How to make a Sheep Costume for Children

Children’s Fancy Dress Competition is one of the many occupational hazards of parenting… and most often the unavoidable one :-). And when my kid’s school had one, there was no escape for me.

After getting to know that my kid was ok about participating in the event, I was searching for good fancy dress costume ideas ranging from animals, bumble bee, honey bee, Disney character costumes, and cartoon characters to professions. It was difficult to freeze upon any costume as my kid refused to be anything that I suggested (and which I thought were easier to make). Nothing appealed to the little one.

After much fuss, Shaun-The Sheep (one of his favorite animated characters) appealed to him. The fancy costumes had to be handmade; not brought off the shelf or rented. Once decided, I wanted him to be involved in making of the costume so that he gets into the skin of the character ;-).

Ground Rules for Making Fancy Costumes for Children:

  • The dress has to be comfortable – not too tight or loose enough to hang.
  • The child should be able to carry on his/her activities after wearing the dress, comfortably.
  • No harsh material. No pins and sharp objects.
  • Clean and fresh materials – to avoid child discomfort, itching, etc.
  • Minimise the time the kid has to sport the dress. Keep a change of clothes handy.
  • No chemicals, make-up, powders and scents on face and body.

Here is how I made a light-weight and easy-to-assemble sheep costume for a fancy dress competition:

Things you need to make a sheep fancy costume

  • An old white T-shirt or vest
  • Black shorts
  • White Skull Cap
  • Black Stockings – for legs
  • Black Stockings – for hands
  • Cotton Balls

How to make Shaun The Sheep Costume for Kids

An old t-shirt or vest in white color is used as a base for making this costume. You can chose to cut the t-shirt back open for it makes the costume easy to put on the kid.

Stitching Sheep Costume for Childrens Fancy Dress Competition

Basic stuff needed for making a sheep costume

Stitch the cotton balls to the vest in any fashion. I started in an orderly manner but it did not seem right. Going random was best and consumed less cotton balls.

Before this, I tried to glue the balls but they did not stick well enough and too much glue was getting wasted without the desired results. Maybe I did not have a good glue that works well on fabrics. Stitching the cotton balls is my best option to keep the costume sturdy.

stitching cotton balls to white t-shirt to make shaun the sheep costume for kids

Stitching Cotton Balls on While Vest

Keep filling in the blank spaces. You can leave some gaps here and there, as the vest is white and it wont show much. While you stitch, make sure that cotton balls dont tear or shred.

Wooolly Boy in Making – Adding Cotton Balls to the Vest

It took about 2 hours to get all the balls well stitched to the vest. I guess gluing would have been faster.

homemade ready cotton balled wooly boy jacket for sheep fancy dress costume

Ready to Wear Sheep Wooly Jacket for Kids

Make Sheep Costume Complete with Headgear/ Cap
Use a skull cap with a snug-tight fit. Stitch the cotton balls all around the skull cap, filling all the gaps. Attach two long triangular pieces of black cloth at the sides – for sheep ears.

DIY sheep costume cap with cotton balls and black ears

Sheep Costume Headgear with Skull Cap and Cotton Balls

Make Sheep’s Tail for the Costume
Stitch together a bunch of cotton balls to make it look like a bushy tail along with a cord for tying it to the shorts. You can also pin this attachment with a safety pin.

Assembling the Fancy Dress Costume
Since I wanted to costume to be easy to assemble on the kid, I chose separate elements for body, arm, legs and head. Everything could be detached or attached and assembled into one costume. And nothing much gets wasted after the event.

Dressing up your kid as a sheep
Prepare your kid a few days in advance telling him about the character and the costume he/ she is supposed to wear. This will prepare the child for a new, weird and probably uncomfortable dress. Try the dress on before the D-day.

Pull up the black stockings on hands and legs, shorts, shoes and lastly the cotton balled vest.

Secure the vest at the back. Attach the little tail on the black shorts. Put on the skull cap and adjust ears.

There, the sheep is ready to bleat.

kid in sheep costume ideas on how to make tutorial

Shaun The Sheep – Ready to Bleat

Reuse or Recycle your Fancy Dress Costume
Costumes for fancy dress competition are made for one occasion. Then they end up in the attic, loft, trunk or garbage bin. If due care is taken while making the costume to salvage most of its content and reuse its elements, then it is worthwhile to take part in the event.

