Homemade Dog Costumes: Top 5 DIY Creative Ideas for Parties

Homemade Dog Costumes
Emily Young
Written by Emily Young

Homemade dog costumes offer a cheaper and unique alternative to dog costumes that can be bought from stores. It can give your pet more personality and it also adds more creativity to your pet’s look with the original design ideas that you can give to it. We all want our pets to be unique and to stand out on any occasion and one of the ways that we can do it is by creating our own version of their dresses or costumes. You don’t have to worry about having the proper sewing skills as well since you can easily put together the materials by gluing or by attaching a Velcro strap.

DIY dog costumes help you to exercise your creativity as well. Unlike buying a pre-made dog costume, you will be the one who will be trying to draw out the pattern and decide on how your costume would look like.

Dogs in costumes

You will also be the one who will have to do all the calculating and measuring in order to make it fit. The time that you spend making the costume will not only help you to get your creativity going, it will also help you spend some time to bond with your dog. Research has definitely shown that spending time with our pets can help strengthen our relationship with them.

What tools and materials you need?

A lot of people are often scared of making their pet’s costume because they can’t sew and they can’t take measurements correctly. Well, the good thing is that today, you don’t really need a lot of technical skills in order to create a good costume. All that you need are a few simple tools and materials that you can either buy from a craft store or can already be found at your home. The whole point therefore is to be creative and imaginative with your designs to make them look not only as “commercial” as possible but even more beautiful than store-bought ones.

So the first thing that you need is a pair of scissors. This is definitely one of the tools that you will be using the most when making your own costumes. Make sure that your scissors can cut through fabric, felt, and cardboard as these are the common materials that are used for costume making. Find a good pair of craft scissors preferably large ones that will not be tough on your hands and will make cutting any of these materials easily. You can also opt for a good cutter or knife to cut patterns and designs on your materials.

Material for dog costume as Imperial walker

The next item that you should have is high quality glue that can stick to any type of material or a glue gun. These helps to cut down the need for sewing since you can just glue together pieces of fabric with them. Your dog costume is also not made for long-term use so gluing them is a fast and easy solution for constructing your designs. Simply put some heavy-duty glue on the pieces and then press firmly. You will have your costume in no time at all and that with no pricking and eye-squinting as well. You can also go for Velcro if you like.

Lastly, you will need a measuring tape or ruler to help you get the correct body measurements for your dog. It is important to make a dog costume that will fit just right on your dog. Measurements around the neck, arms and the chest are should have enough space in between them to prevent any injury or choking. You should at least be able to insert two fingers on these areas so they can move and breathe freely. Remember that the costume should be comfortable for your pet first and aesthetics should come next.

Dog homemade as pig costume material

All the other items that you will need will either be made from materials that you already have at home or can be easily found on craft or hardware store. You can make use of old shirts or rarely used sheets as base materials. You can then decorate them with crafting accessories such as fabric paints, glitters, and faux feathers to make them look more interesting.

The type of materials that you will use will depend on the type of costume that you are going to make. The best thing is to make the most out of what you already have and make them as unique as possible with your own imagination.

What designs you can use?

Now that you know the basic tools that you will need, you will now be ready to take on various designs for dog costumes. You can make almost any type of costume that comes to mind with the wide range of materials that you can work on. What you would need is a little bit of creativity and imagination to help you create a unique pattern for your pet. Below are some of the easiest yet most creative designs that you can make for your dog and the steps on how to make them:

Ballerina costume

This is a nice costume that will give you lots of opportunities to dress up your dog in the most girly way possible. You can put as much embellishments as you want, although overdoing it may not turn out well.

To make a ballerina costume, what you need is pink or white baby onesie or dog shirt, some tulle fabric of the color and width of your choice, some glue, needle and thread, an elastic headband, and some accessories to decorate your dress.

Ballerina costume for dog

First, find a dog shirt or onesie that fits just right for your pet. Then, lay it out on your pet’s body or have them wear it and mark the area where the “waistline” would fit. Cut out a circle near the tail area if you will be using an onesie. After you have marked out the waist of the shirt or onesie, take out your tulle fabric and sew it with a thread with similar color.

