DIY Halloween Costumes: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

It’s so easy to whip up a costume for your favorite little Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle! This DIY Ninja Turtle costume is a perfect cozy costume, especially for trick-or-treaters in colder climates. Keep reading for all the details! 

How to make a DIY Ninja Turtle Costume 

Here in Utah, the temperatures seem to drop every year just before Halloween, crushing the dreams of every mermaid and Barbie and Spiderman forced by their mothers to don a coat over their shiny costumes. So this year, we strategically decided to make my daughter’s costume from a sweatsuit for built-in warmth. Plus, it doubles as a cozy loungeset once spooky season is over! 


My kids loved the newest TMNT movie, especially the unique animation. Because of this, we wanted to make a version of a Ninja Turtles costume with comic book elements, so the results were more graphic and unique. To do this we decided to try out a new method for making the costume: painting heat transfer vinyl!

If you’ve never used heat transfer vinyl, it can be cut with a cutting machine, ironed on to clothes, and behaves like fabric. (See all of our HTV projects here.) It’s great for adding graphic elements to any piece of clothing so we knew we wanted to use it as the base for the costume and then add in the details with paint. Our one concern was that the paint would scratch off of the htv so we mixed craft paint with a fabric medium to turn it into a fabric paint. You can also use a pre-mixed fabric paint, but we wanted to use some colors we already had so mixing in the medium made sense. Then, we looked at a few different comic book versions of the turtles as well as those from the newest movie and chose some of our favorite details to paint on the htv! The result is a fun, unique take on the typical TMNT costume that is one-of-a-kind! 


Craft Cutter (If you are a beginner we reccomend the Silhouette Portrait)
Solid Green Sweatsuit
TMNT Cut File 
Heat Transfer Vinyl in Sun Yellow, Black, and Chocolate
Iron or Heat Press
FolkArt Multi Surface Craft Paint in Black, White, and Red 
FolkArt Textile Medium
Paint Brushes
Ninja Turtle Mask 
Disposable Roasting Pan
Green Spray Paint
FolkArt Multi Surface Craft Paint in Brown

How to make a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Costume

(See our reel showing the process of making the costume on our Instagram!)

Step 1: Cut your chest shell, belt, and any additional details that you do not want to paint using the TMNT cut file and your choice of craft cutter. (If this is your first time cutting and applying HTV and you are using a Silhouette Machine, visit our Silhouette for Beginners page.)

Step 2: Apply the heat transfer vinyl elements using an iron or heat press. Remove the plastic backings. 

Step 3: Combine one part craft paint and one part textile medium for each of your desired paint colors and mix completely using a paint brush. 

Step 4: Paint your desired details over the HTV. Let dry completely. 

Step 5: Spray paint the roasting pan with green spray paint. Apply desired layers and let dry completely. 

Step 6: Using a large paint brush, apply brown details to the shell with craft paint. 

Step 7: Using scissors, cut a slit in each side of the upper 1/4 of the shell. 

Step 8: Slip a length of string into each slit and tie into a loop that will fit through your turtle’s arms and onto their shoulders. Cut excess string. 

That’s it! We love this costume so much. It’s functional and warm while being full of personality and fun (and that roasting pan shell makes me laugh everytime she turns around!) 

Now tell us, what costumes are you whipping up this year? We’d love to hear the hacks and tricks you’re picking up along the way! Tell us everything!

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Happy making!
ox. Liz & Sam 

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