Introduction: No-Sew Rapunzel Costume

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Want to dress like a Princess, but go beyond the basic princess costume? Add a super-long wig and take-along tower prop. This no-sew costume has a clever technique for making a braid out of fabric that is fairly quick and easy, and ends in a wig that can be as long as you want to make it.

Age range: 5 and up (Parental supervision recommended)

Level of difficulty for a child helping the adult with the costume: medium

Time needed: 1-6 hours, including drying time

What you'll need:

  • 2 yards of plain cotton fabric (I used golden yellow for a blonde braid)
  • Stapler and staples
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • 1/4" elastic
  • Ribbon

  • 2 sheets of foam core board
  • 2 yardsticks
  • Pencil
  • Paint and kitchen sponge or paintbrushes
  • Permanent marker
  • Scissors or craft (X-acto) knife
  • 1/4" elastic
  • Duct tape
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Staple gun and staples

To complete the costume:
  • Princess or church dress
  • Tights and shoes

Step 1: How to Make the Wig

1. Cut 2 yard piece of fabric in half, lengthwise. You will then have two 2-yard pieces of fabric that are approximately 22" wide each.

2. Lay one piece of fabric on the work surface, good side up. Lay the second piece of fabric on top of the first, good side down. Line up short edges, and staple together with staples about 1" apart. (Alternately, you can sew a seam here instead of stapling).

3. Open up stapled fabric. You should have one long piece of fabric that is about 4 yards long. Put a piece of duct tape over the stapled seam (this will protect the hair from catching on staples). Be sure to cover all the staples with duct tape.

4. Your hair should be up in a ponytail or bun so the wig will completely cover your natural hairline.

5. Put the seamed part of the wig on your head (duct tape should face the hair), and gather the long part of the wig together at the nape of your neck, and tie it with a piece of 1/4" elastic. Trim the elastic tails.

6. You will have two pieces of fabric trailing out of the tied elastic. Twist them into a twisted braid by taking a strand in each hand and twisting the strands in the same direction, and then around each other. Tie a piece of elastic at the end of the braid, and trim elastic tails.

7. Tie ribbons around each of the elastics.

Wig tips:

Wearing the Wig: Put the wig on like you would put a scarf on your head. When you tie the elastic at your neck, make sure the wig is snug enough on your head that it will stay on. Use bobby pins to secure the wig to your hair, if necessary.

Make a Longer Wig: To make a longer braid, buy additional fabric. A 3 yard piece of fabric will make a braid that is about 7-8 feet long.

Team Crafting: Making the wig is easiest if another person helps you. Have a parent or a friend do the braiding while you wear the wig.

Step 2: How to Make the Tower

1. With a pencil, draw a triangular roof at the top of one piece of foam core board, and straight sides coming down from the triangle, all the way to the bottom of the board. This is the top of the tower. Draw an arch-shaped window on the tower, leaving 2-3" on each side of the window.

2. To extend the tower, put the second piece of foam core flat against the first piece. Draw a line down from the bottom of the tower across the second sheet of foam core.

2. Outline in permanent marker, and then paint the two pieces of the tower. The quickest and easiest way to paint it is with a damp kitchen sponge dipped in slightly watered-down paint. You can just sweep the sponge over the foam core to quickly paint the entire area.

3. Once paint on the tower is dry, cut around the outline and inside the window with scissors or an X-acto knife (parents only). If you use the X-acto knife, be sure your surface is protected with a flattened cardboard box, and cut the foam core on top of it. Always cut away from yourself.

4. Turn the tower pieces facing down, and fit together. Put a piece of duct tape across the seams of the foam core to attach them.

5. Hot glue yardsticks across the two pieces of foam to stabilize the tower. Add additional duct tape over the yardsticks for extra stability, if desired.

6. After tower is attached together, make sure the paint blends across the seam (paint over it, if necessary), and add paint details. To make "bricks" cut part of kitchen sponge into a small rectangle and dip into paint. Dab rectangles onto the tower randomly to suggest brickwork. You can group several rectangles together to make larger bricks. You can also paint other embellishments such as vines and flowers, if desired.

7. Allow paint to dry, and then turn face down. To add shoulder straps, cut two pieces of elastic, about 12" long. With staple gun, attach end of elastic to yardstick, top of shoulder area on costume. Be sure elastic is securely attached, with staple going through elastic. Staple other end near armpit. Repeat for other arm strap.

Alternately, if you don't have a staple gun, you can staple straps onto the foam core board -- not yardstick -- with a regular stapler, just be sure to press hard so staples go all the way through foam core and bend completely.

8. Add an elastic strap at the waist using the same technique. The piece of elastic should be as wide as the tower, with about 4" added.

9. Add ribbon tie to front of tower, next to window. Staple 12" piece of ribbon onto front. When you wear the costume, you can tie the braid to the tie for when Rapunzel lets down her hair. Just be sure to leave enough slack on the braid so you can turn your head!

Note: Put the braid through the window, and then tie to the ribbon. I did it wrong here in the photo & put the braid around the outside edge of the tower.

Step 3: Tips

Paint: Best paints for this project: acrylic craft paint, tempera or poster paint. Paint the tower in any color scheme you like.

What to Wear With This: Wear a dress to complete the Rapunzel look. A princess dress is great, but a church dress is also a good choice.

  • I used promotional yardsticks from my local hardware store. They worked very well because they are lightweight and made of soft wood.
  • You can find foam core board at the dollar store, or office supply or big box stores in the office supply section.

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