10.23.15  DIY Friday

Dollar store Halloween backdrop and Poison Ivy DIY costume

This past weekend, we celebrated my older sister Vohn’s birthday.  Since we’re close to Halloween, she wanted to do a costume party.  It was such a blast!  I created a big backdrop for us to take photos, because if you know me and parties, we GOT TO HAVE a backdrop!  They really make your party stand out – and who doesn’t love taking photos at parties?!  It was a huge hit with very little punch to the pocketbook, if you know what I mean.  And you can use this technique to customize it to your party color/theme as well!  I didn’t get to take photos while we were installing this so I hope you can visualize with me through the steps.  I’ll try to be as detailed as possible.  Here is the photo of the backdrop:


I created this backdrop for just under $20 (banner not included – that was done for about $10).  Here are the materials you’ll need:

  • Scotch tape
  • Orange and Purple streamers
  • Halloween theme lanterns
  • 2 black plastic table-covers
  • Fishing wire
  • Large, flat wall
  • Scissors
  • Step stool, or in my case a sturdy chair

As you can see in the photo, the backdrop was hung from a stand.  If you have a large, flat wall, you don’t need the stand.  But there are DIY stands that you make out of PVC.  Ok, let’s get started…

Step one: Measure out how big you want the size of the backdrop to be.  I usually go with 7 1/2’h x 8’w if the space allows.  The photos tend to look better when the backdrop is wider than the group of people.  Take the 2 black plastic table-covers (or whatever color you chose for your theme) and tape them up side by side to the size you want the overall backdrop to be.  That way you won’t be able to see the wall color in the background.  You can let it hang down past the floor or cut off the excess material at the bottom.

Step two: Once you have the table-covers nice and straight, you can start working on the streamers.  I recommend this as a 2 person job, it just gets done so much faster! The first person stands on the step stool and tape the streamer to the top of the backdrop.  Just let the rest roll down and the second person at the bottom cuts the streamer at the bottom.  You want to continually do this to cover the whole backdrop while interchanging the colors.  In this case, orange, purple, orange, purple, etc.  I made sure the streamers overlap each other about half and inch as well.

Step three: Once you’re done with the first layer, I go back over it with another layer.  This time, wrap the tape to stick the streamer to the wall so that the tape doesn’t show. We pretty much do the same thing as the first layer but instead of cutting the streamer at the floor, I cut them at about halfway and alternate the height to give the backdrop some dimension.  You definitely don’t need to worry about if you’re cutting it at the wrong height.  Any height works!  See? No fuss!  Now you’ve got the bulk of the backdrop done!

Step four: Assemble the hanging lanterns.  These actually lit up but they needed batteries and I didn’t have time to go find batteries for them.  Even though they weren’t lit, they added an extra “pizzazz” to the look, don’t you think?  All I did was take fishing wire, made a loop at one end so the lantern can hook onto it, and taped the other end to the ceiling.  You just gotta make sure the height of the lantern is not too high/low, and that the heights alternate.  And in our case, we needed to make sure they didn’t block any of the letters in the banner.

And that’s pretty much it!  So simple, right?  Now who’s ready for a party??  Here are a couple more photos from that night!  I loved everyone’s costume and I did my husband’s Joker make up.  He got some rave reviews on it also and I just gotta say, I love YouTube!! Haha.

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And since we’re talking about Halloween, my costume got a lot of compliments so I wanted to share with you how I made it.  I was able to do this for under $10!  I have a bunch of fabric (insert fake) flowers in my house and since their leaves were not on display, I snipped them all off to make my costume!  I also have a fake tree in my sun-room that I snipped a couple leaves off of as well.  But if you don’t have a bunch of fake leaves lying around in your house, I think you can just take a trip down to Michaels and buy one of those leaf garlands for about $7 each. (It’s cheaper if you have a coupon!)  You do need some sewing skills to do this project but it’s very minimal.  If you have good enough skills to put in a zipper, I say good for you!  I unfortunately do not, therefore I just picked a very stretchy fabric so I can shimmy into the dress, haha.  I didn’t take photos while I was making the dress because I didn’t think I was going to be doing this…sorry!  I am just going to take pictures of everything from now on.  Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 yard of Stretchy green fabric, link to the fabric I got at Joann’s in Kelly Green. Don’t forget to check their site for coupons, I used a 50% coupon!
  • Fake leaves
  • Fabric glue or glue gun (I used a glue gun)
  • Needle and thread, preferably green but not totally necessary
  • Safety pins

