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Birds of a Feather Costumes

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Birds of a Feather Costumes

DIY Peacock costume - full length

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Photo #1 - DIY Peacock costume - full length Photo #2 - Niece - as Peacock Photo #3 - Me - as Flamingo Photo #4 - Have to get gas.... Photo #5 - Together sipping coffee! Sitting comfortably in our costumes!
Costume type:  Costumes for Women
Categories:Halloween Costumes, Animal Costumes

This homemade costume for women entered our 2012 Halloween Costume Contest.

A word from Julie, the 'Birds of a Feather' costume creator:

Both costumes made from thrift-store dresses, foam from an old foam cushion (carving the heads), about 10-15 feather boas, leftover sequins and hot glue! It took about a month of weekends and spare hours to complete.

My Inspiration came from my niece. She wanted to be a Peacock for Halloween, but wanted to make it a puppet..."it has to be kinda cute but not stupid, and you have to wear one too... Oh, and I have to wear a top hat!"

She loved it! So then I had to make one for me! I decided on a Pink Flamingo....cause it's PINK!

Deciding to wear costumes out for a trial run... I drove in full costume! stopping for gas and out to coffee!

Rating: 4.5 of 5. Votes: 63

63 votes
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#1 comment by Viktoria February 13, 2013

This looks FANTASTIC - WOW - can you explain how you did the back piece????

#2 comment by holly August 9, 2013

yes please share how you made the bird and what you used to make it! and how did you prop up the peacock feathers on your back! Its amazing

#3 comment by julie August 9, 2013

Back piece was made from a doubled up coat hangar-in a u-shape to fit behind the neck and in front of the shoulders. a double thickness cardboard-shaped in a "D" was attached using hot glue and blue felt. the feathers were hot glued onto the felted cardboard and hanging over the top edge. the coathangar was hotglued and then wrapped with strips of felt(for comfort-padding on the shoulders and neck) both ends of the coathangar were bent into a small "U" shaped hook to attach a ribbon (neon green in the photo) that loops around the back in a bow.
The body of the bird was made from 10 feather boas glued to a circle skirt(more wire hangars were used ate the hem to keep a bell shape on the body) the neck is just 2 boas hot glued to a carved foam head-a dowel was poked into the back of the head and hot glued. then the dowel was wrapped in black felt. the head was snipped into a bird-head shape with scissors from a block of seat cushion foam, then covered with more feathers (hot glue). the rest of the face (white markings and beak) were covered in white and beige felts.

#4 comment by Hope September 2, 2013

Hi Julie - Great idea, I am really inspired! Where did you find the white and pink boas for your flamingo? I love the look of yours but I can only find solid pink boas. Please help. :)


#5 comment by holly September 3, 2013

Check out hobby lobby or ebay!

#6 comment by julie September 4, 2013

I purchased the boas from "Cynthias Feathers" 65g (mid-weight) Chandelle (about $4.50 each-took 10 pieces total!) you may try to use the less expensive 45g (lightweight) boas at around $3.00, but not sure if it would be as full...but could work well for a smaller costume or child-sized?

#7 comment by Sarah September 14, 2013

Can you explain how the body of the flamingo was made? Do you have a blog or anything showing how you created this? It's fabulous!

#8 comment by julie Lancaster September 14, 2013

The body was made from a dress that had a full circle skirt (thrift store-the dress had the sequined top that you see in the final photo) I added a coat hangar to the (shortened) hem of the skirt to create a "hoop skirt" I then hot glued the boas to the skirt (and stitched a few that wouldn't adhere) end to end in a circular wrap from top (waist) to hem. when I got to where I wanted the neck to come out, I cut an oval of foam, covered it in pink felt, then hot glued THAT to the front of the skirt, and continued the wrap boas around it as well. The back "tail" was actually another cardboard/felt back piece (same as the tail from the peacock) trimmed with another boa (at the base) and Ostrich feathers (instead of peacock feathers)glued to the cardboard to look like tail feathers...a ribbon was tied to the back piece, then tied around the waist, so it rested on the boa-covered hoop skirt.... The side feathers were just a handful of Ostrich feathers glued to the skirt through the edges of the boas.

