Cosplay on a budget – Shyguy

Cosplay on a budget - Shyguy before assembly

Cosplay on a budget – Shyguy

So you have just a few days until the convention and no costume ready. Ordering one online is out of the question, it might not get delivered on time (or you pay a premium for express shipping). So what do you do? All your money is geared towards the convention. (Admission, food, dealers room, etc…)

What’s a Shyguy? Shyguys are the masked enemies that appear in Super Mario Bros. 2 video game. They appear in various colored jackets such as red, pink, green, white, etc… They also make an appearance in other Mario games as well. Their defining feature is the white mask that they wear and the solid color jacket.

Cosplay costume ideas: Fun Costumes
The great thing about making this mask is that you can probably find all the materials at a dollar store or even Walmart. It’s perfect if you want to cosplay on a budget.

For the type of mask in the pictured above, you’ll need:

  • White construction paper or thin cardboard.
  • Plastic Canvas or a garden mesh with small holes.
  • White glue or a Hot Glue gun.
  • String or elastic strap.
  • Scissors or a cutting knife.


  • Black nylon stockings.
  • White paint (non toxic).
  • Black paint (non toxic).
  • Styrofoam.


Making the mask. If you look at images of Shyguys, you’ll notice their masks are just two eyes and a mouth, filled in with black. There’s a strap that holds it in place. Since I didn’t feel like sacrificing a leather belt, I went for an elastic instead.

shyguy-templateThe Template. You could try to draw the shape on the cardboard yourself if you are confident in your skills. However, I used my computer to make a template. Any software should be alright to use as long as it can draw circles and ovals.

On windows, try Paint or Inkscape it’s free! If there’s no ruler in your drawing program, then it might take a bit of trial and error to get the sizing right.

After you print out your template, cut out the mask, eyes and mouth. When that’s done trace out the pattern on the cardboard using a pencil. When that’s done, cut out the pattern from the cardboard.

Since I didn’t have white construction paper, I used cardboard used for holding a dozen cans. I then painted my mask with white spray paint. Two coats was all I really needed. I should note that paint takes time to dry, not to mention the smell. I don’t care what the label on the can says, there’s still a smell.

Adding the mesh.The next step is to add the mesh for the eyes and mouth.┬áIf you can’t find plastic canvas in black, you’ll have to paint it. I was lucky in finding black plastic garden mesh at the dollar store where the holes were small.

If you notice in the photo, I used a single piece of mesh to cover the eyes and mouth. The reason for this is that I didn’t want any edges jabbing into my face when I wear the mask. I glued everything to the mask using a hot glue gun, but white glue will work as well.

preliminary fitting After a bit if preliminary fitting, I added the pink styrofoam where my eyebrows would be, just so the mask wouldn’t look like it’s angling towards the top of my head.

At this point, I wasn’t to happy that you could still see my eyes through the mesh, so I cut up some black nylons (again from the dollar store) and glued them over the eyes.

Once this was done, I glued an elastic on so I can wear the mask. All that was left for me to do was add a color hoodie.


Now you could skip the mesh and use the nylons instead, however I discovered that the mesh helped keep the shape of the mask when I strapped it to my face.

So there you go. Cosplay on a budget doing Shyguy. The materials probably cost me less than $5 from the dollar store (not including the paint).

In retrospect:

  • I should have bought the construction paper instead of painting the cardboard.
  • Used a smoother surfaced styrofoam. The one I used has a rough surface and left a funny mark between my eyes.
  • A paper plate might have been faster, but not as fun to make.

Got any comments or ideas? I’d love to hear them!