DIY cat costume + face paint step by step

Nov 11, 2018 | DIY, For kids, Sewing projects, Uncategorized | 2 comments

“Feel free to dress up for our masquerade at daycare tomorrow!” I love this part of being a parent! Being able to relive some of the magical moments from childhood with my daughter is so precious and I love when I can make them extra special for her! And after her having “been a cat” for the bigger part of this autumn, the choice of costume for my two-year-old’s Halloween at daycare was easy.

What’s more, this costume is age appropriate for a toddler and not scary for other kids at daycare. (Some daycares ban scary masks now as they may truly upset some of the youngest ones.)

It was also an affordable project and I was able to accomplish it in one night. If you are not used to sewing and crafting you may want a little extra buffer though 😉

In this post I will show and explain how I made the costume including:

  • Cat ears
  • A furry-belly shirt
  • pants with a button on tail
  • A step by step guide for a striking yet super quick and easy cat face paint
What you will need:

  • Basic sewing equipment
  • A glue stick
  • A hair band/diadem (mine had outlines of cat ears but you can use any headband)
  • Leggings + long sleeved shirt (Any color or pattern works. But I chose to buy black ones and plan to remove the furry belly later so she can use the clothes regularly.)
  • Black hobby felt
  • A small piece of fake fur (c.a. 15 x 15 inches / 40 x 40 cm)
  • A piece of soft fabric for the tail (Mine was c.a. 20 x 6 inches / 50 x 15 cm. But you may want a longer tail. I used an old black t-shirt of mine)
  • Some stuffing, wool or similar for the tail
  • Black and white face crayons or similar
Start by deciding upon the length of your tail. I used a piece of yarn that I held to the waist of my daughter and then marked the right length with a knot. Then mark and cut a piece of fabric that is about 12cm/5inches  on one end, 7cm/3inches on the other and the length of your tail +1,5cm/a half inch My tail is about 43cm/17inches and my daughter is 2 years old and about 91cm/3feet tall.

Next, you will want to cut out a piece of faux fur for the tail tip. Place the narrow end of your tail fabric over the fur and trace around it. Make sure you add seam allowance at the top (see picture).

Two important things!

  1. Make sure the hair of your fur is going in the right direction down toward the tail tip!
  2. When cutting the fur, keep the tip of your scissors carefully close to the base fabric of the fur so you don’t cut off too much of the individual hair strands.

Place your fur tip over your tail fabric. Then flip the fur along the top edge so that it’s furry side is against the tail fabric. Pin in place and sew along the top. Flip back.

Next fold your tail lengthwise with the fur inside the fold. Make sure the fur does not stick out too much but carefully bend the hair strands toward the inside of the fold.

Sew along the bottom and side of the tail. Keep stuffing the hair strands inwards as you sew. Then flip it inside out and stuff it with toy stuffing or wool. A long spoon or other stick may help with the stuffing. After you can sew the top shut. At this point, you can either just use a safety pin or clip to attach the tail or you can add a buttonhole to the tail and a button to the back of the pants like I did. My daughter naps at daycare and I wanted her teachers to be able to take off the tail when it may get in the way.

For the shirt, I made a quick cardboard template using a breakfast plate that I traced two times to form an oval in the size I wanted. But you can make it any shape or size you want. Then simply cut it out from your fur (no seam allowance needed) and use a zig zag stitch all around to attach it to the shirt. Again think of the direction the hair is “grows” and be careful to neither cut off the hair strands or to sew over them too much. Fold them away as you sew along the edge.

For the cat ears, I used black hobby felt. The hairband already had cat ear outlines. So I simply traced around them with some extra seam allowance. But if you have a regular hairband just cut out a triangle that is a bit rounded outward on two sides. Cut 4 black ear shapes. Also, cut 2 smaller triangles from your fur. Sew the triangles onto two of your ears placing the hair to point outward. Then place another ear shape on top, furry triangle on the inside. Sew along the two curved edges and flip inside out.

Cut strips of felt and rub a glue stick along one side. Then wrap the felt around the hair band until it is all covered. Last, hand stitch the ears to the top. If you don’t have an ear structure inside be careful to place your stitches so the ears will stand up.

I also gave the white fur of the ears a bit of a haircut as I thought it stuck out a bit too far.

Now to the face paint! If your toddler is anything like mine, they will not hold still for long and even then “still” is relative. So the classic approach of a black nose tip and whiskers is a simple and easy way to turn that already cute face into an adorable cat. But I want to show you another way of painting a cat face that I made up as I went and still was able to accomplish in only three minutes.

As the rest of the cat costume was in black and white I chose to do the face in black and white too. I used affordable face & body crayons for kids.

I had to be very fast and bold when putting on the makeup so I was pleased to notice that the white whiskers were much more forgiving than the classic black whiskers. I went all in and added fur on chin and eyebrows as well. And after a whole day of play, naptime and several meals the face paint was of course very rubbed off but in a surprisingly “clean” state as there was no black smudging the cheeks.

Below you will find a step by step guide for how to achieve this fast and fun cat look. My tip! Don’t be too careful or afraid that you will mess it up. With this face paint, you can work fast and bravely. I am certain each version and result will be a great cat!


  1. Nichole

    This is the cutest cat costume I’ve seen. Thanks for sharing! Can you tell me if the face crayons you used dry or does it stay kind of wet and smearable? I bought a different brand and it came off within an hour and the white wasn’t very vibrant. Thanks!

    • admin

      Hi! You left a comment about a cat face paint on my blog last October. Wow I feel so embarrassed for only answering your comment now! It is the first and only comment I have ever gotten, haha. I started this blog full of enthusiasm a while ago and then got pregnant again, had my baby, and… well I didn’t go through with it. Now I am trying to pick it up again and seeing I had a real comment on my blog just blew me away. You made my day Nichole!
      About your question: The crayons I use are kind of smearable, kind of fatty. They stay on for a few hours though. And the white covers really well. I think they contain a lot of pigment. I prefer the kind that is smearable because I find that they come off more easily and Amelie does not appreciate cleaning her face much, haha!


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