- Best Zelda Costume Ideas That Aren’t Link or Zelda - June 26, 2022
The Legend of Zelda is probably one of the most cosplayed franchises. You’re guaranteed to see at least one person dressed as Link (complete with shield) or Zelda at any convention. The costumes are versatile and recognizable to everyone.
I wanted to change this up a little bit by showing characters that aren’t our main heroes, characters that you wouldn’t see another of at a convention, and they also happen to all be very comfortable; bonus! No matter what, Zelda characters all have a beautiful aura that is inspiring to make costumes of, and I have yet to see someone dress as a character from Zelda and not look perfect.
Bottom Line Up Front
I’ll review some of the best costume ideas for characters from the Legend of Zelda franchise. These are geared to people who have made costumes before, but none of them would be challenging. Everything from novice to intermediate is on this list, and if you’re an all-star costumer, jazz them up! These are a mix of reasonably known characters to characters you remember but haven’t thought of making a costume.
One of the most fun things about costuming is seeing your finished work! Here are my selection criteria for this list of Zelda cosplay ideas:
- Uniqueness: The characters haven’t been done a lot before, or make you think of characters you haven’t seen costumed yet!
- Accessibility: These cosplays don’t need any crazy prosthetics, makeup, or have to cost over $100, to make them more creatively and financially accessible to everyone.
- Easy to Create: Everything here could be made at home with things you already have, or thrifted for a cheaper option than I budgeted. Of course, you CAN go all out, but you don’t have to.
Most Accessible Zelda Costume/Cosplay Ideas
- Skill Level: 2/10
- Estimated Cost: $30-45
With a very cottagecore costume, Malon is a sweet-looking, caring, simple character who hasn’t changed her look much throughout the games. Malon would be a fantastic costume for a ren faire.
Malon is most recognizable for her long ginger hair; this foundational item is essential to creating a Malon cosplay. The easiest way to do her hair is by purchasing a ginger lace front wig, something to style it on (mannequin head or your head if you want a budget cut), and lots of hairsprays.
She wears a basic white short sleeve top and a yellow scarf for the top of her outfit. Sometimes she wears a purple skirt and brown apron, but there’s always a pattern on the bottom of the skirt or dress. This design can easily be added by using acrylic paint to create the pattern intricately, or you can use heat transfer printing paper to print out and iron the design directly to your fabric. This option is more expensive but less time-consuming.
For decorative items, she wears a brooch to connect her shawl; it appears to be gold/orange, matching her shawl color. You can find something similar in thrift stores. She also wears a brown belt with a distinctive belt buckle, which you can make out of cardboard, paint, and then attach to a belt.
Remember the ears! She has pointed ears. All you need is cheap fake pointed ears, and if they don’t match your skin tone, you can use synthetic dye in your shade to dye them.
Things to Incorporate when Cosplaying Malon
- Long ginger wig
- White short sleeve top with a full purple skirt
- OR, a white short sleeve tunic dress
- Yellow shawl
- Patterned brown apron
- Scarf brooch; belt buckle
- Elf ears
Take it from the cosplayer: Don’t feel like you need to make an incredibly detailed wig. A simple ginger wig with fringe would do the job just as well if you’re not good at styling wigs or just don’t want to.
- Skill Level: 3/10
- Estimated Cost: $35-65
Ok, this is a weird one, but the Old Man is one of the essential characters in Zelda. This costume is more about color scheme and acting like an older man.
He is a quintessential wizard-looking character, so a long robe is an instant giveaway as to his nature, especially when paired with white hair and a beard. All you need are a nice robe and comfy shoes. Robes can cost a lot since they are in a different color than most, and I recommend using linen fabric if you plan on sewing it yourself, which is where this costume could get a bit pricey.
Repurpose some boots in your closet, head into the woods to find a staff, and if you like the lantern look, craft one out of cardboard and parchment paper; add a battery-operated tealight inside.
Things to Incorporate when Cosplaying the Old Man
- Long dark robe (hooded is fantastic!)
- White wig and beard
- Dark-colored pants if you go for a shorter dark robe
- Medieval-looking leather boots
- Sword or Walking staff
- Elf ears
Take it from the cosplayer: Using your body to portray an older man is critical. Hunch over, use a raspier voice, etc. Also, fake beards can be uncomfortable, so if you find them too itchy, glue some felt on the inside, so the hair isn’t directly touching your face.
