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Easy DIY Disney Princess Costumes on a Budget

Easy DIY Disney Princess Costumes on a Budget

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Yellow Loop. Today we are sharing Disney inspired Halloween costumes. Disney princess costumes don’t have to be elaborate or expensive. You can still dress your little princess in an easy and budget-friendly Disney princess costume that she’ll be able to wear for Halloween, dress-up or to the Parks! Even if you don’t think you can sew a costume, you can make one of these easy Disney princess costumes. Using a store bought t-shirt as a base, you’ll be able to add purchased trim to create a fun Disney-bound type costume.

Easy DIY Disney Princess Costumes on a Budget

Keep reading for the tutorial on how to make a princess costume from a t-shirt.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links

The Idea Spark

A quick Google search will give you an idea of princess styles and colors. There are certain characteristics in the costumes that each character wears, like Rapunzel’s crisscrossed bodice and the draping on Belle’s dress. And each princess has a certain color scheme, like Jasmine’s turquoise and gold and Elsa’s icy blue and white. The characteristics of the style isn’t as important as the princess color scheme. If you keep with a recognizable color scheme you can design your shirt however you like.

For Rapunzel: Schiff Grosgrain Ribbon in Orchid
For Jasmine: Metallic Gold Lace Trim
For Cinderella: Satin Ribbon Rose Flowers

       
I decided to make my little gal a Snow White DisneyBound outfit. Snow White’s color scheme is dark blue, red, yellow and white. But Snow White’s look is pretty simple and I wanted it a little fancier. Using the color scheme, I designed a top with various ribbons, lace and ribbon roses. It’s not exactly like Snow White, but as long as you keep within the color schemes that make each princess recognizable, you can be creative in the style of each princess top.

Easy DIY Disney Princess Costumes on a Budget

Start with a T-Shirt

A t-shirt is a quick and easy way to make a costume base. This shirt cost me less than $5 and I already had these trims on hand. You can layer trims, sew appliques or add ribbons and buttons to create the look you want.

Easy DIY Disney Princess Costumes on a Budget

SEWING TIP – If you sew on non-stretchy trim, this will make the shirt less stretchy as well. Just keep this in mind before sewing trim on that you’ll still need to get this shirt on and off your child. For example, if you sew trim all the way around the neckline, it will no longer be able to stretch over her head. Use non-stretchy trim minimally, especially around areas like the hem, neckline and arm holes.

Lay out your trims onto the outfit until you come up with a design that you are happy with. Don’t cut the trim until you have it pinned down and at the length that you want.

Easy DIY Disney Princess Costumes on a Budget

SEWING TIP – When pinning on the trims, tuck something firm inside the shirt to separate the front and back so you don’t pin through the entire shirt. A piece of cardboard or flattened cereal box works well.

Easy DIY Disney Princess Costumes on a Budget

SEWING TIP – Ribbons are slippery so pin them a LOT when you’re prepping. Once you get the shirt on the sewing machine, you’ll find that the ribbons tend to shift so take your time and move slowly, removing pins as you reach them.

Adding little details like these pre-made ribbon roses adds just the right touch to complete your look!

 Easy DIY Disney Princess Costumes on a Budget

Buy Inexpensive Bottoms

Tights and leggings are cheap and quick ways to complete your costume. I looked for yellow leggings at the store for my princess but they didn’t sell them in itty-bitty sizes. I found a pretty floral print at Old Navy that worked nicely with the colors on the top and still gives this modern Snow White a woodsy feel.

For Sleeping Beauty (aka: Princess Aurora): Little Girl’s Ruffle leggings

Want the sparkle without the messy glitter? Opt for a sequined circle skirt that will give your girl all the twirl and none of the glittery mess!

For Ariel – Sequin Dance Tutu Skirt for Girls

Tutu Tutorial

Tulle fabric is very inexpensive and easy to work with. I love the sparkly tulle that has the sequins and sparkle attached. It also has some stretch to it, so you can sew it directly onto the hem of your t-shirt if you wish. Or make a tutu using one of the many tutorials on Pinterest and your princess will be tutu-cute in no time!

An icy blue for Elsa: Sparkle Tulle Teal Fabric By The Yard and a pretty gold for Belle: Sparkle Tulle Gold Fabric By The Yard

  

For more Disney inspired Halloween costumes,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Yellow | Disney Inspired Halloween Costumes Loop:

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Halloween Costume on a Budget – Sorcerer Mickey Mouse

Halloween Costume on a Budget - Sorcerer Mickey Mouse

Isn’t this Sorcerer Mickey Mouse costume Fantasmic!, err…fantastic?! And it’s budget-friendly and fairly easy to make as well. It’s all about the sorcerer hat, naturally. The rest of the costume is extremely easy to pull together last minute.