In this sheep costume, the entire costume – vest, socks and cap can be reused after removing the cotton balls. The cotton balls can be used for other purposes as they have been exposed to air and dust.

If you are done with the costume but don’t have the heart to dismantle it, you can donate or gift it to someone. The school can also keep the costume for its plays. This costume can also be used for Little-Bo-Peep nursery rhyme, Halloween, Christmas nativity scenes or stage plays. Or just put up an ad at a common place for anyone who would be interested,…. you’d be surprised with the response.

Make your own fancy costume
I hope you find this tutorial helpful in making this costume for your loved ones. The ground rules for making any character costume remain the same. It is also great to have your kid involved in costume making for he/she gets comfortable with the whole idea and also absorbs a bit of creativity that goes around :-).

Let me know if this helped you in making a fancy costume. You can also check out sheep costumes for children available at Amazon.

Hello Wanderer,
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Your Comments I Love!

  1. Mystic says..

    OMG! VERY CREATIVE AND SOOO WOOLYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!! I love it…make one for me….it’s getting cold here!

    You are truly such a creative astounds me! Shaun the Sheep is the cutest sheep I’ve seen….HUGS TO SHAUN!


    • says..

      Thanks Mystic: Send me your size and I will make one for you, LOL.

      For now, make do with my my love and best wishes that will keep you warm and secure.

  2. Kathryn says..

    My cousin will be a sheep in a Nativity scene play at her school and I’m helping her make a costume. Thanks for the very detailed description. The photos are great, your kid is adorable!

  3. says..

    Kathryn: Thanks so much. Hope you make a great costume for your cousin. Do let me know how the outcome was. Would love to see.
    Keep wandering by :-)

  4. Denise says..

    This is great! My son will be a sheep in his Christmas program next week. I’m really excited to see the outcome of my project for my son’s costume.

  5. says..

    Cute :) Reminded me of a cute little nurse costume I had as a kid. This one that you made is so very creative. And your little son looks sooo cute, all ready to show off his cute costume.

  6. says..

    Iniyaal: Son was a sport but I was quite tired as I sat late in the night to get the costume ready. Since it was a comfortable gear, he did not mind it… except for the ears that kept irritating him :-)

  7. kelly says..

    wow i love the sheep i now have to make 6 for a hen weekend as we are going as little bow peep and her sheep, looked for costumes but your are the best so thankyou for sharing.

  8. says..

    Hi Ishtath, H r u? Bit busy for a while that’s why i couldn’t make it count, My website and blog is ready now, have look at it. Participated in Chitrasanthe, Bangalore, got excellent response, sold 5 paintings. keep in touch take care

  9. Roxann says..

    So, my three-year old son decided a few days ago he wanted to be Timmy from Shaun the Sheep. Looking on the web, ALL the costumes for 3/4T are sold out. Thank goodness I found your website. I look forward to making this costume (this weekend)!
    Thanks for sharing!

    • ishrath says..

      Roxann: Im so glad to hear that you will be making this costume. I would love to see the photos. Please do share.

  10. Jimmy says..

    Be cautious…cotton balls are HORRIBLY FLAMMABLE!! Take a minute to Google search “sheep costumes fire”

    You may think twice about this costume!

    • ishrath says..

      Jimmy: As far as the news story goes, incidents like these are bound to happen when grown-ups try to wear kiddish costumes, go to a pub and get into a brawl… and then catch fire.

      Indeed care should be taken to be safe in any environment that you step in. Cotton balls are inflammable but compared to nylon, rayon, polyester and other manufactured materials, they are much better.

      It was sad and freak news story. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Tabindeh says..

    i made the costume for my sons show and his costume was the best in the entire show!!!!!! thank u soooo much!!!

  12. Roxann says..

    I made this costume and, boy, I can’t tell you how many comments we got. Everyone loved the costume! I glued the cotton balls with fabric glue, which I think was faster than sowing, but we did lose a few cotton balls by the end of the night. It was a big hit with the little guy! Thanks!

    I think the picture should show below:
    /Users/Roxy/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Modified/2011/Shawn the Sheep/DSC04694.JPG

  13. Weguelin says..

    Dear Mrs Sheep Woman,

    This is the worst sheep I have ever witnessed! Where is the sheeps face and why is it wearing trainers. I have never seen a sheep wear trainers. Could you not afford hooves. Although your kid does make a good sheep. BAAAAAAAAABYE !!

