A turtle costume is a cute, simple, and fun option. Whether you're trick-or-treating, a costume party, or just want to dress up, this is an inexpensive and simple costume that you can create on your own. While the base of the costume will be the same, there are a couple of ways to create the shell. Choose the one you like to start.
Part 1 of 4: Gather Materials
Step 1. Look for green clothes
Check your wardrobe for pants, socks, shoes, and T-shirts in the same shade of green. If you are missing an item, go to your local thrift store. Clothes are often sorted by color and prices are low.
- Wear one of the clothes you already have when you go shopping. In this way, you can combine the colors in the store.
- Look for sweatshirts to have something green on your head.
- Consider wearing leggings and a leotard. If you decide to do this, have the leotard match the color of the shell.
- Find green mittens to cover your hands. You can also use green body paint on your hands if you can't get green mittens.
Step 2. Buy green makeup
Choose in advance if you want to cover all your skin in green or if you would prefer accents of green on your face.
You can find face paint at a costume or hobby store. If it's Halloween soon, you can also get it in the seasonal items section at your local drugstore
Step 3. Get the items you need to make the shell of your choice
Choose the method you will use to create the shell and make sure you get everything you need.
- If you are making a shell out of a roasting pan, get a disposable aluminum one. You can find them in the baking section of supermarkets and dollar stores and other stores. Look for an oval-shaped pan that has a pattern stamped on the bottom to catch the fat, which looks similar to a shell pattern. These are often used for roasting large poultry, such as turkeys.
- Choose the paint. You will need some dark brown and dark green spray paint. If you choose to make colored accents on the shell, you can also purchase water-based acrylic paints and large brushes at your local hobby store.
- Buy painter's tape. You can find it at hobby or hardware stores. Buy a thin one that fits within the molded lines of the tray, about 3/4-inch wide.
- Get a wide brown ribbon. You can buy it in the office supply section of Target, Walmart, or a local grocery store. You can find it at hobby or fabric stores. You are going to use it to secure the shell to your back. Choose a strong and comfortable strap for your shoulders.
- If you decide to make a shell out of felt, you will need some dark green and light green felt, as well as other items. Buy enough dark green felt to create an oval that covers your back and another that is 3 inches (7.6 cm) longer than the first. You will need light green felt in an amount equal to half the first.
- Get a gun and glue sticks.
- This method requires the use of a sewing machine and you will need dark green thread.
- Buy a large stuffing bag. The thick stuffing used in stuffed animals is much better than the soft pillow.
- Find one or two large pieces of cardboard. You will need a surface large enough to create an oval that covers your back. You could use two ovals of the same size to reinforce the base of the shell.
- Get a wide, dark green ribbon that matches the felt of the same color. You can find it in the office supply section of Target, Walmart, or another local grocery store. You can also find it at a hobby or fabric store. You are going to use it to secure the shell to your back. Choose a strong and comfortable one for the shoulders.
Part 2 of 4: Making the shell with a roasting pan
Step 1. Shape the tray to more closely resemble a turtle shell
The tray will already be very similar to a turtle shell, which is very convenient. It is also very malleable, in case you would like to make a change.
- If the edge of the tray is too large, fold it toward the inside of the tray to reduce square corners. Don't cut this section as you could leave sharp edges.
- Push from the inside of the tray outward to round out its curves until the sides look rounder, like a tortoise shell.
Step 2. Drill four holes in the tray
This is the point where you will place the tape to secure the tray to your back, so consider where the straps of a backpack would go. Drill two holes in the top corners of the tray, and two in the bottom. It helps if you make the top holes a little further apart, and the bottom holes are about 1 inch (2.5 cm) closer. This will secure the straps close to the waist. The holes should be the same width as a pen or pencil.
- Use a drill to make the holes, if you have one.
- You can also poke holes in the tray with other sharp tools, such as scissors or a screwdriver.
