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DIY Corpse Bride Costume: A Halloween Masterpiece

I decided I wanted to be Emily, the Corpse Bride (concept originally by Tim Burton) for Halloween this year since I felt my makeup skills were finally developed enough to be able to pull off the look successfully. I knew I would have to make the costume myself so I started two months early.

I bought a cheap, white corset that had a similar shape to the original, and I used blue and black kid’s fabric paint from Kmart to give the top and bottom of the corset, as well as beneath the bust, a worn and blue-tinted coloring. I also glued lots of fake pearls on the frilly parts to resemble the original. I had a glam butterfly pin that I glued as the centerpiece of the corset, which was not part of the original design, but I wanted to use the film’s butterfly symbolism to add my own flair to the costume.

I bought three meters of white, heavy, silk material to form the skirt. I dyed it light gray at home and sewed in elastic to form the waistband. I then sewed up the front of the skirt but left a high slit like it is in the film. I used the same fabric paint as earlier to paint the bottom of the skirt blue/gray and painted swirling patterns in dark blue to resemble the original. Next, I cut the bottom of the skirt in a jagged fashion with lots of holes to make it look worn down like in the movie.

I then formed three rib bones out of air-dry clay and painted a black patch on one side of the corset to resemble a hole. I glued the ribs on and framed the “hole” with leftover pieces of skirt fabric dyed blue to make it look more realistic.

I then moved on to the headpiece and bouquet.

I bought lots of fake flowers and spray-painted them blue and gray. I then spent a very long time painting every leaf and stem black and adding details to the flowers. I used wire to form a circular headpiece and glued some of the flowers and leaves on the front. I also added some fake butterflies.

With the leftover flowers, I formed the bouquet, added fake butterflies to this as well, and tied it with silver ribbon. I attached light gray netting fabric to the back of the headpiece to form the veil. I then bought white, lace gloves, and dyed them gray because I didn’t want to have to wear makeup on my hands.

Finally, I bought a secondhand, dark blue wig, thinned it out, and spray-painted gray into it to give it a less healthy look.

I wore the costume to a Halloween fair and won first prize in their competition. My partner dressed up with me as Victor, and I bought a skeleton dog prop for Scraps the dog.

I was very happy with how my costume and makeup turned out, although it isn’t the most comfortable thing to wear! I laced up the corset as tight as possible, which definitely brought the look together while restricting my breathing. Overall, the costume took about 20 hours to make, and the makeup about three hours. Surprisingly, the longest part of the process was painting the flowers, and it was easily the most dull.

Coolest Homemade Costume Contest 2023

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