My son was Mickey Mouse last year (see the quick and easy DIY Mickey costume tutorial). He’s been telling us all for months that he wanted to be Mickey again this year too. I showed him the animated short, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and he was excited to switch things up a bit costume-wise and be Sorcerer Mickey this year.

Halloween Costume on a Budget - Sorcerer Mickey Mouse


SORCERER’S HAT

Working from top to bottom, Yen Sid’s sorcerer hat is the winning part of this costume. I will give you several different options for creating this piece and you can choose, depending upon your skill level and craftiness.

These are the things you’ll need for the sorcerer’s hat-

1. Cut two pieces of blue cotton from the cone hat pattern. Cut one piece of buckram from the same pattern. Sandwich the buckram in between the two blue cotton pieces and baste around the edge to hold all three pieces together.

2. There are several ways to make the mouse ears. I cut mine out of stiff black felt (just simple circles with a tab on one side to attach to the hat). Curve the hat around your child’s head to see where the placement should be for the ears and mark it with disappearing ink. I sewed the tab on to the hat (facing the back of the hat) but you could hot glue as well.

Halloween Costume on a Budget - Sorcerer Mickey Mouse

3. To create the stars and moons on the hat there are two options:

Option A – Free hand draw these designs onto Heat n’ Bond. Iron the shapes onto white cotton fabric. Cut out on the lines and iron directly onto one of the blue cotton pieces of the hat. Take care not to place the pieces too close to the edge where the hat will be seamed together.

Option B – Draw the designs onto a piece of pattern to create a pattern. Using the patterns, cut out the shapes with felt and then hot glue onto the blue cotton. Take care not to place the pieces too close to the edge where the hat will be seamed together.

4. Curve the cone into a conical hat shape. At this point you have several options for seaming together.

Option A- I turned my hat inside out and machine sewed down the seam, then carefully turned right side out.

Option B- You could also overlap the hat seam and use heavy-duty staples to  seam it shut. You could then cover the seam with a hot-glued strip of blue ribbon.

5. For the padded hat band, measure the child’s head circumference where the hat will be worn. Add about 10 inches to this measurement as the band will tighten once the stuffing is added. It’s also easier to cut the band down in size than to add another piece of fabric.

6. Cut a piece of blue cotton 6″ high X the head circumference, plus 10″. Fold the cotton in half (so it’s now 3″ high), right sides together and sew the long end of the fabric, creating a tube. Do NOT turn the piece right side out, you will be stuffing this tube while it’s inside out.

7. Place a safety pin about an inch in from one side, closing off the tube. Stuff the tube with Poly-fill through the opposite end, using a dowel or chopstick to lightly push the stuffing down. You want the tube lightly padded but not bursting at the seams.

8. When the tube is padded, compare this hat band to the bottom of the cone hat. You may need to remove some of the fill and trim some of the tube fabric if the tube is too long. Once you have the tube an appropriate size to fit the hat, sew the tube ends together making a circle.

9. Placing right sides together, pin the hem of the tube to the outside of the cone hat and baste. Then using a sewing machine zipper foot, sew the hat band tube closely inside the basting line to secure the band to the hat. Trim excess and roll band down. Ta-da!! Your sorcerer’s hat is complete!


ROBE & BELT 

For the rest of the costume. I’d had all intentions of making an authentic red Mickey tunic that matched the costume he wears but when it came down to cutting it out, I found I didn’t have enough red cotton. I dug through my drawer and found this red tee shirt which fits my son nicely and doesn’t drag on the ground or cover his hands (I had to turn the tee inside out because it had a logo on it). I paired the tee with black leggings and brown sandals, though any brown shoes would work.

Halloween Costume on a Budget - Sorcerer Mickey Mouse

For the belt, you could choose to purchase a bit of brown rope to knot at the waist. I had brown cotton that I sewed in a strip long enough to wrap around and knot.

And that’s it, a fairly quickly put together Halloween costume. I was able to create the hat in a few hours time and the rest of the outfit was thrown together very fast. And all pieces are very budget-friendly. The hat fabrics didn’t cost me more than a few dollars!


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Halloween DIY Disney Mickey Pumpkin Appliqued Tee

Halloween DIY Disney Mickey Pumpkin Appliqued Tee

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Yellow Loop. Today we are sharing Halloween craft ideas.


Do you love having custom boutique clothing for you and your kids when you visit the Disney Parks? Me too! I’ve been creating and selling appliqued tees for years in my Etsy shop, The Painted Butterfly Studio. However, I know not everyone has the time or inclination to perfect satin stitching or proper technique for seamless applique. I came up with a technique for applique that anyone with a sewing machine can accomplish!

