13 DIY World Book Day costumes 2024

Boy in a homemade costume

by Lily Anderson |
Updated on

If you want to bring your child's favourite book to life, it doesn't have to cost the earth, thanks to our pick of the best DIY World Book Day costumes for toddlers.

Whether you're upcycling old clothes from around the house or getting the sewing machine out of the loft, or you're throwing together a last-minute costume (don't worry we've all done it) we've found 13 incredible DIY World Book Day costume ideas for you to try, with character favourites such as Harry Potter, Peter Rabbit and more.

When is World Book Day?

World Book Day is officially on Thursday 7 March 2024, but every day can be World Book Day by just spending five to ten minutes reading, telling and sharing stories with your kids.

For even more outfit inspiration, check out our pick of the best books to inspire World Book Day costumes.

What is World Book Day?

Taking it back to 1997, the UK and Ireland had their very first World Book Day to encourage young people to discover the joys of reading.

Ever since then, the charity's mission has been to provide every child and young person with their own book. We encourage you to spend time with your children to share stories and get them excited about reading.

If your little one already loves to read about heroes and villains, adventures or anything else for that matter, then there's another way to bring the story to life - through dressing up, of course!

World Book Day has developed into an exciting opportunity for little kids (and big kids) to dress up as their favourite authors, characters and everything in between.

Reading is a superpower! Not only does it unlock a world of imagination, but it brings an opportunity to learn about new things as well as share experiences.

World Book Day is the chance to bring all of these three things to life by dressing your toddler up as their favourite book characters.

The best homemade World Book Day costumes

Gruffalo costume

Gruffalo costume
©SusanHarris / Getty

Are your kids obsessed with The Gruffalo stories? They're not alone. This family favourite picture book is adored by many. You'll get lots of giggles out of attempting to create his knobbly knees, turned-out toes and wart at the end of his nose.

What you need:

  • Brown dressing gown with hood

  • White socks for the horns

Tinkerbell costume

Tinkerbell costume
©Ieungchopan / Getty

From one magical story to another, this Tinkerbell costume is inspired by the incredible tale about Peter Pan - a boy who doesn't want to grow up. Just like how we don't want our toddlers getting older, right?

Although we don't have any pixie dust, what we do have are good ideas for creating memories. Spent time getting crafty with your little one and make their costume together.

What you need:

  • Green dress

  • Fairy wings

  • Fairy wand

Gangster Granny costume

Gangster Granny costume
©Davin G Photography / Getty

Inspired by one of the best David Walliams books for kids, Gangsta Granny is a hilarious costume for your toddler. Not only will they look adorable dressed as an OAP, but they'll love hearing about the adventures Ben has when he stays at his grandma's house for their bedtime story.

What you need:

  • Decorate your baby walker

  • Dress

  • Cardigan

  • Scarf for a hat

Tiger Who Came To Tea costume

Tiger Who Came To Tea Costume
©Ray Kachatorian / Getty

Could you imagine what would happen if we invited your family for afternoon tea with a tiger? Well, you're about to find out... Considered one of the best books to buy for two year olds, Tiger Who Came To Tea is a great illustrated read for children and is an easy get-up for World Book Day.

What you need:

  • Orange t-shirt

  • Face paint

Harry Potter costume

Harry Potter Costume
©Cavan Images / Getty

Everyone's favourite wizard, Harry Potter, is a great choice for your World Book Day activities. Not only can you dress up the whole family in different characters, but you can read extracts from the book as well as watch the blockbuster films. What a magical day!

What you need:

  • Round glasses

  • Wand

  • Red and yellow scarf

  • Black jacket

  • White top/shirt

  • Tie

Alice in Wonderland costume

©cassinga / Getty

You'd be mad as a hatter not to choose an Alice in Wonderland costume for World Book Day. How adorable will they look dressed as Alice? Or even the White RabbitRed Queen or Tweedledum.

What you need:

  • Blue dress and white pinny/blue top and white skirt

  • White or striped socks

  • Pack of cards

The Worst Witch costume

The Worst Witch
©gloriasalgado / Getty

You know the best Halloween costumes for babies and toddlers that you bought last year? Well, you can use them again.

If your little one loves to read all about Mildred Hubble and Ethel Hallow as they complete witch training at Cackle's Academy, then they'll love dressing up as them. Plus, we love that you can use what's already in the house.

What you need:

  • Last year's Halloween costume

  • Witches hat

  • Striped socks

  • Wand

Caterpillar costume

Caterpillar costume
©yogesh_more / Getty

Whether you're attempting to sew an Absalom the Caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland or The Hungry Caterpillar costume for your little one, there are lots of ways that you can get creative with fabrics. Not a big sewer? Get creative with face paint, a stripey top and pipe cleaners.

What you need:

  • Sewing machine or glue gun

  • Fabrics

  • Face paint

  • Stripey top or jumpsuit

Rabbit costume

©MelkiNimages / Getty

We're all about recycling costumes here at Mother&Baby. Whether you're hoping to expand your child's dressing up box or re-use it at Easter, a rabbit costume is a safe bet. There are loads of different book characters that you can choose from including, Peter Rabbit, White Rabbit and even Fiver.

What you need:

  • A pair of bunny ears

  • Wool for a tail

  • White or brown t-shirt

Lion costume

Lion costume
©parinyabinsuk / Getty

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz are just two examples of our favourite lion characters. There will be nothing cuter then when your little one transforms into a big cat for World Book Day.

What you need:

  • A mane (try styling your little one's hair to achieve this)

  • Onesie

  • Tail

Fun Play Lion Costume for Kids
Price: $24.99

Spider costume

©Image taken by Mayte Torres / Getty

Well, this is definitely a spin on Spiderman. If your toddler loves the Itsy Bitsy Spider nursery rhyme, Charlotte's Web or any other book that includes creepy crawlies, then this is the right costume for them. It can even be brought back out at Halloween.

What you'll need:

  • Stripped trousers

  • Socks

  • Black t-shirt

Kids Animal Spider Fancy DressAmazon
Price: £15.21

Pig costume

©Elke Van de Velde

From Babe to Piglet, Wilbur and the Three Little Pigs, little oinkers are a hit when it comes to children's books. If you're looking to create a DIY world book day costume with little fuss, then a piggy is a great shout.

What you need:

  • Pink onesies or t-shirt

  • Pink tail

  • Pink nose

Do I need to make homemade costumes for world book day?

You don't have to go overboard if you do decide to make homemade costumes for World Book Day. You can just use items of clothes you have around the house, or buy a World Book Day costume for your little one if it's easier.

Lily Anderson has contributed to various Bauer Media brands such as Mother&Baby Yours, What’s The Best,Closer, heat and Spirit and Destiny as a Deputy Commercial Content Editor since 2019 and currently works at CPSL Mind as a Deputy Campaigns and Communications Manager

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