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How To Make A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Costume

As I said in yesterday’s blog post, 4 Quick And Easy Halloween Costumes, once I decided to dress up for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, I knew that I had to be something awesome.  I’ve always had a soft spot for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Back when they were first popular, before I even had children, my godson was obsessed with them.  I watched the cartoons, I saw the movies, I played with the toys.  I know all about those turtles; it would be so much fun to be one for halloween!   In a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume I could talk like a surfer, leap around and randomly throw ninja kicks.  The fact that I get to carry a weapon was even better.

Don’t get scared by the list of materials needed for this costume, it’s pretty easy.  I’ve done the hard work by combining the best parts of several Ninja Turtle DIY costume ideas found on Pinterest with my own ideas into one easy-to-follow blog post.  I’ve even made a shopping list for you!  You can download the printable PDF below. ☟

Let’s get started!  Gather your materials:


green shirt – I bought mine at American Apparel, but also saw shirts at Target, Wet Seal and Forever 21.  I was picky with my shade of green and wanted to match my shorts, but if you don’t care, buy the first green shirt you see.

green shorts or pants – I bought mine at American Apparel.  Honestly green shorts were harder to find than I thought they would be.  Since it was hot at Disney World (and let’s face it, I wanted to look cute), I wore shorts but you could wear green leggings or even black leggings.  If you want to wear shorts, go straight to American Apparel and save yourself the hunt.

green socks – I bought mine at American Apparel.  I didn’t have any luck with green socks at a sports store.  Just make your life easier and go to American Apparel for all the clothes!  These are really nice socks.

dark green fabric  – You only need two strips long enough for the turtle shell straps.

light green fabric – You probably need a 1/4 – 1/2 yards, enough to make abs on the shirt.

fabric for the mask, leg and arm bands (the color of your particular turtle) – I was Raphael; he wears red.  You will probably only need a 1/4 yard, but make sure it’s long enough for a mask and to tie around your arms and legs.

aluminum roasting pan – This can be bought at any grocery store for $3.

a strip of (fake) leather  – I bought this at a fabric store.  You can also use brown fabric.  You only need a piece long enough for your waist.

a wooden circle – This is for the belt medallion.  I bought it at Michael’s for $2.

a wooden letter (the first initial of your particular turtle) – I bought this at Michael’s for $2; it was already painted black.

fabric glue or body tape – I wanted to wear my nice American Apparel shirt after halloween, so I didn’t want the turtle abs to be permanently glued on.  Body tape is sticky, but it can be removed.  If your shirt is a one-time use, fabric glue is fine.

hot glue gun and/or wood glue – You need some adhesive to assemble the belt.

dark green spray paint

brown spray paint

gold paint – I already had spray paint, but you can use regular paint as well.  A small bottle is enough.

weapon – This accessory will vary according to your particular turtle.  Raphael carries a pair of sai. I bought these at Target for $2.

With all the materials assembled now you’re ready to make the costume.


STEP 1:  Make a rectangle template from a piece of cardboard and then use that to cut out the turtle abs from the light green fabric.  Next cut the corners a bit to round them.

TMNT costume abs

 STEP 2: Before adhering the turtle abs, put on the shirt and mark the place under your breasts with a piece of tape.  Start the turtle abs under the tape.  My turtle had a six-pack.  I used sticky body tape because I wanted to wear this very nice shirt again (without turtle abs), but you can use fabric glue.  The body tape stayed on nicely, but was easy to remove later.

TMNT costume adding abs

STEP 3:  Cut a strip of of fabric for your mask.  Have a friend draw around your eyes (make sure it’s someone you trust!) then cut out the eye holes.  Cut a little space for your nose as well.  While you’re at it, cut strips of the same fabric to tie on your arms and legs.

TMNT costume mask

STEP 4: Paint the wood medallion gold and let it dry.

gold paint Teenage Ninja Turtle costume gold belt

STEP 5: When the medallion is dry, glue on the wood initial; I used wood glue.  Then glue the initialed medallion to the leather strip with a hot-glue gun.   After I put the belt around my waist, I fascinated it in the back with a safely pin.

TMNT costume belt

STEP 6: Find a well-ventilated area to spray the aluminum pan dark green.  Let it dry according to the directions.  Next spray on the brown paint very lightly.  You don’t want to cover the green paint, you just want to make it look more turtle-y.

Teenage Ninja Turtle Costume green shell

STEP 7: When the paint is dry, poke holes (carefully!) in the top and bottom of the pan and thread two strips of dark green fabric thru the holes.  Make a knot.  This is your shell!

TMNT costume shell

TMNT costume shell straps

 Put on the turtle shirt, shorts, socks, mask, belt, leg and arm bands, and turtle shell.  Proceed to walk around like the bad-ass, yet lovable, super hero that you are while throwing punches and ninja kicks.  A most excellent idea!

Easy directions on how to make a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume. | DIY - Sherrelle

Storyteller. Travel junkie. Extroverted introvert. Very, very clever. Find me at http://iamsherrelle.com .


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