Step 3. Paint it to look like a turtle shell
You will need to cover the inside and outside of the tray, as some of the inside may be visible. Apply the dark brown spray paint to the entire tray, inside and out. Let this coat dry for around 15-20 minutes.
Step 4. Cover the molded lines on the bottom of the tray with the painter's tape
These will be the lines between the scales on the shell, and they should be dark brown.
If the tape is too wide for the slits, cut it to fit
Step 5. Apply green spray paint to the outside of the tray
Don't worry that this layer is too thick. Allowing some of the brown color to protrude from the green paint will give the shell a nice textured appearance.
For even more texture, use a large brush and green acrylic paint to dry paint. Pour the paint onto a palette and apply a small amount to the brush without using water. Apply the green paint over the brown one carefully using cross strokes
Step 6. Allow the fully painted shell to dry for another 15-20 minutes
Make sure it is completely dry before continuing. Make sure it is dry to the touch, especially around the edges where excess paint builds up.
Step 7. Remove the tape to reveal the brown lines between the scales
The tape should not remove paint underneath. If it does, you can touch up these areas with a brown marker.
Step 8. Insert the brown tape into the hole at the top of the shell
You can use a pencil or screwdriver to insert the tape into the hole. You should feed it from the inside out of the tray, so that most of the tape hangs on the inside to create the shoulder straps.
Step 9. Tie a knot in the short end of ribbon on the outside of the tray
Make sure the knot is big enough that it doesn't slide out of the hole. If it is very small, tie it a second time to make it larger.
Step 10. Repeat this process on the other side of the top of the shell
Now you will have two ribbons that will hang from the top of the shell on the inside of it.
Step 11. Complete the shoulder straps
Insert the ends of the ribbons into the holes at the bottom of the shell to make two shoulder straps. Again, you will have to introduce them from the inside out. Don't tie knots yet.
- For the straps to be the correct length, it is best to have a friend hold the shell at your back before tying the knots at the bottom of the ribbons.
- Adjust the straps until the shell feels secure on your back, then tie knots in both to complete the shoulder straps.
Part 3 of 4: Making a Felt Shell
Step 1. Cut an oval out of the cardboard
This should be the right size to fit on your back. If the cardboard looks flimsy, you could cut a second cardboard oval and glue them together for reinforcement.
Step 2. Trace the oval onto a piece of dark green felt
Lay the cardboard oval on the dark green felt. With a pencil, keep the tip as close to the edge of the cardboard as possible as you trace around the oval on the felt.
- It helps to keep one edge of the oval on the felt edge so you can cut it more easily.
- You should save enough felt to create a second, larger oval.
Step 3. Cut the oval out of dark green felt
Get some fabric scissors and carefully cut the felt oval along the pencil line as accurately as possible.
Step 4. Create a second larger oval out of dark green felt
Lay the cardboard oval over the remaining dark green felt.
- Measure 3 inches (7.5 cm) from the edge of the cardboard oval and draw a dotted line around it on the felt.
- Connect the dots with a pencil to draw an oval that is 7.5 cm (3 inches) larger than the first one.
- Take some fabric scissors and carefully cut out this felt oval.
Step 5. Sew around the edge of the larger oval with dark green thread
Machine baste this oval with stitches as long as possible.
Step 6. Bring the edges of the large oval together
Pull one of the threads from the large oval to direct the edges to the center. Tie a knot in both threads to keep them in place.
Step 7. Fill the large oval with filler
Don't skimp on filler. Wear as much as you can fit the oval.
Step 8. Attach the large oval to the cardboard base
Lay the cardboard base over the filled oval. Wrap the edges of the felt in the cardboard and attach it to the cardboard with hot glue.
Step 9. Make cuts at the top and bottom of the smaller oval to attach the ribbons to them and create straps
Consider these straps like those of a backpack, in order to attach them.
- Make the cuts at the bottom of the oval 2.5 cm (1 inch) closer than the top, to secure it at the waist to keep the shell closer to the back.
- Squeeze the felt between your thumb and forefinger at the point where you are creating the cut (rather than starting from the edge) to cut into the fabric.
