3 sisters. 2 states. 1 story.


DIY Cupcake Halloween Costume

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Our family recently went as Junk Food for Halloween, and as promised, here's your step-by-step photo tutorial for how to make a DIY cupcake Halloween costume. 

This tutorial will teach you how to make a costume like this (although you can customize to whatever colors you prefer):

First you will need to gather some supplies:

  • 18-Gallon Tub with Rope Handles - $5.97
  • 32 oz. Bag Poly-fil - $4.50 (used 50% off coupon)
  • White Grosgrain Ribbon - $3.99
  • 5 Sheets of Poster Board - $4.95
  • Bag of Pom-Poms - $2.99 (used 50% off coupon)
  • 4 Yards Shimmer Tulle - $3.98 (used 50% off coupon)
  • Scissors (to cut paper, rope, and tulle) - NO COST
  • Duct Tape (we used what we already had - this does not show - not pictured) - NO COST
  • Saw (not pictured) - NO COST
  • Hot Glue Gun and Hot Glue (not pictured) - NO COST
  • Stapler and Staples (not pictured) - NO COST
  • Patience :-) - NO COST


I know you must be thinking why in the world did this woman buy a navy blue tub to make a purple cupcake? Well, the reason is that after you're finished covering every part of it with cupcake-y goodness, you don't see any part of the original tub. So, it doesn't really matter what color you purchase.

First, use a saw to saw off the bottom 1 1/2 inch of the tub. You should have something that looks like this:

Then, turn the tub upside-down and use duct tape to tape around the bottom edge of the tub. This will prevent any jagged edges from scratching you or tearing your tights on Halloween night. Your finished step should look something like this:

Next, use the scissors to cut through the rope handles on the bucket. Make one cut in the center of each handle and the rope should slide through the pre-drilled holes. The next part may take some finagling (or the help of a friend). 

We will be making the "suspenders" that will hold up the costume, but their measurements will need to be custom to your torso as well as how short you want the costume to be. So, I suggest getting into the costume now and having someone else hold it at the height you want it to fall, while you roughly measure the grosgrain ribbon over your shoulders and to the pre-drilled holes. Once you feel like you have accurate measurements (making sure to leave enough ribbon to go loop through the holes), cut the ribbon.

Thread each piece of ribbon through the correct hole and hot glue to the underside of the longer piece of ribbon and to the tub lip. Staple over the hot glued area once it has dried somewhat to reinforce the suspenders (you don't want them to come undone!). Repeat to create two suspenders. (I did not cross my suspenders because the holes are so close together.) The ends of your suspenders should look like this:


Once you've prepared your tub, you can move your attention to making it look like an actual cupcake. Start by taking one piece of poster board and holding it horizontally beside the tub. You will notice that the poster board is taller than the tub. You want the poster board to come to the top of the tub's lip (so that it can be glued there). Mark the tub's height on the poster board and fold the poster board horizontally on that mark. Cut the poster board on that fold. Use that piece of poster board as a template to cut the other four pieces of poster board.

Now that your sheets of poster board are correctly sized, accordion fold them with 2 inch folds. They should look like this when you're finished.

Apply hot glue to the top lip and the bottom edge of the tub and adhere the backs of the folds to the hot glue. Note, your instinct might be to cover the entire tub in hot glue (mine was), but because you are adhering two surfaces that don't exactly match up, that glue will be wasted. Observe:

As you move around the tub, make sure to space the folds evenly as you hot glue them. I was able to hot glue 2 or 3 folds at a time at the top edge, and then once the top edge was complete, I moved gluing the bottom edge. After you finish one piece of poster board, overlap one piece with the next piece and hot glue them together like so:

If for any reason, the overlap isn't perfect after you've hot glued them together (like this one):

You can just trim the excess with scissors after the hot glue has dried.

Continue adding each piece of poster board and gluing the top and bottom of each as described above until the entire tub is covered and looks like a cupcake wrapper.

After both the top and bottom edges have been initially glued, go back around and put extra hot glue on all the points that the poster board touches the tub. This is for additional adhesion to ensure that the costume that you worked so hard on doesn't come apart.


Remove the poly-fil from the bag and form it into cantaloupe sized balls. The method that I used was to tuck the poly-fil underneath and then up through the middle all the way around until each ball of poly-fil was secure.

Apply hot glue on the lip of the tub and secure a poly-fil ball. Work around the tub following this method until you have covered the entire lip. Then, apply hot glue to the layer of poly-fil and secure a poly-fil ball. Work around the tub following this method until you have covered the entire layer of poly-fil. Repeat again, creating a third layer of poly-fil until your costume looks like this:

Note because you have only glued around the lip of the tub and then twice again on top of that layer, you will still have a large hole that will enable you to stand inside the costume. The hole is not visible in this photo. Also note that because you have only glued the poly-fil to the lip of the tub and then again to itself, this is probably the most precarious part of the tutorial. Move along to the next step quickly.

Unfold your tulle into a long rectangle. You will use this rectangle to secure over top of the poly-fil since it is only precariously secured to the cupcake at this point. 

Fold the tulle in half horizontally creating a long rectangle of fabric (you can also choose to cut it horizontally, but I was afraid that I would end up with a piece that was too short to envelope the poly-fil). Wrap the tulle around the poly-fil so that the folded side is pointing down toward the floor and the two cut ends come up and over the poly-fil and rest on the inside of the tub.

Stop now to cut many small pieces of duct tape. These pieces will be secured between every wrapper fold on the outside of the tub and it helps to have pre-cut pieces.

Secure the tulle to the outside lip of the tub with the pre-cut pieces of duct tape. Continue around the tub, securing the tulle at each wrapper fold (do not skip any). As you are working, you will see small pieces of duct tape like this (I switched duct tape mid-way through the project):

Once the poly-fil is allowed to fall naturally, you will not see the pieces of duct tape:

Once you've completed the outside of the tub, cut some larger strips of duct tape to use on the inside of the tub. Pull the tulle taught over the poly-fil. Secure with larger pieces of duct tape. Work your way around the tub, pulling and duct taping until it seems secure. As an added precaution, fold the first 1/2 inch of duct tape and tulle and staple all the way around. Finish with several layers of duct tape at the bottom for added security. This is one of those times when it's OK not to be pretty on the inside. :-)

Note: If you own a LOW-TEMPERATURE glue gun, you might want to attempt gluing the tulle over the poly-fil. I do not own a low-temperature glue gun, and I can confirm that high-temperature glue gun will only burn holes right through tulle because it is made out of synthetic fibers. (I don't want to brag or anything, but MY glue gun is a Craftsman tool and I can do some major damage with it . . . )


And for the finishing touches, you'll simply need to hot glue on some pom-poms on top of the tulle to create sprinkles:

Pair this costume with some colorful tights and fun shoes and you'll have a sweet Halloween!

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