The idea for this Homemade Shrimp Tempura Costume came from my love for the famous Japanese fried shrimp. I executed it fairly simply using lots of things I already had on hand.

The body part of the costume uses a simple LINED sleeveless dress as its base. Between the lining and the actual dress I filled the entire thing with crushed up plastic bags, quilt batting and leftover screen material from repairing our patio door. I’m sure anything could be used – the lighter the better! I focused on the lower half more and tried to keep the top fairly slim since that is where the shrimp tapers down to its tail. I then sewed the lining to the dress, matching the hems together, to give the dress some extra volume at the bottom and keep everything from falling out. I spray painted the dress yellow (which was more of a tan color to begin with) and let that dry for a day or two. On the outside of the dress I took brown tulle and wrapped, bunched, puckered, then finally tacked it all in place with a needle and thread. That’s it for the body!

For the headpiece I took 4 wire coat hangers and roughly shaped them into two large “M” shapes (with a shallow dip making the middle point) for the main tails and two smaller “/W” shapes, also shallow, for the side tails. All four tail pieces were then squeezed together at the base, leaving about a 1.5-2inch opening (this is when you can decide how much length to cut off depending on how tall of a headpiece you want.) A 5th hanger was used to make a carrot-shaped spike for the middle. The opening at it’s base should be about 2.5-3 inches apart. Using salmon colored organza, I sandwiched the wires individually between the fabric using hot glue and trimmed away the excess fabric. Using a plastic headband I carefully drilled holes at the spacing I thought looked best to create a tail shape. I then poked all the ends of the hangers through the pre-drilled holes and hot glued both sides to secure the wires in place. I padded the underside of the headband to prevent injury and then wrapped the entire thing in the same colored organza. (Use bobbypins to balance the headpiece onto your head.)

For the chopsticks I used the same technique as those light-up plastic collapsible swords creating three nesting cones out of one huge black poster board. I capped the ends with circles cut out to fit and then used correction fluid to draw on some Japanese characters.

We had an Asian looking bowl at home that I filled a with a chunk of florist foam that I had shaped into a pinch of wasabi. In the bowl next to that I bunched some scraps of organza to look like pickled ginger. Everything was hot-glued in place. (In hindsight neither of those actually GO with shrimp tempura, but they were funny and got a reaction nonetheless.)

My shoes were bought at an Asian market. They are bamboo house shoes with X-straps that were covered in fabric. I also tied some extra organza around my neck for extra cuteness.