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Step one: Take the fabric and wrap it around yourself from the edge to see how much fabric you’ll need for your dress, taking into account that the fabric stretches.  Pin where it wraps you and shimmy yourself out of the dress.  This is where you will cut the fabric and add about half an inch for you to sew the ends together.  Also cut the fabric to your desired length as well.  The rest of the fabric will be for your gloves and belt/drape.  Make sure the shiny side of the fabric is on the inside and sew.  After you sew it, it should look like a tube dress. The inside should look something like this:


Step two: Try the dress on.  If your body is anything like mine, the top part will be very loose.  So I grabbed the excess material, pinned it and shimmied out of the dress again.  I flipped the dress inside out, cut off the excess fabric and sewed together the ends of the top part, making sure the sew line is the same as the bottom section of the dress.  After you’re done, flip it over and try the dress on again.  This is a bad picture but the inside should look something like this:


Step three: Try the dress on again.  Make sure it is comfortable and tight enough.  If it’s still loose, flip it over and sew inside the original sew line about half an inch or however much you need for it to fit just right for you.  After you’re done with this, you can make the dress a little sexier by cutting off the bottom part diagonally to make one side of the dress higher (see photo).

Step four: Now that the dress fits you just fine, it’s time to glue on the leaves.  I did a “rough draft” of where I wanted to leaves to be placed, just so I have an idea of what it will look like.  I started at the top first and wanted to to make sure the leaves covered the seam on the side of the dress.  I also wanted to make sure the top of the leaves went past the top of the dress.

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I wanted the leaves to cascade down and off to the side.  Once I had the layout that I wanted, I started gluing the leaves down.  If you’re using a glue gun, please be careful!  After the glue dried, I had to keep trying the dress on because when it’s on, the dress stretches and there’s spots between the leaves.  So you have to pin the leaves where there are empty spots, take off the dress, and then glue the leaf to that spot.  But once you’re done, it should look something like this:


Step five: Now it’s time to make the belt.  Here is a photo of the belt.  Basically, I cut it in that shape and to put it on, I tied the ends together while the “tie” part just hangs down.  I could’ve sewed on hooks and whatnot but…who has time for that??? LOL


Step six: For the sleeves, I measured the length to go a little bit past my elbows.  After I decided on that, I wrapped the fabric around my arm to see how much I needed.  But basically, the sleeves will look like mini tubes but one end a little narrow than the other.  Then after that, just glue the leaves to the end that covers your hand and make sure the seam is facing the bottom of your arm.

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And I think that’s about it for the whole costume!  I paired it with some black heels, added some hair extensions to give me some volume for my hairdo and did like a “mask” with green eye-shadow.  I’ve been wanting to be Poison Ivy for Halloween for a long time!  I’m glad I finally got to do it!  Here is the dress one last time:


What do you think?  Are these projects easy enough for you?  What are you planning to be for Halloween this year?  Please let me know if this has inspired you in any way!  I look forward to your comments!

Stay Lovely,


Comments 3

  • Hi Jeap!! How are you? Oh my I have to say you have done a fabulous job especially the makeover of your home! Your page will definitelybe shared. Also, my mom is part of the board members at the temple we go to and next week is a Fundraising Party Halloween theme. You just give me an idea for the backdrop. Hope you dont mind if we use some of ur creative ideas 🙂

    • Hi Litta! I’ve been doing great! Thank you so much for visiting the site and your sweet comment! How have you been?

    • Litta, I would be honored if you used my ideas! I hope you have a fabulous time and please share some photos of what you end up making! 🙂

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