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“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 90s 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…
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 it 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 Woodpeckers Crafts and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*
LION MASK SUPPLIES:
- A 10.5″ (or 10″-12″) cardboard circle (I used a pizza box, but pre-cut cake rounds work well too!)
- One side of a cardboard box (about 10″ x 10″)
- Gold masquerade mask (like these)
- Our Lion Mask Free Printable Template
- Natural raffia, dried grass or grass skirt
- Paint (Black, yellow/orange, etc – I use Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paints)
- Scissors and an X-Acto knife or utility knife
- Hot glue gun
- A long, straight tree branch
- 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:
- 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).
- Trace our lion face template pieces onto 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.
- 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 armbands 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.
- 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 traced line with an X-Acto knife.
- Use hot-glue to affix the facial pieces onto 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.
- 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 its 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 onto the face and add whiskers, the nose and mouth, and any other fun details that will give your lion some style.
- 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 turquoisepaint. 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.
- 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!
For another fun recycled cardboard Halloween project try this DIY cardboard jack-0-lantern shape sorter, build-your-own
*A note about 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 or Woodpeckers Crafts. 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!