I din't take pictures while I was making it...didn't know if it was gonna turn out right! I spent a lot of time re-gluing quite a few feathers, and looking at photos of birds to get the shape right.

#9 comment by Amanda smith September 18, 2013

That is amazing!! Do you by chance have any pictures of the back of the costume? I would like to attempt to make it but wanted to know how the back came out... Thank you so much

#10 comment by Julie Lancaster September 18, 2013

the back of the flamingo is shown...the peacock feather "fan" looks the same front and back....the backside of the peacock has a little "bump" of carved foam covered by a boa...you can see it in the photo where the "fan" is placed over the shoulders....unfortunately the few photos I have, do not show any more of the backs then what is posted....so be creative and make something more from these ideas...It will be BEAUTIFUL!!!

#11 comment by Odette Graf September 23, 2013

Hi. The costume is great and I would like to make it how thick of a piece if foam did you get for the head and the backside could you give me the approximate dimensions of the head and oval piece thanks so much

#12 comment by Julie Lancaster September 23, 2013

The foam was an old seat cushion from a sofa i was throwing away! I think it was about 6 inches thick,I also used "3M foam fast 74 orange" spray glue to stick foam-on-foam pieces together when I over carved (you can use this to sandwich smaller pieces to get a thicker piece)
I can only guess at the actual sizes...I no longer have the costumes...and it would depend on the size of the skirt/actual bird body and carve foam into the proportionate size...notice that the head of the flamingo is larger because of the larger body (I had a fuller skirt, so the hoop was larger)
also...the heads of both costumes are MUCH larger then the true proportions of the actual birds...I wanted them to feel more "cartoonish" and show the facial markings more clearly.
just follow you instincts...if it looks "right" then it is!

#13 comment by marlene January 22, 2014

hi, i wanted to ask how you did the head and neck, making it , and covering it with textil.. thanks !

#14 comment by Julie Lancaster January 23, 2014

The head is a carved-egg shaped with beak- chunk of foam (see above) covered with blue craft felt, and eyes cut from white and black felt-beak is covered in beige felt with black felt trim. ( I used leftover "fluff" from the boa feathers to cover over the blue felt to give it the "feathers" on the head) The neck is two boas hot glued to the foam head and the opposite end was hot glue to the body.
the neck does NOT support the head.....the head is supported by the dowel/stick poked through the back of the foam head-see the black stick on the peacock? It's beige on the flamingo. This is a dowel poked through the foam heads of the birds, and lots of hot glue squirted in the foam head/hole to hold it. the dowel is wrapped in leftover craft felt (black or beige) to make it look better, and hot glued to the dowel as well.
When holding the stick up, the head goes up, side to side...the neck follows....this is actually a puppet head. If you let go of the dowel, the head just falls straight down-no support from the boas.

#15 comment by Alex March 12, 2014

Hi Julie,
I absolutely love your costume and plan to make one.
Please could you tell me where you bought the peacock feathers from?
What other feathers have you used in the shoulder tail piece please and where did you buy them?
Are the feather boas sewn one on top of the other to make the skirt?
I live somewhere that I need to ship everything so I want to be sure I have everything..

#16 comment by marlene March 12, 2014


#17 comment by Julie Lancaster March 12, 2014

I bought all the loose and stringed feathers (and peacock feathers)from: https://www.tonyhill.net/

And the boas from: https://cynthiasfeathers.com/ For the shoulder and tail pieces-besides peacock feathers- I got in Turquoise the "bronzed Coque feathers", "Turkey plumage feathers", "Stripped "eyelash" Coque feathers" (Neon green and turquoise)and a few pieces of leftover boa for the blue.

