girl dressed up as superhero

DIY Dress Up Costume Ideas for Kids

Following on from our recent blog about all the fab benefits of dress up play for kids, we thought we’d see how many simple DIY costumes we could come up with! Not only do these DIY dress up ideas save money, they’re also great fun for you and the Sparkles to make together. So whether your little ones fancy becoming a pirate or princess, superhero or skeleton, check out our suggestions for some creative DIY costumes!  

To begin with, here are some top tips on what to put in the Sparkles’ dress up box. With any luck, just one peep under the lid will fill them with inspiration and spark their imaginations! 

Creative DIY Dress Up Box Ideas:

  • Grown-up clothes  
  • Shoes – kids/mom & dad’s old shoes 
  • Kids’ aprons 
  • Colorful silk scarves 
  • Hats/gloves/scarves 
  • Sunglasses/glasses frames (glass lenses removed) 
  • Plastic/costume jewelry 
  • Wigs 
  • Old sheets/table cloths 
  • Spare material/felt/ribbon 
  • Tulle 
  • Torch (explorer prop) 
  • Bags of all shapes & sizes 
  • Empty cereal boxes, tissue boxes etc 
  • Headbands 
  • Wooden spoons (wands, swords, or chef props!) 
  • Colander/strainer 
  • Pom-poms/plastic gems/sequins 
  • Buttons (for costumes, play coins) 
  • Straws/pipe cleaners 
  • Plastic bowls 
  • Paper plates & lolly sticks (masks) 
  • Pool noodles 
  • Plastic magnifying glass 

16 Easy DIY Costume Ideas for Kids:

1. Superhero: Create a cape by simply draping an old sheet around the Sparkles’ shoulders, or trim to size and cut out a hole for the head to go through. Alternatively, you can fashion a simple cape out of large piece of felt. Decorate the cape with your little ones’ chosen superpowers! 

girl dressed up as superhero

2. Astronaut: Dress the Sparkles in old white clothes, print NASA-themed badges and glue to costume. Cover an old bike helmet (or plastic bowl) with silver duct tape or aluminum foil to make a fun astronaut helmet fit for a space adventure!

3. Doctor: Use Dad’s old white shirt, draw on a red cross or cut out from red felt and stick on.  Write ‘Doctor’ on the pocket and fill with pens, glasses etc. Make bandages and slings from old sheets; dig out a play stethoscope, thermometer etc, if you already have them.

girl dressed up as police officer and girl dressed up as a doctor at halloween

4. Robot: Use cardboard boxes – larger box to go over the Sparkle’s body with a hole cut out for the head and arms. Fit a smaller box over their head and cut out holes for eyes. Decorate the boxes with paint, chunky pens, stickers etc, or glue on images, bottle tops, foil or paper shapes.

5. Witch: Put on a black top and skirt (if the skirt is old, chop into it around the bottom for a ‘ragged’ effect). Add stripy tights and black boots. Make a witches hat using black card (cone and a brim) and borrow a broom! A wooden spoon makes for the perfect magic wand.

girl dressed up as a witch at halloween

6. Skeleton: Wear a black top and black leggings/trousers. Use white sticky tape or fabric paint to mark out the bones!

7. Pirate: Cut out and decorate a pirate’s sword using card from an empty box. Pool noodles cut to size or rolled up newspapers also make good swords! Create a pirate’s eye patch using elastic/string and a felt/material patch. Make pirate flags using paper/card/material attached to straws. Cut out gold coins from felt/paper – perfect for pirate deals!

girls dressed up in diy pirate costumes

8. Butterfly: Attach a silk scarf across the shoulders of a plain t-shirt. When the Sparkles hold the far corners of the scarf and flap their arms, beautiful butterfly wings will be revealed!

9. Bat: With black clothes and a black scarf attached as above, the Sparkles can turn themselves into a bat! Or, make a black cape and cut it into the shape of bat wings. Cut out black felt ears and attach to a headband to finish the look!

10. Animal costumes – Lion, Cat, Rabbit, Monkey, Mouse etc:  Use paper plates to make fun animal face masks and cut out holes for eyes. Use elastic or stick the masks to lolly sticks so the Sparkles can hold them up to their faces. Make tails with wool bunches, plaits or pom poms. For ears, attach felt pieces to a headband and the Sparkles will be ready to scamper off!

girl dressed up as tiger with face paint

11. Alien: Use a colander to create a wacky alien’s head! Cover with googly eyes, pipe cleaners and aluminium foil twists for alien antennae.

12. Fairy: Make use of fairy wings if you have any; give old ones a fresh, pretty look by sticking on colored tissue paper or sequins. Wear a dress, skirt or ballet tutu, or make a simple fairy skirt using tulle, elastic. Decorate with silver stars or sparkly gems. Use a wooden spoon as a wand, or cover a dowel rod with felt star shapes, ribbon or sequins.

13. Fire fighter: Make a smart fire fighter’s hat from cardboard, ready for plenty of hero action! Paint it red and add ‘FD’ or ‘FIRE CHIEF’ on the front, or perhaps personalize it. Borrow some hose pipe for extra role play fun! 

girl dressed as fire fighter

14. Princess/Prince: Make sparkly crowns out of card, decorating them with tissue paper and plastic gemstones. Tiaras can be made from felt, attached to a headband and then decorated. A royal cape will complete the outfit! 

15. Knight: Cut out a sword and shield from cardboard to create props for your brave knight! Decorate the shield with silver paint or aluminium foil. Draw or print out a coat of arms design and attach to the shield.

16. Monster Feet: Make monster feet with the kids using small, empty boxes (tissue boxes are perfect!). Decorate with tissue paper, cotton wool balls, paint, pens etc. The Sparkles can also put on some over-sized gloves for monster hands!


Wow, that’s some list we’ve made! Hopefully you and the Sparkles will enjoy having a go at these DIY costumes. And we’re sure all these ideas will spark the kids’ own creativity… before you know it, they’ll be coming up with their own ideas and adding personal touches to the costumes!

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