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How to make a toucan costume

Updated April 17, 2017

Rainforests contain thousands of exotic birds, which come in all colours and sport unusual feathers and beaks. One of the most notable beaks belongs to the toucan. With beaks that look almost as big as their heads, it's a wonder they can stay upright when perched on a branch. A yellow or white bib stands out against their black body. Make an exotic toucan costume with minimal sewing and a few supplies from the arts and crafts shop.

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Make the beak

  1. Pin the green felt squares together. Draw a side view of the beak -- 10 cm (4 inches) wide at the base where the beak meets the head, and 20 cm (8 inches) long from the base to the tip. Curve both the top and bottom lines down slightly as they near the tip to make a hooked beak.

  2. Sew the sides together from the base to the tip. Remove the pins and turn the beak right side out. Colour 2.5 cm (1 inch) of the beak tip on both sides with black marker.

  3. Stuff the beak with fibrefill. Turn the open ends toward the inside and stitch closed with needle and thread.

  4. Pin the ends of the elastic band to each side of the beak with safety pins, then put it on the costume wearer and check the fit. The beak should be worn on the forehead with the elastic tight enough to hold the beak in place but not uncomfortably tight. Pin the band at the right length, then take off the beak, sew the ends securely in place and remove the pins.

Make the tail

  1. Cut three teardrop shapes out of the foam, each about 30 cm (1 foot) long and 15 cm (6 inches) wide at the round end.

  2. Lay the feathers on a table with the tips touching and the round ends fanned out about 5 cm (2 inches) apart. Tack the tips together securely with needle and thread so the feathers stay fanned out.

  3. Sew the tail to the seat of the black trousers with black thread. The feathers should come to the back of the knee. If they're too long, trim the round ends to shorten them.

Make the bib

  1. Round off all four corners of the yellow felt square with a scissors to make a bib shape.

  2. Pin to the shirt with safety pins with the top edge along the neckline. Try it on the costume wearer. The yellow should end half way down the chest. Mark the desired length on the felt and remove the shirt.

  3. Trim the length if necessary, sew to the shirt and remove the pins.

  4. Tip

    If you don't use a sewing machine, make small stitches with the needle and thread and double back to secure the stitching.

    Adjust the size of the beak and feathers to fit the person wearing the costume.

    Wear a hooded sweatshirt on a cold day and sew the yellow bib to the sweatshirt.

    Brightly coloured gloves will go perfectly with this costume.

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Things You'll Need

  • Black shirt
  • Black trousers
  • Two 30 cm (1 foot) squares green craft felt
  • One 30 cm (1 foot) square yellow craft felt
  • 30 cm (1 foot) black craft foam
  • Black marker
  • Fibrefill
  • 60 cm (2 feet) of elastic banding
  • Straight pins
  • Two safety pins
  • Needle and thread
  • Scissors

About the Author

Donna Eigen has written, produced and managed communication programs for global, government, university and nonprofit organizations since 1980. Eigen has taught graduate business communication and is a certified facilitator in work force diversity, leadership, team building and effective presentations. She has a Master of Arts in communication and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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