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How to Make DIY Kids Costume from Recycled Materials

by Danielle Falk
April 15, 2020

Danielle Falk from Little Ginger Studio shares a few simple techniques for making fabulous DIY kids costume with a variety of recycled materials. With thanks and acknowledgement of the skill & imagination of our studio teacher Christine Hill.

Creative DIY kids costumes with recycled materials

Big and little kids just love dressing up. And I think a homemade costume is so much better than a store bought one.

GIrls wearing handmade kids costumes

Don’t believe me? Check out the amazing ingenuity displayed by students in our recent Summer vacation art camps.

Kids (ages 4-10) just blew us away with their creative ideas for fancy costume design.

Child with DIY hat

We had masks, shoes, shields, box-dragons, fairy wings, tutus, hats, handbags and more–all using humble throw-away materials such as newspaper, cardboard and packing materials.

These kids seriously rocked their design brief!

Child wearing dress & wings costume

In order to keep things simple, I’m going to explain how to create a skirt, bodice and wings, but obviously the sky is very much the limit here.

Two girls wearing homemade Star Wars costumes

How to Make DIY Kids Costume from Recycled Materials



Child wearing dress & wings costume for kids

1. Make a skirt out of newspaper.

  • Create a skirt out of newspaper with just an old newspaper or two and a stapler.
  • Start by folding one sheet of newspaper lengthways a few times to make a “belt”.
  • Next, grab another single sheet and fold it “concertina” (fan) style to make some pleats.
  • Staple this set of pleats at right angles to your belt (at one end) and repeat along the entire length of your belt until you have a skirt! This makes a tutu skirt that little ballet enthusiasts are sure to love.
  • Add streamers or ribbons for a final colourful touch. The skirt can then have ribbons attached for fastening and wearing.
  • Or you can staple the skirt directly onto a bodice to make a “pop-over” dress (see how to make a bodice below). You might also make a simpler skirt by adding long fringing to a belt or bodice.

Handmade pink dress with newspaper fringes

2. Create a bodice (for a dress) or vest.

We love using shortcuts when creating with kids and are big fans of using brown paper (grocery) bags to make costumes.

Diy dress & wings costume for kids

  • Simply cut a hole for a neck, two more for arm holes and voila! It’s a bodice for a dress! All you need to do now is attach a skirt.
  • Or, cut the bodice open, draw on some buttons and you have a vest.
  • Add paper cut fringes and it’s a cowboy vest!
  • Then it’s time to decorate using papers, markers etc.

Child with DIY wings costume

3. Make a pair of fabulous wings.

We had a lot of fun creating magical wings with some of our students using thin packing foam. You could easily use cardboard for firmer wings as well.

  • First have an adult cut out the wing shapes.
  • Next, attach wings using hot glue gun to a rectangle of cardboard (adult help).
  • Then add some long cardboard “struts” to support the wings.
  • After this, kids can decorate their wings using tape, shiny paper, feathers, pom poms etc!
  • Add elastic bands or ribbon loops with a stapler or hot glue gun and you’re good to go!

DIY handbag & star wand for kids

4. Have some fun with accessories!

Our students also loved creating fancy accessories for their outfits. We had fabulous hats, handbags, swords, jewelery and shoes galore!

Older kids (7+) especially are very capable of problem-solving how to make accessories whereas younger children may need a bit of assistance.

DIY shoes for kids costume

Kids will really surprise you when you give them the freedom to just create and most of our students did so with little instruction. Seriously – check out the shoes!

Girls wearing Star Wars costumes

I hope you and your kids give these DIY kids costume ideas a try–they are so much fun!

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See our FALL family fun list on my Amazon storefront!

It includes supplies for fall arts & crafts (including the best paper leaves for painting!), autumn toys, Halloween ideas, and picture books about autumn.

Plus, we have lists of the best kids art supplies, open-ended toys, children’s games, and more!

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This is an online workshop with 10 fun Halloween arts and crafts activities that your family can enjoy all October long. Use coupon code KASHALFOFF for $9.99!

Plus a bonus of 10 Halloween-themed drawing prompts!

31 Halloween Activities for Kids Free Printable Graphic

Download our FREE printable idea list of 31 Halloween activities for kids & families!

Or just check out the blog post with the links… So many fun ideas for Halloween!

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