DIY Fancy Dress Costumes

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Fancy dress is great for kids and adults alike with a themed party providing the perfect opportunity to dress up as your favourite movie star, TV character, singer, superhero or whatever else takes your fancy.

There’s no limit to what can be achieved with a bit of imagination, but if you don’t fancy spending a fortune at your local fancy dress shop, here are three fantastic costume ideas you can recreate at home using just a few household objects.


Things To Consider

  • Your costume: First and foremost you’ll need to decide what/who you want to be. If you’ve been invited to a ’60s night, for instance, you could go as a well-known icon from that era such as Elvis Presley or you embrace the Flower Power movement and become a hippy – the choice is yours!
  • Materials: Once you have a costume in mind, make sure you have all the materials you need to create it. A little organisation goes a long way and will ensure you’re not running around at the last minute looking for bits and pieces.
  • Time: Whether you’re going for a simple costume or something more adventurous, always leave yourself enough time to put everything together properly. If you’re painting a mask, for example, you’ll need to leave it to dry before wearing it so do it hours/days in advance.
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Egyptian Mummy

So, now for the juicy part. If you’re looking for ideas, a DIY mummy costume is ideal for Halloween (one of the biggest fancy dress opportunities of the year). It’s scary, it’s unique and it’s easy to make from household objects. Here’s how to do it:

You will need:
  • White bed sheets
  • Sharp scissors
  • Tea and a spray bottle
  • Sewing machine (for speed), cotton and needle (if you have time)
  • A white top and bottom combo/ thick white socks/white trainers
  • Face paint

1. Make the Bandages

Thinking about throwing out those old, white bed sheets? Well don’t, as they’re just what you need for a mummy costume.

To make the bandages, start by cutting 2 inch to 3 inch slits down the side of the sheet using a sharp pair of scissors and then tear from the slits down the length of the sheet. This will create wonderful frayed edges and don’t worry if your strips are uneven as mummies are hardly known for their well-groomed appearance. The amount of bandages required will depend on the size of the child/adult in question, so use your judgement.

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2. Dye Half of the Bandages

You’ve been dead for many years, so of course your bandages aren’t going to be pearly white.

In order to taint them, pop some cold tea into an old spray bottle and apply it to half of your readymade bandages and leave to dry. By spraying only some of the strips you’ll create an awesome contrast in colours which will look pretty effective.

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3. Sew Bandages to White Clothes

While some people simply wrap the bandages around their body and knot them together, you’ll make a more secure and reliable costume by sewing them onto white clothes. Now the underclothes you wear should be quite tight fitting and cover as much of your skin as possible so think white leggings, polo necks, skinny jeans, skin-tight t-shirts and such like.

Once you know what you’re wearing, cut down the seams of the sleeves and trouser legs so you can lie the material flat and sew on the strips – preferably with a sewing machine for speed. Don’t be neat. In fact, be messy, act as if you’re in a rush and leave material hanging all over the place. You really don’t need to be an expert sewer for this one. When you’re happy, sew up the seams (again it doesn’t have to be perfect) and the main bit of your outfit will be done.

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4. Paint Face & Wrap Extra Bandages

To complete your costume, paint your face white (we suggest Snazaroo face paint) and draw big dark circles underneath your eyes.

The more creative you are the better, so don’t be afraid to experiment with other techniques too. Wrap and tie bandages around your head, hands and shoes for effect and you’ll be good to go.

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Greek Goddess

Whether you’re short of time or looking for a simple yet effective fancy dress outfit idea, this costume could work for you. It’s easy to make yet is visually stunning, so here’s our how-to guide.

You will need:

1. Tie Your Toga

The important thing to remember about this outfit is that not much preparation is required, so as long as you know how to tie the toga you can be dressed in a matter of minutes.

The easiest way to do this is to fold the sheet in half before taking one corner and holding it in place at the top of your left shoulder using your chin. Next, wrap the sheet firmly across your chest and around your back before bringing it across your chest again.

You’ll then need to bring it back round your back and up over your left shoulder in order to tie it to the corner you had under your chin. The toga should look snug without squeezing you too tight.

Top tip: Ask someone to help you to avoid getting twisted in the sheet or letting go of the edge needed to make the shoulder tie.

Here's an easy YouTube tutorial on how to tie your toga: 
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2. Accessorise

Once your toga looks and feels secure, it’s time to accessorise by tying a thin gold belt around your waist –a gold curtain rope can also come in handy here.

Ornamental broaches can be used to decorate the top of the toga and statement jewellery such as large gold earrings and bangles is a must. You could even finish you look with a Greek goddess wig if the mood takes you and pop on some strappy gold sandals before partying the night away.

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3. Perfect Your Make Up

Dramatic eye makeup is the perfect way to spice up your Greek goddess outfit, so think gold eye shadow, lashings of mascara and heavy eyeliner. A bronzed complexion is also the way forward and red lippy will complete your costume in style.

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From Greek goddess to Medusa

If Greek goddess is too tame for your liking, you could always turn to Greek mythology for inspiration and transform into Medusa.

To do this, simply use a green or black sheet for the toga instead of a white one and work your magic with green/black face paints. Secure small plastic snakes in your hair using grips, practice your best ‘I’ll turn you into stone’ glare and you’ll certainly look the part.

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Pirate

Ahoy there me hearties! Why not set sail on a swashbuckling adventure and go to yer gig dressed in this great pirate gear?

You will need:
  • Red, white and black clothes
  • Long black boots if you have them
  • Wide-brimmed hat, staple gun, superglue and a print out of skull and crossbones
  • Cardboard, aluminium foil and scissors to make your sword
  • Black card, felt, stapler, glue and elastic for the eye patch
  • Face paint/makeup
  • Plenty of attitude
  • Gold jewellery

1. Choose Your Attire

The great thing about a DIY pirate costume is that you can pretty much wear what you like, as long as you follow a few basic rules. 

When choosing your outfit, stick to colours such as red, black, brown and white and try throwing something stripy into the mix for effect. For example, a pair of baggy black trousers teamed with a red a white striped shirt and a loose fitting black  jacket would be a great place to start. You could even roll up your trousers to reveal a pair of stripy socks and heavy boots.

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2. Make Your Hat

If you’ve an old wide-brimmed hat lying around, this can be transformed into pirate headgear with ease by simply turning up the front edge and stapling it into place. To help it look more authentic, print off a skull and crossbones template and attach it to the hat using superglue. 

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3. Make Your Sword

Every good pirate needs a good sword, so either grab one from your child’s fancy dress box or try making your own by cutting a template out of strong cardboard using sharp scissors.

Once you have a basic sword shape, attach a chopstick to the back of the blade to ensure it doesn’t bend or flex and wrap it in silver foil. Decorate the handle however you please and your weapon will be ready.

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4. Make Your Eye Patch

To do this, simply draw an eye patch shape onto a piece of black piece of card. Eye patches are usually semi-circular with round edges. Cut it out and stick it to a piece of felt of the same size. Attach a length of elastic using a stapler and you’ll have the perfect prop.

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5. Paint Face & Accessorise

Use makeup or face paint to add the finishing touches. You could put dark rings under your eyes for effect or even paint on a scar or moustache. Finally, weigh yourself down with jewels (the more extravagant the better) and glitter from head to toe. If you don’t have your ear pierced consider getting hold of a gold clip-on earring for effect.

So, there you have it. Three very different fancy dress costumes made from every day household items.

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