Don’t be late! Make your own Alice in Wonderland costumes for World Book Day



February 21, 2020

 

Don’t be alarmed if a gang of mini Matildas or Gruffalos cross your path on Thursday 5 March. No, it’s not Halloween, it’s WorldBookDay, a global celebration of kids’ storybooks. If you haven’t made your child’s costume yet, don’t panic! Inspired by this summer’s landmark exhibition Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser, we’ve come up with 5 fail-safe costume designs, based on characters from Lewis Carroll’s much-loved classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Take your pick from Alice, the Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit or Queen of Hearts. You don’t need a sewing-machine, these tutorials show you how to get creative with ordinary household and craft materials, plus a hot glue-gun (it’s worth investing in one). So, don’t be late for World Book Day! And remember to share your costumes with us on social media using #InspiredbyAlice #WorldBookDay.

Alice. “Curiouser and curiouser!” Cried Alice

Brave, strong, and endlessly curious, Lewis Carroll’s original heroine was a feisty little girl with short brown hair. Disney drew her with long blonde hair and a fifties style blue and white dress for the animated version. Here’s our take on the classic Alice dress, made of tulle (or net fabric) and a white apron. Don’t forget the white tights!

You will need:

  • glue gun
  • red felt
  • white felt
  • white apron
  • white t-shirt
  • blue t-shirt
  • black buttons
  • black ribbon
  • blue and white tulle (net fabric)
  • flat elastic
  • white tights
  • Velcro strips
  • black pipe cleaner
  • scissors
  • measuring tape

Top tips: if you don’t have Velcro for the waistband ends, cut an inch or so more than required and use the hot glue gun to stick the band together. Remember when cutting the tulle strips that the length will be folded and threaded around the skirt, so make sure it’s long enough.

Cheshire Cat. “I didn’t know that Cheshire cats always grinned; in fact, I didn’t know that cats could grin.”

“To grin like a Cheshire Cat” was a common saying in Carroll’s day. Famous for his lingering smile, the disappearing re-appearing Cheshire Cat is more than a little mischievous. You can make your Cheshire Cat’s grin as large as you like, depending on how mischievous you’re feeling.

You will need:

  • striped t-shirt
  • sticky tape
  • coloured paper
  • white paper
  • cardboard (e.g. cereal box, old shoe box or packing boxes)
  • small stick (we used an old chopstick)
  • PVC glue
  • black marker pen
  • pencil
  • black pipe cleaners
  • headband
  • scissors

Top tip: make sure you give the glue enough time to dry.

Mad-Hatter. “Have you guessed the riddle yet?”

Lewis Carroll’s Hatter enjoyed a never-ending tea party with the March Hare and a sleepy dormouse. John Tenniel drew him in an oversized top hat, advertising the price 10/6 (ten shillings and sixpence). While 19th-century hatters used mercury to make their top hats, we’ve opted for non-toxic PVA, cardboard and coloured paper. Feel free to add a matching bow-tie.

You will need:

  • cardboard
  • measuring tape
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • PVA glue
  • sticky tape
  • coloured paper (or any paper/wrapping paper/newspaper for decoration)
  • feathers
  • ribbon
  • Velcro

Top tips: when measuring the hole for the hat, leave an extra 2cm so the hat doesn’t come up too small. Be resourceful by using leftover wrapping paper scraps and newspapers to decorate your hat.

Queen of Hearts. “Off with their heads!”

The ruler of Wonderland, the no-nonsense Queen of Hearts is partial to a game of croquet and chopping off heads. Try to make the skirt as full as possible – there’s no such thing as too much tulle!

You will need:

  • T-shirt
  • red felt
  • flat elastic
  • pack of cards
  • glue gun
  • scissors
  • tape measure
  • red, black, white tulle (net fabric)
  • headband
  • ribbon
  • scissors
  • tights

Top tip: when making the top of the crown, try to keep the edges as lined up as possible as it will make it easier to glue onto the bottom.

White Rabbit. “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!”

Lewis Carroll’s White Rabbit was a dapper character who wore a waistcoat and pocket-watch, while Disney added a pair of spectacles. Our version uses pipe cleaners for the specs (and ears too, if you want to make them adjustable) and a foil pie tray for the pocket-watch. Unless you want to be very late for World Book Day, we recommend you cheat with a pre-made waistcoat!

You will need:

  • white felt
  • pink/peach felt
  • round disposable baking or pie trays
  • black pipe cleaners
  • ribbon
  • paper
  • marker pen
  • headband
  • scissors
  • glue gun

Top tip: place 2 pipe cleaners inside the ears to make sure they stay up and can be bent into position.

Special thanks to all the kids who modelled our costumes, and their parents.

Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser will feature some fantastic stage and screen costumes, including a towering Queen of Hearts costume designed by Bob Crowley for the Royal Ballet. Tickets go on sale 5 March and advanced booking is recommended. Children go free.

Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser

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