Halloween DIY Disney Mickey Pumpkin Appliqued Tee

Supplies needed:

Halloween DIY Disney Mickey Pumpkin Appliqued Tee

1. Take your coloring page or design and flip the page over. Outline the bold details with a Sharpie marker. This is the side that you will trace on.

Halloween DIY Disney Mickey Pumpkin Appliqued Tee

2. Place a piece of fusible bond (bumpy side down) onto your design and trace out each individual shape using a Sharpie marker (ball point pens or pencils will smudge or smear off onto your iron, so a Sharpie is best).

Halloween DIY Disney Mickey Pumpkin Appliqued Tee

You’ll have a piece for the pumpkin, the stem, the leaf and the individual pieces of the jack-o’ lantern face.

Halloween DIY Disney Mickey Pumpkin Appliqued Tee

3. Cut around each piece of fusible bond but NOT on the Sharpie line (see image above on left). Iron them (bumpy side down) onto the appropriate color of fabric.

  • One orange pumpkin shape
  • One lime green leaf
  • One brown stem
  • One black jack-o’ lantern smile, one nose and two eyes.

4. Cut out each piece on the Sharpie line.

Halloween DIY Disney Mickey Pumpkin Appliqued Tee

5. Lay your shirt down and iron out any wrinkles in the design area. Starting with the orange pumpkin and brown pumpkin stem,  peel off the fusible bond backings and place down onto the tee. Tuck the brown stem slightly underneath the orange pumpkin. Make sure the design is centered and straight. Do not iron yet!!

Lay your coloring page down (the original side, not the one that you traced) on top of your design to make sure the pieces line up before pressing with the iron. I flip the page back and forth quickly so I can compare the design and make sure I have pieces in the correct position. Use a smooth pressure to apply the pieces to your tee shirt with the iron on a “cotton” setting.

Halloween DIY Disney Mickey Pumpkin Appliqued Tee

6. Moving on to the leaf, use the same technique, comparing the coloring page to the fabric design before ironing in place.

7. Repeat with jack-o’ lantern pieces, matching the correct position by comparing to the coloring page before ironing in place.

8. Once you have all your pieces securely ironed on, cut a piece of stabilizer slightly larger than the size of your design.

Carefully turn your shirt inside out and follow the package instructions to secure to the inside of the shirt (some stabilizers must be pinned on; I use one that can be ironed on and easily removed).

Turn the shirt right side out. Do not skip this step of using stabilizer! Stabilizer holds the design straight while you sew to avoid warping, puckering or rippling.

Halloween DIY Disney Mickey Pumpkin Appliqued Tee

9. Thread your sewing machine bobbin with the same color of thread as your t-shirt. You will start by sewing the pieces on top, the black jack-o’lantern face. When appliqueing, always sew the smaller pieces on top first to avoid puckering. Thread the machine with black thread and set the machine for a tight straight stitch.

Halloween DIY Disney Mickey Pumpkin Appliqued Tee

10. Carefully sew each jack-o’ lantern piece close to the outside edge. Change thread colors and complete by sewing the green leaf and brown stem.

Halloween DIY Disney Mickey Pumpkin Appliqued Tee

11. Taking your disappearing ink pen and comparing to your original coloring page, draw any detail lines for the pumpkin directly onto your fabric design.

Halloween DIY Disney Mickey Pumpkin Appliqued Tee

12. Using orange thread, sew around the outside of the pumpkin first, then sew up and down the design to add the details. Make sure to back stitch before and at the end of each strand to secure stitches.

Halloween DIY Disney Mickey Pumpkin Appliqued Tee

13. When all sewing is complete, spritz the design lightly with water to remove the disappearing ink lines. You may have to repeat this process several times. Do not iron until the ink lines are gone to avoid setting them permanently.

14. Turn shirt inside out and remove all pieces of stabilizer. Turn shirt right side out.

Halloween DIY Disney Mickey Pumpkin Appliqued Tee

14. When disappearing ink lines are gone, press the design with iron to sink and tighten the stitches. Your shirt is ready to wear!


Straight stitch applique advice:

It is important to stick with cotton or knit fabrics only when straight stitch appliqueing. Because the edges of the applique pieces are not covered, there is a chance that the edges of your cotton fabric may fray or curl slightly after a wash and dry. As long as you’ve properly stitched the pieces securely, slight fraying or curling should be fine and create a fun look to your design.

Halloween DIY Disney Mickey Pumpkin Appliqued Tee

Pumpkin shirt with satin stitch applique

Taking applique to the next level:

Once your practiced straight stitch applique, try using a satin stitch (aka: a very close together zig-zag) around the edges of your applique pieces to secure them. This will create a more smooth and polished look. You’ll be able to add more detail and the look will last a long time. Cover the stitches inside (because they will be thicker and potentially more itchy to the wearer) with a soft fusible Poly-mesh backing.

