UK’s Top 10 DIY costumes for World Book Day (for under £10!)

I’ve always been a big reader – books are a place to lose yourself, let the imagination roam free and it’s something I adore. In fact, right now I’m longing to jump off the computer and lose myself in my latest book, but it will have to wait just a little longer. My favourite book as a child was Harry Potter, I remember reading the stories to my mum while she was in the bath – in fairness to her, she never complained once, despite the invasion. My kids love reading – especially Toby who will read novels by himself, Edith who still has her nightly story. Reuben is loving graphic novels at the moment and asked for a Zombie Marvel GN for his birthday!

In addition to getting my read on, I’ve always loved the freedom that getting dressed up in fancy dress would give me – I could be a witch like Hermione, a goblin in Gringotts and even a werewolf if I wanted to be – there is no limit. The list was, and still remains, endless. Even boozy nights out in my early twenties, it would seldom be a normal dress code, with friends dressing up just for the fun of it. We were just *that* cool. I think (or maybe hope) I’ve passed this fun on to the kids – their dressing up box is certainly big enough for them to crack on with pretty much every outfit – but every so often we like to make our outfits. I am NOT a crafty mum, think more Mister Maker than Kirstie Allsop, but we do have a good laugh doing it and at the end of the day, stuff the judgemental people who want perfection, this isn’t where we’re at.

Here are some ideas from when the kids were little, if you’re still struggling for what to wear:

  1. Harry Potter (Harry Potter Series, JK Rowling)

What you need:

  • Grey trousers
  • Grey jumper
  • White polo or shirt
  • Burgundy or striped tie
  • Long adult cardigan in grey or black
  • Stick
  • 3 long black pipe cleaners
  • Red pen
  1. Draw the lightening bolt on the forehead using the red pen.
  2. Take the pipe cleaners and bend one into two circles with about 1 cm between. Wrap one around each side to create the sides of the glasses – bending them at the end or hook around the ears. Set aside.
  3. Get dressed up!
  4. Just like any school outfit (maybe not the tie – but you can add this in!) and the cardigan that will look like a robe because it’s so big!
  5. Add your glasses, grab your wand and prepare to cast a spell!

2. The Gruffalo (The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson)

You will need:

·         Brown tshirt, jumper or hoodie

·         1 sheet of purple felt

·         Scissors

·         Black thread and needle

·         Brown trousers

·         Face paint

  1. Take the purple felt, cut out triangles (about 1-2 inches in size) and then stitch to the brown top.
  2. Get little one dressed in the top and trousers.
  3. Paint on 2 horns using white face paint, 4 “terrible” teeth and a green wart on the end of their nose. Out line in black face paint and you’re good to go into the deep dark wood..

3. Matilda (Matilda, Roald Dahl)

·         Red headband or ribbon

·         White cardigan

·         Oversized jean dungarees

·         Tshirt

  1. Super easy! Get dressed, grab your headband and channel your inner telepath!

4. The BFG (The BFG, Roald Dahl)

·         Two ears cut out of cardboard

·         A headband

·         A felt tip pen (preferably black)

·         A white polo shirt

·         Any trousers, preferably rolled up or ripped

·         An old brown tshirt

·         Scissors and sellotape

  1. Firstly, cut out the ears.
  2. Sellotape the ears to the head band. I Bent a small “flap” of the cardboard and then bent put it against the headband, taped over the back and front. I then drew a large C and smaller c on the “ears” and then set aside.
  3. Grab the old tshirt – we used one of daddy’s – and cut across the neck, cut off the arms and cut up the front. This will make a ragged waistcoat.
  4. Get dressed in the tshirt, roll up trousers (or just trousers) and the new waistcoat.
  5. Pop on the headband and enjoy some snozzcumbers.

5. Winnie The Pooh (Winnie The Pooh, A.A. Milne)

·         Yellow trousers

·         Red polo shirt

·         Biscuit barrel or Jar

·         Head band

·         2 yellow pipe cleaner

  1. Bend the yellow pipe cleaners into bear ear shape – wrap the ends around the headband and set aside.
  2. Get dressed and grab the biscuit barrel (honey pot!) and head band. Enjoy some adventures in the 100 acre wood.

6. Tracey Beaker (Tracey Beaker Series, Jaqueline Wilson)

·         Red jumper

·         Jeans or blue leggings

·         Fine tooth comb

·         Hair spray or gel

  1. Get dressed in the red jumper and jeans.
  2. Back comb the hair until it’s wild and standing up at all angles (my daughter simply would not keep a wig on all day!) spray a small amount of hair spray into your hands and scrunch the hair. Pack some attitude and off you go.

7. Paddington Bear (Paddington Bear, Michael Bond)

·         Red hat

·         Blue coat

·         Brown tshirt or jumper

·         Brown trousers

·         Boots or wellies

·         Facepaint

  1. Get dressed as normal in all the clothes.
  2. Paint on a black nose.
  3. Don the hat and coat and off you go on an adventure!

8. Charlie Bucket (Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl)

·         Old ripped trousers

·         Old tshirt (the more holes or stains the better!)

·         Coat

·         Gloves

·         Scarf

·         Gold sheet of paper OR gold gift bag

·         Black marker pen

  1. Cut out the “ticket” and write GOLDEN TICKET or Willy Wonka’s or a combination.
  2. Get dressed as normal and remember to watch out for the oompa lumpas!

