Easy DIY Nutcracker / Toy Soldier Costume

Recently I found myself in need of a 3-year-old sized toy soldier costume – specifically, a cheap one that could be constructed in the course of an evening or two.  The “event” was just over the horizon, so there wasn’t time to order one.  Party City was a complete letdown.  And I thought Target might have at least SOMETHING fun, you know, hanging next to their vast selection of reindeer antler headbands.  But alas, no.

But there in the Target kids clothes section, I had an epiphany.  It was nothing short of a Christmas miracle.  And I was pretty pleased with the end result.  Here is Ransom doing his best ‘nutcracker’ face:


So here you go – all you Moms, teachers, and Scout Troop leaders in need a soldier, nut cracker, or you know, marching band outfits for preschoolers.  (I know, obviously a LARGE target audience.) Here is how you can crank out a pretty cute outfit with just the usual home crafting supplies plus a couple of life-saver purchases.

First, you just need a little boy’s sport coat.  I used a size ’18-months’ sport coat (left over from Easter 2012) for my 3-year old.  He wore it like a shirt rather than a coat, so too small was a-okay.  Open the lapel, pop the collar, and iron.  Like so.


Step Two: Change the buttons to something more festive, and add a new top button to hold that lapel flat.  My top button is fake, with velcro actually doing the work.  I don’t know how to cut a real button hole.  I used some leftover red and white buttons I already had, but brass would be perfect.

Step Three:  Bling it out!  I grabbed 3 yards of various gold trims from the craft store {like a kid in a candy store.  What could be better than oodles of gold trim?}.  I attached these to the coat using hot glue or needle-n-thread or my sewing machine, whichever was be easiest depending on the trim.  The possibilities are endless here – google up some pictures of nutcrackers if you need inspiration.  I think the little shoulder details are pretty critical.


Step Four:  The sleeves were too short, so I added a 3-inch wide loop of felt at the bottom of each, with a fake button.  No hemming needed for felt!

The key to keeping this economical is to use what you’ve got.  No Christmas buttons?  Paint what you’ve got with nail polish.

For accessories, I purchased a $5 pair of track pants (from Target) – they have several colors with plain white stripes down the side, so pick one to coordinate with your coat.  Ransom wore his rain boots, and I spray painted a $2 pop gun.  The hat is a combination of: one cool whip tub, poster board, felt, and a piece of elastic, and a considerable amount of hot glue.


So simple and so fun.  I do believe I missed my calling as a cheap, easy costume inventor.  Is there a job market for such skills?



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About Mary-Hall

loyal southerner, exceedingly frugal, compulsive DIYer

2 responses to “Easy DIY Nutcracker / Toy Soldier Costume”

  1. Barbara Daniel says :

    M-H, this is the cutest thing ever! Of course having the perfectly cute child to model helps too, but really, you are so creative and crafty to make such an adorable costume! Nice work!

  2. Dreama says :

    My thoughts exactly, Barbara! SO adorable and SO creative!

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