Make a lion mask fit for a king with simple supplies! A most regal DIY no-sew costume for kids.
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Make: A DIY Upcycled No-Sew Lion Costume

“Oh I just can’t WAIT to be King…”A little bit of Sub-Saharan magic happened over here this morning. From the simplest of supplies, bright colors and bold shapes took form, and a king (or queen!) of the jungle emerged! 

I couldn’t possibly celebrate 90’s Week without making something inspired by the Lion King. From the silver screen to Broadway – it made an impact on my ideas & art in so many ways. So with Halloween coming up, I thought I’d get my Julie Taymor on and try my hand at costume-making…

Make a lion mask fit for a king with simple supplies! A most regal DIY no-sew costume for kids.
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You can really let your artistic side ROAR with this DIY costume – made from a pizza box round, paper plate, old box, rafia, 99¢ masquerade mask, and paint. You can use the free template to re-create all the details of our eye-catching mask, use simple supplies to add the kid-made neckwear, then combine with simple lion-colored clothing for a beautiful no-sew costume! Whether you’re making it for Halloween, at-home pretend play or just a fun upcycled art project, this regal DIY is sure to impress!

To make a no-sew lion costume you’ll need:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains a few Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*

LION MASK SUPPLIES:

NECKWEAR SUPPLIES:

  • A paper plate
  • Scissors or an X-Acto knife
  • A few colors of acrylic paint
  • A brush, sponge (I use this kind) pencil eraser, or other painting and stamping tools

Upcycled No-Sew Lion Costume Instructions:

  1. Cut an oval from the center of a large cardboard round and paint

    To begin, center your masquerade mask on the cardboard circle and trace. You’ll want to cut out a hole for the eyes that’s about 1 – 1 1/2″ inches smaller than the shape you traced (for reference, you can see a really faint pencil line on my cardboard circle). Keep the cutout piece, as we’ll use that again later. To give the mask the look of a thick, layered lion mane I sponge-painted my pizza round with a yellow-gold acrylic paint. Let dry (about 10 minutes).

    Make a lion mask fit for a king with simple supplies! A most regal DIY no-sew costume for kids.
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  2. Trace our lion face template pieces on to cardboard, cut out and paint

    While your large circle is drying, you can start on the other pieces. Download, print and cut out the free template. Trace the shapes onto a piece of cardboard, cut out and paint all the pieces (except the small nose shape) a light yellow or tan color using acrylic paint.

    Make a lion mask fit for a king with simple supplies! A most regal DIY no-sew costume for kids.
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  3. Glue raffia to the large cardboard round to create a mane

    When your large circle has dried, it’s time to add the “mane” with raffia or something similar. I actually found some small raffia arm bands for a hula costume at the dollar store, cut them, and hot glued them to the cardboard in two big strips. I cut off the excess band portion surrounding the eye hole and the mane was complete.

    Make a lion mask fit for a king with simple supplies! A most regal DIY no-sew costume for kids.
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  4. Cut an oval out of the lower-center of the cardboard main facial piece

    Once the pieces for your face have dried, you’ll have to cut another eye hole out of the main facial piece. Trace around the piece you cut out of the large circle and cut along the trace line with an X-Acto knife.

    Make a lion mask fit for a king with simple supplies! A most regal DIY no-sew costume for kids.
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  5. Use hot glue to affix the facial pieces on to the large cardboard round

    Time to add the face – this is where it starts to get exciting because you can begin to see a lion forming! Line up the eyeholes and hot glue your facial pieces on as shown. I wanted to give this some extra dimension, so I glued a few 1″ cardboard square supports to the back of my cardboard pieces so they would stand off the mane. This isn’t necessary but really helps the face stand out.

    Make a lion mask fit for a king with simple supplies! A most regal DIY no-sew costume for kids.
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  6. Add details to your lion’s face with paint and cut cardboard pieces

    Now you can start adding the small details that will make your lion face pop! In looking at reference pictures, I realized an important element that gives the lion it’s distinct look is the marking around the eyes. You can line your eyes with black paint and highlight with a line of white underneath, as I did for a true lion look. Hot glue your masquerade mask on to the face and add whiskers, the nose and mouth, and any other fun details that will give your lion some style.

    Make a lion mask fit for a king with simple supplies! A most regal DIY no-sew costume for kids.
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  7. Use paint and a paper plate to create neckwear

    To make the neckwear, cut the middle out of a paper plate. I painted a base color of blue, and then sponge-painted around the inside, using a turquoise paint. Next I added some purple lines, and finished by adding paint dots with a pencil eraser. This is a fun piece for the kids to work on while you’re doing the trickier pieces. Once you’re finished, stand back, take a look and see if it looks complete! I decided to go back to my mask and add a few eraser dots in complimentary colors for a little added interest to tie the whole thing together.

    Make a lion mask fit for a king with simple supplies! A most regal DIY no-sew costume for kids.
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  8. Affix mask to a large stick with hot glue

    Glue the mask to a stick, scare up some lion-colored plain clothing, and your little cub is ready to rule the block come Halloween night!

    Make a lion mask fit for a king with simple supplies! A most regal DIY no-sew costume for kids.
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For another fun recycled cardboard Halloween project try this DIY cardboard jack-0-lantern shape sorter, build-your-own cereal box jack-o-lanterns, or make a spookier (orange?!) version of our cardboard gnome home!

Make a lion mask fit for a king with simple supplies! A most regal DIY no-sew costume for kids.
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*A note about Amazon affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click-through to make a purchase, we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

Make a lion mask fit for a king with simple supplies! A most regal DIY no-sew costume for kids (free template included)
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Make a lion mask fit for a king with simple supplies! A most regal DIY no-sew costume for kids (free template included)
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About Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help families discover their creative potential and be inspired to make the world a better place through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. When not playing with ideas, designs and projects for barley & birch, Amanda enjoys working as a modern art curator and managing her own small design business.

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