Wild Thing Headpiece





Introduction: Wild Thing Headpiece

About: I got an old sewing machine when I was just a kid, and I've been hooked on making stuff ever since. My name is Sam and I'm a community manager here at Instructables.

For Halloween in 2007, my kids were characters from the book "Where the Wild Things Are."

The headpiece for the Wild Thing provided some interesting challenges. I wanted it to be at least recognizable as the character in the book, and be light enough for my four-year-old to wear comfortably. It turned out fairly well, and was very popular around the neighborhood.

We all love the book. I hope this inspires a few people to make their own Wild Things costumes!

Step 1: Create a Base to Work From

I started by cutting out a round piece of single-ply cardboard about 15 inches in diameter. I measured my son's head from front to back, and drew an inner circle slightly bigger in diameter than my boy's head.

Step 2: Make a Wearable Hat-shaped Base

Instead of just cutting out the inner circle, I cut it cross-ways 4 or 5 times and folded the resulting triangle-shaped wedges up. Then I curved the whole piece to the desired shape (this curve defines the shape of the upper lip of the Wild Thing).

I used more cardboard, hot glue, and tape to fill in the gaps and strengthen the the upper part of the base.

Step 3: Building Up the Head

This part is the trickiest part of the whole project. You may need to do a little bit of trial and error until you get results that you are satisfied with. (Don't give up. You can do it!)

I used some fabric to create the dome-shaped upper part of the head.

I measured the circumference of the cardboard base, and cut out two roughly half-circles whose flat sides were each 3/4" longer than half the circumference of the base.

The two pieces of fabric were joined together with a seam along the curved section. I placed the fabric onto the base and glued the bottom half-inch of the open end of the fabric to the bottom of the base, just under the lip.

I then stuffed it full of polyester filling through the holes left in the inside of the top of the base to get a nice, fluffy, helmet-like shape.

If the shape you have at this point is not even remotely dome-like, you may need to go back and modify the shapes of fabric you used to begin with.

Once the dome-shape was done, I sewed pieces of felt together placing seams where they'd appear as cheek and lip creases. This was glued onto the base as before, and pulled, tucked and stitched back to stretch it tight.

Step 4: Face Details

The eyes and nose pieces were started by making their basic shapes with crumpled newspaper and wrapping it with masking tape.

Polar fleece was stretched tightly over these eyes and nose pieces and hot glued in place. The nose was glued onto the face, and a few stitches were placed at the top to keep it secure.

The eye sockets were cut with 2 or 3 "X" slices through all the layers of fabric with an exacto blade. I squirted some hot glue into the eye sockets and wedged the eyes into place.

I then added pupils and eyelids made from little pieces of felt.

The horns were made of fleece, stuffed with polyester filling, and hand stitched in place.

Step 5: Hair

The hair was added by cutting and gluing small sections of fake fur in place one at a time.

A section of hair was added to the back that hangs down to complete the back of the head. I sewed a piece of fabric to this section of hair so it wouldn't be so scratchy on my boy's neck.

Step 6: Teeth

I added some strips of foam into the hat opening to make it a little more snug, and covered this with a piece of fabric that was glued in place.

A piece of red fleece was glued down to start the mouth.

For the teeth, I took a strip of white felt that was about 3 by 12 inches and glued it in half lengthwise, with no glue all along about a half inch of the non-folded edge. When it was dry, I cut wedges from the strip to make the teeth

When folded open, the non-glued edge of each wedge created a gluing area for each tooth to be attached to the mouth.

Step 7: Lower Jaw

The lower jaw was made by inserting a 2 by 20 inch, 3/4 thick piece of foam inside a sleeve made of fleece.

The sleeve was made by sewing two pieces of fleece together--one was cream colored and the other was red. The front seam was positioned so the cream colored fleece wrapped around the front of the foam to create the bottom lip, leaving the red fleece about an inch back to be the inside of the mouth.

Teeth were added, but this time glued flat, extending out past the lip. The jaw piece was glued to the front corners of the neck piece showing in the last step. Fur was glued onto the bottom of the jaw after if was connected to the head.

A piece of 1-inch elastic, wrapped in red fleece was glued inside to work as a chinstrap.

That's it! The whole thing weighs about a pound.

If you make one, be sure to post a photo and let me know how it went!

7 People Made This Project!


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Thank you for the inspiration! I created mine from paper mâché an made my first instructable! Can't wait to make more!!

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1 reply

Glad I could inspire you! Your costumes look great!

Welcome to the site, too. This is the best place on the internet. Hope to see loads of neat things from you in the future!

This looks great. Halloween is coming and this is the only time of the year I sew. I just completed matching costumes for my oldest son and his dad and it has already received lots of ooos and awwws because it's Young Link and Adult Link from Legend of Zelda and they both look their parts perfectly. So now I am hoping to come up with a costume set for my youngest son and myself. I was thinking a Max Wolf Suit costume for him and a Wild Thing costume for me. I am excited to give this a try and will give an update if it turns out. Thanks!

2 replies

Awesome! Good luck!

I'd love to hear and see how it turns out.

Tah dah! I tried to duplicate the long haired Wild Thing because it looked the most feminine. It was a hit with my family. Thanks for the great idea.


Loved your tutorial! I didn't know where to start! I used hot glue, a staple gun, and lots of tape haha! So awesome! Thanks again for sharing your talent!


This tutorial was AWESOME!! My daughter loves this book, and with a few dedicated hours, and A LOT of hot glue burnt fingers, I've made some of the most fantastic Halloween costumes to date. Lots of ooo's and ahhh's, and we even won first place at a Halloween costume contest! Thank you!

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Those look great! Thank you for posting the photos. It's always fun to see what people come up with. Homemade costumes are always the best!

When my husband & I decided to do 'Where the Wild Things Are' this year for our family Halloween costumes, I was very happy to stumble upon your instructable to get me started on the Carol costume. I made minor edits here and there, but followed your instructions for the most part...thank you!!

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1 reply

Hey, nice work! You guys look awesome.

I just don't see how you glued that nose unto that face and got it to look so smooth. I am getting burnt fingers and glue all over the face!!!!!!!!! Can you help????

2 replies

I don't know if I can help you!

Just keep at it. If something doesn't work the way you would like, try another method. That's my approach to this kind of stuff. Good luck!

I took that glued mess off and started over. This time I sewed that nose onto the face and stuffed it as I sewed it on. And I like it. Thanks for keeping me going!!!

And the sides that are curved up, end up being the front and the back of the headpiece? You said that curve defined the upper lip of the base. Thanks, You are being sosososos helpful.

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Ah, yes, I think we're on the same page now. If you look straight on at the front of the brim, where the face will be, it should be smiling at you.

It appears in your picture that in this step the back of the cardboard has been shaped or cut a little more flat than and circle. Could you please explain what you mean by "I curved the whole piece to the desired shape." Thank you.

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The cardboard piece was perfectly round.

I curved the left and right sides upward, which made it into a cowboy hat-shape. I'm not sure how to explain that. The photo might be a little deceiving because of lack of shadows or something, but the left and right sides of the cardboard "brim" are up about 3 inches off of the table.

this is coming very late..but thanks for your instructions!! between my mom an dmyself i was able to make a wild things head piece too! it turned out great and i had a blast on halloween!

1 reply

Never too late! The costumes look great.

Thanks for the photo!

Rest in Peace
Maurice Sendak