No-Sew Tin Man Costume Idea for Kids

Written by kate mcclare
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No-Sew Tin Man Costume Idea for Kids
A watering can makes a realistic oil can for the Tin Man's costume. (yellow dried flowers in an iron watering can image by Gina Smith from

The Tin Man from "The Wizard of Oz" makes an impressive costume, and you can assemble it from inexpensive items that are readily available at local stores. A young boy or girl will especially enjoy play-acting the part of the shy, robot-like man who keeps rusting and pleading, "Oil can! Oil can!"

Assembling the Materials

You'll find the most important pieces for the Tin Man costume at a discount, hardware or home-improvement store.

For arms and legs, purchase pieces of clothes dryer vents and ask a store employee to cut them about 6 inches longer than each of your child's limbs. Visit the store's auto parts section and get a metal funnel, big enough to rest comfortably on the child's head. Buy a strong-adhering glue, a roll of grey duct tape and, if you don't have one at home, a staple gun with medium-weight staples. Purchase a few pairs of medical gloves for the Tin Man's hands, and a small decorative watering pitcher for the oil can. Buy two or three cans of silver spray paint to colour everything.

The store probably has some empty boxes to use as the Tin Man's body.

Cover all the pieces with the spray paint, including the gloves, and allow them to dry thoroughly before assembling.

Creating the Body

Leave one end of the box open, to give the child plenty of room to walk comfortably and safely. Cut arm holes out of the sides, and cut a half-circle from each of the top flaps for the head hole. Tape the flaps shut around the child's head after he gets inside it at party time.

Making Arms and Legs

Glue the dryer vents to the inside of the box's arm holes, and apply duct tape for added security.

To make the Tin Man's legs, glue the other two dryer vents to the legs of an old pair of shorts that the child can pull on; use large safety pins to fasten them on more securely.

Face, Hat, Hands and Oil Can

Paint the child's face with grey make-up to let her blend in with the metallic look of the rest of the costume. Children 5 and younger may be happy without make-up on.

Glue a piece of string or a rubber band to the top of the funnel, to secure the hat under the child's chin.

Have the child pull on the medical gloves, hand her the "oil can," and she's off to see the Wizard.

Safety and Practical Concerns

Measure the box so it's not too big for your child; she should be able to move about freely. Allow about 6 inches between her body and the box. You may have to cut down the box to fit her more comfortably.

The younger the child is, the more likely he is to remove the costume at some point. He should therefore wear some regular clothing underneath.

If the child will be outside at night while wearing the costume, add some glow-in-the-dark paint or tape to the back of the funnel hat and the bottom of the body.

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