How to Make a Fish Costume

Boy in Fish Costume

If you're planning an undersea bash or need to create a unique Halloween look, consider making a fish costume. With the fabrics on the market, you can create almost any species of fish, real or imagined. Few costume ideas allow for such a range of designs and creative interpretation.

How to Make a Fish Costume

If you have a sewing machine and a limited amount of sewing experience, you can easily create your own fish costume in a few hours. Since this project uses felt fabric, it's also very affordable.

Things You'll Need

  • Sheet of cardstock
  • Turtleneck shirt in desired color
  • Two yards of felt in chosen color
  • One rectangle of white craft felt
  • One rectangle of black craft felt
  • One yard of interfacing
  • Hook and loop closure
  • Glue and glitter
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Measuring tape, scissors, pins, and fabric pencil
  • Permanent fabric markers

What to Do

  1. Begin by making the fish head, which will be like a hood. To do this, measure the individual from shoulder to shoulder, up over the top of the head. Divide this number by two and add four inches to get the height of the head. Next, measure around the person's head at the widest point, and divide this number by two.
  2. Out of the felt, cut two rectangles that match the dimensions you found above. Cut both rectangles into a tapered point at the top to create the fish's face. Cut out an area for the person's face. Cut out a curved triangle to make a fin.
  3. Sew from the back, up over the point at the top, and down to the open portion of the hood. Insert the fin at the back part of the head. Turn the head right side out to ensure a good fit, and make any adjustments necessary. Then attach a piece of hook and loop closure to the bottom under the chin.
  4. Decorate the fish head by adding white and black craft felt fish eyes, drawing on gills, or adding glitter.
  5. Now that the head is done, it's time to start on the body. Draw a large scale shape on the cardstock, and cut it out. Use this as a pattern, and cut several dozen fish scales out of the felt. The number you will need will depend on the size of the scales and the size of the person wearing the costume.
  6. Draw a tail shape on the felt, and cut two pieces of it. Between the pieces, use interfacing to provide stiffness. Sew the two pieces together, and then sew the tail to the inside back hem of the turtleneck.
  7. Starting at the bottom of the turtleneck, attach the scales in rows. When you've finished the bottom row, more up a few inches, overlapping the scales. Cover the entire torso portion of the turtleneck.
  8. Use glue and glitter to embellish the fish costume.

Fun Fish Ideas

Using this basic fish costume design, you can create all different types of fish. Try some of the following:

  • Use orange felt to make a goldfish.
  • Create an exotic, tropical fish using more than one color.
  • Spray the entire costume with glitter for some extra sparkle.
  • Use gray felt and no scales to make a shark costume. Attach a pointed dorsal fin to the back of the turtleneck.
  • Create a favorite cartoon fish by using the same color combination for your costume.
  • Use long pieces of trim to create catfish whiskers.
  • You can use fabric markers for more than gills. Create unique patterns and embellishments to add some fishy flair.
  • Get silly! A rainbow fish can have long multi-colored fins, an angel fish can wear a halo and a jellyfish can carry a jar of peanut butter.

Plan Ahead

Creating a fish costume is easy, but it can take some time. Depending on how elaborate your fish is, you may need to plan ahead to ensure you complete the costume in time for your event. Start by drawing or visualizing the end result. Then shop for supplies several weeks ahead of time, and begin your project. You can always use the extra time to further embellish your fishy fashion statement.

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How to Make a Fish Costume