I know I’m probably showing my age, but I have some pretty fond memories of Bad B-style superhero movies as a kid. (Ahh, the 80’s and early 90’s.)
One of my favorite obscure superheros is Tank Girl, the foul-mouthed, smoking, drinking, mutant kangaroo-loving bad a**, who fights to save the environment/world agaisnt all types of “The Man.” The comic is getting a re-boot, and I thought last year’s Dallas Comic-Con would be a great place to test out my very own Tank Girl cosplay.
Fortunately, Tank Girl is the epitomy of punk rock, so you really only need a few key pieces to identify yourself as her, and then you can kind of go crazy with the rest. That’s what makes this costume so easy and great!
P.S. – Don’t worry, ladies with long locks, you do NOT have to cut your hair like mine. You can always put up your hair and wear an army helmet from a surplus store, or a floppy-eared hat (like a trapper’s hat.) Those are both iconic Tank Girl accessories.
What you need:
A white t-shirt (in your closet or thrifted)
acrylic or fabric paint in primary red and blue
a piece of cardboard to slide inside the shirt while you paint
any bottoms, like jeans, cargo shorts or pants, especially if they’re in bad shape
goggles (can be any goggles – I got some clear work goggles from the dollar store)
fake artillery (Dollar store, thrifted)
stretch knit gloves (in your closet or dollar store – they don’t even have to match – heck, you don’t even need 2)
Optional accessories: army/green vest, mismatched socks, boots or beat up sneakers, fishnets with holes torn in them, arm warmers, washable markers to write “40 Watt Club” on your arm, makeup to create fake bruises, permanent or temporary hair dye, safety pins, stuffed animals to pin to your belt, etc.
How to make it:
The only think you’ll really need to make is your target shirt. This is classic Tank Girl, and should help people figure out who you are, since she’s not a very popular hero (um, anti-hero.) Place a bowl upside down in the center front of your white shirt, and trace around the edge with a pen. Place your plate (larger diameter than the bowl) upside down, over the circle you just traced, and trace the edge. This will create the inner or outer edge of the ring of the target. Now, you can get particular here and go ahead and draw the other edge of your ring, or you can just eyeball it while you paint.
Now slide the piece of cardboard into the shirt (if you haven’t already,) so that your paint doesn’t seep through to the back of the shirt. Pain the inner circle red, and paint the outer ring blue. Let dry overnight. Hint: If you don’t want your shirt to look new, turn it inside out and run it through the washer and dryer – by itself – after you paint it.
Now assemble your costume! Place your band aids in random places all over your body, and you’re set. Really, there are so many ways you can interpret Tank Girl; just do a Google search, and you’ll find plenty of inspiration.
P.S. – I was lucky enough to stumble upon a giant plastic Texas Rangers toy bat, which I covered in woodgrain contact paper and athletic tape.
This costume is really easy, with lots of room for creativity/being broke. When people do recognize who you are, they’ll be really excited!
People may have no idea who you are, but they may just think you’re a zombie hunter instead, which is still cool.
The first person to react thought I was a zombie hunter, which was totally fine with me, as he was stoked about it. When people did start to recognize me, they asked for my picture and were really happy to see me. One guy even showed me his Booga tattoo! (Tank Girl’s mutant kangaroo boyfriend.) I can’t wait to add to this costume and wear it again!