You may remember that my company has a large Halloween party every year. Last year, I was out of town but I was an owl in 2011. (Photos and instructions here and here.) I didn’t even place in the costume contest with the owl. People are not playing around. Therefore, when Goodwill asked me to work with them on a Halloween costume video, I had some ideas of what I was going to be and was glad to get a head start on it.
The costume had to be easy. I met with the Goodwill team on a Monday morning before I flew out for the week and we shot the video the following Wednesday. Therefore, I only had the weekend to make it. Additionally, I put myself on a $15.00 budget. I noticed lots of Halloween costumes cost at least $15.00 and I wanted to prove that you can make something fun, unique and cheap. I knew it could easily be done as my costume for the owl was around $15.00.
The easiest way to start a costume is to find a main prop or piece to build the costume around. So, after our meeting on Monday, I went to the Berry Hill Goodwill armed with some ideas and open to finds. I looked through the women’s clothing and noticed the rack of child costumes. I walked up to it and noticed a girl’s fairy costume. I quickly grabbed it and made the decision I was going to be a fish. Here’s how I saw it:
While on the road, I went to JoAnn Fabrics and bought the smallest amount possible of five different fabrics. I don’t remember how much it was of each, but it was less than a quarter and cost a little under $4.00 for all pieces. Additionally, while on the road, I bought the following:
- summer dress on clearance from Wal-Mart for $5.00
- a cardigan from Goodwill for $5.99
- a headband from Deals for a $1.00
- two sparkly Christmas tree filler pieces for .53 each
The cardigan was necessary as the dress was strapless and I’m not going bare armed for nobody, nowhere. I could have used a cardigan I had, but wanted to show more Goodwill finds. When I got home I cut the fabric into “scales.”
All pieces were from fabric that were on sale at JoAnn’s Fabrics and I cut scales out of a piece of scrap fabric I had (not pictured). Then, I cut up the girl’s fairy costume.
I didn’t use the top or the skirt underlay. I did use the tulle overlay, the straps and the wings. I put on the dress and placed the tulle overlay where I thought it looked best. I decided the best way to use it was to cut the overlay in half and put each half on my hips as fins, while filling in the rest of the of skirt portion of the dress with the fabric scales. I marked where I wanted the overlay placement to be with a permanent marker while wearing the dress. Then, I got to hot gluing.
I did the front of the skirt first. Then, I flipped it over to do the back, where the fins were. Luckily, I had enough fabric fins to go under the tulle in some areas. The whole back was not covered in fabric fins but the areas that would be seen were covered. I moved the tulle over to the side to make sure I didn’t accidentally glue them down. I wanted them to be as flowy as possible.
I glued my fins from the bottom. You get better coverage this way and it is much easier to start from the bottom and work your way up. If you start from the top, you have to flip what you just glued down so you get under it. It’s a mess that looks like this.
After I was done gluing all the fabric fins on the dress, I decided to make the headband. These were my main supplies.
The two starfish were donated by The Mister’s mother and the picks were from Michael’s Crafts. They had a lot to choose from that would have worked.
I liked the ones I chose the most due to their weight. I simply cut their stems off and placed them on the headband (while I was wearing it) to see where I liked it the most. After eyeballing it for a few seconds, I took the headband off and hot glued the two stems together on the headband. I pressed the bottoms of each into each other and the glue. Then, I placed the larger of the two starfish on top of the stems with additional glue. The starfish were not only fun but covered up all the ugly hot glue.
I pressed the starfish into the picks and headband and let it cool completely. Then, I added the smaller starfish on top and, once again, held the headband while it cooled. I didn’t want to lay it down out of fear that it would stick to something or slide around. When I was done, it looked like this.
Last, I needed to make the fairy wings from the little girl costume into a fun, fish fin. I made the fin out of cardboard and the scrap fabric I had. I simply free-formed a fin shape onto the cardboard, cut it out and glued the fabric to it.
I flipped the wings upside down so instead of the wings pointing up, they pointed down. I thought it made the wings less “wing like.” Then, I hot glued the fin onto the back. Making the fin, headband, and dress took a total of about three hours. The total cost of all the pieces was $17.00 which was $2.00 over budget due to the cardigan. It was fun, unique and fast – everything I needed it to be.
To see the final product check out the Goodwill video here!
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