Does your child love zebras? Create this
Today I’m going to show you how to sew an easy kids zebra costume with step-by-step instructions. It’s an adorable DIY animal costume idea for Halloween or for an everyday jungle animal or zoo dress-up costume.
Last spring, my younger son, who we often refer to as C2 here on Kenarry, came home with a special assignment. His preschool teacher asked the students to think about all of the Zoophonics animals they learned about this year. Then each child was supposed to choose their favorite Zoophonics animal and come to class dressed up in a cute animal costume to be that character.
If you’re not familiar with Zoophonics, it’s a multi-sensory teaching method used in early childhood classrooms to teach children the alphabet and the sound each letter makes by associating the letter/sound with a specific zoo animal and a movement. A is Allie Alligator, B is Bubba Bear and so on…
Making a Zeke the Zebra Costume
After we quickly reviewed all 26 of the Zoophonic animals, C2 knew without hesitation that he wanted to be Zeke the Zebra! His teacher told us not to spend a lot of time or money on our animal costumes – just put together something quick and easy. Now the challenge for a crafty mom, like me, was how to make an easy kids zebra costume.
Thankfully I reached out to a mom friend of mine to brainstorm ideas. This friend just happened to randomly have an old zebra print bed sheet in her fabric stash that I could use for the zebra costume. I also had zebra print felt in my craft supplies so now all I had to do was figure out how whip up the costume in an afternoon with my handy dandy sewing machine.
How to Make a DIY Animal Costume
This easy kids zebra costume consists of two parts, a DIY vest
What you need:
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Craft/DIY Tools Needed:
- Zebra print felt
- Black felt
- White felt
- Tan felt
- Zebra print fabric
- Heavy card stock
- Black thread
- Black ribbon
- Craft fabric glue (optional)
- Black long sleeve t-shirt
Zebra Costume Part 1 — How to Make the Zebra Head Mask
To create the mask, I drew the outline of a zebra head on paper with large circular eyes, a snout and a tuft of hair. To make it easy for you to replicate this zebra head mask, I scanned and turned my drawing into a free template.
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Step 2: Cut out the parts and pieces to make the zebra mask.
Print two copies of the zebra mask template on 8 1/2 x 11″ paper on your home computer and printer.
First pin and cut one full face shape out of zebra print fabric. This will be the FRONT of the zebra mask.
Next, do the same with plain black felt. This will be the BACK of the zebra head mask that rests against your child’s face. Be sure to cut out the circle eye holes in both the front and back of the zebra face.
Then using your second copy of the zebra mask template, cut out the smaller pieces to form the zebra’s ears, snout and tuft of hair.
Step 3: Create the insert for the zebra mask.
Next, use a pen or pencil to trace the outline of the zebra head onto thin card stock. Now re-draw the zebra head shape about 1/4″ or more inside the original outline. For the eye holes, you’ll re-draw a circular shape 1/4″ around the outside of the circle. Cut around the re-drawn lines. This card stock piece will be used as an insert to make the zebra mask stiff.
Step 4: Assemble the mask for the zebra costume.
Layer the pieces of fabric you cut in the previous steps for the zebra mask, as shown.
First, attach the snout, ear pieces and tuft of hair to the front piece of the zebra mask. I used my sewing machine because it was quicker and easier. However, you could also do this step with craft fabric glue or you could hand sew those pieces.
Next sew or glue the three layers of the zebra mask together (black felt back, card stock insert and the zebra face). I pinned my three pieces together and started by sewing around the circular eye holes.
Then I pinned two pieces of long black grosgrain ribbon between the layers on either side of the eyes. The ribbons are used to tie the zebra mask on to your child’s face. Finally, I sewed around the entire outside of the zebra mask to hold the three layers and the ribbons together. Again, strong craft fabric glue may work for this as well, but I didn’t want to risk it falling apart.
Zebra Costume Part 2 — How to Make the Zebra Costume Vest
Now let’s take a look at how to make the vest for the zebra costume. It’s easier to make than you’d think!
I’m not much of a seamstress and I was using a remnant piece of zebra striped fabric from a flat bedsheet, so I really wanted this vest to be as simple as possible. C2, on the other
Step 1: Cut the parts for the hood.
To make the mane for the zebra costume, I used a piece of white felt and a piece of black felt. I folded the felt in half and then cut it into strips.
Next, I used one of my son’s hooded sweatshirts as a pattern to cut the shape for the hood out of the zebra striped fabric. Since this fabric was formerly a flat bed sheet, I was able to use the hem from the top of the sheet as the “front” of the hood for a nice finished look. If you’re using regular zebra striped fabric, make sure you leave enough to hem around the front.
Step 2: Assemble the hood.
After that, I layered the black and white felt strips two by two along the curved edge of the hood, alternating between the two colors. The fold of the two strips was placed along the very edge.
Here’s what it looked like when the hood was all pinned together. I apologize that the photo is kind of blurry, but you get the idea:
Then I used my sewing machine to sew the outer edge of the hood and secure the felt strips in place.
Step 3: Sew the vest.
Basically the vest for the zebra costume is really two long rectangle pieces of zebra striped fabric with the hood attached in the center.
First I turned and hemmed all the edges of the rectangle pieces that would be along the bottom or outer edges of the zebra vest.
Next, I laid the two rectangle pieces on top of one another and pinned the hood in the center. I also pinned the seam closed for the back of the vest.
Then I used my sewing machine to sew the hood onto the vest and to sew the back of the vest closed.
Lastly, keeping the vest inside out, I laid it out like a child will wear it. I used pins to mark the bottom of the arm holes for the zebra costume. Then I sewed the sides of the vest shut continuing up the sides to the bottom of the pins.
, this DIY animal costume is ready for a preschool or Halloween party!
Turn the vest right side out again and this zebra costume is ready for your child to wear for Halloween or a Zoophonics parade – black and white mane and all!
C2 wore his zebra costume layered over top of a kids long sleeved black t-shirt with gray shorts. You could also pair it with black pants or a black tank top, black turtleneck sweater or sweatshirt depending on the climate where you live.
My little guy was so excited to wear his Zeke the zebra costume to preschool. “Do you think anyone will know it’s me?” he giggled from behind his new mask. “I don’t know,” I said, “but you sure look cute, if I do say so myself!”
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