- Skill Level: 2/10
- Estimated Cost: $20-40
Majora’s Mask Moon is a very versatile costume that could go anywhere. You could make a mask, a whole sphere outfit, makeup, and more. There aren’t a ton of cosplays yet for this character, so the cosplay is yours to show creativity. The basics include a gray color palette with bright orange and yellow eyes. If you’re painting this, thankfully, you’ll only need five or six paints, as gray can easily be mixed with white and black to get darker or lighter shades.
Things to Incorporate when Cosplaying Majora’s Mask Moon
- Piercing eyes
- Notable nose
- White teeth
Take it from the cosplayer: You can never add too much detail. Painting is fun, especially when you need to add many layers to create a certain effect. So take your time to make the right amount of creepy for you.
Experienced Zelda Cosplay Options
Happy Mask Salesman
- Skill Level: 5/10
- Estimated Cost: $35-80
The Happy Mask Salesman is an excellent costume to make if you love working on multiple things. You’ll need to make many masks and have a lot of time for detail.
The Happy Mask Salesman wears a blue top, blue cropped pants, a purple sleeveless vest, a gold collar, and slicked-back hair. He carries an enormous rucksack with masks attached, which is topped with a bedroll. He also sports blue or purple shoes.
Be sure to wear a red wig and some elf ears—and keep a fixed, creepy smile on your face. I suggest painting a smile on your face to get that continuous wide smile. I recommend making your masks out of a base mask (cheap white ones you can get at any craft store) and papier-mâché, so you can create the features you want.
Things to Incorporate when Cosplaying Happy Mask Salesman
- Make masks of your favorite characters to wear on your costume. Papier-mâché is your friend here
- Blue and purple clothing
- Red wig
- Elf ears
- The backpack! It should feature masks, be structured in layers like his, and have a bedroll on top
Take it from the cosplayer: This costume can get heavy; use a backpack meant for back support if you want to haul stuff in your bag for the outfit. Even if you have to cover it up in different fabrics, comfort is key when wearing a costume long-term.
- Skill Level: 5/10
- Estimated Cost: $40-70
Princess Hilda is essentially the goth girlfriend version of Zelda, and I love it. So if you want to wear a darker gothic costume, this is your look.
Princess Hilda wears gold jewelry, a purple overdress with an upside-down triforce, a white skirt, and matching white gloves. This is an easily thrifted costume, as most of it could be sewn with sheets or could easily be put together with a few thrifted dresses and painted cardboard for the belt, crown, and staff.
There are so many Zelda dress patterns on the internet. If you plan on sewing this, I will say to use cotton fabric if you want to stay cool, as there are a few layers, but if you want a more shiny look, polyester satin will look beautiful—it would just keep you very warm. You’ll have to change the colors around for the dress and some trim-painted details, but the resources for Zelda’s dress are already there for you!
Things to Incorporate when Cosplaying Princess Hilda
- Pointy elf ears
- Long white dress with a red stripe around the bottom
- In some iterations, there is a purple apron-style dress
- Gold crown
- Blue belt
- Gold jewelry
Take it from the cosplayer: Purple is her main color, so don’t be afraid of it! And make sure you use the right purple for you. If it’s not quite screen accurate but it looks better on the undertones of your skin, it’ll look better overall. Finally, make sure you’re confident in your costume, as that matters so much more than accuracy.
The Great Deku Tree
- Skill Level: 6/10
- Estimated Cost: $50-90
Maybe a more complex costume to pull off than most, but this is a good one if you can. This costume calls for texture, detail, and a great reference photo.
A bodysuit would be a great start, or you could even use armor. This is about getting the texture of bark, so EVA foam or Worbla would be the best way to create that, as EVA foam and Worbla are easily carved, heated, and moldable. I’d recommend a few incredibly extremely tree-like pieces for this costume, like a gown or tunic. Go to your local craft store, and I can guarantee you’ll be inspired by all the fake moss, leaves, paint, and textures found.
Things to Incorporate when Cosplaying The Great Deku Tree
- The different colors of brown in the bark
Take it from the cosplayer: This one will take a lot of detail work, so if you don’t like spending hours on one part of a costume, this isn’t for you…and that’s fine! You can try to make the cosplay simpler by wearing brown clothes and painting roots on yourself instead of making them, but overall, this is a more time-consuming costume than others on this list.