    Thanks, ta, bye

  14. geetu bakshi says..

    Wow !!!!!! was the first thing when I actually saw this amazing detailed description to make a wonderful fancy dress. It’s been almost a month & I was in a fix what to make my little angel in her fancy dress competition?
    But now that’s for sure she’s gonna be the same.
    Heartedly thanks & the baby is looking so cute & charming.

  15. Madhur Ojha says..

    I was little puzzled as to what do i do fr my son in the fancy dress competition ….. Thanks to u dear u made it easy…….

  16. Madhur Ojha says..

    Thanks to u dear…….. U made it easy as i was very much puzzled as to what to do but now i think my son will also enjoy…..

  17. says..

    Thank you! Made one for our child, it was superb! It took a lot of time to stitch it, but worth the effort…

    If anyone needs this costume, pl let me know. Will be happy to pass on…

  18. farheen says..

    thanx a lot for the wonderful idea. made one for my princess and she is loving it but instead of cotton i used pompoms and it turned out to be a fantastic costume.
    it was worth all the hard work put into it 😀

  19. baesae says..

    sooo cooool! but what happens if it’s raining? (we will be outside).. anyone has a proposition how to make the costume weather-resistant? :) any spray, other materials for the (cotton-)balls, …?

    • ishrath says..

      Baesae: Oops!!! Can a sheep sport and umbrella? Shaun sure does :-)

      Guess you can use left over white plastic bag bit and pieces and glue them together to make it rain-proof. Mmm…. im thinking…

  20. baesae says..

    Thanks ishrath! but we found some cloth that fits very good our needs. it’s soooft and not that expensive. anyways, thanks for your reflexions!

  21. farheen says..

    made the costume and loved it ……………….
    made it for my daughter’s fancy dress …..and she loved it…
    the only change i made was i used pom poms instead of the cotton balls (my daughter is allergic to cotton)

  22. Sara says..

    About the fire comment….This actually happens about twice a year to people wearing sheep costumes. Even if you google “costume on fire” you will see several instances of these costumes lighting up and not all were on purpose. I think this is really cute, but too dangerous to trick or treat in with all the jack o lanterns, etc. I just want people to be aware!

  23. John Kilcullen says..

    Please be careful cotton balls highly flammable, google the cases of fire injury from sheep costumes made with cotton balls .

  24. baesae says..

    Instead of cotton balls you can search for sheep like fabric. It should not be highly flammable in most cases. We tried it and it looks still very very good.

  25. Kanchana says..

    Amazing, i was so confused for my son’s fancy dress competition, which will be held next week. When i was browsing i came across your article. I just started working on it, i just finished half of it and believe me its amazing. I tried using fabric glue is its really working out. I will keep you posted. Thanks for the creative idea.

  26. MrsTSud says..

    This came in handy!! I made a few modifications to fit my needs and things worked out SO well! Thanks for sharing!!!

  27. mithra says..

    hai ishrath …. brilliant idea …. it was searching for costumes for my daugher in theme cartoon characters and ur idea was impressive …what kind of cotton did u use, the one used for soft toys pillows or another which comes in roll for medical use ….if any vareity please mention it …if u have any other ideas in this theme please help me

  28. says..

    i need a cute / sexy but not overly revealing, christmas costume.
    . i was thinking of either being santa / mrs.
    clause or an elf / santas helper.. . i will be using this costume for a dance.
    so it will have to be somewhat “small” so i don’t over heat.. how could i go at making one? or where could i buy one? (not online) and i am from canada.. . i was thinking of getting a small red dress and attaching the white fluffy material to the bottom?. 5 STARS TO BEST ANSWER! .

  29. Seema Mathew says..

    The idea is just too good. Thanks a lot….and yep, fancy dress competitions makes us moms go into a knot always…!!!

  30. al says..

    FIRE HAZARD: I used to work with a woman who was horribly disfigured with burn scars over her entire body. It was the result of wearing a sheep Halloween costume that caught on fire. It was made with cotton balls attached to pajamas. Don’t do this. Cotton balls light on fire very easily, and therefore you should not dress your kid in a suit made of them for any reason.

  31. says..

    How apt Gwilym that you should pusiblh this poem on the same day that I put on yet another photograph of the valley that holds Cautley Spout with its narrow sheep path.


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