I’m 27 years old and have wanted to be a Ninja Turtle for Halloween for the past couple of years. I never went through with it because I don’t like any of the adult Ninja Ture costumes because they’re too expensive, slutty, which is absolutely ridiculous for a Ninja Turtle, or the shell isn’t big enough. I also like to dress as something the trick or treaters will recognize and was worried they wouldn’t know what I was. Well now that the Ninja Turtles are really popular again I told myself I could not be anything other than a Ninja Turtle for Halloween this year.
I looked at homemade costumes on this site and other places on the internet and just couldn’t find anything I liked that wasn’t too difficult to make. I also needed to be able to make it in a week because I waited until the last minute. So, I thought I’d try the whole chicken wire idea but it didn’t work out for me. I ended up with a ridiculously shaped shell and horrible cuts all over my arms and hands. Chicken wire can be brutal! So, I came up with an idea of my own….
I googled how to make a perfect oval. I found a great YouTube video. Well, I didn’t have the exact supplies needed so I improvised and it worked well. Before that, I laid on a big piece of cardboard, took a marker and put four marks around myself marking my approximate size: one mark above my shoulder, one on each side of me, and one just below my butt. I then set my marks a couple inches wider because I wanted the shell to stick out some on the sides. I then used the perfect oval trick with these markings.
The size ended up being perfect so I then cut the oval out of the cardboard. Next, I used the cardboard as a template to cut an oval out of an old bed egg crate that we were never going to use. I actually hot glued the oval piece of egg crate to the oval cardboard. I purchased 3 yards of dark brown felt from a local craft store. I ended up having more than enough felt but it’s better to have too much than not enough. I then laid the oval egg crate/cardboard onto the felt and started hot gluing it.
Make sure the egg crate side is face down so the part you’re hot gluing is the back side of the cardboard which will be to your back. You’ll have to keep overlapping and cutting and pulling the fabric tight but it will work out and look good. A few days later I got some black fabric paint to paint on the shell. I free handed the shapes on the shell with a pencil. The pencil causes the felt material to “pick up” a little so you’re able to see your design. It’s ok if you mess up a little because it isn’t noticeable. Once I finished and liked the design, I then squeezed a thin line of black fabric paint over each design and then used a small, cheap sponge brush to just smudge it down. Very simple.
For the bottom of the shell, I used another piece of cardboard and more egg crate and felt. This part was tricky because it took a good bit of measuring. I had my husband measure my torso from right above my breasts down to my crotch. Sorry, I didn’t know what else to call it. Haha! He also measured the width of my torso. Using a tape measure I was able to make marks for my measurements on the cardboard. It takes some extra measuring to get the perfect curve at the bottom for the crotch area but you’ll get it. Just be patient.
I then measured for the 6 “abs” and drew the lines for them. I then cut pieces of the egg crate a little smaller than each “ab” section and hot glued them to the cardboard. I also had bought 3 yards of tan felt for this part. Before laying the torso portion on the felt, I put down some hot glue in the lines in between the abs. As soon as I laid it on the fekr, I started rubbing the fabric into the hot glue to be sure it stuck down. This gave the effect of “abs” without having to draw them on. It turned out great!
After a lot of measuring and messing around with the shell, I was able to figure out exactly where to out the straps. I wanted to be able to wearing like a backpack. I hot glued some brown burlap ribbon I had leftover from some wreaths I had made. it was the perfect color and width. Careful with this part because you will burn your fingers. I did so much that the tips of my fingers were raw! It sucked hut was worth it. Leave some extra slack in the straps so you can hot glue the slack at the top to your torso shell. I also used a strip of the burlap ribbon to rap around the turtle shells which also helped hold them to me.
I also hot glued this piece to the torso on the middle which covers up with the “belt buckle”. The buckle I made out of cardboard. I traced a circle, cut it out, spray painted it black, and hot glued a red R to it. The R was traced out of a red folder. I used leftover dark brown felt for the ankle, elbow, and wrist pieces. I bought the green sweatshirt and sweatpants from Walmart only $6 a piece. I bought the Sais (the weapons) and the red piece that went over my eyes. It came out of the toy section. I spray painted old tennis shoes green. I took two toilet paper rolls and cut in half and duct taped to tips of shows as my toes and then spray painted.
People kept asking me where I bought my costume. No one could believe I made it. They thought it looked professional. Kids called me Raphael all night and asked me to protect them from the scary people. I got pictures with all the kids dressed as Ninja Turtles. it was great! I really enjoyed the night. I had so much fun and the kids loved it. ….even the adults.