Prefer to buy? I’ve got you covered because this design (with name personalization) and others are sold in my Etsy shop 🙂

For more Halloween craft ideas,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Yellow  | Halloween Crafts Loop:


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6 DisneyBounding “Rules” – How to Capture Your DisneySide!

Children under 12 can dress in costume at the Disney Parks, but what about the rest of us who’d like to show their Disney-Side but can’t go full out in costume? DisneyBounding! By using clothes from your own closet, you can create the unique look of a certain Disney character that you can wear to the Parks.

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Yellow Loop. Today we are sharing DisneyBounding ideas for you and your family.

6 DisneyBounding "Rules" - How to Capture Your DisneySide!

DisneyBounding “Rules”?

I came up with a few DisneyBounding “rules”, using the Fab 5 as examples, that make dressing as your favorite character fun and easy. My DisneyBound ideas are clothes you can wear at the Parks, so these are comfortable and practical but still fun (not a high heel in sight!)

DisneyBound is about creativity and uniqueness. One look on Pinterest DisneyBound and you can see how many interpretations people are able to come up with based on one character’s “look”.

How will you DisneyBound? Here are some ideas!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. By clicking and purchasing through my links you help me in a small financial way, thank you!

DISNEYBOUND RULE #1 – PATTERNS ARE A PLUS

Does your character have a recognizable pattern, like Minnie and her polka dots? Wearing red and white polka dots will almost automatically link you to Minnie, but what other prints can you find that are a similar match to your character?

Minnie Mouse DisneyBound

How about green fish scales for Ariel, purple and pink stripes for the Cheshire Cat or a red and white Hawaiian print for Lilo! If you can’t find a good match, consider fabric paint and a handmade stencil to make the print on the fabric yourself (use non-stretch cotton for best results).

Minnie Mouse – Women’s Polka Dot Top

Cheshire Cat – Pink & Purple Striped Knee High Socks

Ariel – Mermaid Tails Jamberry nail wrap

Minnie Mouse – Red Large Polka Dot’s Minnie Mouse Inspired Hair Bow

101 Dalmations – Dalmation Spot Beach Flip Flops


DISNEYBOUND RULE #2 – COLOR GIVES YOU CHARACTER

What are your character’s main colors? No need to be exact on either colors or matching identical pieces, just a general idea of that character’s look, like the Goofy collection shown here.

Goofy DisneyBound

What other characters use color dramatically in their look? How about Elsa in her sparkling ice blue gown and silver snowflakes? Or Ursula in a swirl of black and purple. As long as you keep with these color tones, you can mix up the design of the outfit as you please.


Elsa – Sequin Embellished Sparkle Tank Top and Frozen Snowflake Pandora Charm

Ursula – Womens Swing Tunic Top in Deep Purple and Metal Starfish Hair Clips

Dopey – Knitted Beanie Cap in Dark PurpleDrape Tunic Top in Lime and Minnetonka Women’s Back Zipper Bootie


DISNEYBOUND RULE #3 – IT’S ALL IN THE ACCESSORIES

What is the most eye-catching piece of your character’s look? For Donald, it’s his bright red bow, front and center. With thoughtful accessorizing, you can relax on the other pieces (because you probably don’t want to dress in full sailor suit!)
Donald Duck DisneyBound

If your character doesn’t have a definite spotlight piece, feel free to use that character’s image in one of your accessories (like on a hat , shoes or jewelry). These great new Disney-themed Vans are a perfect accompaniment ( VANS x DISNEY Sneakers)

Think candy hair accessories for Vanellope from Wreck It Ralph, Jessie’s red cowgirl hat from Toy Story or a chunky turquoise necklace like Pocahontas.

Vanellope – Rainbow Candy Fashion Hair Clips

Jessie –  Toy Story Jessie Cowgirl Hat

Poncahontas –  Handmade Chunky Turquoise Necklace


DISNEYBOUND RULE #4 –  CUTE, BUT NOT COSTUME-Y

There’s a big difference between DisneyBound and costumes. You wouldn’t put on feathers to DisneyBound as Daisy Duck, but a fluffy white dress gives the impression of feathers.
Daisy Duck DisneyBound

 Also, if you’re choosing less-than-obvious characters, consider that you might not be easily recognized as being DisneyBound. You’ll look cute, but not in costume so if you want to pointedly direct attention to your outfit consider having a toy or an accessory, like an enamel pin of the character on your shirt.


DISNEYBOUND RULE #5 –  LEAVE LITERAL INTERPRETATION TO THE LITTLES

Literal interpretations lends themselves more towards costume than DisneyBound, like the Mickey example here. This is best left for the kids, who look simply adorable (whilst a grown man, not so much!)

