This children’s book-inspired DIY costume is super cute and it can be made on the cheap. Who doesn’t love The Very Hungry Caterpillar, one of Eric Carle’s most beloved characters? It’s a perfect option for any bookworm (boy or girl) and has the added bonus of making reading fun.
Time: 1 full day
Level of difficulty: Difficult
What you’ll need:
- 7 green inner tubes / swim rings: (4) 24″ tubes and (3) 20″ tubes
- 2 spools of matching green ribbon
- A red ski mask or red felt to make your own
- Large squares of yellow, green and brown felt
- Fabric glue
- Brown craft paper
- Floral wire
- Roller adhesive
- Yellow fringe garland
Making the body:
The caterpillar’s body is made by alternating the larger and smaller tubes. 1-2 of the larger tubes will be at the bottom and 1 of the smaller tubes will go on top. Depending on your child’s size you may need more or fewer tubes!
Starting with a 24 inch tube on the bottom, wrap a very long piece of ribbon around one side of the tube. You will be securing the tubes together with ribbon in four places.
Criss-cross the ribbon over the top of the tube and place another tube on top of the criss-cross. Continue criss-crossing the ribbon and placing the next tube (alternating the sizes) pulling the string tight every time.
Continue all the way to the top until you have six tubes. Pull the string tight and tie off in a knot. Continue the same process 3 more times from bottom to top so that the string is securing the tubes in 4 places evenly around the body.
The last small 20 inch tube is placed on top of the 6 secured tubes — the child’s arms are going to go between this tube and the last tube that was on top.
Using three smaller strings, secure the smaller top tube to the larger tube beneath it by simply looping string around the larger tube’s ribbon and tying a knot. I found two strings in the front and one centered in the back worked well and left plenty of room for the child’s arms.
Making the head:
Using yellow felt, draw two different ovals and cut out. Repeat the same process with the green felt only make these ovals slightly smaller and cut out. Use a good fabric glue and glue a green oval on each yellow oval.
I found it easiest to place and glue the eyes on the mask while the mask was on the child’s head.
Making the antennas:
Place two pieces of craft paper back to back.
Draw two antennas using a picture as a reference for shape. They should not be exactly the same. Cut out each set.
Sponge paint some purple on top and let dry.
Turn one antenna over and roll a permanent adhesive onto entire antenna.
Wrap a fine gauge floral wire around the perimeter of the antenna, pressing it on to the adhesive
Place the mirror image of each antenna on top of the wire and press tightly onto the adhesive all around from edge to edge.
Determine where you want the antennas on the mask. Place a bead of fabric glue in desired location, and with your hand inside the mask, pinch the antennas in the glue. Small clamps will help to keep everything in place while the glue dries thoroughly.
Making the fringe detail on the back:
A yellow fringe garland from the party section worked great for this!
Starting at the top, slide the fringe under the ribbon. Work your way down the body sliding the fringe from alternating sides for each tube.
Once you’re at the bottom, cut the garland. Then, you can go back and use small beads of glue on top of the ribbon and fold the fringe onto the glue to keep it secure to your caterpillar.
Making the feet:
Because your kid is walking and not crawling on his/her tummy, these “feet” will actually dangle off the front of the caterpillar body.
Use two pieces of brown felt sandwiched together, draw freehand the feet using the picture as a reference. Cut out and you will end up with 4 feet total, two sets that match.
Cut small slits at the top of each foot approximately a 1/4″ long.
Determine where you want the two sets of feet and slide the slit over the edge of the tube. Use a good amount of glue around and underneath the slit to secure. Let the glue dry completely before you try the costume on!
And there you have it — an absolutely adorable little bug. Note: we started this series with the toughest costume — so if The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a little above your skill level, stay tuned for next week’s DIY Robot, which is a little simpler.