How to Make a Kids Bird Costume for Halloween
A kids bird costume that even the most unexperienced crafter can make. Truly! It’s so easy.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure I’d be making any DIY Halloween costumes this year because we don’t have any Halloween plans, for obvious reasons. But one day last week, I realized I had a couple hours free and some scrap fabric from old projects.
So, after asking Hayes what he wanted to be for Halloween, I figured I’d do a homemade costume this year for him. Especially since last year, I ran out of time to make one. The year before I made three baby costumes though, so it kinda balanced out.
If you’re looking at this thinking you don’t have time to make this costume, I hear you! And maybe you don’t….BUT maybe you do! It took less than two hours to make and you could get that time down even further if you go the no sew route. Which I’ll share in the tutorial.
ALSO, maybe some of you are like, I can make one WAY better than that. And you probably can! Haha. But I thought this one turned out pretty cute.
Anyway, click through to see how I made this DIY bird costume for my toddler.
I originally set out to make a cat costume because that’s what Hayes asked to be for Halloween, but bird was the second choice and it seemed the easier of the two for me to make.
So I grabbed some leftover scrap fabric I had from a faux fur pillow project and got to work on a homemade costume that turned out pretty damn cute. IMO.
P.S. If I’m making a bird costume from scratch, I’m also taking one zillion photos. Haha. So here we go…
Materials for Kid’s Bird Costume
- 1/2 yard of faux fur fabric (for base color)*
- 1/4 yard (or less) of faux fur fabric (in contrasting color)*
- scraps cardboard (to be used for wings and beak)
- needle and thread OR sewing machine
- hot glue gun
- iron-on adhesive and iron (optional – only needed for no-sew version)
- kids hat (optional)
*Fabric yardage may vary depending on size of the child. I made mine for a two year old. You don’t have to use faux fur, but I found it to be an extremely forgiving material, since it’s so fluffy. So if you’re not a sewing expert (which I am not), you can still make a costume that looks really cute and professional.
How to Make a Bird Costume
Cutting the Body and Belly Fabric
Start by cutting the main body fabric piece down to size. In order to get the measurement, I measured my son from shoulders to knees (for length) AND across the shoulders (for width). Then added 3 inches onto each of those numbers. Then, I doubled the length measurement and depth the width measurement the same. That new measurement is the measurement I used to cut the piece of fabric down.
Ex: If I made that confusing, here’s an example: If my son was 20 inches long from shoulders to knees and 15 inches wide from shoulder to shoulder, I would cut a piece of fabric that is 18 inches wide and 46 inches long. Added 3 inches onto length before doubling and added 3 inches onto width.
Note: My exact measurements for the fabric I cut for the body (making a costume for a two year old), was 17 inches wide and 40 inches long.
Next on on list of cuts would be to cut the oval belly, from the contrasting color fabric. Cut an oval shape that will be the belly of your bird. Mine is 12 inches long and 7 inches wide (at the widest part).
Create the Bird Body
Flip the fabric over, wrong side facing up, and fold it in half. Then find the center at the fold and cut slits to make a hole for the head. I just made a horizontal cut across the fold and then a vertical cut on one side to make the head hole large enough for a toddler’s head to fit through.
Next, fold the bottom of the fabric over by about an inch and hot glue the bottom edges upward. This will give you a finished edge at the bottom on both sides.
Now, using a needle and thread or a sewing machine, sew the sides 2/3 of the way up starting at the bottom. Leaving the top 1/3 open for the arms to go through. I triple knotted each end (at the beginning and end).
You can see that I did a pretty rough job on the hand sewing. I was going very fast, but wow – not cute! Luckily, you won’t see any of these when it’s finished. So it doesn’t really matter what the stitching looks like.
Set the body aside to work on the wings…
Cutting Cardboard Wings
Wing size will depend on the size of your child. For my two year old, I used two rectangular pieces from a cardboard box that were each 12 inches long and 6 inches wide. Then I cut a triangle off of one side of each wing. See photo above.
Cutting Wing Fabric
Next, I laid both pieces of cardboard onto the remaining body fabric and cut the fabric down around it, leaving (roughly) an extra inch all the wall around.
Do the same thing one more time with a new piece of fabric. So you’ll have a total of two pieces of fabric, one for each wing.
Attach Cardboard Wings to Fabric
Next, take one piece of cardboard and hot glue it to one side of one piece of wing fabric. Fold the leftover side fabric over the cardboard and tote glue that down.
Then, glue the other flap to the cardboard to completely cover the cardboard in faux fur. You can tuck in and hot glue any edges that are still unfinished.
Repeat this process with the second cardboard wing and second piece of fabric.
Add Belly Fabric to Body
Flip the completed body right side out so you see all the fluffy parts again. Now it’s time to attach the belly piece.
I used a combination of hot glue and hand sewing to get the belly attached really well to the body piece, making sure to continually fluff up the faux fur, so the fur could mask an imperfections in the cutting/ attachment.
Attach Finished Wings to Body
This part is optional, but for my toddler, having the wings attached was important.
So, I just used a needle and thread again to attach the wings to the body at the shoulders, in four evenly spaced parts of the shoulder, as it wraps around the arm hole.
You may want to attach small elastic loops to the interior wing that your child can wear around his or her wrists too, for added wing support.
Making the Bird Head and Beak
I sewed most of the pieces together for this part. But another option would be to find a really inexpensive kids hat and hot glue the fabric and beak directly onto the hat. Wanted to throw that out there before sharing how I made mine.
But also, I started to run out of time, so I don’t have many photos of this part of the process. Let me know if you have any questions though. happy to answer!
Making the Bird Head
Using scrap fabric from the body, I created a bird head with more fluffy faux fur. I cut two triangles that each had one long side and sewed the two short sides together, inside out. See photo.
Then I flipped them back and tacked them down with some stitches at different parts onto a hat. I used a knit hat, but you can just as easily use a baseball hat.
Making the Beak
To make the beak, I cut a long and kind of wide triangle from cardboard into a beak shape. And then covered it in the belly fur color, since it was yellow. I attached everything with hot glue, similarly to how I did the wings.
To join the beak to the bird head, I used a needle and thread again to stitch the two together. Making sure the beak was centered before I started stitching.
Making Furry Bird Feet
Last but not least, use some of the fabric scraps from the bird belly to create shoe covers that will look like furry feet. I cut each pf the two feet pieces down to 8 inches wide and 9.5 inches long (for a toddler size 7.5 shoe).
I just grabbed my kid’s shoes and wrapped fabric around, before cutting, to be sure each piece would fit. Attach the two ends together with a button or velcro to make the furry bird feet easy to take on and off, at the ankle.
Quick note… Last minute, I ended up hand stitching the foot pieces around his shoes (see image for back view) last minute, instead of using velcro to make them really secure. So there are lots of options for this part.
And that’s it! Happy Halloween everyone. Let me know if you have any costume questions I can answer.