TMNT Maternity Halloween Costume




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I was planning to be April O'Neil this Halloween (since I didn't finish my costume in time last year), but I hit an issue finishing my costume this year and I got pregnant so I was too self-conscience to wear the costume anyway. I still wanted to do something Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle related, so I looked around at what people were doing on the internet.

I found this fun TMNT mask shirt and decided to do my own version of it. I mostly simplified the design and painted on the mask as opposed to ironing on one like it looks like this individual did. I did an orange Michelangelo mask because he's the best :)

*To make this a last minute costume, just use sharpie markers instead of paint.

Don't forget to check out my Jack-o'-Lantern Maternity Costume too!

Step 1: What You Need

Ignore the black paint. I decided to go minimal with my design (just the mask) and didn't end up using it.


  • Green Shirt - I suggest getting it fitted, but also remember that the painted on mask goes all the way around so it may prevent the shirt from stretching
  • Fabric paint in the mask color you want - Orange, Red, Purple, or Blue
  • Paint brush
  • Iron
  • Freezer Paper - NOT parchment or wax paper, it needs to be freezer paper
  • Scrap cardboard big enough to put in the shirt
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Printer (for stencils) or you can free hand them

To make this last minute:

Get started by finding where you want the mask to go on the shirt. The goal is for it to go over the baby bump. Since I decided to do just a mask and no mouth or anything else, I just found about where my belly button was and marked it.

After you take the shirt off, check your safety pin and make sure it is centered on the shirt left to right. Adjust as needed. (You don't want your mask way off to the side.)

Step 2: Prepare Your Mask

I started to try to draw out a mask using Illustrator, but I am no good at that. I realized the mask Jessyratfink used for her Superhero Mask Tutorial as a TMNT mask so I went with hers. You can get the file for the mask in her Instructable in Step 1.

Once you print the mask off, you want to transfer it to your freezer paper. Make sure your freezer paper is long enough to at least cover the whole width of your shirt. You are going to extend the mask off in both directions because it is going to wrap around the shirt. So, when you extend the mask out, make sure both sides are the same width so everything matches up fairly well. This won't matter too much right now because you will be cutting it up and re-aligning it, but having things straight is good for making sure lines match up later.

Step 3: Prepare Your Stencil

Once you have your mask drawn, cut it out. Remember that the top, button, and eye holes are the most important, so cut the mask part as much as you need to to ensure the rest of the stencil stays whole.

Line up your mask on your shirt so the center is where you marked it earlier and that the width of the mask at the edges is the same for both sides. I measured my stencil up from the bottom of the shirt to make sure it would be straight and then measured the stencil pieces from each other. To keep everything organized, I suggest using regular scotch tape to hold your stencil in place.

Now, iron your mask on. Use the highest setting on your iron, but be careful so you don't burn your shirt (but at the same time, don't be too careful or the stencil will pull up while you are painting). You can leave the tape on as long as you didn't tape where you are painting. Remove any tape that is in the way.

References used:

Back to School Wardrobe on a Budget - tips with using freezer paper stencils

How to Print on Fabric Using Freezer Paper - to figure out the iron temperature

Step 4: Painting!

Time to paint your mask! Put the cardboard in your shirt. The paint will seep through and ruin your shirt otherwise.

I painted one layer and then waited about 10 minutes and painted on another quick layer. Then, after a few more minutes, I carefully peeled the mask off. We are going to do this while the paint is still wet so be very careful. If the tape you used on the stencil stays on the shirt, leave it. The less you touch the shirt while it is wet, the better. Also be very careful pulling off those eye holes.

If you can, I suggest ironing your stencil on and painting as far to each edge of the shirt as you can. This will help when you do the back of the shirt.

Now let it dry according to your paint's directions. I let it sit overnight before moving on to the next step (back of the shirt).

Step 5: Back of Your Shirt

At this point, you can just leave the shirt as is, paint a straight mask line along the back, or use the attached stencil for a more decorative back. I drew the back design and I used the cartoon TMNTs for inspiration.

If you are going to use my stencil, trace it onto freezer paper and extend your lines out to each side (use a ruler to keep them straight).

Cut out your stencil making sure the top and bottom stay in one piece.

Line your stencil up with the existing paint lines that should go to the edge of your shirt. Tape it down to get it to stay in place.

Iron your stencil on your shirt. Carefully shift the shirt so you can iron down the stencil along the sides of the shirt so you can match the front up with the back.


I did one layer of painting on the back but you can do two if you feel more comfortable with that. After giving it a few minutes, carefully pull off the stencil. If you painted on the sides, you are going to have to be extra careful and put something down on your table in case the shirt touches it (I just tore off some wax paper because it was sitting nearby). The cardboard stencil in the shirt actually helped to keep the shirt from touching the table for me.

Follow your paint's directions for drying and washing.

Step 6: Show It Off!

Wear your easy and comfy costume :)

I'm only about 4.5 months into my pregnancy so the bump isn't too significant. The more preggers you are the better (I think) the shirt will look!

Halloween Costume Contest 2016

Participated in the
Halloween Costume Contest 2016



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    22 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I Like how cute and comfy it is. This would also be a fun way to announce it. Congrats!

    1 reply
    Penolopy Bulnickjonesaw

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you! I actually wore this shirt to my weekly Instructables meeting and that's how I told everyone at work I was pregnant :)

    Anirudh Ralhan

    2 years ago

    Congrats !!! You have a very happy life ahead....
    :) :) :) :) :) :)

    1 reply