Search This Blog

Thursday, 15 August 2013

DIY childs costume- $13 Astronaut

As promised this is Walters costume wear for the upcoming All Canadian Pageant.
He is an astronaut!

We did this costume for $13 total. $12 of which was for duct tape (10 rolls of white, one of blue and one of red) and $1 for a cheap plastic ball. All items were found at the dollar store. I almost paid $6/roll for duct tape (before I knew how many rolls I needed) when a friend said "I think I've seen white duct tape at the dollar store....."  Thank goodness she said that!

I had seen this idea online somewhere, but all I was given insofar as a "how-to" was one photo and a warning not to use fabric paint- duct tape really is best.
Since I am thrilled with the results I think you, my dear and gentle readers, deserve a step by step how to for this DIY astronaut costume.

I used:
duct tape (as mentioned above)- $12
Walters old snowsuit - on hand
Walters old snow boots - on hand
Worn out childrens gardening gloves - on hand
Plastic ball - $1
Newspaper for paper mache - on hand

For the record, although this is technically for the pageant, this is the costume Walter will be wearing for Halloween. Since it's done I'm feeling pretty happy about being proactive. :)

I started off with Walters old snowsuit from last year.  It was just a touch too small for this year and the knees of the snow pants had small tears from last years play. If you don't have old snowsuits to start with you could try a second hand store. However, I really believe your best bet is to check and see if you live in a Frugal Mommy area and reach out through that resource first.  This is not the first time I have mentioned Frugal Mommy, and I'm sure it wont be the last.  It is a fabulous way to get rid of things you no longer have use for while finding things you need. Here is the link :

First thing you will want to do with your snow suit is stuff it. I used towels. Make sure you stuff it firmly or the tape will cinch your suit.
jacket stuffed with towels
Next you will cut strips from your roll of duct tape and run them down the arm from the shoulder, folding under the wrist opening. If your jacket has elastic wrists like ours did just stretch the elastic to its widest when applying the tape. When you relax the elastic after the tape will fold is just like the elastic casing on the jacket did originally.
You do not want to start at the wrist and wrap the tape in circles winding up the arm. It looks terrible that way - really, really terrible. Guess how I know that..... *le sigh*
see how awful the arm looks here? and how much better the torso looks? Strips are your friend!
When the arms are done run strips of tape over the torso of the coat. Run from the bottom hem of the front of the coat up, over the chest and shoulder, down the back and ending by tucking under the bottom hem on the back of the coat.

Once the coat is all done add any decals you wish. we chose to keep it fairly simple. That Guy made the Canadian flag from red and white duct tape and the NASA logo also from duct tape. Pretty impressive, right?  I thought so too. :)
That Guy's handiwork is pretty impressive! 
When the coat is done take the towels from it to use them to stuff the snow pants. Using long strips run the tape from the ankle of the pants up to the top, continuing around each leg,
If you are using a one piece snowsuit, then good on you! This project will be easier and would look even more astronaut - y. Once the pants are complete add any decorative touches you wish.
Smile! The biggest part of the costume is done!!

This is not hard work, just lots of taping!

Next I covered Walters winter boots in duct tape. These boots still fit him fine (I wouldn't have him running around all night on Halloween in boots that are too small) but they were a second pair he had.  To be clear, I bought them second hand, no special brand name but in decent shape and perfectly functional for our needs. Then the in-laws decided to buy him brand new licensed character boots with light up soles. Guess which boots got banished to the basement and never worn? Yup, the "boring" non light up ones I had bought him. So those are the ones I covered in tape to make into moon boots.
Nothing complicated about doing the boots at all. I didn't even add any decorative touches, just left the velcro closures outside of the tape.
Boots all taped up
Then we moved on to the gloves.  These gardening gloves had originally been purchased from the dollar store last year. They were now at the point of uselessness due to wear and tear.  But for covering in duct tape they were perfect.  These take a bit longer than one might think because each finger needs to be taped individually.  That Guy added simple red tape patches to the gloves and it makes all the difference from gardening gloves to astronaut gloves.
gardening/ astronaut gloves

Ah, the helmet! The last costume piece. I used a ball and paper mache for this. I did not want to use a balloon because I find balloons warp  out of a perfectly round shape the larger they are inflated, and I needed something big enough for Walters head.

Covering the plastic ball
Using the most basic paper mache recipe (two cups flour, two cups water, one tablespoon salt) I got to work. I covered the whole ball several times over three days. Be careful  if you decide to let your helmet dry outside in the sunshine. It *might* get chewed up by squirrels who don't look the least bit remorseful when you're standing the backyard shouting at them like a lunatic.... Just saying that might happen.

Once the  exterior finishes drying (inside the house) it will be time to cut the face opening. Using an Xacto knife just plunge it right in there.  With care and concern for your personal safety of course. This will pop the ball inside rendering it useless.
That Guy cutting into the helmet for me
 Finish cutting the opening and remove the ball from the inside.  You will likely be tempted at this time to cut the opening to slide over the childs head so he/she can wear this helmet.  Let me caution you against that. Turns out, paper mache shrinks when it dries. And since the very inside layer of the mache is damp when you pop the ball,  it will shrink. Go on, guess why Walter is holding his helmet in the photo rather than wearing it......
face opening after ball is removed from the inside
Cutting a neck opening- what NOT to do while its still even remotely damp

I would still like to add some blue and red decals to the helmet, but I think you get the idea pretty well.

So there it is, a whole space suit costume for $13. And warm enough that he can actually wear it as is on Halloween night.....anyone else still resentful that their mermaid costume was totally ruined because your parents insisted  you wear a winter coat under your seashell bra?? Astronaut costume will not have that problem!



  1. Brilliant, totally and absolutely brilliant. Thanks a lot for taking the time to post each step.

    Special thanks for the helmet idea. So much bettter to use a ball than a balloon.

  2. These pictures and step by step directions are fabulous! Thanks for sharing! Love the end look. :)

  3. Wonderful idea... Thank you for sharing this...

  4. Thank you for the step by step directions and pictures... Brilliant work ...

  5. Thanks a lot, just what i needed. Will definitely try this!!!

  6. super ugly!!

    1. i agree! it doesn't really tell you about strapping the white tape.

  7. are u drunk or wat?

  8. If people want perfect they can buy a ready made dressing up suit this is PERFECT for school projects where teachers want to know you have made it yourself! Thank you - also from my niece;)