Four Quick, Cheap and Easy DIY Dog Costumes

National Dress Up Your Pet Day is a legit day listed on calendars. Who knew? I, frankly think any day is a good day to have some fun and dress up your pet! In that light, I tried to put together some pet costume ideas that were affordable to make, easy to create, and didn’t make your pet uncomfortable while wearing it. Here are four quick, cheap and easy DIY pet costumes that anyone can make.

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We featured our costume ideas on our local television show called Mass Appeal on Monday, January 14th. You can see the costumes in action on Yoda along with the Cuddle Clones versions of Bean and Yoda in the segment below.

MASS APPEAL TV SEGMENT LINK

The Basics

You can order dog shirts that come in a multitude of colors and prices. We found cheap shirts on Amazon that served as a great “base” for adding other touches to make a costume. These shirts are great ways to make a costume that doesn’t affect your dog’s range of motion, their ability to see or their ability to move their head. While every animal is different, there’s a better chance that your dog will be much more comfortable in a costume where they are able to see clearly and move effectively. I don’t really think Yoda even realized he was wearing a costume when he was in his Spaghetti and Meatballs outfit while filming for Mass Appeal, which is exactly what I was hoping for!

Last, but super important point before ordering shirts for your pet. Each brand has their own unique sizing. Be sure to consult their sizing chart and know your dog’s dimensions before placing an order. I knew this in advance, and I still managed to buy shirts that wound up being a bit too small for Yoda. Since I didn’t have time to mail them back and I knew he wouldn’t be wearing it for a long time, it wasn’t a big deal, but I want to make sure your pet is as comfortable as possible and having the most positive experience he can have while in a costume. Something that’s a bit too snug, much like with us humans trying to wear pants that are a size too small, could make someone uncomfortable.

Cow Costume

This is the most simplistic costume of the four created. Here’s what you need:

  • Dog Shirt (we chose a white base, other colors could work, too)

  • A couple sheets of felt (tan & brown were our color selections)

  • Iron On Adhesive

  • An Iron

  • Fabric Scissors

  1. Using your scissors and your imagination, start cutting shapes you think a cow might have as its markings. I created different size ovals, kidney shapes, and other rounded shapes in both colors.

  2. Once you’ve cut enough shapes to cover your dog shirt, heat up your iron according to the directions on the iron on adhesive directions (medium heat, no steam).

  3. Place an old sheet or towel on the ironing board to protect it from any potential rogue adhesive.

  4. Transfer adhesive to your “cow spots.”

  5. Place a spot on your dog shirt and “make it official” by ironing it in place.

  6. Continue to place and iron spots however you wish.

  7. Voila, you now have a dog that is also a cow!

“Boos” Hound Costume

While not much different than the cow costume, you will be in charge of making your ghost faces using a permanent marker. You can choose to make them cute or spooky, or a combo like what we made. Here’s your material list:

  • Black dog shirt

  • A couple sheets of white felt

  • Black permanent marker (we used a Sharpie)

  • Iron On Adhesive

  • An Iron

  • Fabric Scissors

  1. Using your scissors, cut the white felt into ghost shapes of different sizes. You can find example shapes if you don’t want to free-hand a design, by typing “ghost shape outline” in the world wide web. I just freely cut, because I like to not live by the rules. Or I was lazy, it was probably more me being lazy.

  2. Using your permanent marker, give your cute little ghosts some character by adding eyes, a mouth, and whatever else you think it needs. We gave some eyebrows and noses. Again, the internet can help you with ideas if you’re stumped.

  3. Once you’ve cut enough shapes to cover your dog shirt, heat up your iron according to the directions on the iron on adhesive directions (medium heat, no steam).

  4. Place an old sheet or towel on the ironing board to protect it from any potential rogue adhesive.

  5. Transfer adhesive to your “ghosts.”

  6. Place a ghost on your dog shirt and “make it official” by ironing it in place.

  7. Continue to place and iron ghosts however you wish.

  8. Voila, you now have a dog that is also a boos hound. Bonus points if you use the joke “Why did the ghost go into the bar? Answer - To get some booooooos.”