Mickey DisneyBound

Feel free to let little ones go all out with Tinker Bell or Buzz Lightyear wings in the park, so long as they’re comfortable.

  

Tinker Bell –  Baby Girls’ Tinker Bell Deluxe Infant Costume

Buzz Lightyear –  Buzz Lightyear Jet Pack


DISNEYBOUND RULE #6 – CHARACTER DETAILS MAKE YOU MORE RECOGNIZABLE

And for good measure, I threw in Pluto! If your costume is vague or the character you chose doesn’t have much of a standout look (like Pluto here) consider adding in character details, like a hat, jewelry or MagicBand wrap with a custom design to add to your look.

Pluto DisneyBound

You could also go a subtle route and choose one accessory if your character is dressed quite over the top like Sully from Monsters Inc., Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas or Jessie from Toy Story. Keep your costume simple and show off these cool accessories. Naturally I like to take my characters to the tips of my nails with the Disney Collection by Jamberry wraps!

 

sample-mistress of all evil

From left to right, Mistress of All Evil, Frozen In Time Junior and You Can Fly

For more DisneyBounding ideas,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Yellow | DisneyBounding Ideas Loop:

 

 

Halloween on a Budget – #DisneyBound Vanellope Von Schweetz

DIY Vanellope von Schweetz costume - Wreck it Ralph - #Disneybound

Since last Halloween, my stepdaughter Alonna has known she wanted to be Vanellope Von Schweetz from the Disney movie Wreck it Ralph. Being the creative and frugal gal I am, I knew that we could create something for Alonna with pieces that she’ll be able to wear again. It’s called Disney Bound, using store-bought clothing and accessories in a creative way to resemble your favorite Disney character!

Here’s how we acheived the Vanellope look (on a budget, no less!) – 

 

Vanellope profile

The cool thing about Disney-bounding is that the look doesn’t have to be “exact”. You are aiming for similar but it doesn’t have to be a perfect match. There was no finding Vanellope’s exact tights. See how the stripes go at an angle on one leg and have a red stripe on the other? We got close enough with these tights in “scout green” from We Love Colors ($8.50). Alonna will be able to rewear these at Christmas.

Vanellope wears a brown peanut butter cup wrapper as a skirt. I did a quick search on ThredUp (affiliate link) for a brown skirt. I found this $79.00 brand new Jacadi skirt (tag was still attached) for only $11.99 and she’ll be able to rewear it all year.

The mint hoodie is the perfect shade!! I scored it at Hanes ($8.99). I handsewed on the red ribbons and after Halloween, I’ll remove them and she can wear the sweatshirt all winter.

I wanted Alonna to wear a tee underneath the sweatshirt in case the weather was too warm. I scored this glittery tee ($6.49) from Old Navy that is PERFECT! Fans of Wreck it Ralph will know that Sugar Rush is the name of the video game that Vanellope comes from!

The “sweet” stuff in her hair was fun! Alonna had made some clay candy pieces which I glued along with fuzzy pom-poms and buttons onto silver snap clips ($2.50). I spread a little glitter glue over the silver clips for added sparkle and carefully snapped them into her hair along with some tiny colorful claw clips. I found some sparkly bobby pins at Target to add into the mix too ($3.50). Instead of a red licorice whip for a hair tie like Vanellope, we went with a red bow that Alonna already owned.

DIY Vanellope von Schweetz costume - Wreck it Ralph - #Disneybound

The overall effect is fun and whimsical. Best of all, Alonna loved her costume and was very comfortable. I’m glad that these are all things she’ll be able to wear again, too!

DIY Vanellope von Schweetz costume - Wreck it Ralph - #Disneybound

 Have you ever DisneyBound before? Tell me in the comment below!

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Halloween on a Budget – Quick and Easy Mickey Mouse Costume

Quick & Easy DIY Mickey Mouse costume

Mickey Mouse Costume

Isn’t my little mouse adorable?! He has been talking about how he’s going to be Mickey Mouse for Halloween for the last six months!

The best part, this costume was so easy and so inexpensive. Even if you only have a few days this is a super quick and easy costume that you can put together on the cheap. This is how I put it together.

I made a hood with padded mouse ears though if you have souvenir mouse ears hat from the park, that would be perfect. I had some leftover velvety stretch knit to make the hood. I did not use “Velcro” but instead just sewed the chin closed since I used such stretchy knit. I didn’t even hem or finish the fabric around the face or at the neck because the fabric I used does not fray or unravel…yes!

basic hood

For the ears, I cut four circles about 5″ in diameter with a notch on the bottom, like a balloon shape.

I sewed two circles together, leaving the notch open. I stuffed the ears with polyfill and pinned shut.

