Posted in Cosplay

Bioshock Splicer

I do “under $20 cosplay”. It’s sort of a challenge I presented myself with after watching many girls on Facebook beg for money to make a cosplay or hearing one too many people say “I can’t cosplay,it’s too expensive.” I really hate when people say they can’t do something because of money and I esp hate it when it’s NOT true. Cosplay doesn’t have to be expensive. If your heart is in it there is a way.

Bioshock is the love of my life. In case you haven’t connected “Atlas Moonkitty” to that yet….Would you kindly??

If you’ve never played here’s the backstory. If you just want to see what I used to make the cosplay then skip ahead….

BioShock is set in 1960 in the underwater city of Rapture. Rapture was planned and constructed in the 1940s by  Objectivist business magnate Andrew Ryan who wanted to create a utopia for society’s elite to flourish outside of government control. Scientific progress greatly expanded, including the discovery of the genetic material “ADAM” created by sea slugs on the ocean floor. ADAM allows its users to alter their DNA to grant them super-human powers like telekinesis and pyrokinesis.

This photo of game play from

Despite the apparent utopia, class distinctions grew, and former gangster and businessman Frank Fontaine used his influence of the lower class to plan a coup of Rapture. Fontaine created black market routes with the surface world, and together with Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum, created a cheap plasmid industry by mass-producing ADAM through the implanting of the slugs in the stomachs of orphaned girls, nicknamed “Little Sisters”.


Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum developed a procedure whereby a Sea Slug was implanted in a host human’s stomach, and a symbiotic interaction between host and slug yielded up to thirty times the quantity of usable ADAM. Female children, eventually known as Little Sisters after implantation, were found to be the only viable hosts.  With the City’s ADAM addiction endemic, and ADAM’s use to fight the civil war, shortages were becoming critical. Eventually, as the civil war’s body counts grew and the shortages increased, a solution to get additional ADAM led to using the children to obtain ADAM from corpses.

Seen here is a Little Sister using an ADAM syringe to extract the substance from a corpse.  Image from

Methods were used to mentally recondition the Little Sisters so that they could complete their new role. They were made to see the corpses as Angels to make the gathering tasks appealing to them. They saw the splicers as costumed party guests and Rapture itself as a beautiful place…filled with wonder.

Shit hits the fan when….

Fontaine used his plasmid-enhanced army to attack Ryan, but reportedly was killed in the battle. Ryan took the opportunity to seize his assets including the plasmid factories. In the months that followed, a second figure named Atlas rose to speak for the lower class, creating further strife.

Atlas led attacks on the factories housing the Little Sisters, and Ryan countered by creating “Big Daddies”, plasmid-enhanced humans surgically grafted into giant lumbering diving suits who were psychologically compelled to protect the Little Sisters at all costs.

Big Daddy…scurry and effective

Ryan also created his own army of plasmid-enhanced soldiers, named “Splicers”, which he controlled using pheromones distributed through Rapture’s air system.. Due to excessive ADAM consumption, their bodies and minds have been deformed beyond repair .

Baby Jane Splicer. Just a tad cray.

Tension came to a head on New Year’s Eve of 1958, when Atlas ordered an all-out attack on Ryan. The battle left many dead, and the few sane survivors barricaded themselves away.

In this war, and the chaotic days that followed, the Splicers murdered much of the sane population of the city.

What once was a beautiful utopia had fallen into a crumbling dystopia….


It all gives me chills 🙂

The first character I decided to take on was your everyday ,Rapture dwelling, scary AF Splicer. I won’t lie…I wanted the rabbit mask…I was going to make the rabbit mask but time got away from me and commissions were calling over my own stuff. BUT one day at Michael’s the cat faced mask basically and literally fell at my feet. I took that as a sign. It was on sale for $4.99 at the time so I bought it. According to the web site they go for $5.49 and remember kiddos Michael’s always has a 40% off coupon for an item not currently on sale! So very useful! You can pull it right up on your phone at check out!

Robb Waters original art concept for the various masks used in Bioshock by Splicers.

The cat mask was NOT the first item purchased in this venture though. It was actually the Splicer weaponry. Some of them use lead pipes..some use a crowbar and some have meat hooks attached to their arms. Basically makeshift weaponry built out of the ruins of the under water civilization.The Dollar Tree had plastic Sickles out for Halloween. $1.00 a piece. I decided then to be a Splicer. I figured I could turn that into a rusted looking weapon of some sort. It looked close enough for me. I mean… $2 and BOOM. How can you beat that?

So here is what I have so far….

$4.99 mask, $2.00 sickles

Materials I used to make the mask/sickles (I had all this already so I didn’t spend money in this section).

1.) Hot Glue. I used this to really bind the “blades” to the base bc they were very cheap and already falling apart. If you don’t have a hot glue gun…use regular glue or tape it…duct tape would probbaly make it look even cooler,honestly. I’ll still include a glue gun/glue cost here though. These can be found at walmart for $5 max at Walmart…and they come with a few sticks.

2.) Silver,black,brown paint for blade color and rusting/blood effects. Spray paint costs more than acrylics but it’s your choice. I painted the babe parts silver,then just smeared over it with the other colors. I’m not the best at aging. I figured it would just need to lok gross. Acrylics at Walmart are like .50 a piece.

