How to Make a Giraffe Costume

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Capture the stand-out (and stand-tall!) look of a giraffe in your homemade costume.
Capture the stand-out (and stand-tall!) look of a giraffe in your homemade costume. (Image: prapassong/iStock/Getty Images)

It may be a jungle out there, but you can -- literally -- rise above it in a homemade giraffe costume. An elegant giraffe costume is much easier to create than you might think. The giraffe's head and neck can be hand-crafted from paper mache and worn with decorated white sweat pants. This project is detailed and will need a little time to be completed, but it's easy enough for even the most inexperienced crafter.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 sheets of poster board
  • Clear packing tape
  • 1 half sheet of poster board
  • 1 5-pound bag of flour
  • Water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Wire whisk
  • Paint tray
  • Newsprint
  • White spray paint
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • Brown spray paint
  • Backpack
  • Duct tape
  • White button-up shirt, two sizes too big
  • White sweat pants

Broadway Inspired Giraffe Costume

Roll a sheet of poster board lengthwise to create a long cylinder. Tape the seam with clear packing tape.

Roll the second sheet of poster board to create a second long cylinder. Tape the seam with clear packing tape.

Lay the rolled poster boards onto a flat surface and tape them together to create one long cylinder. Add several layers of tape for strength. This is the giraffe’s neck piece.

Roll the half sheet of poster board into a cone to create the giraffe’s head. Tape this cone to one end of the long cylinder.

Mix 2 cups of flour with 1 1/2 cups of water. Whisk the mixture until there are no lumps. Pour the mixture into a paint tray.

Tear the newsprint into strips of varying length and soak them in the flour and water paste.

Add one complete layer of newsprint to the giraffe’s head and onto the top portion of the neck. Use strips of varying length, and make sure to overlap the newsprint.

Build up the giraffe’s face by adding strips of newsprint. This will be done in several layers. The amount of layers will depend on the size of newsprint strips you use. The newsprint does not have to be flattened. It can be arched and rolled.

Create the nose by layering newsprint onto the center front of the giraffe's head. Gently press the edges down so they curve inward as you create the nose.

Add the eye sockets to the center side areas of the face. Create the socket foundation by creating a small arch with a strip of newsprint. The wet newsprint will bend and fold with ease. Add more layers until the eye socket is complete.

Create the ears. Make sure the ears are slightly offset to each side near the center-top of the giraffe's head. The ears should be triangular shaped, and can be formed gradually by layering subsequently shorter pieces of newsprint.

Create a horn next to each ear. The horns should be located between the giraffe's ears. Roll a strip of newsprint into a cylinder that measures 5 inches tall.

Place one end of the cylinder against the giraffe's head next to the ear. Use strips of newsprint to secure it to the giraffe's head. Place one end of the strip onto the giraffe's head and the other end onto the cylinder. Do this all the way around the horn section. Once you have the horn secured, you can add more newsprint around the original cylinder to create depth. Repeat the process to create the second horn.

Add newsprint to the neck of the giraffe. Make sure to cover the entire neck, and overlap the pieces of newsprint. Add as many layers as you want. Let the newsprint dry.

Spray paint the giraffe white. Let it dry.

Paint black eyes onto each side of the giraffe’s face beneath the eye sockets.

Add brown spots onto the neck and face with the brown spray paint.

Place the end of the giraffe’s neck into a backpack and zip up the sides as high as you can. Duct tape the zippers closed. Add duct tape around the giraffe’s neck where it sticks up out of the backpack.

Spray paint brown spots onto the button up shirt and the sweat pants. Let the clothes dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear a white undershirt over the backpack.
  • Wear the button-up shirt backward and buttoned up over the backpack.

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