After sizing the hood on him and marking where the ears should go, I cut a small slit in the hood to insert the notch. I pinched the slit shut, pinned and sewed a seam across to close the opening. Voila: Mouse ears!

Quick & Easy DIY Mickey Mouse costume

Yes, Mickey traditionally wears yellow shoes and I probably would have bought him a pair of sweet yellow Converse if they made them in his size! Since Dillon lost his Croc at Disneyland last month and his other shoes are all getting tight, I went practical and found these new white tennies on ThredUp for less than $8! (affiliate link).

Paired with a simple long sleeved black tee are the red shorts. I could have bought red shorts but I already owned the red cotton and they were easy enough to make. A pair of oversized white buttons (cost: 79 cents each) sewn at the waist make him Mickey!

We opted out of gloves because I didn’t expect that he’d keep them on. Also he’ll be wearing black leggings on Halloween night (it was a bit warm for them at Sea World). As you can see, he loves his Mickey costume and wasn’t bothered at all by the hood. He loves to shake his head and let the padded ears flop back and forth.

Quick & Easy DIY Mickey Mouse costume

Let me know if you give the Mickey costume DIY a try! I’d love to see your photos. 

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Halloween on a Budget – Make Your Own Adorable Costumes (and Save a Ton!!)

Make Your Own Halloween Costumes

I’m a crafty girl so of course, I always make my kid’s Halloween costumes. But even if you don’t have a crafty bone in your body, I know you can make a costume this year (or at least vow not to spend an ungodly amount of money on a crummy costume at the store, okay?). Want to make your own Halloween costumes? I’ll show you my 100+ tips, tricks and ideas to make your own Halloween costumes.

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps in a small financial way, thank you!

Tons of tips for making your own Halloween costumes, all on a budget!

Make a Halloween Costume Plan Early

A few months before Halloween I ask the kids to start thinking about what costume they want. Sometimes it takes them a few weeks to decide but this year they’ve been firm and have stuck with their original ideas. Two of the three have a Disney-theme, go figure! *wink*

I’m starting the Halloween planning a full 60 days in advance, which will give me plenty of time to make three kid’s costumes. I highly suggest starting early so you have plenty of time for planning and crafting and avoiding the night-before cram session (been there, done that!).

Some kids have a hard time deciding on a final theme so allow about a week of waffling before you tell them they have to nail it down. Once the planning process starts there is no changing of minds!

Dozen of Halloween Costume Ideas with Tips & Tricks on How to Make Your Own Costumes on a Budget

Draw Out a Basic Design

I draw a quick and simple design of the costume idea and present it to each child for approval. Make your drawing very simple and direct (don’t forget to show both front and back). Allow input from the kids about the design as they often come up with the most creative ideas!

I stress this…do not make them a costume as a surprise! This quite often will backfire. Kids want and need to approve what they wear. I believe that they should be involved in choosing their own theme. After all it’s the child that will be bringing the character to life! You want them to be happy and comfortable with what they are wearing (and not refusing to put it on!).

Dozen of Halloween Costume Ideas with Tips & Tricks on How to Make Your Own Costumes on a Budget

One of my favorite years was when my kids decided together that they wanted to be pirates. My son had a pair of glow-in-the-dark skeleton pajamas that became the base of the design. One child chose black and the other red as their main color scheme. I used the same skull and cross-bones design on the backs of their vests (drew out a image, traced it onto white fabric, cut it out and sewed it on).


The costumes had a similar look but each one unique with the choice of accessories. My son had a simple sash tied at his waist and a loose vest. For my daughter I made a tighter top (that laced on the sides) and a sash that laced with ribbon in front. I accented her outfit with inexpensive gold braid trim. These costumes look fantastic and I truly only spent about $15 total on the striped and black fabrics.

Argh! Brother and sister pirate Halloween costumes {Saving Up for Disney}

Know What You Have & Buy Only What You Need

As a seamstress, I have more than enough fabric and notions in my bins to costume a Broadway production! For this year’s costumes, I don’t think I’m going to have to purchase much of anything. But perhaps you’re starting from scratch? Save those fabric and craft store coupons now.

Figure out what fabrics you’d like to use for the costume (be practical about what will be easiest to work with and what washes up the best) and watch for sales. Dig through your odds and ends including buttons, ribbons and leftovers from previous craft projects. You might just find a diamond in the rough that will be the inspiration of your design!


Take a look at your closets and see what can be tweaked or reworked for a costume. In many cases I only have to make one main piece or an accessory to complete the look. The rest is straight from their everyday wear. I recommend Fabric.com online if you do need to purchase fabrics or supplies.