Then when you have reached the end, pull the thread so that the tulle is gathered into a shirred pattern. Make the length of the thread equivalent to the size of the waistline. Then, get some glue and glue the tulle on to the length of the waist of the shirt.

After this, take some of the tulle and tie it into a ribbon pattern. Glue this to the elastic headband and use it as a matching accessory for your tutu. You can also glue other accents and decorations on the dress such as feathers and shimmering rhinestones to add some sparkle to your costume. You can also check out this video to learn more on how to make a ballerina costume for your dog:

Teddy bear costume

If you want to make your pet look cute and cuddly, then this costume would be right for you. What you need is a stuffed teddy bear toy that is of the same height as your dog when he is standing up, a pair of scissors, some Velcro straps about two to three inches long and glue although these last two items can be optional. Make sure that the legs of the stuffed toy are also as big if not wider than your pet’s legs.

The first step is to cut out the snout or the face area of the teddy bear. This is where your pet’s face would be so make sure that it is large enough for their head to have enough ventilation and for them move around. Remove all the stuffing on the face area. Then, cut out a vertical line in the middle of the back area from the tail up to about an inch or two on the back of the head and remove all the stuffing as well.

Lastly, cut out the pads of the feet of the teddy bear and remove all the stuffing on the legs as well. You will be doing this on the lower legs of the bear and not the upper ones. Don’t remove the stuffing on the upper arms of the bear and seal the hole either by stitching them or gluing them.

Teddy bear dog costume

Next, try the outfit for some fitting. Put your dog’s face on the snout are of the costume. If the neck area is too small for your pet’s head to go through then make a longer cut on the back of the teddy bear’s head. Then, place your pet’s front legs on the legs of the bear which had been emptied out of its stuffing. If the legs are too long for your pet, then cut off a bit of the length to make it fit just right.

If you think that the costume has a lot of excess flaps especially along the torso of the bear then grab a pair of Velcro and glue them to the sides of the costume either under the legs of the dog or on top of the shoulders depending on which area is too loose. Make sure that the length of the Velcro is just right to give s snug fit but is not too tight. Here is a link that will help you make this kind of costume although this makes use of a harness as well:

Skeleton costume

If you want something that is really scary for the Halloween, then try the skeleton costume. You can really go very creative with it by using glow in the dark materials or really go into the details. What you would need is a basic black dog shirt, some white felt papers or paint, and a pattern for a dog’s skeletal system.

You will not spend a lot of money on this one although you may have to spend some time designing the pattern to make it look more interesting. With some added accessories such as a pumpkin treat bag or a Halloween cap, your dog will surely look scary in this costume.

Skeleton dog costume

So the first thing that you need to do is to search the internet for a model of a dog’s skeletal system; print it out and use it as a basis on how you would paint or cut out the bone designs of the costume. Next, get some white felt papers or paint and use them to put the bone pattern on to the black doggie shirt.

It’s ok if you can’t get the skeleton design onto the legs of your pet as they will be quite small and almost unnoticeable. Glue the felt paper bones or paint them on the shirt and allow them to dry thoroughly for a few hours. When they are done, put the shirt on your dog and get on to your party.

Ghost costume

If you are running out of time to make a Halloween costume for your pet, then a ghost costume would fit your time frame perfectly. In this costume, you will be needing a white sheet about half the size of a single size blanket or something that is enough to fully cover your pet from head to toe, pencil, Sharpie, some clips and a pair of scissors. You can finish this costume in about 15 minutes depending on how cooperative your pet could be.

Ghost dog costume

So the first thing that you need to do is to throw the white sheet over your dog and make sure that you have even lengths on both sides. The sheet must be able to cover your dog from their head to the toes. Next, mark out the areas where your dog’s eyes, ears, tail and snout are located and cut out circles which will fit these areas using your scissors.

Make sure to leave enough space for the snout and the tail area so your dog can easily open and close their mouth as well as wag their tails when they want to. In the eye area, make large holes but make sure that they don’t reach the snout. Then, mark out the perimeter of the eye holes with a sharpie.