Pinata

Okay, this is a bit different from the other two costumes but it’s still using felt and iron on adhesive. The difference is you’re cutting strips of felt and using a variety of colors. Here’s your list of “ingredients”:

  • A colorful dog shirt as your base. We went with bright orange. You can choose whatever color you prefer.

  • Multiple sheets (at least 4) of each color felt. Bright colors are what you should be looking for. We used yellow, pink, green, blue, and fuchsia.

  • Iron On Adhesive

  • An Iron

  • Fabric Scissors

  1. Using your scissors, cut fringe strips (about 1/2 inch wide) into each sheet of felt, leaving at least ½ inch at the top so you have space to place the adhesive strips.

  2. Using a guide (I used some old cardboard from a shoe box), draw strips onto your adhesive sheet that is ½ tall and 11 inches wide (the length of one sheet of felt if it’s horizontal).

  3. Once you’ve cut enough felt sheets to cover your dog shirt, heat up your iron according to the directions on the iron on adhesive directions (medium heat, no steam).

  4. Place an old sheet or towel on the ironing board to protect it from any potential rogue adhesive

  5. Transfer adhesive strips to the tops of your felt sheets

  6. Starting from the bottom of your dog shirt, as if you’re putting siding on a house, place the first sheet of felt. We used the arm holes as the guide for placement, since there’s no need for fringe on the dog’s undercarriage, especially if they’ll be walking while wearing the costume.

  7. Using the same color, flip the shirt to the opposite side and repeat step six.

  8. Continue placing and ironing sheets until you get to the top of the dog shirt.

  9. To give a finished look, we glued a final strip of one long piece of felt at the very top, so you couldn’t see where the two sides met.

  10. If you have space at your dog’s rear end on the shirt, you can add some strips of fringe there as well. You may need to trim them to fit.

  11. And now you have a dog pinata. Fair warning, they will not release candy like regular pinatas. If your dog is like Yoda, you’ll just get revenge farts. You have been warned.

Spaghetti & Meatballs

We moved away from felt for our final costume, mostly because Danny, one of the hosts from Mass Appeal normally calls Yoda “meatball” so we had to indulge him with our final costume. In this costume, it’s time to locate some white/off-white yarn and some Styrofoam. This is what you’ll need to create this costume:

  • Red dog shirt (as in, marinara sauce)...omnomnomnom

  • White or Off-White Yarn. Cheap acrylic is fine. We used worsted weight, but the thicker the yarn, the thicker your pasta noodles.

  • Sewing needle & thread (white or off-white)

  • ½ sphere floral foam or Styrofoam (whichever is cheaper or easier to find)

  • Brown & Red Acrylic Paint

  • Cheap foam paintbrush

  • Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks

  1. Paint ½ spheres with a brown acrylic paint base and allow to dry.

  2. Once dry, dab red paint onto brown ½ spheres and allow to dry.

  3. Cut a long piece of yarn (I used a couple arm lengths).

  4. Place yarn near the neck of the dog shirt and sew in place on the underside of the shirt (as in, tuck it in near the neck and sew that loose end in to anchor it without showing a frayed edge). When ending a piece, try to do the same either in an arm hole, near the neck, or at the base of the shirt.

  5. Move the yarn however you think pasta should look and tack down with a stitch every couple of inches to hold in place.

  6. Keep space on shirt for where you think your meatballs will be placed and continue to sew pasta on the shirt until covered to your liking.

  7. Heat glue gun and lay shirt on smooth and clean surface.

  8. Place hot glue on entire base of ½ sphere and place firmly on shirt. Hold for a couple seconds to allow glue to adhere to shirt.

  9. Gently lift edges of sphere and fill in hot glue if there are any gaps.

  10. Continue placing ½ spheres and adhering them until you are satisfied with coverage.

  11. Now you have a dog that’s also a delicious carb-based meal. I will never not say yes to pasta OR a dog dressed as a pasta.

We hope these costumes are a fun way for you to dress up your pet and still allow them to be as comfortable as possible. If you like these DIY ideas, let us know in the comments so we can brain storm new ideas to share with you in the future!

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