Tips and Tricks for DIY dress up

Tips and Tricks for DIY dress up

Hi! I’m Jennifer from My Daylights and I’m excited to be guest posting today on My Mommy Style! I love the theme this week-Imagination. I have always been big on imagination, probably because I’ve always had a pretty good one myself. That love of all things imaginative has translated over into activities that I do with my kids.

As a mom to two boys, I’ve sometimes had a hard time understanding things they love because I’m so girly. In watching them and through trial and error, one of the things I’ve found that they love most is getting to dress up. My oldest is almost 6 and I’m constantly amazed at the outfits he puts together. He’s walked out in cowboy boots, a superhero cape, army helmet, and sword and run down the aisles of the grocery store. My youngest is always wearing a winter glove, even in the middle of summer, because he believes it gives him some kind of super power.

We have purchased a few dress up items for them but they can be a little pricey. And because kids can be rough, they don’t always last very long. Over the past few months, I have been sprucing up some items that I found at dollar and thrift stores and turning them into fun pieces that my boys can play in. It didn’t take much to create these items and my kids absolutely love them. Here are 5 ways you can create your own personalized dress up items too!


1. Vinyl (Iron-On and Permanent)

Vinyl is so much fun to use. And, it’s becoming easier to find in different colors, patterns, and textures.

Dress Up Tools 2

This ninja mask was a Dollar Store find. It was just a plain black mask with a red band over the forehead. It wasn’t anything special. I decided to add the Chinese letters across the top to give it more personality. Using some black glitter Iron-On Vinyl, I used my vinyl cutting machine to cut out the letters and then applied them to the band. It took about 10 minutes total and my son was happy to find out that it spelled his name.

Dress Up Tools 1

I also found this helmet at the Dollar Store. It was already black, with nothing on it. All I had to do was use some white permanent vinyl spelling out SWAT on the front and I was done. It’s really fun to see my 3-year-old storming the backyard in this!



2. Felt

Felt has become one of my favorite crafting supplies. It comes in a variety of colors, is easy to work with, can be bought in sheets or by the bolt, and is very affordable. You really can make whatever you need out of felt and, with a little sewing or glue, can add some fun accessories to create your own fun dress-up.


I made some cowboy belts using a felt belt buckle and leather strips. I adhered them using a hot glue gun.


These sheriff badges were cut out of felt too. The “Sheriff” word is made from Iron-On Vinyl too.



3. Spray Paint

This may seem a little crazy, but I have used spray paint on clothing items before. If they are just for play and are the right materials, it is doable.

Dress Up Tools 3

This SWAT vest is made out of acrylic fabric and wasn’t a good candidate for vinyl. Using a stencil I made out of freezer paper, we spray painted the negative space with white.The spray paint worked well on the material. I used a sharpie marker to fix any spots that went over the lines.



4. Stencils

Stencils are really fun to use, especially because you can easily have your kids help you. You can buy them or create your own using vinyl, cardboard, or paper.

We had some plain superhero capes lying around our house. My boys really wanted to add their names on them and I happily obliged!

Dress Up Tools 6

I created this stencil myself on my vinyl cutting machine. We used some fabric paint on the capes and they turned out perfectly.



5. Ribbon and Fringe and Other Notions

I think most everyone has a stash of ribbon and other random notions in their house. These are perfect for creating dress ups. These cowboy vests were completely plain and needed some sprucing up.


I added yarn, fringe, and buttons, depending on the look I wanted, and we ended up with Jessie, Woodie, and Sheriff Callie.



6. Use Your Imaginations!

When it comes to creating your dress up items, use your imagination too! Ask your kids for their ideas and create something together. Buying costumes can be fun but there is something special about creating something with your kids. My boys were so excited to see the personal touches we added and the places where they helped me. And remember that when you use your imaginations, there is no “right or wrong” way to do something. Anything goes!



7. Make Up Your Own Games

Lastly, take it up another level by creating your own games to go along with your outfits. Accessories work well for this part of the creative play-arm the kids with swords, wands, shields, and any other items that will make the games more fun.

Dress Up Tools 4

For example, we made some army outfits and armed the kids with binoculars and toy guns from the dollar store. My kids are going to earn army patches for completing different challenges this summer (reading goals, cleaning, exercising, etc). I’m just going to be using some felt and iron-on vinyl to make the patches and hot glue them on these vests. It boosts their imaginations even more and gets them outside and moving. It’s a win-win for all of us! The kids are having fun and I’m happy to see them using their imaginations and playing outside.

For more ideas and tutorials, check out my Dollar Store Dress Up Series. Over the summer, I will be sharing how I’ve fixed up items just like the ones I’ve showed you. And we’d love to hear what characters your kids like to dress up like?

DIYSheriffCallieDressUp DIYDollarStoreArmyManDressUp DIYSheriffWoodyDressUp

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