Step 10. Add the ribbons to create the straps
Pass the edge of the ribbon through the cutouts at the top of the small oval. The smallest piece of ribbon will be at the bottom of the felt oval. The length will create the straps. Pass the other end of the ribbons through the cutouts at the bottom of the oval.
Step 11. Secure the smaller oval and ribbons to the cardboard base
Attach the top of the straps first, then glue the oval over the joined edges of the shell to create the back of the shell.
- Lay the oval on the cardboard to cover the back of the shell completely.
- Glue the small part of the ribbon to the cardboard to create the tops of the straps.
- Hot glue the small felt oval to the cardboard around the edges. Start at the top and work your way down. Stop before you reach the bottom of the oval.
- Attach the bottom of the straps to the cardboard and glue the rest of the oval onto it. It may help to place the shell on your back at this point to figure out the proper length for the straps before gluing them on.
- Finish gluing the rest of the oval onto the cardboard base.
Step 12. Cut shell scales on the lighter green felt
You will need several shapes to cover the shell. Use hexagons, squares, and a four-sided shape with a rounded one, shaped like an ice cream cone.
- Cut 5 hexagons out of the lighter green felt. The top and bottom lines should not be longer than the others that create the triangle points on the sides. Cut two of these hexagons in half.
- Make enough small squares to cover the entire edge of the shell, leaving space between each scale so that the dark green felt is visible between the squares.
- Cut 6 of the four-sided shapes, which will cover the top and bottom of the shell. These shapes will create the scales that will fill the top and bottom of the shell between the hexagonal scales. They should have a short side for the bottom, then two sides parting diagonally and a rounded top.
Step 13. Join the three hexagons to the center of the rounded part of the shell
First place one in the center of the shell with the long sides extending to the top and bottom of the hexagon so that the shape is located along the length.
Leave enough space for the dark green felt to form lines between the scales, and glue one hexagon above the one you placed in the center, and the other below the latter
Step 14. Join the pointed edges of the hexagon halves with those of the full hexagons in the area of the shell where they meet
The tips of the hexagon halves must fit between the tips of the full hexagons in the top and center, and in the bottom and center.
Step 15. Glue these halves in place
The tips will point toward the center of the shell, with the cut end pointing toward the edge of the shell. Leave enough space between the scales for the dark green felt to create lines between them.
Step 16. Place the four-sided pieces on the mosaic to complete the scales
It may help to design these shapes after the others are in place to ensure they fit properly and cover the edges of the top and bottom of the shell. This will also leave some space between the shapes for the dark green undercoat to create lines between the scales. Glue these 6 shapes in place.
Step 17. Finish the scales with the small squares
Glue the squares around the edges of the shell to complete the scales. Leave enough space between the squares so that the dark green felt is visible and create lines around them.
- You can place the squares around the shell before gluing them, to make sure you have enough space to place them all the way around the edges.
- If you don't have enough space after completing the circle, you may have to cut one of the squares to fit the available space. It ends at the bottom of the shell.
Part 4 of 4: Putting the whole costume together
Step 1. Put on the green clothes
Cover yourself in green from head to toe by wearing green shoes, socks, pants, and T-shirts.
- A green sweatshirt is a good option to cover your head in this color. You can also wear a hat.
- You can wear green leggings and a brown leotard to match the shell.
Step 2. Apply green makeup
Don't forget your face when it comes to costume. You can use the amount of makeup you want.
- Apply a full coat of green face paint to cover your face, neck, and ears. Cover your skin in green just beyond the collar of the shirt to ensure your skin color is not visible when the garment shifts as you move. If you can't get green mittens, you'll also need to paint your hands.
- If you decide not to cover all your skin in green, you can make some highlights of this color (like eyeshadow).
Step 3. Put the shell on your back
Put your arms through the straps and make sure they are snug. If the shell shifts a lot when you move, take it off and shorten the straps about 1 inch (2.5 cm) on each side.