DIY Nemo Fish Costume for Your Toddler

Since Halloween is looming, I thought I’d post a quick tutorial for Hank’s costume from last year. Here’s what you’ll need:

A sweatshirt (3T) and matching sweatpants
About 30 felt squares (15 of each color) for your scales and tail
1 white felt square
1 black felt square
Stiff, starched fabric for the crown
Clean 28 oz tin can
Glue Gun
2 hours in front of the TV
Glass of wine

Sweatshirt costumes are great for toddlers because they feel familiar, so they’re easier to get on and off. This costume is great because you can use any color combos you want, which means that the stained sweatshirt you planned to throw away will work fine. We chose orange and yellow because Hank was into Finding Nemo at the time.

The tail is two pieces of felt hot glued in place. To make the bottom piece, I folded a felt square in half on the diagonal, cut away along the fold to make the tail shape, then glued the two sides together for extra stiffness. The top part of the tail is just a piece of scrap left over from cutting the scales.

I smooshed a large tin can until it was approximately scale shaped, and used it to trace the scales onto the felt. I folded felt squares in half so I could trace once and cut out two scales at a time.

The eye is felt too. I used drinking glasses as templates for the circles. The crown was a little trickier.

Mine is made from a reusable shopping bag, which was just the right stiffness. I cut a bunch of uniform rectangular strips, then bent them in L-shapes and glued the bottom parts of the Ls in a line along the top seam of the hood. I alternated which way the bottoms of the Ls were facing, and overlapped the strips slightly, so each strip kind of supported the one next to it.

I trimmed the top into a rough half circle, and trimmed away excess fabric from the bits I’d glued down. Then I took a leftover felt scale, cut it in half, and glued one piece on either side of the crown for added structure, and to hide the messiness.

You can see from this photo how I glued the scales — this sweatshirt is a 3T. I started at the bottom and worked my way up with the sweatshirt zipped closed. Take care not to glue over the zipper.

Same deal with the back, and voila!

You have yourself a little fishy. Happy Halloween!

17 thoughts on “DIY Nemo Fish Costume for Your Toddler

  1. I am DYING from the cute overload! I didn’t think it was possible for Hank to be any more adorable, but you made it happen!!!


  2. This is too cute – I wish you had posted it earlier because I would send it to my friends with toddlers but I don’t think they will be able to make it in two days. Maybe for next year.


  3. So stinkin’ cute!! And you make it look so easy. This makes me miss the days when I could choose what my son would be…now it’s all about ghastly superheros and I have no say at all.


  4. This is right up my alley! I’ll have to show my little one the picture and maybe next year she will want to be a fish. This year I made a lady bug costume using black felt, red t-shirts, pillow stuffing and red glitter paint. Which is the reason for my comment besides that I love it I wanted to know where the glitter was!! I have a problem with it and am noticing that I am putting glitter paint and glue on all of the halloween costumes that I make for her!!!

    Last year she was a rainbow which I made with paint, glitter glue, cardboard, cotton balls and colored foam paper. There was clear glitter glue all over it!


  5. Thanks for the inspiration. I made this for my very own costume for Halloween. So far there has been a bit of confusion about me being a chicken but it is worth it either way. 🙂


  6. Thanks for the inspiration. I ended up putting this together for my costume this year (30 year old female so it required a bit more felt). Though I do think I turned out looking a bit more like a chicken then a fish (chicken of the sea?)…but still quite fun! Thanks for the idea!


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