How to Create Carnival Costumes


Carnival is a time of celebration that usually takes place before the beginning of Lent. The idea behind Carnival is that it is a time to celebrate and indulge before Lent, which is a time of personal sacrifice, begins. Different cultures have different names for this time of celebration. For example, in New Orleans, people celebrate Mardi Gras, while the Brazilian people have their Carnaval. Whatever you call the day, elaborate costumes are often part of the celebration. If you want to make your own carnival costume, you can do so using a bikini and some sequins.

Step 1

Decorate a bikini top using hot glue and sequins. For the top, cover the entire bikini top with sequins in the color of your choice. Use large sequins to make this step go more quickly. The amount of sequins you will need depends on the size of sequins you are using and the size of the bikini top you're modifying. If you are using large sequins, you will probably use approximately 250 sequins. Make sure to cover the straps and the back of the bikini top. Use different-colored sequins to create a pattern. Use circle, sunburst or star patterns, or make up your own.

Step 2

Cut 12-inch fabric strips out of a sequined fabric that matches the sequins you used for your top. Each strip should be 1 inch wide. You will need enough strips to cover the entire bottom. The number you need depends on the size of the bikini bottom you are using. For example, if you have a 28-inch waist, you will need 28 strips.

Step 3

Use straight pins to attach each of your fabric strips to the inside top edge of your bikini bottom. You want to encircle the entire inside waistband with the strips. Use a sewing machine to attach the strips in place. Remove the straight pins.

Step 4

Cut the brim off an old baseball cap. If you do not have a cap you are willing to sacrifice, purchase one from a thrift store. Use hot glue to attach ostrich feathers to the entire hat. Use feathers that match your costume colors. Place some feathers so they stick straight up or out to the side. Cover the entire surface of the cap except the edge. You can use any positioning you would like for your feathers, as long as the cap is covered. Glue sequins in a coordinating color around the uncovered edge of the cap.

Step 5

Dress in your costume and head piece. Pull the strips of fabric on the bottom of your bikini to the outside so they lie over the top of the waistband. Wear rhinestone costume jewelry for an added glitzy effect.

Things You'll Need

  • Bikini
  • Hot glue gun
  • Sequins
  • Sequined fabric
  • Straight pins
  • Baseball cap
  • Ostrich feathers
  • Rhinestone costume jewelry


  • Neckelmans: Samba Carnival Costumes and Feathers Headdresses
  • Ipanema: All About Carnival in Rio
  • Rio Carnival: Rio Carnival Guide
  • Cosplay: How to Make a Carnival Headpiece
Keywords: carnival costumes, mardi gras costume, homemade costume ideas

About this Author

Erin Ringwald has been a writer since 1998. She has help developed training resources for several companies in different industries, as well as been in charge of team communications. She has been published on Ringwald obtained her Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Wright State University in 2004.

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How to Create Carnival Costumes