Costume Breakdown: Princess Mononoke

Wow, I have quite a few costumes that I have made this year, but I haven’t really written about my thoughts or making of one since Sailor Moon. I also haven’t made a lot of time for taking story inspired shots of each character. I have a lot of catching up to do! Today, I wanted to share my Princess Mononoke notes and photos with you because I have had the materials to make this costume basically since I started cosplaying (that’s over three years for those of you who didn’t know)!

When I bought all of the materials for this project I thought that it would be easy because it wouldn’t require a lot of skill since San is a child of the forest. Can I just start by telling you how disappointed I would have been had I attempted this when I first set out to make it? This costume was the most involved costume I have ever built, and I used just about every trick up my sleeve as well as had to teach myself a few new ones to get the results I wanted. Sometimes waiting really does pay off. I am grateful that my friend Logan really started bugging me and gave me a reason to get this one off my list though, or I may have never finished it.

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The Making of Mononoke

Luckily, San is a very popular character among cosplayers, so I had a lot of tutorials available to browse. I’ve provided some notes on each piece as well as any tutorials I followed.

The first thing I wanted to do was the dagger because I don’t feel like I’ve gotten very much experience building my own props. This prop was incredibly easy to make. It was made of a dowel rod, foam floor mats, ribbon, apoxie sculpt, Plastidip, and acrylic paint. I basically cut the shape I wanted out of two layers of foam then glued it onto the dowel rod after dremeling the middle out so the rod would fit in between the two layers without making a lump. Once I had glued it together I used my Dremel to give it a more natural look. I used Apoxie sculpt to create a more natural looking wooden end to the handle. After coating it in Plastidip it was time to paint. Then all that was left was to wrap the handle with the ribbon, which I attached with superglue at the top. The same method was used to create her spear.

For the apron and dress, I drafted my own pattern as I knew it would be simple and unfinished. This was literally the best sewing project ever because it was only 8 seams total, and I didn’t have to finish any of the seams. I used Mangosirene’s video on distressing your clothing to do some controlled tear on each piece to make it look worn. This part only took about an hour of my time.

For the boot covers I basically traced my boots with some extra room at the bottom, and sewed the edges. Cross my fingers, and hope it works was really the method here. I tied some leather string around them to get the moccasin look. In the future, I need to add some soles to the bottom of these because the bottoms are wearing through pretty fast with all the outdoor photoshoots.

Her fur cape I wanted to be able to detach from the dress. The goal with this was to be able to take everything off in stages to have different levels of comfort. I cut the cape out of faux fur in a ragged line to make it look more natural. Then I sewed this onto an elastic loop that would go around my arms and behind my back like shown in this tutorial. I sewed the fur on so it would come down to about where my armpits were to keep the elastic from being seen.

The mask was the most rewarding, but also the most painful part of this costume. I loosely followed this tutorial for inspiration. I hate paper mache,  so I used plaster strips instead. They dry a lot faster, but they also have a rough surface. I tried to cover this with a lot of different stuff such as spackle, gesso, and wood glue. For the most part I got it covered, but it was still pretty rough looking. The white stripe details were made from foam, and the eye and mouth holes were made with single serving apple sauce cups as suggested in the tutorial. After the paint job I was actually pretty happy with the rough surface of the mask, but in the future, I probably would use this tutorial as I think it looks much simpler to follow. It is attached with just an elastic band in the back.

The hood and ears to go with the cape were really simple. I cut a piece of faux fur similar to the cape, and this is attached to the inside of the mask with velcro. I made the ears out of foam and painted them then attached them to the hood using superglue.

Finally, she has some jewelry. I used wooden circles from Hobby Lobby that I painted to match the color of her apron for her earrings. I was able to make these wearable by drilling a hole into them and attaching dangle earring bases to them with some jewelry wire. Her armbands and headband I purchased a braided leather cord from Hobby Lobby, and sewed them together using an elastic band so they would stretch some when wearing them. The white parts of these pieces is a piece of black cardstock with a pearl embelishment that were all attached to the bands using superglue. Her necklace was made from leather cord, insulation foam that was carved and painted, and wooden beads.


As I mentioned before, my friend Logan is ultimately why this cosplay was completed. I had promised him three years ago that he could shoot this costume when I finished it, and he had intentions to move away for school at the end of July. I wanted to finish this as a going away present for him. We shot this costume twice because while the shots we got on the first round were great, an amazing location was discovered just days after we had shot. We wasted no time getting the second shoot in before he was leaving. Overall, I’m very pleased that I was finally able to finish this costume because the woods at Campbell’s Covered Bridge and the Wildcat Branch Falls. Here are some of my favorite shots from both of our shoots.

All professional photos courtesy of Charles Logan Photography.

If you have any questions that I didn’t cover in this overview please leave a comment. I plan to try and catch up on my cosplays by doing overviews like this for the other ones I have completed this year. Thanks so much for reading, and don’t forget to subscribe via email or Bloglovin’ to never miss a post!


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

October 16, 2017 at 12:10 PM

Wow, this costume turned out so amazing! I’ve found that it’s always the most “simple” costumes that turn out to be the most challenging. That mask, yikes! It turned out sooo good.

October 28, 2017 at 03:10 PM
– In reply to: Kyla

It is so true! I will start something to be like… I’ll have this finished in no time… months later haha.

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