What do you do when your kid wants to dress up as something that just doesn’t exist (in costume form, I mean)? You make him a DIY PJ Robot costume using a plain tee and cardboard boxes! Some of our previous costumes, homemade as they can look, were really popular in the past, especially our Elmer Fudd hunting hat, which is hard to find as well! Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.Plaid Crafts provided some of these materials to me free of charge in the hopes I’ll craft and share.
I’m not really sure where PJ Robot comes into the PJ masks scene – he’s a bit of a more obscure character, I believe.
Confession: I’ve never watched the show myself.
But M used to watch it all the time (we made this costume for last Purim, which is in March). And he got hooked on dressing up as PJ Robot.
To be fair, you might need a small amount of drawing skills for this. I found a picture of a PJ Robot toy, popped it into Photoshop and used the pen tool to outline the logo to place on the shirt.
You can literally just print a photo and cut out the parts.
Every previous year, M needed a costume that felt familiar, using real clothing. I even put together a list of easy costumes with normal clothes. Our DIY Elmo costume, Marshall costume from Paw Patrol, and our UPS delivery costume were all made to be comfortable for him.
But this past year was all about progress and he wanted me to use cardboard boxes – it was his idea!
I still don’t like the wastefulness of costumes that get worn once. Our kids usually wear costume accessories that we make throughout the year for pretend play, but when it comes to the actual shirts and pants that you wear as part of a costume, they’re not actually changing.
So my challenge was to take a plain gray t-shirt, and make it reusable after the holiday was over! The cardboard bits went right into the dress-up box!
For that reason, I used washi tape and sticky felt to make the costume. It worked great, and we now have the shirt as a layering top for cold days (note: adhesiveness of sticky felt can varies by brand).
On that note: you can NOT wash this. If you do, the tape will come off and the adhesive on the felt will melt into the shirt, leaving sticky residue. The washi tape did not stick as well as I’d hoped, but it worked for the day.
One detail that’s hard to capture in the photo: I used FolkArt Color Shift iridescent paints for the arm covers/wings, giving it a cool robotic look.
So if you want to make this PJ robot costume more permanent and durable either:
- Use fabric paint on the shirt instead of felt cutouts and simply paint on your design (you can make a template to use as a stencil) -or-
- Glue the felt bits on with fabric glue and paint on the rest. If you do this, use regular felt, not adhesive felt.
Another temporary alternative is to use fabric with double sided removable fabric tape.
In addition to the PJ robot shirt, we made “wings” (arm hole covers) and a mask. We made those out of old cardboard boxes, paint, and elastic. The shirt was worn all day while the mask and wings came on and off. The mask was also pushed to the top of his head at times.
Unfortunately our day-of photos aren’t the greatest. Of course, after all this work and all the anticipation on his part, M was really sick on the day of. He wasn’t acting quite himself, by evening he had a high fever, and then the next day we found out he had an ear infection with a burst ear drum.
So he’s a bit pale and unenthusiastic, although he cooperated for a few minutes for a quick, informal photoshoot. We take what we can get!
What you need to make a DIY PJ Robot Costume:
- A cardboard box
- A gray t-shirt
- Sticky-backed felt in red, green, blue
- A pencil/pen
- Thin black and wider red washi tape
- Box cutter/utility knife
- Good scissors
- E6000 glue or glue gun
- Apple Barrel: Bimini Blue
- AppleBarrel: Black
- Color Shift:Red Flash
- Color Shift: Black Flash (very small amount – you can use regular black if you’re cutting back)
- Brushed Metal: Pale Silver
How to make a DIY PJ Robot Costume:
Make the shirt:
1. Print/make/trace a template for the PJ Masks logo on PJ robot.
2. Cut out the parts from the appropriate color felt. Tip: I used a paper clip to hold the template with the felt.
As you cut, place them without sticking them down.
3. Once you’re happy with the placement, peel off the backing from one piece at a time and stick it in place.
4. Add stripes to the sleeves. Make sure it’s loose enough to fit the hand through (you can leave it open/unattached at the sleeve so it has some wiggle room).
5. Add red tape around the shoulder at the seam, notching it so it goes smoothly around the curves. Again, make sure it’s not too tight.
6. Add red to the collar. At first, I mistakenly put it all around the neck. I ended up removing the the back so that M could get his head in (small detail…)
7. Finally, add a horizontal stripe across the middle.
Make the arm covers (wings):
1. Cut a long piece of cardboard in half (long-side of a cover flap is probably a great proportion!)
2. Round it out as pictured/inspired by PJ Robot.
3. Pencil in your general guidelines for your paint.
4. Start painting it in, one color at a time! You may need to do more than one layer of each.
5. When your base colors have dried, add in some black stripes on the side.
6. Don’t forget to paint the back since technically it won’t be hidden.
7. When everything is dry, roll your arm covers so that they are slightly curved.
8. Measure around your child’s arms – around the shoulder, and cut two pieces of elastic.
Glue them on to your arm covers, on the inside.
Make the mask:
1. Draw out the general shape of your mask/PJ Robot’s head and face, and cut out the outside outline.
2. Measure the placement of your child’s eyes, nose, and mouth, and pencil it in on top of your drawing of PJ Robot’s face.
3. Cut out the nose/eyes/mouth areas.
4. Paint in PJ Robot’s eyes and mouth.
5. Paint the rest – the sides silver, and the rest a bluish tone of black.
You may wan tt a second coat. Allow the paint to dry completely before gluing a piece of elastic to the back, sizing it according to your child’s face.
Your PJ Robot costume is complete! What is your child’s favorite PJ Masks character? Got any variations, tips, or other costume ideas to add? Comment below!