Put the sheet again on your dog and put the ears, tail, and snout on their proper areas. Adjust the holes if they are still too small for your dog. Gather some of the fabric under your pet’s snout near the chest area, about one to two inches wide, and put a clip on them. Make sure that it is loose enough so your dog can still move freely under the costume.

One great tip that will make your costume really spooky is to use a lightweight fabric that will easily float in the wind. This will give your dog a flying ghost look and it will surely be a treat to see how people would react. Here is a peek on how your dog would look like once you are finished with the costume:

Dinosaur costume

If you had recently been watching Jurassic World and would like to make your pet look like a cute little dinosaur then this is one of the easiest ways to do it. This pattern will make your dog look like a tiny stegosaurus with cute little scales on their back.

What you would need are a green dog shirt, some green felt paper, glue or a needle and thread for stitching. The cutting out process can take some time so make sure that you have enough time to make this costume.

First, cut out some diamonds on the felt paper about 1 ½ to 2 inches long on each side. You will need to glue two pieces together to make one spike or scale so you will need to cut about 40 pieces of this shapes.

You can also make the size smaller or larger to create an interesting pattern just make sure that they have a pair. Glue the pairs together and attach it near the center of the shirt in two rows running along the length of the back. If you want to stitch the diamonds to attach it more securely on the shirt, you can do that as well.

To attach the diamonds on to the back of your dog shirt, make a small fold on one of the corners and use this to glue the felt paper on the shirt. You can try creating an alternating pattern on the back instead of two parallel rows as well.

You can also choose to alternate the direction of the pointed ends going inwards or outwards alternately. Arrange the spikes with the largest ones on the middle and tapering on both ends. This will help give it an authentic dinosaur look on your pet. Here is another idea on how you can make the spikes on the back of your pet’s shirt:

Is it easier to buy or to make it by yourself?

There a lot of advantages in creating your dog costumes and some of them, are rewards that you would not be able to get by buying one from a store. Here are some reasons why you should try to make them yourself:

  • It helps you save some money. We all know how costly commercial dog costumes can be even though the materials are not really that expensive. Commercial items have an added cost of labor as well as other expenses such as marketing and advertising costs so you can always expect as much as 50% markup from the original cost of the product. If you get to make your own, then you will surely be saving a lot of money.
  • It suits your dog better. This is speaking in terms of the size of the costume. Most dog costumes, especially those that are made abroad, are not only made from inferior or even dangerous materials but are also ill-fitting. They are either too loose or are too tight for your pet with its given size. Making your own costume helps to customize the size of the dress to your pet’s measurements.
  • It has more sentimental value. Creating your own dog costume will help establish that special bond with you and your pet. Store-bought costumes are made without any specific dog in mind and you can also find a lot of other pets wearing it. Making your own costume makes it more valuable in terms of the effort that you have put into it as well as the time spent making it fit to your dog. It can really be fun having your dog around while making the costume.
  • It will be more unique. Unlike commercial costumes, personal and hand-made ones are really unique. You will be making your own designs so it will be quite rare to find one that will look exactly like it. You can embellish and decorate your costume by your own choosing so you can really make it stand out from every similar design that is out there.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money just to give your dog a costume for different occasions. There are ways to make them at home and with the materials that are readily available or are cheap to buy.

Commercial dog costumes are not only very expensive but they are often not made to last for several uses so it does not really justify the expense. When you make your own costume, you will be saving a lot more money that you can spend on your pet’s other needs such as pet food and medicine.

Making your own pet costume can really be a fun experience with all the fitting and measuring that can get really interesting with your dog’s temper. Make sure that you don’t stress them out and give them a few treats every once in a while when they are well behaved.

With a bit of creativity and imagination, you can make almost any type of costume that you like whether you want them to look like a scary Halloween character or a cute little teddy bear.

Just make sure that your pet is comfortable and can move freely while they are wearing it and make sure that you watch over them during the whole time as well.

About the author
Emily Young
Emily Young

Emily is originally from China where she graduated from The University of Hong Kong with high distinction learning about fashion and design. During university she opened her own magazine about Dog Fashion as dogs were always in her heart. She was surprised, when she moved to a beautiful British Columbia 10 years ago, to see many great Boutiques with dog's designer clothing and desire of pet owners to make their babies look nice.