Flower Costumes: Make a Simple and Elegant Calla Lily Costume
Simple, Easy-to-Follow Directions for an Easy Flower Costume
In my opinion, the calla lily is one of the most stately of the flowers, so I when I was tasked with creating a costume for the lead flower in our homeschool version of Alice in Wonderland, I naturally started thinking how best to create a calla lily. I very much wanted to keep that smooth expanse of petal with the flowing edges.
On a very tight budget and needing something that wouldn't get bashed up too easily, I turned to one of my costume and crafting staples: craft foam.
All photos copyright © tandemonimom. All rights reserved.
The calla lily is graceful and queenly, so we used it as a model for the main flower character.
Calla Lily Costume - Basic Shape - This is approximately 28" tall at the tip and 28" wide at the base.
This is the basic shape you'll cut. This is approximately 28" tall at the tip and 28" wide at the base; you might make it smaller for a smaller child, or larger for a teen (this one is for a 2nd grader). Get a sheet of newspaper and practice to see what size you want. Start the big part of the bulge well above the head, and keep widening since the edges will be folded back (see photos below).
The sides do not have to match exactly, but be careful to cut the edges smoothly and fix any jagged parts, since this will be the finished edge. You can fold it LIGHTLY in half (do not crease the middle!) and cut both sides at the same time to get them approximately the same, but you will need to clean up more ragged edges if you do that.
Craft Foam in Large Rolls - You need a larger sheet of craft foam to make a lily petal.
White craft foam in a large, smooth sheet is perfect for creating a pure white lily. It is thick enough to stand up behind the child's head without falling over, and is very simple to staple into the shape desired, adding hook and loop strips (such as Velcro™) for fastening under the chin. The large rolls of craft foam measure 36" x 60" and come in white, black, or red.
Fitting the Lily Costume to Child's Head
The edges are folded back to create the effect of the lily petal rolling back. Just fold them back loosely, then hold it over the child's head to see if you need more or less roll. The edges, when rolled back, should come under her chin but NOT touch each other. (This photo obviously already had the fasteners in place, because I didn't have a third person to take a picture of me fitting it to her chin!)
I was pleasantly surprised at how easily the flower stands up stiff without falling over!
Fixing the Folds and Fasteners
Once you have adjusted the fit to the child's head, staple the folds down and at the same time staple on two strips of hook-and-loop strips, such as Velcro(TM). Make sure you have plenty of strip to fasten under the chin; if there is excess that hangs underneath her chin then trim it.
DO NOT use self-stick strips! They will not stick to the craft foam well, especially with putting it on and off repeatedly; and also the exposed part would stick to the child's skin. Use two staples through two layers of foam; this should help elminate the staples from pulling and tearing the foam.
Making a Chenille Stamen
The stamen (the part of the flower that sticks out of the middle) is made from chenille stems, also known as pipe cleaners. I used two extra fluffy stems and twisted them together for the filament, the tall part of the stamen. Then one more extra fluffy stem was twisted around and around the tip (at the right side of the photo above) to make the fat part of the stamen, called the anther.
Curving the Tip of the Flower Petal
Using clear packing tape, attach a white chenille stem from the tip of the petal down. This will allow you to give the tip of the petal a gentle backward curve, to look more like an actual calla lily petal.
Attaching the Stamen to the Petal
Clear packing tape works well to attach the stamen to the petal. Make sure the taped part falls behind the child's head, and not above it. The thickened stem should hold fairly steady and not fall to either side. If it does, tape more of the length down to the petal. You can see I used three pieces of the wide width tape to hold it down, nearly half of the length of the stem.
Finishing the Lily Costume
You can see that the lily fits snugly under her chin. She is able to move freely about and it doesn't wobble or fall backward.
We completed the costume with a green t-shirt and leggings, and a silk leaf lei attached to the collar and sleeve cuffs. We used a lei rather than decorator's flowers because the necklace-like lei is far more flexible than the stiff plastic vine on decorator silk flowers. Alternatively, you could cut leaves off of decorator vines and stitch them directly to the neckline and cuffs.
Green Leaf Leis - I took apart green leaf leis and sewed the leaves individually around the collar of a green shirt for the "stem" of the flower costume.
These green fabric leaf leis from Oriental Trading Company are perfect. The leaves are a nice size, and very easy to sew onto the collar of a green shirt. BE SURE to knot the thread, cut it, and restart it about three times as you go around the collar, so that the collar can still stretch open to fit over the head! Put the leaves on the cuffs of the sleeves, too.
Bonus - when you take apart this lei, you'll have a lot of short, tiny, green straws (the spacers between the leaves on the lei). Save them and string them for jewelry or to make a beaded curtain for a little girl's doorway!
Completed Calla Lily Costume
As a final step, we added some glitter (use white or silver glitter glue or snow glitter with a brush) to the lily petal. I did not put any directly next to her head, to try to minimize it rubbing off onto her hair or skin. The headband to control her hair - the foam makes it very staticky! - is white to match the petal, and a full green body for the flower stem complete the costume. You can add face glitter if you wish. Bare feet are suggestive of roots, I think, and look cute with a flower costume!
Red Calla Lilies Poster from Amazon.com