Homemade Toddler Costume - Fit for a Little Ladybug!

For all of us who aren't skilled seamstresses, the thought of a homemade Halloween costume can seem pretty daunting--but it certainly doesn't have to be.  With a few items I already had on hand and a few others I picked up at the dollar store, I was able to create a unique and adorable costume for my little Junebug.

Here's what you'll need to make this adorable costume:

1. Red onesie or t-shirt (I had one already)
2. Black leggings (Purchased for $3.50 at WAL-Mart)
3. Black fabric paint
4. Antennae (purchased at the Dollar Tree for $1--I just clipped off the center decoration to turn these into quick and easy ladybug antennae!)
5. Red tights for recovering fairy wings
6. Fairy wings (Old, new, borrowed, blue--whatever you have or can get--we're just going to recover them anyhow!  I had these already but you can purchase new ones at the Dollar Tree for $1.)

Supplies needed but not shown:
-Sticker Shipping Labels (optional)
-Hot glue gun
-Sponge paint brush (one you're willing to throw away after use--they're like $ .25 at most craft stores)
-1 sheet each of red and black felt (if you'd like to make the Ladybug embellishment for the wings)
-Printable Felt Ladybug Pattern (again, this is if you'd like to make the Ladybug embellishment for the wings)

First, let's start with making the ladybug "abdomen" (or shirt--whatever you'd like to call it!). 
I used a circle cutter to cut 1" circles onto sticky shipping labels and stuck the circle templates in a random pattern onto the front of the red onesie.  Remember to place a piece of cardboard or cardstock behind the shirt's front so the paint does not seep through to the back.

Once you're happy with the placement of your circles, use your sponge brush to carefully sponge paint over the circle cutouts.  If you do not have a circle-cutter or are not concerned with perfect circles, then just paint them on by hand--there are no rules!

It'll look funky for a minute...

But look what you have after you carefully remove the circle templates:

Perfect!  Now you can set it aside to let it dry.  Now let's move onto the wings!
First of all, you'll want to remove the covering of your fairy wings until you have a naked skeleton like this:

Then, cut the red stockings right where the legs begin. 

Bunch the stockings up and slip them over the wing frame.  Use one leg of the stockings for each wing and gather all the excess nylon in the center and tie it as tightly as you can, being careful not to cause a run in the nylon.

Using the same method as painting the shirt, prepare some circle templates and adhere them to the wings in the desired places.  This time I used 2.5" and 2" circles in addition to some 1" circles.  Make sure they are placed in a symmetrical pattern. 

Cover your work surface with newspaper because things can get messy now!  Carefully paint over the templates, being sure not to move the wings.  (You see, the paint will go through the nylon stockings and color the opposite side as well, so if you move the wings on your work surface, you run the risk of smudging your paint--and at that point you'll have to start over from scratch since you can't really remove fabric paint from the delicate nylon.) 

Now, remove the circle templates and proudly hang your ladybug wings on your chandelier or any other convenient place to dry.  Pat yourself on the back--you're almost done!

(You may want to paint the reverse of the dots once your first set has dried.  It's a personal preference, but I did and it made the black dots a lot stronger.)

I created a ladybug embellishment for the wings--using only some felt scraps, hot glue and fabric paint.
The printable pattern is available here.  I didn't do step-by-step instructions for assembling the ladybug because once you cut the pieces, it becomes fairly obvious as to how the assembly works--especially if you take a peek at the end result pictured below.

Simply affix the embellishment to the wings with hot glue and you've got yourself a sew-free costume!
Now try it on your little one to see how it looks...

And smile, as you realize that your sweet little one strongly dislikes the costume you made her...  At least we have some time between now and Halloween to acclimate her to wearing her wings.  (And yes, this is the BEST picture I could get of her!)

In total, I spent exactly $5 plus tax on the items needed for this costume.  I had many pieces already which was a driving factor for the theme of the costume.  It's easy to go out and purchase a costume in a store, but there's something satisfying about creating one for your precious little one.  And if you use inspiration from what you already have lying about your home, you can make a homemade costume at a fraction of the cost of purchasing one.  How's that for keeping it Spartan?

Anyone else creating a Halloween costume for a little one?  If so, what are you creating?  As always, your feedback, questions and comments are greatly appreciated!

This post is included on Sherri's Family Crafts Blog at About.com.


  1. how creative and cute! and i love ladybugs!

  2. I love it. We decided that we are going to make Tavin's costume too but we haven't picked anything out yet.

  3. this is so cute! You should also submit it to oneprettything.com!!! I also like the new background of your blog :)

  4. cute! I had the same problem trying to put wings on my 2 year old last Halloween! She must be over it coz this year she wants to be Tinkerbell.

  5. Adorable costume! Don't you just love how appreciative toddlers can be? ;)

  6. My daughter was a ladybug for Halloween last year - and now I want her to be one again!

  7. Darling costume and your DD. I'm saving this for next year when GD#3 will be a toddler. My DD#2 is not crafty (depends on me) but I know she can make do it with your tutorial. thanks.

  8. I laughed SO hard when I saw the picture of little E! Good Grief!!! She really knows how to appreciate her mama's hard work, huh? haha!

  9. I love this! I'm very likely going to do this for my 1 year old and hopefully she won't hate it as bad! Thank you for this tutorial!

  10. This is super cute! I'd love for you to come link it to my Halloween Costume Contest!


  11. Adorable! Nothing like a sweet little ladybug! We'd love for you to link up to our Homemade Halloween Link party!


  12. these are some of the loveliest costumes of the halloween, the color of the wings given in the blog is very cute.

  13. wow..! this is too good blog for adults costumes. it contains the dresses of Brave Medieval Knight. thanks for the blog.

  14. Oh my goodness the picture of her in the costume is hilarious!!!! We're having a ladybug themed bday party so was trying to think of a cute outfit to make her and the black polka dots on the red onesie is too cute! Thank you for the idea. Stopping by from One Pretty Thing.

  15. That picture made me laugh so hard! Great idea, thank you....

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  30. Well - she may have not like it, but you did an amazing job in crafting this adorable ladybug costume!

    If you (or any of your readers) are interested, I am having a creative costume contest over at http://www.halloweenhero.com/costume-contest-2013.html - with a $250 grand prize.

    Feel free to enter as many times as you like, so long as each entry is a unique costume.

    Keep up the great work!


  31. Having these Halloween Costumes as part of Halloween celebration is such a wonderful thing to do. Using these costumes you can really feel the essence of Halloween especially wearing this gorilla costumes.

  32. This project was a great inspiration! I can't wait for my daughter to debut my creation in two days!!
    I had to make a few changes. My fairy wings were segmented, so I added cardboard to the wings and wrapped the red tights legs around that. I used black felt circles for the wings, and attached them with the glue gun. I was worried about messing up the fabric paint! I didn't get the shipping labels (great idea) and was sort of free-handing the t-shirt circles, when a friend suggested iron-on freezer paper. So far it seems to be working well.
    The reminders to use the dollar store and enjoy a homemade costume were so great. Thanks again for this cool idea. My daughter is two and she's really excited for her costume.

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