jump in together? What was your first cosplay?
Liam:
It all started when my son’s day care got involved in a local carnival. They were having a woodland animal theme and asked each child to dress up as one. My son wanted to be a hedgehog. I started looking online for a costume to buy but quickly realized they were all far too expensive, and there wasn’t a lot of choice. I decided to make him one myself. I went to the local thrift/charity shops in search of materials. I found a nice furry hooded top to use as a starting point, I then went and bought a glue gun and some brown felt. We were lucky enough to find a hedgehog mask, so I didn’t have to try make that. Then I set about my first costume build.

Hedgehog Costume
Hedgehog Costume. Photo by Thrifty Props.

After that, I was hooked and asked my son for the next project.

GeekDad:
Do you have a favorite cosplay of yours? A favorite group cosplay you’ve done as a family?
Liam:
Shredder Cosplay
Shredder Cosplay. Photo by Thrifty Props.

Like I said, we’re only really starting out, so I don’t have a lot to choose from, but I love my first proper cosplay, Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles–the ’80s cartoon version, not the movie version.

Ninjago Cosplay
Ninjago Cosplay. Photo by Thrifty Props.

I’m also super proud of my son’s costume, The Golden Ninja from the LEGO Ninjago TV show that I made for him last Halloween.

GeekDad:
Speaking of group cosplay, do you always try to cosplay together? Or do you all do your own thing?
Liam:
Since my kids are so young, they can’t do their own thing, but my son and I went to our first con recently. I wore Shredder and he wore a turtle suit. That was a lot of fun to wear together, so I’d love to do more with my kids. Then, at home, the kids have a big box of dressing up things, so I’ll often find a Power Ranger battling a knight in one of their bedrooms.
GeekDad:
Do you have a favorite piece that challenged you?
Liam:
Ninjago Golden Ninja Pieces
Ninjago Golden Ninja Pieces. Photo by Thrifty Props.

The Golden Ninja being my first piece was definitely my most challenging, not only because it was my first, but it’s not exactly an easy build.

GeekDad:
What’s your favorite “medium” to work in (sewing, EVA foam, resin casting, etc.)?
Liam:
I love working with EVA foam as it’s so cheap and quick to work with. Having two kids means I don’t have a lot of disposable income, so keeping costs down is very important. I have also invested in a sewing machine so when the time comes it’ll get used too.
GeekDad:
It’s been awhile, but I used to do quite a bit of scale model building and I see a lot of similarities in techniques between small-scale building and prop and armor building. Have you ever done any scale modeling or smaller scale builds?
Liam:
Warhammer miniatures
Warhammer miniatures. Photo by Thrifty Props.

I used to build and paint Warhammer models. I never played, just really loved painting them. I would usually modify the models or add more detailed bases.

GeekDad:
Most of our readers are parents and, like me, want to share their geeky interests with their kids. I’ve been doing father and son cosplay with my son since he was born. Do you have any suggestions on how parents can get their kids interested and involved with cosplay and fabrication?
Liam:
Lightning Axe.
The ax sketch by Jamie and the actual ax by Liam. Photo by Thrifty Props.

Oh yeah, for sure. I constantly just build for my kids. Once I’m finished with a project, I just ask them what would they like next. This teaches them that not everything has to be bought from a shop but also that these things take time and effort. I even got my son to design his own weapon when he was four. I really loved that moment. Now he understands the process and often makes special requests or comes up with more designs of his own.

His weapon was a lightning ax with an eagle sitting on a nest with eggs on the handle. An absolutely crazy design only a four-year-old could dream up. I loved it.
GeekDad:
Something along the lines of “Being a geek isn’t about what you love but how you love it,” is sort of the new geek mantra. Do you have anything, besides cosplay, that you consider yourself a geek about?
Liam:
I’m a programmer who works at a game development studio, so I’m a super geek about programming and video games. I don’t think I could get much geekier.
GeekDad:
What upcoming conventions do you have on your schedule that people could see you at?
Liam:
I’m not planning on attending anything soon, but if you follow me on social media I’ll let you know. Just search for Thrifty Props.

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