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Kids gain turtle power with a homemade costume turtle shell

Updated on September 17, 2014

Whether for Halloween or dress up, kids love dressing up as heroes. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continue to be popular with the cartoon show and latest movie.

While the body of the costume can easily be made by painting a green t-shirt and the mask, belt and arm bands can easily be made with felt, ribbon or even duct tape, the shell is a different story. Fortunately, a shell can easily be made with items found around the house, making that part of the costume free.

(Store-bought costumes can be $20-30, and don't include the weapons associated with each character. The weapons are usually not allowed in school, but the kids won't think their costume is complete without them. Depending on the weapon, aluminum foil, paper towel rolls and duct tape can be used to create the weapons.)

This shell design can also be used for kids who simply want to be a sea turtle.


  • Cereal box, about the size of your child's back
  • Paper grocery bag
  • Duct tape
  • Stapler and staples
  • Scissors
  • Black crayon
  • Green crayon
  • Newspaper



First, cut open the cereal box and cut out one of the sides. Then, round the corners, as in the photo to the right.


Then, cut open the grocery by cutting along one side, then around the bottom. On one side, center the cereal box oval and draw an outline about two inches bigger. Be sure to draw the outline on the printed side of the bag. Cut along the crayon line.


While you have the bag out, prepare the straps. To make the straps sturdier, use duct tape as a backing. Place two lengths of duct tape (the straps on your child's backpack could be a good guide for actual length needed) on the remaining piece of bag. Then, cut out the straps around the duct tape.

Get your child involved by letting him color the bag side of the strap with a green crayon.


As your child colors, grab the black crayon and draw hexagons on the oval bag soon-to-be shell. Draw three hexagons down the middle, then partial hexagons along the sides, as seen in the photo above.

Last, you'll staple everything together. This is the only tricky part, as you need to gather the edges of the bag to fit the smaller base of the cereal box oval. Fold about a centimeter of the edge over the base. You also need to staple the straps along the rounded edges. Be sure to wait to staple the bottom... this needs to be open to stuff the inside with crumpled newspapers to give the shell shape and prevent it from flattening.


After stapling the bottom, finish the costume with green clothes and the appropriate accessories.


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    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      What a great idea! My kids had a ninja turtle costume and ripped the foam shell that came with it, I never could figure out a good way to replace it. this looks great!