Budget Friendly Creative Costuming
Are You Ready For Halloween?
by Jennifer Hammond-Moore
Anyone that knows me knows that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! Besides having a birthday a few days after, I absolutely LOVE to sew! Unfortunately, during our house renovation the sewing machines have been tucked away only to come out for dire emergencies. Plus, time constraints have left me with the “what can I make with a few supplies, little cash, and even less time?”
Superheroes are running rampant this year through movies and television, and I am sure they are going to be prevalent in the costume shops this year as well. But who wants a boring, over-priced, ill-fitting costume? I have always preferred to make mine. After a brief consultation with my daughter, I found out that my grandsons’ favorite superheroes are Batman and Superman. Perfect! Of course, the girls will be princesses, grandma’s prerogative, and honestly, it’s what they choose to be most Halloweens. A little research on Pinterest to make sure I had the correct superhero colors followed by a quick trip to Walmart for supplies, and the fun began. Keep in mind that whether your boys choose to be superheros and your girls choose to be princesses, or vice versa, this easy DIY will have anyone ready for a night of fun tricks or treats.
Superhero Shirts (Batman and Superman)
- Black shirt, preferably long-sleeved. If you purchase a short sleeve shirt, buy one size larger so you can put another shirt under it for the cold October nights.
- Royal blue shirt. Same instructions as above.
- Clear Con-Tact paper. This can be found near the kitchen products where the shelf paper is located.
- X-ACTO knife or razor knife to cut the Con-Tact paper, and to cut out the emblems.
- Scissors. Sharp scissors are the best to cut crisp corners.
- Cardboard to put inside the shirt for stability, and to prevent paint from bleeding to the back of the shirt.
- Paint dauber or sponge to daub paint. I do not recommend paint brushes because they can push paint under the contact paper, distorting the artwork.
- Red, black, and yellow acrylic paint. I opted to use acrylic paint because the fabric paint was not a good color for the project.
- Picture of superhero emblem. Pinterest has an endless supply that you can print out free of charge.
- Straight pins or safety pins.
- Prewash and dry the shirts and lay flat. Place the cardboard inside of the shirts and pin sleeves together behind the board. This will tighten the fabric, making it easier to keep smooth.
- Trace superhero emblem onto the Con-Tact paper. Cut out the negative space that will take in the paint with the X-ACTO knife. Cut one Superman diamond shape emblem out of the Con-Tact paper and then cut a detailed S emblem. This is due to multiple colors of paint that are needed.
- Remove part of the Con-Tact paper and adhere the sticky part of Con-Tact paper to the shirt. Slowly remove the rest of the paper, pressing carefully to ensure there are no bubbles in the Con-Tact paper.
- Apply about a one-inch circle of yellow paint onto a paper plate. Using the dauber or sponge, blot into the paint and then daub the yellow color on the Batman shirt. Do not slide the dauber! Sliding can push paint under the edges of the Con-Tact paper. When the emblem has been covered with one layer, set this shirt aside and begin on the second shirt. Follow the previous steps when applying red paint to the diamond shape of the Superman emblem.
- While you are waiting for the paint to dry on the shirts, place the daubers in a small plastic bag so they won’t dry out. This will prevent you from having to wash the daubers after each layer of paint.
- Apply two to three more layers of paint to the shirts and allow to fully dry. You should not see the shirt color through the applied paint.
- Remove the Con-Tact paper and discard. Batman shirt should be complete.
- When the red paint on the Superman shirt is dry, remove the Con-Tact paper and apply the cutout emblem.
- Apply yellow paint to emblem, allowing layers to dry in between. Remove Con-Tact paper.
- Shirts are complete!
Completing the costume can be as simple as pairing the shirt with a pair of sweatpants. Or, you can get as detailed at this point as you would like creating capes, masks, decorated superhero belts, gloves, etc. Cutting out a felt or foam mask for play at home or around the neighborhood can be a quick process and add to the fun of the costume! If your child or grandchild is wearing the costume to school, they generally are not allowed to wear a mask. Don’t forget to remind them of the dangers of jumping off high objects and that superheroes only pretend punch.
I am an absolute softie when it comes to our little princesses! When it comes to costumes, the less time spent on something that is not brother-proof is important. For a no-sew, quick princess skirt it’s time to get out the tulle and scissors.
No-Sew Princess Skirt
- 4-6 yards of bridal tulle in your favorite princess color.
- ¾” elastic, the length of the elastic is determined by the waist size of the child.
- Safety pin.
- Straight pins.
- Measure the child’s waist size and add 1”. Cut the elastic to this measurement.
- Measure from the child’s waist to the floor. Double this amount and add 2” for the length of the tulle strips. If your child’s waist height is still under 27” you should be able to cut the tulle horizontally or from side to side, keeping the fabric folded in half. If your child is taller than that, you may need a little more tulle for the fullness of the skirt.
- If you are measuring for the shorter skirt, fold the long, folded side of the tulle to the selvage edge, creating a more manageable piece of fabric to work with. Pin every 6-8″ along both sides to flatten out the tulle. Cut 3” strips across the fabric from folded edge to folded edge until all of the tulle is cut.
- Either safety pin or hand stitch the elastic to form a circle, overlapping the elastic about 1”. Make sure there aren’t any twists in the elastic circle.
- With the tulle strip folded exactly in half, make a loop under the elastic. Feed the ends through the loop, hooking around the elastic. Tighten the tulle at the bottom edge of the elastic, but do not allow the elastic to fold over on itself.
- Continue looping the tulle strips around the elastic until you run out of tulle. If you have enough tulle, you should not see the elastic once you are done. If the skirt is full enough, just stretch the elastic and slide the loops to fill in gaps.
A pretty puffy sleeved shirt pairs well with the skirt. You can embellish the costume with a crown, jewelry, or even sparkly shoes!
Don’t forget the Tote!
- Tote bag. Premade totes are about three dollars at Walmart or Michaels. They are plain, sturdy canvas bags, approximately 13 ½” x 13 ½”. (Or if you have the time and energy, just make some.)
- Con-Tact paper.
- Stick on letters. Some that I used needed additional stickiness added to the back. I had roll-on tape that worked great.
- Acrylic paint.
- Paint daubers.
- Decide what style the child would like or that would compliment the costume. If you use the same color bags, I recommend adding individual names.
- Cut your design out of Con-Tact paper, or place your stick-on letters on the bag.
- Daub paint over the area and let dry. You may need more than one layer of paint.
- Let dry.
- Add any other embellishments to the bag.
The great thing about costuming is that you can get as detailed as you want, or keep it simple. This is supposed to be fun and a release of your creative energy! Involve the kids in the small projects, but don’t be afraid to claim a little time for yourself. If you do create a wonderful costume, remember to share it with the View On Magazine Facebook Page. If you have any costuming questions, feel free to reach out to me on Facebook messenger. Remember to do what brings you JOY!