Friday, October 14, 2011

An Easier DIY Toddler Strong Man Costume


I first got the idea for JD's strong man costume from Good Housekeeping's Halloween issue.  But the article was brief, and the directions were confusing.  I knew I was in trouble when the people at the craft store didn't even know what "adhesive hook-and-loop tape" was.  And I knew I didn't want to open & resew seams.  So I used the patterns and the materials list and winged it. 


  • 2 long-sleeve T-shirts dyed to a flesh color (I looked all over the internet & couldn't find them already this color.  Also, I used turtleneck onesies.)
  • Polyester fiberfill
  • Gym shorts (We used an old, size 12 mo. pair to get the right look)
  • Red-white-and-blue stripe ribbon
  • Adhesive craft foam & letter stickers
  • 2-inch diameter suction cups
  • Garden shears
  • Two screws
  • 1.5-inch-diameter wooden dowel
  • Plastic Epoxy
  • 2 rubber balls (I found them on clearance at Toys R Us.)
  • Black matte spray paint

I traced the muscles onto one of the shirts and cut them out.  (I can email you the patterns if you want them, but the muscles are pretty simple shapes.)  


I pinned them on to the other shirt (I tried the shirt on JD to mark where his belly button was & took it from there) and then spent FOREVER hand stitching them on.  I wanted to keep the seam as close to the edge as possible, so I had to pay close attention to each stitch.  The Good Housekeeping article called for opening the sleeve seams, but I sewed the arm muscles right on top, and it turned out fine.  I stuffed each muscle with fiberfill before closing it off.


I used the ribbon, craft foam and the sticker letters to make the belt.

For the barbell, I cut the nub off of the suction cup with garden shears and screwed it on to the end of the dowel.

Then I used plastic epoxy to attach the balls to the suction cup and spray painted the whole thing black.  (The balls were a little droopy when it dried, so I used black ducktape to support them.)  I looked into just using big styrofoam balls, but they're pricey and wouldn't have the same smooth finish.

And lastly, JD practiced his muscleman poses.





The first time I tried it on him, he looked at me and said, "don't like it."  I'd be lying if I didn't say I held back tears.  But once the barbell was done, it was love.  Now he keeps asking to play strong man.  It's going to take everything I have to not be the psycho mom at the Halloween party with a smock trying to keep this thing clean until O's party (which is before actual Halloween, but who cares about stains when you're trick-or-treating).

I also finished up O's costume and will hopefully post it later today if he cooperates for some pics.  


  1. You are unbelievable, truly inspirational and a fantastic Mama! - Jen Clark

  2. That is SO CUTE. Seriously. So cute.

  3. This is totally inspired.....would be so cute for the son of a weight lifter....especially as a surprise costume. I think I will have to share with my niece for her 3 year old.

  4. FYI: "adhesive hook and look tape" is velcro with a sticky back


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