The Boas are sewn in a spiral on the circle skirt...not packed too tightly, just next to each other (barely covering the material underneath).

Hope this helps!!

#18 comment by Julie March 13, 2014

oops! The Coque feathers/Peacock feathers/Turkey feathers-loose and on a string-all were purchased from: https://www.tonyhill.net

Only the boas were purchased from https://cynthiasfeathers.com

hope I haven't confused anyone!

#19 comment by Alex March 15, 2014

Thanks for your reply Julie. I have ordered the feathers and accessories, carved the 3m foam so it's work in progress.
Another query, the back piece.. is this two pieces? In the photos your niece is wearing a shoulder collar but in the other photos it looks like this may separate and she is wearing two pieces? Appreciate your help! :)

#20 comment by Julie Lancaster March 16, 2014

Actually IS two pieces...the tail piece and a neck "collar. The Flamingo also has a neck collar AND a tail piece (the tail on the flamingo is kept down-I didn't sew/glue a "bump" to the flamingos backside like I did on the Peacock).. the neck piece is a miniature version of the tail piece (just a little something to use up the extra feathers I purchased) It is also made from coat hangar wire bent in a "U" shape, cardboard and hot glue (and feathers)the neon green trim on the costume top (and neck piece) is a caribou feather boa-found at Michaels Craft Store...last-minute addition.

#21 comment by Alex March 18, 2014

Thanks Julie, this is so helpful!
My next question and hopefully the last.. my Flamingo friend and I are confused as to how to make a hoop skirt and how to explain it to a tailor. We have sourced the plastic to make the hoop but we are not sure what fabric to use and how to make a full circle skirt into a hoop skirt (waistband, length of skirt, how far it should stick out). We have no thrift shop or clothes shops here so everything has to be made from scratch. Any ideas or advice would be greatly appreciated!

#22 comment by Julie Lancaster March 20, 2014

any kind of cloth can be used...except netting! (an old sheet... curtains... and old skirt..etc) Just make sure the color isn't noticeable under the feathers (I used pink for the Flamingo and used a black skirt for the Peacock)

measure from your waist-or whomever is wearing the skirt-to about your knees, then add about 8 inches. That is the Radius of your skirt....so double that and you have the length and width of your material (as a square).

Now cut a giant circle from that square, and then a smaller circle-a little larger then your waist-from the middle (it will look like a giant cloth CD!) Hem both inner and outer circles with enough room to add: a drawstring to the smaller top circle, and a wire (I used 2 wire coat hangers tied together-!)to the bottom hem...

Now....you should have a giant circle (CD) with a drawstring in the middle(waist) and a hemmed wire on the out side. Now put it on, and adjust the drawstring to fit around the waist....If the hem of the skirt sticks out too much (like a Frisbee) then reduce the length of the wire....we want the cloth to gather over the wire and make the skirt more like a wide "cone" then a CD or Frisbee. How far you want it to stick out depends on how short you want the skirt/body of the bird, and how large you want the bird!

when it is to the length that you like, then you can start gluing the feather boas and foam pieces on the skirt...Just use LOTS of hot glue and careful with burning you fingers.

hope that helps?

#23 comment by Alex March 20, 2014

That's brilliant, thank you so much! :)

#24 comment by Jen August 14, 2014

I'm planning on making an ostrich jockey costume, this has given me so many awesome ideas, thanks so much for all the input! I now have a shopping list for supplies!

#25 comment by caroline September 17, 2014

Julie, can you email me please about this costume. If you live in L.A. county I'd like to buy it from you. Caroline8899[at]yahoo.com

#26 comment by julie Lancaster September 18, 2014

sorry, the costumes were given away a couple years ago.

I actually live nearby in Orange County, if you need help putting yours together, let me know at jcthompson9[at]msn.com and I'll try to assist with what you may need.

Good Luck! Julie.

#27 comment by Kelsie November 16, 2014

Absolutely awesome!

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