How to Prepare Your Homemade Costume

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How to Create Your Own Costume

Homemade costumes are a fun way to celebrate any holiday, create a unique costume, and maybe even save a little money along the way. Use this guide to help fashion any handmade costume.


Select a Theme

Before making a costume, it is necessary to choose a theme. Below is a listing of popular costume themes.


Costume Type


Gag Costumes

Gag costumes are silly costumes usually thrown together at the last second. Gag costumes often include a play on words, such as dressing up as a baby and drawing a dollar sign on the chest to become the “Million Dollar Baby.” Other gag costumes include dressing up like food, inanimate objects, or animals.

Historical Figures

Dressing up as famous characters from history is a popular form of costuming for reenactments, Halloween, and characterisation events. Popular historical figures include Matthew Flinders, Nancy Bird Walton, Sister Vivian Bullwinkle, John Curtain, and many other individuals famous throughout Australian or world history.

Pop Culture Figures

Dressing up as pop culture figures is a popular way to dress up for Halloween and other costume parties. Popular costumes include Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, musicians, politicians, actors, and other popular figures of the day.

Television and Film Characters

Dressing up as television and film characters is one of the most popular ways to dress up. Many costumes are derived from the popular movie of the year, or some individuals choose to dress up as classic TV or film characters.

Spooky Characters

Spooky characters are always popular, particularly for Halloween. Spooky characters include zombies, ghosts, serial killers, monsters, demons, the devil, and more.

Holiday Characters

Throughout the year, different holidays call for dressing up. Popular holiday characters include the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the New Year’s Baby, Father Time, and Cupid.


Create the Costume Design

After determining a costume, look at several pictures to determine what elements make that idea recognisable. Maybe the character wears a distinct uniform or maybe they always carry around a certain prop. Look at the photos closely to determine how to build the costume. Create a list of necessary supplies and whether the items will need to be handmade or if it is possible to find similar items already made at a thrift shop or regular retail store.


Where to Find Costume Supplies

There are many places to find supplies to make a costume. Search discount stores first for a reduced cost on costume construction. Just because a costume is handmade doesn’t mean it will be cheap, but with a little bit of searching, it may be possible to find supplies for less than the cost of a complete purchased costume.

Thrift Stores

Thrift stores have a wide range of clothing and props at inexpensive prices. The clothing is so inexpensive, it can easily be modified to suit the needs of the costume. Some thrift stores have one day of the week where everything is discounted, so research the store before shopping to get the best deal.

Fabric Stores

Visit a fabric store to purchase any material necessary to make the costume. Look for coupons to spend less.

Auction Sites

Auction sites can help find elusive pieces that are necessary to complete the costume. Some sites will also offer inexpensive merchandise similar to what can be found at a thrift store for drastically reduced prices.

Online Shops

Look to online shops to provide licensed props and props that are difficult to make by hand. Online shops can provide the tools necessary to construct a costume as well.

Personal Possessions

Search personal possessions for items and clothing to use. It may be possible to create the costume using mostly supplies already in possession. Think outside the box when looking at personal possessions and utilise supplies like cardboard boxes, tissue paper, milk cartons, egg crates, and other random objects.


Additional Supplies

When crafting a costume, the following additional supplies may be necessary or helpful:

  • Scissors

  • Sewing machine

  • Glue

  • Measuring tape

  • Clothing patterns

  • Masks

  • Face paint

  • Balloons

  • Papier mache


Putting the Costume Together

Use the collected items and materials to craft the costume. Start from the innermost layer and work outward, finishing supplies like masks and headgear last. Allow plenty of time to complete the costume. For complicated costumes, allow at least a month for construction. For simpler costumes, a week is likely enough time to complete it on time. The simplest costumes can be completed the day of the event.


Buying Costume Supplies on eBay

To find costume supplies, visit the paper. Look among vintage listings for costume props and other items that can complete the look of any costume. A direct search for the item needed will also bring up hundreds of results.

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