3.) Leather dog collars. Yes that’s what I said haha. I have a tendency to buy any leather pieces I find at thrift stores/Goodwill. These,in particular,I had gotten at Carolina Thrift for .25 a piece! I was so excited when I found these a few years back. There were four,brand new and I have used them so often in Steampunk costumes 🙂 I am using these to keep the sickles held onto my arms. I don’t recommend using these bc they are pricey unless you can just find them like I did. I never found anymore after that day though. I’d say use material to hold these on,cut down an actual belt from a thrift store or build the actual (makeshift) contraptions like they use. I should have done that but I was lazy. Just being honest. Belts at Goodwill are like $1.00

Yes,THIS. These are magical and you have no idea 🙂

4.) Scissors/lighter to jack up the mask….you can literally mess this thing up however you want. That was super fun. I cut around the edges,pulled back parts and then I took a lighter and burned it somewhat just to add effects. I’m sure you have scissors!

5.) Gold paint for the design. This varies by style but the cat mask I wanted to make had this gold paint detail I wanted to recreate. Acrylic paint is like .50 at Walmart

6.) Fake Blood. I LOVE the spray blood you get at Party City. I keep it in my craft room. It’s amazing. This doubles as use on the sickles,mask and on body for the cosplay. This is the most realistic blood I have ever found. My opinion. <—-this one only. It’s $7.99 and worth it. You can control the splatter types and everything. It’s amazinggg.

7.) Pipe Cleaner…..or anything you can use for whiskers if you are doing the cat mask. Super cheap in store. Dollar Tree even carries it. I actually forgot this step AND forgot that I have stock in damn white pipe cleaner because of pastie making. I ended up throwing on some curled paper whiskers before the shoot. I don’t recommend that BUT it was fine for the shoot. They showed up just as well. Really anything you do to this mask , after the design is painted,that you think looks crappy…will probably just add to the aesthetic.

So all in all,if you don’t already have ANY of these things then we are looking at about : $25 and that takes into consideration buying the mask at full retail price (which don’t you do that!) and the glue gun. 


So here’s my mask with the cutting/burning of edges. No blood/aging added at this point and no whiskers.

The next thing will be what you wear. Various Splicers wear different things. Some of them are in dresses,some are guys in suits. I see a lot of cosplayers who look like evil Newsies haha.

A friend had given me a ton of clothes and I had this gold dress I figured I would never wear for anything other than costuming. It was perfect…and no issues with getting it bloody 🙂 You may already just have an old dress laying around…or something perfect that you don’t want blood on. You do not have to get it bloody! Just use the blood on your skin or maybe wear something over it ,like a jacket,that can be bloody. If not then Goodwill is your friend here. Find a $5 dress that’s sort of 50’s inspired and go wild.

****Insert photos of dress I used … well,ya know, if I was a better blogger***

Hair and makeup are easy. You are wearing a mask over most of your face. Now you can really do it up and be all “messed up” under that mask or you can just smear makeup around like I did haha. So I just pulled my hair back,pinned it and smeared my lipstick.

buriel at sea
Image from Bioshock Wiki from Buriel At Sea

So all together the Splicer cosplay cost me : $6.99

If you had to buy every single thing yourself (yes glue gun included) it would cost right at $30.00 …and again,I’m willing to bet you have some of this stuff already laying around. Get creative.

Yes you can def just buy the mask if you have more money…you can hand make every single bit of this…age the clothing…GO ALL OUT and it’s amazing when people do! There is almost no theme I love to see more in Cosplay as anything from Bioshock. BUT my purpose was so do it under $20.00 and I succeeded.

For cosplay you want a great photographer…NO you want the best photographer. And not just that,you want someone who will share passion for your vision so that it’s captured in all it’s gory detail. You may even want someone who can work a composite in a way that makes it look like it’s not one. I happen to know a guy 🙂 The fabulous Kenny of Kenneth A. Kivett Photography. Check him out below.

Kenny is an artist with not only his camera but with lightning and editing. The way he shoots leads people to believe he does more editing than he actually does, in some cases. I assure you,I’ve seen the shots in camera…they are brilliant. You also won’t be standing around for hours trying to get a shot. Kenny knows what he is doing. I give you evidence :


In closing I want to say…

Do you ever get back images and you are so excited that you scream? If you don’t you are shooting with the wrong people. Have you ever shot with a photographer for hours and gotten back about 20 photos that are all pretty ok and you are satisfied? You are shooting with the wrong photographers. Have you ever shot for more than 2 hours one on one with a photographer and gotten back like 2 photos at most? STOP DOING THAT.

Photographers that can take a concept and capture it all in one image, which doesn’t require you to be there most all day,are a gift.

Now I totally get having more than one shot during a shoot. In fact,it’s fun! For concepts though,I personally believe, you only need one image for your portfolio. Depending on the complexity of said cosplay maybe 3 total to really capture it. No one really wants to see 100 photos of all the same costume on facebook. And honestly we all know that’s where all photos end up haha. Also I don’t even know what all went into compositing this photo. I would image no photographer would want to do that with a bulk amount of photos.

My next venture into the world of Bioshock cosplay is to make my Little Sister. I’ve already obtained the gas pump to use to make the ADAM syringe. I have plans also for a Motorized Patriot from Infinite. Excitingggg. OK guys and gals thanks for reading!



*Art curation services specialist *Designer/creator of all sorts of gadgets *Steampunk/ Mori Girl designer *Fire performer *Mother of three cats and one pretty fish *Traveler of the world! *Costumer/Cosplayer * Makeup Lover!

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