DIY Skeleton Costume

Tuesday, September 11, 2012
I love making the boys Halloween costumes each year and I'm busy prepping for this years costumes. Finley wants be a super hero (Super Fin) and Oliver wants to be a bat. I'm glad that they both chose things that are still kind of classic and will be fun for me to make. I hope to get them made soon so I can document the process in case any of you would like to see.

 Some of you might remember that I made skeleton costumes for the boys last year. I've had a bunch of questions about the construction of their costumes so I thought I'd share how I put them together. These were a bit more labor intensive (time wise) than other DIYs I've posted but they were not hard to make and they turned out RAD! Totally worth the effort.

What you'll need:
  • Long sleeved t-shirt 
  • Matching leggings 
  • White felt (Eco-fi felt by Kunin is the best for holding up in the wash)
  • *Fusible webbing (I used Heat n Bond Ultrahold for this project)
  • Scissors (small scissors with a pointy tip work best)
  • **Skeleton Template - download here. The mask is not included in the template.
  • Embroidery floss in color of your choice (I used black on Oliver's and red on Finley's)
  • If you make the mask, you'll need elastic for the band and a piece of black felt and white felt

*Since I use Heat n Bond, my instructions will follow Heat n Bond's instructions. If you are using a different fusible web, simply change out my instructions with the instructions on the package.

**I scoured the web last year for a template I could use for the boys' costumes. I wasn't able to find one so I came up with my own by taking measurements of the kids. I'm warning you that my template is pretty rudimentary but I like it that way. It would most likely fit costumes in the 3T/4T size range. If you want to make the costume bigger or smaller, just adjust the size of the template.

I did not take photos when I made these costumes but I know you guys are smart and I will answer any questions you may have. If you want to see photos of my applique process, check out any of my applique tutorials and you'll get a good idea of what's in store for you.

  1. Print out skeleton template and adjust size if needed.
  2. Place the template under your fusible webbing and trace all of the bones.
  3. Iron the webbing/bones that you traced onto your felt. For Heat n Bond, set it on the "wool" setting (NO STEAM). Iron the design onto the felt for about 3 or so seconds
  4. Cut out all of the bones. Small, pointy scissors will make it easy to get in between the ribs and cut out some of the small openings.
  5. Peel off the wax paper from the back of the bones.
  6. Carefully place the bones where you want them on the shirt and leggings and iron them on for about 10 seconds (remember, no steam). For this step, I like to place a scrap piece of fabric between the applique and the iron for extra protection. Check to be sure that all of your bones are firmly adhered.
  7. Now that your bones are attached, you're ready to start the applique process. You can do this with a machine or by hand. I'm a hand stitcher and although it took a while with both of these costumes, it was totally worth it - the stitching was the icing on top! To stitch by hand, cut about 3-4 feet of your embroidery thread. Your skein of thread will have six strands. Separate two of the strands from the piece you've cut and thread them through your needle. I used a blanket stitch for these costumes but a straight stitch (running stitch) would look great too. Pop in a movie (or two or three) because this part takes the longest. 
  8. I do not have a template for the mask and to be honest, my kids hated wearing them. If you want to make one, it's pretty simple. I took two pieces of different colored felt (I used black and white for one mask and white and grey for the other) and cut out two matching ovals that would cover the top half of their faces.  I guesstimated where the boys' eyes were and cut out circles through both pieces of felt for the eyes. For the nose and teeth, I cut out just the white felt so that the darker, contrasting felt would show through. I then sewed an elastic band in and hand stitched them together using the same blanket stitch that I used on the body of the costume.

Once you're done, sit back and marvel at the handmade awesomeness that you've just created for your kiddos! And remember, it doesn't have to be perfect - that's part of the charm.

ETA: The leggings and tees are from American Apparel.

As always, feel free to comment or message me at if you have any questions. 


Allison Waken said...

Oh Grace these are SO SO cute! My little guy would love this!!

Grace said...

Thanks, Allison! I loved these costumes and was a little sad to pass them down to the cousins. Hoping I can come up with an equally cool bat and super hero for this year. :)

Merinda said...

so fun! i am going to try to make this for my little guy. i made the "be rad" shirt & love this technique and was able to make a birthday shirt for him as well. i love the hand stitch look as well. thank you so much for sharing!

Grace said...

Hi Merinda! I'm so happy to hear that you've made some fun tees for your little guy! I can't wait to hear how this one turns out. I messaged you about the mask - let me know if you have any other questions. Cheers!

Kristen said...

I came over here from All For The Boys. This is adorable! And the masks look nice and soft, so my son might actually keep it on for a little bit. :) Thanks for the tutorial. It's been pinned for future reference.

Whitney Baldwin said...

This is adorable! By far the best skeleton tutorial. Thank you so much for sharing-- I am making this for my little guy and probably a mini version for my baby girl :)

Grace said...

Thanks so much, @kristen and @brad and whitney! If you guys make this, I'd love to see how it turns out. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions. Cheers!

Mark, Holly and Boys said...

I love this and can't wait to make it for my son! Any suggestions on where to get leggings/shirts? I haven't seen any that are more form fitting like this...

Angelika said...

Trying to get prepared for Halloween costume as I have some holiday time coming up end of May. I love this idea and it looks so stylish too! I can't access the template for the bones. Is there any chance you could put up another link?

Unknown said...

Thanks for the best blog was very useful for me. Keep sharing such ideas in the future as well. Thanks for giving me the useful information. , ,

Sarah-Lisbeth said...

Hello, it's the first halloween party for my little boy and I found your skeleton custume ! I love this idea, it's perfect ! But I can't access the template for the bones, could you send me a link, if it's possible ?
I hope my message is understandable, I'm french ! ;-)
Thank you so much !

Unknown said...

Hello, would it be possible to send me the template? The link just says it's been removed. It's just what I've been looking for.
Thank you.

Unknown said...

Yes, the link to the template is broken. Is there a way to fix the link or email the template. These are so cute and look to be just the size I need. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Hi ! I am french too !! Did you get the template ? Regards

Unknown said...

holaa me encanta
tambien necesito el enlace de la plantilla
alguien me lo pdria pasar ?graciaas

Mim said...

Love your blog and these skeletons! The link appears to be broken. Can you share the template?

Antoniette said...

Hi there! Can you send me the template? It seems to not be working and I would love to get a head start on making costumes!

Unknown said...

Is it possible for you to also send the template to me?thanks you!!

Unknown said...

These are adorable! If you happen to see this, I’d also love a copy of your template for my son’s Halloween costume.

Seady said...

Did you have any luck getting a template ?

Unknown said...

No, but I did make one myself. I used the Cricut Design app to create the pattern and cut the felt. If you happen to have a Cricut machine I’d be happy to share my template.

Unknown said...

Hi there! This is a great and super cute idea. But I can’t get the template it says it has been removed form the skid. Anyway you could email it?

Post a Comment