Peacock Costume

November 2, 2009 at 3:08 pm 2 comments

peacock costume

I wanted to be a peacock for Halloween, & while I’ve never been big on buying a premade costume I still went to the internet for inspiration. Mostly I found a lot of what I did NOT want to look like. So I started planning my own design with 3 goals in mind:

  1. I don’t want my costume to be so big that I can’t walk through a party
  2. I don’t want to look like a drag queen or showgirl
  3. I will not cover every available space in feathers (earrings, hair clips, choker, etc.)

It’s all about the tail… once you’ve got that down, the rest is so easy. And don’t be scared, I finished this in 2 nights. To make it easy on myself I just looked for a classy dress in any of the main peacock colors (purple, lime, teal, or blue) & a belt in another peacock color.  Now it’s time for the tail:

Step 1

Select & sort your feathers. You’ll want large feathers, about 40″ long. Get them in bulk or bundles to save money. My feathers were a variety of sizes & had natural curves to them, so I sorted them out to help me place them balanced.

feather selection

I bought mine from a florist wholesaler but you can buy them online too. Mine were 25/$11. I got a total of 75 & have a few left over for decorating

Step 2

My friend helped to trace me on a piece of large paper so I could judge how large I wanted to the tail to be. I drew a line where my belt (attaching to the tail) would sit & an arc for where I wanted my tail to end.

glueing patternI hot-glued the feathers directly to the paper. Starting with the center/tallest feather, I put hot-glue on the bottom 2″ – 3″ of the feather’s spine & stuck it in place. Then I alternated sides to keep the tail even & worked my way down. The sides were a lot shorter than the middle, so I cut the feathers down to keep them from overlapping & created a flat fan on feathers.

Once you have the first layer of feathers glued, you can cut off all the excess paper. From here on you’ll continue glueing on the same fan base. Turn the fan over & mimic the pattern with the eyes facing the opposite direction (you’ll want to look pretty from front & back!)

Step 3

You’ll have to decide which is your “front” ( facing forward, much will be covered by your back & shoulders) & the “back” (facing behind you & totally open).  For this costume I put more work into the back side since I would only need the front to frame me.

eyes patternThose little teal dots are supposed to represent the eyes of the feathers.  I just worked in layers from the top down. For the front I only did 2 layers. For the back I used a lot more feathers to make sure there weren’t any bald spots & there was pretty color spread evenly. The lower layers on the back are a great place to use those smaller feathers.

Step 4

The details can make a good costume become something really stunning. I decided to cover the base of my tail in a fabric that matched my dress (a little darker, but who cares?) to cover up all the spines of the feathers that were still showing. I also added a little bow in blue & green.

finished tailAgain, you can see the difference in details from the front & back. I figure it’s not worth the effort where you won’t see most of the front anyway.

For one final detail I also made a headband that mimics the top of a peacock’s head. This is part of the goal to not put feathers everywhere, most costumes I saw had feather hats or hairclips. Instead I used craft wire to make this:

headbandI tucked the headband underneath my hair so only the 3 prongs stuck out. You can tell the round tips aren’t a perfect spiral or orderly, but they’re cute so don’t make yourself crazy trying to make them perfect. This blue wire is such a pretty color it’s hard to screw up, plus I think it gives it a whimsical feel.

Step 5

Shake your tail feather!

peacock costume 3peacock costume 2peacock costume 4


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Charlene  |  September 14, 2012 at 6:33 am

    Hi. This is the coolest peacock costume tail I’ve seen! Do you still have it? If so, would you be interested in selling it? I want to be a peacock for Halloween this year, but I just don’t have the time to craft an awesome tail. Just thought I’d ask. 🙂

  • 2. erinmarshall71  |  September 15, 2012 at 3:49 am

    I was just surfing Google images looking for a Peacock Costume that fit what I was picturing in my mind – I planned to get feathers from the dollar store and I have a really fabulous turquoise blue dress already.
    Your costume is EXACTLY what I was planning to make myself. It’s great to know that it’ll look as great as what I imagined.


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