DIY – “Up” House Costume


Photo nabbed from friends Facebook page
Better late than never they say! This post has been on the pages since I made this “Up” house costume for a Halloween party (which to be fair was held in November.) So, a month after the party, and nearly two months after the great holiday of costumes and candy; Halloween. Better late than never they say! Apart from some shaky cellphone shots, I didn’t catch much of the party, but it was a huge turnout and everyone came in awesome costumes. I hadn’t known what to expect from a Swedish costume party, especially coming from university in England where every other party has a mandatory “fancy dress” theme, and no one bats an eye when a yellow body painted covered Simpsons clan walks into their local club.  
fridanoodle and friends in costume
I had some friends over beforehand,  Panda, who came all the way from London for a spontaneous weekend, and a couple close friends from our old class; one dressed as generic Halloween attendee and the other in an awesome and glamorous Maleficent costume (with homemade horns!) We had a nice mini-evening with drinks, snacks and inspired by Panda’s Tina Belcher costume we had to watch some Bob’s Burgers. I love hanging out with these guys, it’s just like old times. I had to get my mom to get a photo of us all lined up with our costumes on. Just like when you’re a kid about to go trick-o-treating! Spot the over-achieving lover of crafts and dressing up…and her nice compliant friends. (Oh and FYI Panda was pulling a Tina face, she doesn’t really hate the world)

“Up” House Costume – The DIY Process 

  • Felt (About 2 A4 sheets x black, yellow peach, brown, green 1 x grey, blue, white, purple)
  • Scissors
  • Popsicle sticks (pack of 100 or more)
  • Pack of colourful waterballons + Balloon Pump
  • Pipe cleaner (I went for sparkly ones)
  • Glue gun & many glue sticks
  • Ribbon x 2 (to attach to house and tie around your chest)
  • Figure saw (or something that can cut popsicle sticks)
  • Surface to work on (that can handle hot glue and mess)
  • Needle and Thread (Optional)
  • Sky blue top/Dress (Optional)
  • Paper + Printer (optional)
  • Pinheaded needle (optional)
So, as you may be able to tell I went for a kind of elaborate costume this year; the house from the movie “Up”. I chose not to make it out of cardboard or to just draw onto a big box as that wouldn’t work at a small house party plus would easily get water damaged. I wanted to make a small fabric house to rest on my shoulder. So with a quick sketch and a head full of vague ideas I headed to a local craft shop for inspiration. I preplanned to use felt as it’s cheap and available in many colours and found a huge pack of popsicles sticks and immediately pictured this tiny house with a wooden frame. I used a glue gun I already had to create the structure and got through nearly a whole bag of glue gun sticks for this project! I also used a figure saw to trim off excess parts of the building.

structure of up house
 I drew up a quick sketch, but most of the building was just working from a picture reference, the mirror and what felt comfortable to wear and stable enough to withstand a party. The main structure for the part resting on my shoulder is in the photo above. My arm went through the large hole on the side, and I made sure the make that side of the house’s fabric loose enough to be able to easily slip the house on and off. I lay sticks diagonally to give the structure strength and added extra glue in gaps I found to close it up. Once the house was completed I tied two bits of blue ribbon on the outer sides of the house so I was able to tie myself into it to prevent it from tilting off my shoulder. 
building of up house costume
cat model up house
I had built the structure with the porch part at a level that was comfortable to have by my neckline, keeping in mind the 3D aspects of the house, such as the curved panelling above the first floor window. I cut the felt by eye in strips, then creating different textures (scalloped or squared) for the roof shingles and paneling on the house. I tried to be accurate with colour and window placement. I applied the felt to the house using the glue gun. By this point my room was covered in popsicle sawdust, felt fibres and curious cat paws. 
fridanoodle disney up house inside shot felt disney up house costume
I frequently tried the house on and used the mirror for reference on how it was turning out. I didn’t have time to create an completely accurate depiction of the side or back of the house, but felt it was fine to compromise on. I did make a silly mistake which I realised too late; my costume was made in mirror image of the original! Luckily no one seemed to notice! The inside is messy and scruffy, especially as I did not have enough time to machine-sew the layers of felt together, i.e. they were glued together. This meant they were not as secure as I would have liked. I solved that by gluing scraps of felt along the back to give better hold.
disney up house costume
colourful balloons
Water balloons on pipe cleaners created the perfect mini cloud of balloons that lifts the house. I simply pumped them up them halfway and attached them to pipe cleaners which I twirled around an old headband. 
felt disney up house costume
felt rooster windmill
I think details make a costume. I made time for seemingly unnecessary things such as the house number, doorknob, curtains in the window, and my favorite; the tiny moving rooster windmill (felt cut and glued onto a pin head) The characters were printed off and cut out, and attached with some glue. Notice the perspective; the staircase and porch are actually three dimensional thanks to the structure inside. 
disney up house costume
disney up house costume
disney up house costume
A little look at the three sides of the completed costume. For the dress I hastily hand-sewed on some white felt cut into clouds. I am pleased that I kept this vintage dress actually, it was the perfect Disney sky-blue and helped create the cartoony illusion of the flying house. 
disney up costume dress
This was the most fun costume I have ever worn, and everyone I met had a smile on their face which felt really nice. I won best costume to Zombie Jesus, not sure how that will play out in the afterlife…but it was very flattering! I put in a lot of effort and people seemed shocked that I had made it, but to me it was just a great little project. I like keeping my hands busy to excessive Netflixing and rarely start projects that require you to follow strict instructions. I like to make it up as I go along, and don’t have the patience for measuring. The best part of making this costume was that even if the house was wonky, mirror-imaged and not entirely accurate, it doesn’t take away from the impact it made. In fact I think it makes it a bit quirky and adds to the childish Disney feel.
 All I know is that I definitely want to wear a crown of balloons more often! 

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