Thursday, February 25, 2016

World Book Day - How to Make Cute Costume Props



It's World Book Day soon and so I thought I'd share a little trick for making fancy dress props that I used last year for World Book Day.

My little girl wanted to go as Princess Primrose from Alex T. Smith's book, "Primrose." If you haven't come across any of Alex T. Smith's books, I can assure you, they're a real treat, both for parents and young children.

We have all of Alex T. Smith's Claude books too, which are a joy, as they have a nice balance of pictures and text for the young reader who enjoys reading to themselves but can be overwhelmed by pages and pages of text. The sense of humour in his books is delightful to children and a pleasure for parents to read aloud.


Primrose became one of those books that my daughter wanted to read again and again, so it was an obvious choice for her to dress as Primrose on World Book Day.

Thankfully I didn't have to make an awful lot for this costume and I was determined not to spend too much on it, just to use materials that I already had.



She wore her favourite pink party dress, with a pink cardigan and top.  I made her some blue bows out of fabric similar to the ones I made the previous year for her Lulu costume.  I then made her a pink crown to wear in her hair as Primrose always wears a pretty pink tiara.  In total I believe I spent £1.50 on pink wire as I had everything else already.

Image copyright Alex T. Smith
reproduced by kind permission of Arena Illustration

I really couldn't resist making her a stuffed Percy the Pug as I thought that anyone that knew the books would recognise him instantly.  

I thought I'd share how I made Percy as it's a really quick way of making props for World Book Day Costumes - or any other fancy dress costumes for that matter.  Percy was the perfect size for this project, but any small character that you can get a decent image of would work well.

How to Make a Stuffed Fancy Dress Prop 

To make a small stuffed costume prop you will need:-
  • A good quality image to work with
  • Computer and inkjet printer
  • Iron on heat transfer paper - I get all of my printables from Crafty Computer Paper in the UK, but you can also find them here.
  • 2 A4 pieces of felt.  I used flesh pink felt.
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread
  • Stuffing
Find your image that you want to work with - either scanned from the book or using an online search.  I was lucky enough to find digital images of Primrose and Percy on the Arena Illustrations website.  (They also very kindly gave me permission to reproduce the images and blog about it here.)


Image copyright Alex T. Smith
reproduced by kind permission of Arena Illustration

Resize your chosen image so that it will fit onto a sheet of A4 paper with a 2cm margin all the way round.  As you can see, I also copied the bow separately in Photoshop to give the prop a more 3 dimensional feel.

Print your image onto iron on heat transfer paper.  I had some left over from when I made my pom pom Up house mobile.  Please do take a look at this post for a bit more information on using the heat transfer paper.

Iron the fabric onto a sheet of felt.

Cut out around your character leaving a 2cm seam allowance.

Image copyright Alex T. Smith
reproduced by kind permission of Arena Illustration

Cut a second piece of felt to be the back of your stuffed character.  I did actually recreate the back of Percy using Photoshop but it wasn't really necessary.  If you're going to recreate the image on the reverse, don't forget that it needs to be a mirror image.

With the right sides together, stitch the front and back together, a few mm away from the outline of the character for a more cartoony effect.

Leave a good sized gap for turning it the right way around.

Now stuff it and stitch up the hole.



And here's Percy, proudly wearing the bow tie I made for him.  This was just cut out a few mm around the design and stitched together with a blanket stitch around the edge for a hand made look.

My daughter loved dressing up as Princess Primrose on World Book Day and a few of the children actually guessed who she was, solely from Percy the Pug so I think it really helped to finish off her costume perfectly.


If you enjoyed this, you might enjoy this:-

DIY Cascading Tutu
Up House pom pom mobile
World Book Day - Lulus spotty bow
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