Introduction: Makedo Parrot Costume: Wearable Bird Wings and Parrot Hat

About: Makedo is a series of safe cardboard construction tools purposely designed for kids to imagine and build the world they want to see.
Flap your way into the Makedo menagerie with these beautiful Bird Wings and Parrot Hat, as designed by artist Lottie Smith from the UK.

It looks intricate but the construction is really simple. Join us as Lottie talks through how to make a pair of Wearable Bird Wings and a matching Parrot hat complete with a big, bold beak and feathered dome.

This project can be adapted for both little kids and big kids to enjoy.

We created our Parrot Costume from a variety of recycled cardboard and Makedo parts available at

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

WIll your bird wings be bright and colourful, like the ones Lottie made? With all of the boxes and packaging we use in our lives, there are so many colours and patterns to choose from to use for making feathers. You could make a rainbow-hued Macaw from South America, or a majestic Australian Cockatoo, or perhaps a haughty Hornbill from the mountains of Borneo! Choose your materials carefully if you have a specific bird in mind, otherwise enjoy the variety of a random selection.

You will also need a pencil, measuring tape, scissors, craft knife, large dinner plate, a big corrugated cardboard box along with your large collection of colourful household packaging. 

Step 2: Cut Strips

Cut a 10cm wide strip to match the length of your armspan. Cut another, but this time it should be about 10cm shorter than the first strip. Now cut a third one, but this time make it a little shorter than half of your armspan in length.

To trim the corners into a nice wing shape, use a large dinner plate as a template. Draw a curve from the top edge of the corners on each strip and then cut to shape.

Step 3: Connect

Now take 5 Makedo Lock-hinges, set to swing freely so the different sections you’re attaching together stay flexible.

Line up the 3 strips as shown and evenly space 3 hinges between the top strips and 2 along the bottom. Punch holes through the hinges and attach using Makedo Re-pins.

Step 4: Attach Arm Straps

Flip the 3 attached strips over (pins pointy side up now). Cut out 2 strips about 2.5cm wide and 22cm long. Cut out 2 that are about 4cm wide and about 60cm long (this allows for extra as you’ll be cutting them to size next).

Attach the shorter strips at the ends of the top 2 bars of your wings as shown. These will become the handles.To make the shoulder straps attach the 2 long strips on the top edge of the wings, at an equal distance from the middle. The exact location will depend on your size. Our wings have straps about 8cm out from the centre point.
Hold these over your shoulders and ask someone to help mark how long they need to be to curve back under your arms to reattach to the main wing structure.

Step 5: Cut Feathers and Attach

Now let's cover the wings with feathers! 

Draw strips of feathers onto the back of your coloured packging and then carefully cut them out. To get that nice feathery look, think of them as lots of joined-up skinny letter ‘u’ shapes.

Turn the wings back over, so that the straps are facing downwards.
Attach the feathers using Re-pins, building up from the bottom of the wings. One way to use less Re-pins is by attaching multiple layers with one pin and if you are clever you can even reuse pins you’ve already placed.
Once the feathers are attached, you are almost ready strap on your wings and flap away! Before you fly away, we should make a Parrot Hat to complete the costume.

Step 6: Parrot Hat: Making the Frame

The first step for making a Parrot Hat to go along with our wings is to build the frame that will sit on your head.

Prepare several 3 cm strips of cardboard.

Take one and measure around your head, with an overlap to attach the Makedo Re-pins. Make it a little too big for you so that the Parrot Hat isn’t too tight.

Take a second strip and attach it to one end of the hoop at a right angle.
Place the hoop on your head again and mark the length you need to snuggly arch across to the other side.
Attach a third strip to form a cross structure as shown.

Step 7: Trace Out the Beak

Now let’s make the beak. We have provided a template that will fit on a large cereal box. The solid lines need to be cut, the dashed lines scored and the coloured dots are all holes that need punched for Makedo Re-pins.

You can try our template or simply use this image as a guide to make your own template for a beak that will fit your Parrot Hat.

Step 8: Cut Out the Beak

When you’ve drawn all the straight lines, use a large dinner plate to get the curve between points x and y.
Now you're ready to cut out the flat beak and assemble it into a 3D shape.

Bend and fold the beak together, joining up each tab using the matching colour dots and connect with Makedo Re-pins.

Step 9: Attach Beak to Hat Frame

To attach the beak to the hat, insert Makedo Re-pins through the remaining 2 holes on the assembled beak (you can see them in the image from the previous step).

Connect to the circular headband as shown. The top of the beak is attached by one more pin through the flaps and onto the crossbar.

We strengthened our beak and hat frame with an extra support strip.
Cut one last 3cm strip from your thin card. 
Use a Makedo Re-pin to attach the middle point of the strip just where the top of the beak joins the frame. Curve the sides down, following the shape of the beak. Connect at the base of the frame. Trim off any excess length.

Step 10: Feather Your Hat

Add feathers, starting from the bottom of the hat and curving them around the sides.
It will work better if you use smaller size feathers than the ones on your wings.

Also remember to position the flat ends of the Re-pins on the inside of the hat, to make it more comfortable to wear.

Step 11: Expressive Eyes

The final step is to make some eyes.

We cut ours from card scraps but you could use yogurt pots, lids or old CD’s.
Attach them using a Makedo Re-pin, and your Parrot Costume is complete!

Spread your wings and soar into the Makedo Showcase by sending in a photo of your creation. We'd love to see what your bird costume looks like!

Upload pictures to