Introduction: Wild Thing Headpiece

Picture of Wild Thing Headpiece

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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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!


BiancaS33 made it! (author)2016-11-02

I just wanted to say thank you for these excellent instructions! I made headpieces for our family (minus Max) and am thrilled with the way they came out. I made minor adjustments using a lot of great tips noted in the comments. We got so many complements on Halloween. Never would have known where to begin without this post, so thank you again!

seamster (author)BiancaS332016-11-02

Oh my, your costumes turned out so nice! And you really captured the look of the characters true-to-the-book. I'm impressed! :)

Did you snap photos of the process while making these costumes? If you did, it would be so cool if you wrote up an instructable for them. I'd love to see the details, if you ever felt so included to do that :)

JuanitaP19 made it! (author)2016-10-31

Thanks for the instructable, it was a great starting point for me. I started a few days before Halloween and finished just in time. I pretty much followed the instructions except that I stuffed the lower jaw with stuffing instead of foam. I also added some floral wire to the horns and the lower jaw so that they wouldn't be too heavy and hold their form a bit easier. I think it did the trick. I'm pretty stoked about the results.

seamster (author)JuanitaP192016-10-31


That looks really good. Glad you found my instructable and it worked for you. Thanks for the comment and photos . . it still always makes my day to see people's creations like this! :)

capgirl made it! (author)2016-10-28

Hi, thanks so much for your instructions - I followed what I could do, and hot glued everything else! It came out better than I anticipated, and was a big hit at 'book character day' at my school.

It's great seeing all these pictures of wild things!

seamster (author)capgirl2016-10-28

Nicely done!

Thank you for the comment and sharing your photo :)

pillix made it! (author)2015-11-03

We used your tutorial to create two masks. People were very impressed at our craftiness! Thanks for making this project doable, we had so much fun!

seamster (author)pillix2015-11-03

Awesome! I'm glad you found this and were able to make these great looking masks. Well done! :)

jwhitingart made it! (author)2015-11-01

Thank you so much for this! I made it as a base for my Cheshire Cat costume and it was a huge hit!

lmunselle55 made it! (author)2015-10-29

Thanks so much for the awesome help! We made this head based on your instructions and can't wait to wear it on halloween this year!

seamster (author)lmunselle552015-10-29

Very nice!!

Hylian Mom made it! (author)2015-03-26

I still get the occasional congratulations. Thanks.

dthomas74 (author)2014-11-10

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

seamster (author)dthomas742014-11-10

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!

Hylian Mom (author)2014-09-24

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!

seamster (author)Hylian Mom2014-09-24

Awesome! Good luck!

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

Hylian Mom (author)seamster2014-11-02

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.

Jbsmom (author)2013-10-29

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!

ritamarley23 (author)2013-10-27

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!

seamster (author)ritamarley232013-10-27

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!

hivy-sutterfield (author)2013-10-19

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!!

Hey, nice work! You guys look awesome.

Philcar (author)2012-08-14

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????

seamster (author)Philcar2012-08-14

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!

Philcar (author)seamster2012-08-14

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!!!

Philcar (author)2012-08-10

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.

seamster (author)Philcar2012-08-10

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.

Philcar (author)2012-08-09

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.

seamster (author)Philcar2012-08-09

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.

valalltogether (author)2012-06-12

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!

seamster (author)valalltogether2012-06-12

Never too late! The costumes look great.

Thanks for the photo!

J-Five (author)2012-05-12

Rest in Peace
Maurice Sendak

J-Five (author)2012-03-29

That's what my kids look like, even though they're not in a costumes.

cwiley4 (author)2011-11-11

Thanks for the instruction!
I modified your instructions and blogged it here(in case you want to check out the other photos):
WARNING: the post is heinously long.

I credited your Instructable and linked back here.


erinogrady (author)2011-11-04

This year was amazing, thanks to your fantastic directions! We all thank you so much! <3.

seamster (author)erinogrady2011-11-04

Wow, those turned out great! Have you considered posting an instructable to share some of the details on how you made all of these? There are a lot of people that would appreciate seeing the details on how you made these costumes.

Thanks a bunch for the photos! Totally made my day.

erinogrady (author)seamster2011-11-04

I SHOULD!! I spend like 2 months & lots of trips to this page figuring out how to make them work. I am really happy w/ the outcome! Thanks so much for the kind words! *You* just made *my* day!! I make lots of little crafts and really do need to take the time to put them up here. <3

seamster (author)erinogrady2011-11-04

Yes indeed. Just be careful, it can become addicting!

maker.mama10 (author)2011-10-31

I wouldn't have known where to start without your Instructable! Thanks so much!

seamster (author)maker.mama102011-10-31

Looks very nice! One of my favorites so far. Well done!

maker.mama10 (author)seamster2011-11-04

Aww, thanks! I blogged a little about some of the alterations + made a materials/price list if anyone is interested. Thanks again!

allyallybobally (author)2011-10-24

I finally finished it! Thank you for the great instructions!!! :)

seamster (author)allyallybobally2011-10-31

Looks great! I just got back from a night out begging for candy with my kids... and now that they're all in bed, I get to steal some of their candy!

One of the perks of being dad, I guess. Thanks for the photos!

Andib (author)2011-10-28

Hi! I just wanted to say thanks for your instructable. I finally have posted one of my own, because of yours. And here is the photo of what I created from it. Thanks for such great info.

seamster (author)Andib2011-10-31

Looks very nice! With a full-body costume to boot. Well done!

kogrady (author)2011-10-31

Thank you so much for your detailed instruction. I went off road because of the time but all went well tonight. Thank you again.

p.s. I sacrificed my broad rimmed gardening hat (with chin string) affixing rounded cardboard on either side of the brim for support and built off that. Yes, I began this project at 11 p.m. last night and that is all I could come up with.

seamster (author)kogrady2011-10-31

Looks great!

allyallybobally (author)2011-10-10

I found this while making my son's max costume and decided I had to make this too... but I'm stuck on the hair in the back. I know you made this a long time ago but I just need to know if you attached the hanging hair to the lower jaw or just let it hang.

seamster (author)allyallybobally2011-10-10

Yes, the hanging hair flaps that are showing on either side of the upper jaw area were glued down to the lower jaw piece (the piece I describe making in step 7). This left about 6 inches or so in the middle of the lower jaw/chin piece where I needed to piece in a section of fake fur to finish it off. I hope that helps!

speltbaker (author)2011-08-17

I made this costume for my kid when you first put it on Instructables.

Somehow, we have found a way to bring it of storage with the least provocation! People ask to wear it. SOooo many people have worn this just to try it on. Everyone loves it. The costume designer at our school just stared at it in awe! This is one of my all time favorite Instructables. Thank you so much...

About This Instructable




Bio: 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 ... More »
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