How to make a whale costume
We love books in our house and we also love crafts so World Book Day is right up our street. It’s not something that our school took part in previously but the last few years, they’ve taken a “dress up if you want to” approach. So this year the Bear asked to be Barney Willow as the black cat from Matt Haig’s To be a Cat, easy enough to do. Whereas the boy wanted to be the whale from The Snail and the Whale. Sh*t.
Once I got over the initial thoughts of “how the hell am I going to be able to do that”, I realised that actually, all I needed was some cardboard, some paint, and a lot of patience!!
How to make a whale costume
Now I am not going to do a fully detailed step by step how to as to be honest, it wasn’t actually that difficult. All you literally need to do is:
- Mark out your design in pencil and cut it out.
- Paint it – I used normal poster paint that we had at home. This may need a few coats to get a nice bold colour. It took us three coats. We used this coronation set (which used to be called jubilee a few years ago!) It has a great range of colours (affiliate link).
- Add in the details once your base colours are dry.
- Reinforce the front join with an extra piece of cardboard
- attach the tail by hot glue gunning the back piece together. Then make two slots, one on the tail and the other on the body. Slot together and glue in place.
- Attach ropes / string for arm straps.
- Make a little snail and glue to the tail.
My top tips for this is:
- Keep the join at the front but reinforce it with an extra strip of cardboard glued gunned on.
- Paint the back first to avoid making a mess of the front when you turn it over.
- Get the kids involved. It doesn’t have to be perfect and they will love it more if they are involved in painting it in the first place.
- Make sure you have a few hours and plenty of space as ours took a long of coats of paints which needed to dry in between.
Making the arm straps
I made the arm straps out of some super chunky wool and a massive crochet hook that I had lying around to give it a bit of a nautical theme. However you can use string, rope or anything else you have lying around.
If you do want to give crochet a go though, literally all I did was a chain of 60 and then go back along the length slip stitching into the back bobble into each stitch. This just made the crochet rope a little stronger and gave it a fake icord effect.
To be honest, my straps were a little too long so I could have easily gotten away with a chin of 45 or 50 to start with but I just tied the knot where I needed it and let the rest hang inside the whale as excess.
And there we have it. One whale costume which went from “oh sh*t, how am I going to do that”, to “actually that was easier than I thought it would be.” It’s impressive sometimes what you can do with one very large box and a bit of paint!
Is it perfect? No. But was it a lot of fun to make together? Absolutely yes.
Also, don’t be too precious as I have no doubt that this will last about 10 minutes in school!
Happy World Book Day!!
Get a copy of The Snail and the Whale
Read it: from Amazon (affiliate link)
Listen to it: from Yoto (affiliate link)
Watch it: on Amazon Prime (affiliate link) – free to Prime members