Easy Unicorn Fancy Dress Ideas to Make at Home
Here are some simple but effective ideas for making a unicorn costume for a party or simply when your little unicorn just needs to look her best. They won’t break the bank and you don’t need any real sewing skills at all.
Every unicorn is different and you can have great fun adapting these ideas to make your own unique creations. To begin with you need a simple base layer and then add the essential unicorn elements.
Every unicorn needs three magic ingredients, a sparkly horn, a long flowing mane and a swishable tail. This tutorial will show you how to construct these three items in no time at all. You can add anything else you like to give your unicorn its own personal style.
To begin with you need to decide on the colour of your unicorn. A white unicorn is the most instantly recognisable and probably the easiest to create but unicorns come in all shapes and colours. Purple unicorns are popular, so is the pink fluffy unicorn and the rainbow unicorn really makes a big impression! Once you have chosen the colour for your unicorn you need to create the basic foundation layer for your costume. Here I am making a rainbow unicorn either for a party or simply to bring out the rainbow on a rainy day.
First Things First
For the costume base you may simply need to hunt around the wardrobe for items you can adapt. This is why dressing up as a unicorn is such a great rainy day activity for little ones. Many of the items you need can probably be found at home although for a special party you may wish to purchase elements specifically.
Depending on the age of your unicorn the base layer maybe a onesie, a T-shirt and leggings or even a baby-grow. A shiny catsuit from a dance wear supplier would be fabulous for a party if you want to invest a few pounds. Dance shops will have lots of colours to choose from so let your imagination run wild! Basically you want your unicorn outfit to cover the arms as far as the wrist, the trunk of the body and the legs as far as the ankle. Whether this is slim-fitting or baggy probably depends on the age of the wearer so a long-sleeve vest and tights is fine for a baby-unicorn but an older child, or even an adult may opt for something more figure-hugging although a onesie can look cute too.
To make the tail you need some lengths of netting or tulle. This can be purchased at little cost from your local market or fabric store. Don’t forget to rummage in the off-cuts bins for ends of rolls or remnants for a real bargain. For my costume, the measurements are for a child of about 8 years old. For a taller or smaller child or adult you will need to adjust the size of the material accordingly.
- Half a metre or ribbon in a colour of your choice.
- A thick piece of cardboard cut from a box from a supermarket. You need a piece about 30cm wide and 4cm deep depending on the age and size of your unicorn.
- Several pieces of brightly coloured tulle, approx 1 metre long by 15-20cm wide.
To make a rainbow tail you will need six pieces of tulle in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Start by laying the red piece on a table and fold into thirds bringing the left side over to the middle, then folding the right side over on that so the material is triple thick. Fold the strip you have made in half length ways to form an open loop. Pass the tulle over the cardboard and loop through itself to secure to the band. Do not pull the material too tight at this stage.
Next take the piece of orange tulle in exactly the same way and form the next strand of tail by looping it again but instead of attaching to the cardboard, pull this one through the knotted area of the red piece. This is why you don’t want to tie the knots too securely until all the tulle strips have been added. Continue adding tulle strips in the order, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple to get the rainbow effect. By adding one loop over the next the base of the tail will curve slightly. Flip the completed tail over and this added strength and shape will make your tail stick up and out for added swishability rather than hanging limply.
Slip the ribbon through the loops at the back of the cardboard. Once it is in place carefully remove the cardboard so the ribbon is holding the tulle in place instead of the cardboard. Tie the ribbon in a single knot, securely but not too tight. Gently tighten each piece of tulle to secure it to the ribbon. When the tulle is secure tighten the knot in the ribbon and make a double knot to secure it together. Lastly tie the ribbon in a beautiful bow in to decorate the base of the tail.
The tail can now be secured to the costume whether with a few stitches or a safety pin. Be sure to use a nappy-pin, the sort with the little slidable head to avoid injury to children’s fingers in case they try to remove the tail themselves.
To make the mane depends on the length of your unicorn’s hair and whether or not you can braid.
A simple effective mane can be made by simply braiding the hair down the middle of the head then slipping off-cuts of tulle through the braid and tying each piece in a single knot through the hair to make it stick out.
An alternative is to tie your unicorns hair in six mini ponytails down the centre of the head. Secure each ponytail with a small bobble and tie a piece of tulle around each one. You may need to secure these with hairgrips as the tulle may slide off with wear.
If the hair is too short for braiding or ponytails then you can secure thin strips of tulle to the headband that we are going to use to make the horn and create a mane that way instead.
For the horn you will need a simple child’s headband for the base. From this starting point you can let your imagination run wild.
For a fun day dressing up at home or a rainy day activity with young children it is easy and fun to make and decorate a cardboard horn. Simply cut a semi-circle out of thin coloured card, roll it into a cone and secure with strong glue. You may find it easier to secure the join with a piece of tape on the inside of the cone to hold it together while the glue dries.
Once it’s dry cut two short slits of equal length on one side of the cone making sure they are no wider apart than the width of the headband. Avoid the area you have glued however because you may damage the cone. Next do the same thing on the opposite side of the cone. Fold the two flaps of card you have made up inside the cone out of the way. Using the depth of the flaps as a guide, carefully trim off the edge of the base of the cone making the horn shorter all round. Unfold the flaps so they now stick out of the base of the cone like two little feet and fold outwards. Using tape, secure the cone to the centre of the headband by taping the flaps to the headband to anchor the horn in place.
Your unicorn horn is now read to be decorated using whatever your child has in their craft box, but be sure to make it colourful and sparkly with glitter or sequins.
For a more durable horn for a fancy dress party we can do a similar thing but with felt.
You will need a headband, felt, gold cord, cotton wool, a hot glue-gun, spray glue & glitter (optional).
Like we did with the card earlier, start by cutting a semi-circle from the felt to the desired length of the horn and secure with the glue-gun. Once the glue is fixed, stuff the horn with cotton wool, starting with smaller pieces poked into the tip of the horn with a pencil. If you prefer you can sew the felt instead of gluing. Start at the tip of the horn and glue or stitch a length of gold cord around the horn in a spiral, just tight enough to make a ‘twisted’ effect. Secure at the base with glue or a couple of stitches.
From the off-cut felt cut a circle to fit the base of the horn. Place the horn on the centre of the headband and then with glue, attach the circle of felt to the underneath of the headband to secure the horn in place. Again you may sew around the join just to ensure the horn stays in place securely.
For extra sparkle give the horn a light spray with spray-glue and sprinkle with glitter.
To add a mane to the headband, cut strips of tulle and using the same knotting technique as before secure lengths of tulle to the headband on both sides of the horn. This time however simply add them side by side not on top of each other to make a veil effect.
Ears – If you prefer to add ears, simply cut a flat-bottomed petal shape from the left-over felt, gather slightly at the base to form the curve of the ear and attach to the headband with glue. If you have any pink felt, cut a smaller ear shape for the inner-ear and gather both pieces together for a more realistic look.
However you make your unicorn, just have lots of fun. If you are making costumes on a rainy day it’s a great idea go outside when you are done, if the rain has stopped(!) and see if your little unicorns have made a rainbow appear!