9. Peter Rabbit (Peter Rabbit Series, Beatrix Potter)

·         Brown trousers

·         Blue cheese cloth shirt

·         Cotton wool ball or white craft pom pom

·         Head band

·         2 Brown or white pipe cleaners

  1. Take the headband and wrap the end of one pipe cleaner around one side then bend in half the create a bunny ear shape and wrap the other end around the headband.
  2. Repeat for the other ear.
  3. Get dressed.
  4. Attach the cotton wool ball or craft pom pom with either a safety pin or a small tack stitch.
  5. Put on the head band and get in the garden to steal some veggies!

10. Alice In Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)

·         Blue dress or nightie

·         Black headband (you can make one using pipe cleaners if you don’t have one!)

·         White tshirt or cardigan

·         White apron

·         White tights

  1. Take the apron and cut just below to ties.
  2. Take off the neck strap and this will leave you with a bib style apron.
  3. Set aside and get your kiddo dressed in the dress, cardigan and tights. We used a white cardigan under a pinafore style dress but any blue dress with white cardigan will work.
  4. Tie the white apron bib around the little one’s front.
  5. Add the headband and get down the rabbit hole.

So there you have it. I hope this helps anyone who wakes up on dress up day with absolutely naff all prepared and starts rushing about like a nutter while swearing like a feral beast. You’re welcome, and I shall probably be joining you!


  1. Avatar March 19, 2019 / 3:08 pm

    My sons got a world book day thing in library on Thursday and was looking for the most doable outfit from clothes he’s already got and … Charlie bucket it is .. all I had to buy was gold card and some permanent markers to write on it

  2. Avatar April 11, 2017 / 4:52 pm

    I love your Matilda and Alice in Wonderland costumes! They are so cute!

  3. Avatar
    March 4, 2017 / 1:03 am

    So many great ideas, I love that everyone gets dressed up for world book day! I wish I did when I was younger! xo

  4. Avatar March 3, 2017 / 11:23 am

    I love these costume ideas! My nephew went as where’s wally to his school x

  5. Avatar March 1, 2017 / 10:40 pm

    So many great ideas. I love how simple those last minute costumes are! 🙂

  6. Avatar
    March 1, 2017 / 7:00 pm

    Awwww what an awesome idea!! I love the harry potter costume so much!! My eldest went as Captain America I considered making something for him but he was adamant he needed to wear his captain america costume!

  7. Avatar March 1, 2017 / 5:19 pm

    Some really great ideas here that don’t involve too much work. Or money! Fancy dress can be so expensive. Your little one looks so cute as Alice!

    • Harriet March 2, 2017 / 9:25 pm

      Thank you – it really can be costly and time consuming can’t it?!

  8. Avatar March 1, 2017 / 12:30 pm

    What a brilliantly inspiring, down-to-earth list of costumes that you really can make without lots of fancy supplies. Love the Tracey Beaker hair!

    • Harriet March 2, 2017 / 9:28 pm

      Thank you – haha that was my fave – she looks nuts!

  9. Avatar March 1, 2017 / 7:38 am

    There are some fab ideas here – I like the fact you don’t have to spend heaps of money either. My daughter will probably go for the Matilda look as she’s reading that at the moment.

  10. Avatar
    February 28, 2017 / 7:04 pm

    These are all so cute. I love the Harry Potter one and my nephew would absolutely love it.

    • Harriet March 2, 2017 / 9:36 pm

      Thanks so much lovely!

  11. Avatar February 28, 2017 / 5:05 pm

    What a great post, and am sure load of Mums will be very appreciative of this post, I used to dread world book day and would have loved some inspiration like this x

    • Harriet March 2, 2017 / 9:36 pm

      Ah thanks lovely lady!

  12. Avatar February 28, 2017 / 11:55 am

    love these ideas they look great especially the bfg and golden ticket idea no excuse t say you cant dress up

  13. Avatar February 28, 2017 / 10:31 am

    Oh my goodness these costumes are absolutely adorable, I love the Harry Potter one and the Winnie the Pooh ones the best x

  14. Avatar February 28, 2017 / 10:24 am

    Oh this post is TOO CUTE! I adore these ideas, love the home made aspect as opposed to buying (I am guilty of this!) Paddington is my overall winner – ADORABLE

  15. Avatar February 28, 2017 / 12:24 am

    I love these ideas so cute at 2 Blake isn’t keen on dressing up yet.

  16. Avatar February 27, 2017 / 10:26 pm

    They’re all too cute!!! Have you seen the advert for Asda about costumes for world book day which seems quite negative about homemade costumes. I think they’re brilliant and far better than something that can be bought. I remember all of the costumes that my parents made for me.

  17. Avatar February 27, 2017 / 6:08 pm

    This is great! If my girls hadn’t already chosen the characters they want to be, I’d definitely dress them up as one of these.

  18. Avatar February 27, 2017 / 2:32 pm

    So many adorable DIY costumes here and so easy to make as well. I think it is telling that so many of these characters are ones that we can remember from childhood as well, the beloved classics do endure as parents continue to read their favourites to their children.

  19. Avatar
    February 27, 2017 / 1:53 pm

    This is so useful, thank you!

  20. Avatar
    Lynne Harper
    February 27, 2017 / 1:03 pm

    Im so going to have to save this to look back on in years to come. My guys are in Juniors and they dont do it there but I know when they go to middle school they will. These are fabulous and so easy to do, excellent for any mamas out there pulling their hair out thinking of ideas x

  21. Avatar February 27, 2017 / 11:18 am

    Tracey Beaker has to be the best. Edith looks brilliant with her messed up hair . We are doing the Tiger That Came To Tea and have a onsie i got from Primark on Saturday.

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