DIY Puss in Boots Costume

Hey, friends! If you follow along on Facebook and/or Instagram, you know that this week is crazy-busy here in Artsy Land and not for the normal reasons. I’m actually performing in a local production of Shrek the Musical and it’s Tech Week! Our show opens this Friday, so we’re running rehearsals in full costumes and makeup. I thought I’d take a minute to show you how I put together a simple DIY costume for one of my characters, Puss in Boots!


Costume pieces:

– black cape
– orange/brown t-shirt
– black belt
– black boots
– black leggings
– black hat with a feather
– fencing sword
– black gloves
– mask {or makeup}


The Base:
Putting the base of the costume together was actually pretty simple. I found a shirt at Target that was exactly the right color. I bought mine bigger than I’d normally wear because I wanted it to be loose and comfortable to move in on stage and I also wanted it to be long enough to cover the top part of my leggings. I paired it with black leggings and a belt I already owned. The boots belong to my friend Sarah, who is also in the production and graciously loaned them to me for the next few weeks.

The Cape:
Of course Puss in Boots needs a cape, and I opted to go the DIY route rather than buying one from a costume or party store. I found some black fabric at Jo-Ann Fabrics that was perfect because it was soft and moved well without wrinkling. Since my schedule is pretty crazy at the moment, my fabulous mom stepped in and did the sewing for me. She did a simple hem on the sides and bottom and made a casing at the top for a piece of wide black ribbon.

The Accessories:
For other accessories, I bought a pair of black gloves at our local Party City and borrowed a hat from the theater company I’m working with. The only big thing I was missing was Puss in Boots’ famous sword. Luckily, the actor who plays Shrek has a collection of stage combat weapons and graciously let me borrow one of his fencing swords. He brought in three for me to choose from and I chose based on the fact that one of them was a few inches shorter than the others.

The Mask:
All that was left was to figure out how to make my face look like a cat. At first, I was going to do it using makeup, but then I realized the reality of my costume/makeup situation. I play four different characters for a total of six costume changes, so switching back and forth and changing my makeup every time wasn’t an option. Instead, I decided to go with a Puss in Boots mask. I found a black cat-shaped mask at Michael’s and picked up a few Tulip Fabric Paints.


First, I gave the entire mask four good coats of my base color to be sure no black was visible. Then, I used the light color to highlight the insides of the ears, eyebrows, under the eyes, and create the part of the face just below and to the sides of the nose. I added a few whiskers as well. I outlined the tops of the eyes and created a real “cat eye” look using dark brown, then I mixed the dark brown with my original base color to get something in between. I used the mixture to create subtle stripes and shading on the face. I painted a nose, then shaded around it with the brown mixture, making it darkest right next to the nose and lighter as it went upward. I’m thrilled with how it turned out!


I can’t wait for opening night…the show is coming together amazingly well despite the fact that many of our rehearsals got canceled due to snow. Here’s a quick peek at a few of my other costumes:




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