How to Make a Costume Tail

A set of pliers with a wire cutter and roll of wire.
  • 2-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-50
What You'll Need
Length of thicker gauge wire
Wire cutters
Foam rubber
Hot glue
Fabric, such as felt

If you are going to a costume party for Halloween, you might want to make a costume of your own. Halloween costumes made at home let you be as creative as you want to be and many of a costume’s features can be constructed using common household supplies or inexpensive items. If you are going as a devil, a cat, a dinosaur, or any number of animals, you will need to make a costume tail. Making a tail will take you a little time, but may not cost anything, depending on what you already have. The basic design for a costume tail will be described here. After the initial frame is built, however, you can branch off on your own and customize it as you please.

Step 1 - Decide on the Shape

Take the wire and cut it to a length that will be long enough for the entire tail while still being able to encircle your waist. The wire should be of a thicker gauge—thick enough that it holds its shape without being inordinately heavy. Once the length is determined, bend it at one end into the approximate shape of the tail. It should be S-shaped, but the costume might call for it to be Z-shaped or otherwise. This is where customization comes into play.

Step 2 - Round Out the End

At the other end of the tail you need to make it into a circle to go around your waist. There are a couple of ways you can do this. With the pliers, bend it into a circle while holding it in position. Once you get the approximate shape you can either twist the open end back around the wire, closing off the circle, or you can leave it open. If you close it off, the hoop will have to be big enough to fit over your head or be pulled up from your ankles while staying put around your hips. If you leave it open, you must able to run it through belt loops when you are ready to don your costume.

Step 3 - Pad the Wire

Take your foam rubber and cut it into long strips. They should be thin yet thick enough to wrap once around the wire to pad it. This will take a little time with the hot glue gun, but glue the foam to itself for the entire length of the wire. This will enclose the wire and build up the girth of the tail. Another customization feature is to use thicker foam rubber depending on your needs. Don’t forget to pad the waist hoop. If you plan on threading it through belt loops, pad it lightly.

Step 4 - Decorate the End

With the foam rubber, cut out any shape you wish for the end of the tail. If you are going as a devil, maybe it will be a spade. If you are a stegosaurus, maybe you want some spikes. Glue the shapes onto the end of the tail with hot glue. When gluing foam with hot glue, squeeze the glued pieces or ends together for at least 10 seconds once the glue has been applied and make sure the glue is hot.

Step 5 - Decorate the Whole Tail

Now it’s time for decoration. You can use colors and patterns of fabric to decorate your tail, as well as bits like sequins or gems. If the waist hoop will be visible when your costume is complete, do not forget to decorate that as well and make it blend into the rest of the tail.

Your tail is now complete and made exactly to order. Any Halloween costume that calls for a tail can be customized from this basic design. If you have craft supplies at home, you may not even have to spend one penny to make it.