Like this adorable gnome. My son already had the corduroy pants so I just made a basic tunic (trimmed with white bias tape). Felt is so cheap and it was appropriately stiff so the hat stood up all on its own. I attached an elastic chin-strap and a strip of fur for the beard. This costume cost less than $10. It took only a few hours to create and he looked absolutely precious!

Dozen of Halloween Costume Ideas with Tips & Tricks on How to Make Your Own Costumes on a Budget

Keep An Open Mind & Creativity Flowing

I haven’t purchased a new pattern since 2007 because I use and reuse the classic styles that I already own. Don’t get hung up with needing a specific “princess” costume pattern. And you don’t have to exactly match the design on the cover.

Don’t let yourself get distracted by a dull or outdated design on the packaging. Simply changing up the fabrics and adding trims can make that style a true gem.

Scour the sale pattern bins and look for classics that can be manipulated for your design. A basic tunic pattern and elastic waist pants and skirts are the basis for countless costume designs.

Halloween spider costume on the cheap {Saving Up for Disney}

What do you have around the house that can be recycled for a costume? My son came up with the idea of “Hollywood Super Star Spider” when he was five. He knew he wanted a cane and a top hat. My dad made the cane with leftover PVC piping. I made the top hat from the thin cardboard of a cereal box, hot glue and leftover fabric strips.

I spent very little on the actual fabric for the costume and batting to fill in the spider arms. Mono-filament (fishing line) strung the arms together. He wore his own black pants with the tunic. My son was over the moon when his design and character came to life!


Tons of tips for making your own Halloween costumes, all on a budget!

A homemade cupcake, Sorcerer Mickey and a Marine

Less is More (Thinking Cheap)

Specialty fabrics can be very expensive so try to use them minimally instead of in excess. They generally have a greater impact when used strategically, like in the bodice of a dress instead of in the entire skirt.

For my son’s spider costume I used only a small amount of the priciest fabric (the sheer, sparkly red spiderweb design), choosing to place it only on the front of the tunic. Same goes for fancy trims: Instead of edging the entire hem of a skirt, use a pricey trim only around the neckline or sleeves.


When I want to create drama without the expense on a costume, I pull out my fabric paints. A little glittery fabric paint can go a long way to making your look more professional! When my nephew got a hold of this Spiderman costume it had already been through two previous Halloweens over the course of 8 years but the paint pen marker that I’d used to draw the web was still holding up!

Spiderman costume on the cheap {Saving Up for Disney}

For the cost of a few plastic buttons and some stretchy knit fabric, you can have your own Mickey in the house! Check out my DIY Mickey Mouse costume tutorial.

mickeycostume

Face Paint Can Be a Costume

Keep your outfit simple and go with dramatic face paint. This is an awesome way to dress up as a wild animal.


Turn That “OOPS” Into “I MEANT TO DO THAT!”

See my daughter twirling in her lovely fairy butterfly dress? When I tried it on her for the first time it completely fell off her shoulders! I needed a fix and I needed one fast! I improvised by sewing strips on the dress inside the neckline. This created a unique bejeweled collar that became the signature look of the design. When something doesn’t work it’s time to pull out all the creative stops and look at it a different way.

Halloween butterfly fairy costume {Saving Up for Disney}

Outside the Box

My son is nothing if not imaginative. He came to me with the idea of being a bush for Halloween when he was 6 years old. His idea was that he wanted to hide in corners and then jump out and scare people who thought he was just part of the landscaping!

After pricing the cost of fake leaves we had a discussion and I convinced him to be a tree. The cost of completely covering his entire body with leaves was going to be prohibitive. But one strand of fake greenery was acceptable. He could still be in disguise and if he squatted down, he’d still look like a bush. He went for it!

We used an old shirt and I hot glued on the leaves. A bucket hat received an overlay of green fabric, more leaves and even a tiny nest and bird that we had in our craft box! He wore brown pants for the “trunk” and everyone loved his creative costume. And he got the biggest kick out of jumping out at people along the trick-or-treating trail.

Halloween costume - A tree with a bird's nest {Saving Up for Disney}

Give Yourself Enough Time (and Know Where to Cut Corners)

This zebra jacket took more time than you’d ever know! Seriously, I worked for hours and hours cutting out strips and sewing them in place. I made the headpiece with a firm piece of latch-hook plastic. I looped the black and white yarn through it and then sewed the plastic in place onto the hood.

But by the time I got to the bottoms I’d run out of time! I’d planned on making black pants and adding the stripes but instead had to resort to tweaking an old pair of soccer shorts with a few stripes sewn on and having him wear a pair of his sister’s black leggings. It all worked out in the end, he loved the costume and he still wears this jacket!

