Handmade Dinosaur Costume for Halloween
When my little guy wanted to be a Spinosaurus dinosaur for Halloween, I knew I had to make his dream a reality. So to brainstorming and planning I went. I knew I wanted to make his dinosaur costume out of craft foam, so I scoured the internet looking for ideas. I found two really good DIY blogs that helped me; however, they weren’t a step-by-step per say. So with this post I wanted to give you a step-by-step, detailed tutorial on how-to to make your own dinosaur costume.
Similar to the Halloween Lego Spider-Man costume I made, this dinosaur costume takes time. Lots of it. I spent over 10 hours planning & designing; However, it is not a costly Halloween costume. I spent around $44 total and used items I already had as much as possible. Use your imagination, if you don’t have some of the items I list below, substitute for something you do have.
- Craft foam. I used what was at Wal-Mart for $10. It’s recommended to use 1/2″ craft foam, you can find here. $10
- Bag of Hot Glue Sticks (you will use A LOT) – $5
- Oversized white long-sleeved shirt bought at Goodwill $4
- Oversized pants $4
- Black Duck Tape $1
- Spray Paint around $20 (I used about 2 cans of brown, 2 cans of green, and some red that I had left over from another project)
- Old bicycle helmet
- Scrap fabric (I had some lying around the house that I used)
- Craft foam sheets (I had some of these)
- Old Easter egg for the eyes (I had from last Easter)
- Markers to color the eyes (used Sharpies I had)
- Stuffing from old pillow
- I also used a sewing machine to take up the oversized shirt and pants a little and to sew the claws.
TOTAL COST: $44
Okay – so here we go!
This is what I started with since it’s the most important part.
On one of the blogs I searched, see below, she gave the measurements of her dinosaur head. This was helpful; however, I wish I would have made the head a little smaller for my son. He’s a petite 7-year-old and the head is big for him compared to the rest of the dinosaur costume, but it’s okay. So, I cut out my craft foam to the desired shape. Basically I followed the tutorial here, but I used hot glue to glue it to the helmet and to glue the pieces together instead of sewing them. Before I glued the pieces together I made sure the pieces fit how I wanted them to.
Once I had the head the desired shape, I added the eyes and nostrils out of craft foam. To make the lips more full, I used a thick fabric I had lying around the house to cover the lips.
I covered the foam in fabric and hot glued it. In the tutorial she used felt, but I thought fabric would work better and the spray paint would adhere to the fabric better. I also followed another tutorial here. I liked her idea of using the fabric. BE CAREFUL! I had 3 serious burns on my hands from the hot glue. It was helpful when my husband pulled the fabric and I concentrated on the glue.
The fabric made the head front-heavy so I used a wire clothes hanger to keep the front up. I glued it with hot glue and super glue to keep it in place.
Tips for the head:
- Go by your own measurements. You want to try to make it proportional.
- Be VERY careful with the hot glue. You WILL get burned if you’re not extremely careful.
- Use “jersey” type fabric if you can. The fabric I used was too stretchy and was difficult to work with. I think the Jersey type fabric would work great!
- Wait to do the vinyl steps (add eyes, craft foam teeth) until after the spray painting.
The torso wasn’t as hard or as time-consuming as the head. I went to Goodwill and bought an oversized shirt. I ended up buying a shirt that was too big, so I just used safety pins and “measured” how much I needed to take it in while my son was wearing it. This was a simple guide to where I needed to sew up. I wasn’t too worried about my sewing technique since this dinosaur costume was going to be spray painted, you won’t notice the seams as much.
I added foam to the chest to make it look more like a dinosaur. I started with a big piece of foam and trimmed it down until it was perfect. Once I had the size I wanted, I hot glued it to the shirt.
For the dinosaur claws, I just sewed 3 lines since a Spinosaurus is a theropod. I also sewed a line for the hands, see pic below, so I could add some stuffing to make the dinosaur costume claws look more realistic. Once I sewed my lines, I just stuffed it with pillow foam and closed the ends.
Before taking in the arms:
As you can see from the pics, I took in the arms & the torso area. This made for a better look!
I added black duck-tape to the claws to make them more pointed! I just cut strips until I had the desired effect I wanted.
So his hands weren’t flopping around, I added elastic so the underside. I just measured the length I needed, sewed one side, then attached the other.
The Spinosaurus’ trade characteristic is his huge sail on the back. This makes him the largest carnivorous dinosaur to roam the Earth!! I cut the spine out of dense styrofoam, like the type I used here, and hot glued it to the shirt. I’ll show that part in the final painting of the dinosaur costume.
The legs were nearly the same as the shirt – I used an oversized pair of “workout/sweat” pants.
I measured how long I needed and cut a hole at the bottom of the pants for his foot to slide through. Just like the shirt, I added 3 lines and sewed a line up top to “stuff” the feet. Be careful so you don’t sew up the hole for the feet. Once I had my lines, I used pillow stuffing and stuffed the claws, then sewed up the ends.
I added elastic on the feet, just like the hands, so his claws wouldn’t be flopping over his shoes.
Instead of adding black Ducktape for the claws, I wanted the claws to be more durable since he’ll be doing a lot of walking. So I had some green craft felt that I cut out “moon shapes” for the claws and sewed the pieces together. I, again, stuffed it with pillow stuffing and hot glued it to the end of the toes to look like claws.
I added pieces of foam to the thighs, and to the back of the calves to make it look more like a Spinosaurus.
Before I hot-glued the padding foam to the pants, I measured with safety pins again and took in the pants. This made for a more muscular look, like the Spinosaurus.
After I took in the pants, I pinned the foam to the pants and took them off of my son, then hot-glued the foam to the pants.
Viola! The pants are finished.
This part wasn’t hard at all. I basically used this tutorial here, but tweaked it a little. I used the sizes of fabric that she suggests, but I sewed the pieces together, sewed half the tail to the pants, and left a small opening to stuff the pillow stuffing all the way down. Once I got the pillow stuffing all in, I sewed the tail up the rest of the way. For the spikes, I used left over craft felt, drew out two spikes (actually I drew out one, and folded it over to do just one cut), I sewed up the sides, and hot-glued it to the tail and viola! The tail is finished too!
Painting & Final Touches
My husband was amazing on this part… He helped me SO much!! He’s a better spray painter than I am :).
I made a stencil for dinosaur scales with my Silhouette Cameo, you can get one here.
I bought so much spray paint until I found the best type that would work. I found that the Krylon Maxx, is AMAZING!! So much coverage! You can find it here. I used Brown Boots, White, Emerald Green, and Burgundy colors.
Now for the fun part!
My husband started with the head. We actually painted it twice because the first time I didn’t like how it looked! But the second time turned out GREAT!
We did the same thing for the torso and the legs.
After the paint was dry, I used a yellow plastic egg from the previous Easter and used markers to draw eerie looking eyes. I cut out white craft foam for the teeth. I hot-glued both the eyes and the teeth to the costume.
This costume was fun to make! You’ll find that you’ll need to make tweaks and modifications as you see fit. Overall this costume is worth every minute!! Your child will LOVE it!
Comment below if you decide to make a costume like this one, I’d love to see it!
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