- Skill Level: 5/10
- Estimated Cost: $50-70
This costume would go great with the Great Deku Tree, which summoned Navi to help Link.
The Navi cosplay would be a great costume to expand your creativity; you can do anything, as long as you’re blue-themed with pointed wings. Often with this cosplay, people choose to wear an ombre blue gown. Cosplaying Navi would be the easiest costume on this list to make more masculine, if that’s what you’re more comfortable with.
And if you want an actual screen-accurate Navi, you can always make yourself into a giant orb ball. It’s not the most flattering or comfortable, but if the moon can do it, so can you!
Things to Incorporate when Cosplaying Navi
- Blue gown
- Wings! (The bigger, the better!)
- Elf ears
- Blue or white wig
- A “Hey! Listen!” sign, if you feel like carrying something around.
Take it from the cosplayer: Navi is about personality and acting, so make sure you have signature movements when you’re dressed as Navi! The exact blue doesn’t need to be used; it can be anything light blue or a darker blue, whatever fits your skin tone the most.
My Favorite Cosplay from the Bunch
- Skill Level: 8/10
- Estimated Cost: $60-100+
Agitha’s costume is exceptionally detailed and very fun. While not easy, this is the most whimsical costume on the list, almost feeling like Alice in Wonderland-esque.
You’ll probably need four layers to your dress, and lots of different fabrics to create recognizable patterns on her dress. Create a game plan, pattern every single shape she has on her dress, and ascertain how big you want it to be, how you want your proportions to look, etc.
Recreating dresses is rarely the way to go, as bodies are incredibly different, and skirts tend to emphasize other parts for various shapes. If you’re bigger chested, add straps to ensure it stays up and is supportive; if you have a smaller waist, make the blue accent around the waist smaller to focus on your waist, etc. As long as you have the elements of the dress, you’ll be fine.
Things to Incorporate when Cosplaying Agitha
- Dark blond wig
- Elf ears
- Butterfly wings
- Structured dress with a corset
- White top
- Petticoat for extra fluff
- Great shoes
Take it from the cosplayer: I would make her details into patches you can heat transfer on, as sewing all the little details on fabric can get tedious and easily messed up. Trust me, I know.
Question: Why Cosplay Non-main Characters?
Answer: One of the most joyful experiences while wearing a costume is seeing someone recognize you as the supporting character. The happiness and joy spread from one fan to another is an experience unlike anything else, and easily is always my favorite moment when in costume.
While not everyone will love or even know your outfit, unlike cosplaying Zelda or Link, the few moments you have with fans are much more special. The most important thing is to be true to the character and instantly recognizable to yourself.
Question: What if I’m New to this and Feel Cosplay Perfection is out of Reach?
Answer: There will always be characters or costumes within your skillset, so don’t get discouraged if the one you want most is too much! And you can always simplify or modify a costume to fit you most. Cosplay isn’t always about accuracy; instead, it’s about a creative idea or interpretation of a character. Cosplays have twists all the time, i.e., zombie versions, Star Wars versions, etc., so don’t feel like you need to be perfect.
Question: What About Those Ears?
Answer: The elf ears are essential cosplay pieces for many characters in the game. While you can find some online and at party stores, I recommend buying the highest quality ones you can afford or making them. It’s not easy to wear cheap plastic ears for an entire weekend. Some people simply tape their ears with clear tape, which gets sticky and uncomfortable quickly. Look online for small businesses’ handcrafted pointed ears if you can afford them.
They tend to have a ton of different skin tones, unlike cheaper options. But you can always paint or dye them as long as they’re plastic. If you choose to dye them, use synthetic dye in boiling water (not hot enough to melt plastic, but as hot as you can get it without) and leave it until the exact right color comes out.
There are generally two different types of elfin ears: ones that go over your natural ear and ones that clip behind. Find whatever you’re most comfortable with, as they sit very differently from one another.
Take a Breath
Legend of Zelda cosplay is always represented at cons, yet there are so many overlooked characters from this fantastic world. By cosplaying a lesser-cosplayed character, you not only show your love for the game, but you’re also sharing feelings that people might not have remembered, bringing up good memories.