Zebra costume made from a hoodie {Saving Up for Disney}

My point is to judge how long you’re taking on a particular project and know whether it’s worth your time to keep going or to amend the project to suit your time and needs. In the case of my daughter’s fairy butterfly dress, the skirt fabric was two silky layers and I didn’t have the time to hem it in the traditional way.  I serged the edge in a contrasting thread so it was still finished off. The pretty threads added a colorful charm to the design.

Very Hungry Caterpillar baby costume {Saving Up for Disney}

For the baby’s first Halloween, I knew he’d been spending the night in his stroller, probably asleep. I didn’t need to make him anything fancy, instead opting for fabrics I already had in a theme he loved from his favorite book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. A simple elastic tube of green fabric trimmed with colorful ribbons up the spine and a quickly appliqued knit cap was enough for his first Halloween.

Costume From the Closet

Rather than full out costume, see what you can use from your own closet to create. I made a DIY Vanellope Von Schweetz for my daughter using items that were from her closet or easily purchased and that could be re-worn as clothing. Hooded sweatshirts are so easily manipulated into a costume with a few inexpensive trims.

 

If you really don’t want to spend much (or any) money, take a look at what you already own that can be finagled into a costume. My little guy loved the Wizard of Oz a few years ago (and his sister was already dressing as Dorothy) so I easily put together his scarecrow costume with a plaid shirt, overalls, a bucket hat and some raffia. Adorable…and free!

Baby scarecrow costume with items in the closet - totally free! {Saving Up for Disney}

Alright, Okay…So, You’re Going With Store Bought

Remember when I said I always make my kids own costumes. I lied. One year I bought my son a Jack Sparrow Pirates of the Caribbean costume. In all honesty, I had been listing a hand painted pirate costume in my Etsy shop that year and I’d made a half-dozen of them and just didn’t have enough time for my own kid’s costume!


So we splurged and went with store-bought. It was a nice quality Disney store costume and he “made it his own” by pairing it with my brother’s vintage pirate hat. It was a nice enough costume that it was handed down to my nephew the following year and then I sold it the next year on Ebay!

Halloween costumes on the cheap {Saving Up for Disney}

My Hollywood SuperStar Spider and his cousin, wearing the store bought Jack Sparrow costume the second year.


If you do go with store bought, keep a few things in mind:

Quality vs. Price.

  • Is the fabric so cheaply transparent that kids will have to wear a second layer underneath for modesty?
  • How many times after Halloween night will the costume be wearable?
  • Could it be resold either on Ebay or to a friend afterwards? There are some really precious costumes out there. But is it really worth it to you to spend $80 for a one-day outfit?

Dozen of Halloween Costume Ideas with Tips & Tricks on How to Make Your Own Costumes on a Budget

Shop the Thrift or Resale Shops First

It’s what everyone did with last year’s costumes: They donated them and they are yours for the picking! I found my daughter’s Wizard of Oz Dorothy costume at the thrift store last year for a whopping $4! The ruby slippers were $10 and she wore them for every Christmas event and school dance that year so I say that is one bargain Halloween costume!


Start with Accessories Before Buying the Head-to-Toe Costume

Can you get away with buying a store-bought accessory and using items from your closet for the rest? I present to you, Indiana Jones! An accessories set included the Indiana Jones Child’s Hat and Whip Set and Indiana Jones Satchel (which was of course, his trick-or-treat bag).

It cost me about $15 total and I pulled a khaki shirt and brown pants from his closet to complete the look. He added the smolder on his own!

Dozen of Halloween Costume Ideas with Tips & Tricks on How to Make Your Own Costumes on a Budget

Is it Comfortable?

  • Itchy fabric? Too tight elastic? So many store-bought costumes are sealed up inside their packages and can’t be tried on first.
  • Some of the retailers have very strict return policies in regards to Halloween costumes so make sure that you are able to try it on completely before making the purchase.
  • If your child isn’t comfortable wearing the costume in the store, they will be miserable trick-or-treating and who wants those kind of memories?

Dozen of Halloween Costume Ideas with Tips & Tricks on How to Make Your Own Costumes on a Budget

Will This Costume Ever Be Worn Again?

Will your kids wear their costumes to play dress-up through out the year? Invest in nice quality pieces that won’t fall apart in the dress-up bin. The hours of entertainment they provide are worth it. Every item that I’ve made has either been handed down to another child or has been worn again for dress-up and pretend play. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey hat that I made for Halloween became the theme of my son’s birthday so he wore the hat for the party too!

Tons of tips for making your own Halloween costumes, all on a budget!

On a final note, I think Halloween costumes are a wonderful way of expressing creativity and style. Not only just for the person making the costume. The child who chooses the theme and helps design makes the costume come to life with their own personality.

This final shot of my nephew and son, rocking their individual looks perfectly reflects that. Choose a costume that transforms you and makes your character come to life!