Gumball Machine Costume

gumball machine (1)

Hey 🙂

Ever wanted to dress up as a gumball machine??  No? Well I’ll be honest it’s not like it was a life long dream of mine either, but it is a pretty cool Halloween costume!!  And if it’s always been a dream of yours, well I have your tutorial right here!!! 🙂

This costume took a lot of time and effort but i loved it in the end and was totally worth it!!

What you’ll need:

  • Red Skirt
  • Red string top
  • A bra you don’t mind ruining!
  • Polystyrene balls and ALOT of them
  • Silver glitter card paper (non glitter card paper is fine too)
  • Black glitter card paper (again non glitter is fine)
  • 2 -3 Sheets of black or dark grey foam sheets
  • Glue Gun
  • Paint
  • Mod Podge (optional)
  • Mini Gumball machine
  • Thin Hairband
  • Pom pom balls
  • Piece of scrap cardboard (this will only be used to protect the string top when gluing)

Where you’ll get them:

Red Skirt – I already had a red skirt which I had picked up in Forever 21.  You could easily pick a red skirt up in Penneys if you don’t have one and don’t want to spend too much money!

red skirt

Red String Top – Penneys again!! 🙂 cheap and cheerful because you’ll only see the back of this top!

red vest

Polystyrene Balls – I got these in Mr. Price! You will need a lot!! I overestimated just incase.  You will need about 70 to be sure!!


Silver glitter card, Black glitter card and Foam sheet – I picked up the glitter card in Arts & Hobby Shop in the Jervis.  I got two of each incase I made any mistakes which I always end up doing! I got the foam sheets from Mr. Price.

foam sheets

Glue Gun – I got my glue gun on Amazon! You can get a good starter glue gun for cheap.  I just seen a glue gun for £9 with 50 glue sticks included.  So that’s roughly about €12.  You will use this so much it’s definitely worth getting if you plan to do more crafts 🙂

Glue gun

Paint – Acrylic paint is best.  I got some out of Mr. Price cheap.  However I also got more off Amazon.  Acrylic paint can range from cheap to expensive so it really depends how much you’re willing to pay!

Mod Podge – I just recently got a 16oz bottle of this off Amazon for £5 (about €7) which is great because it lasts so long! I use this for sooooo much! It’s a definite must have for crafters who will be doing several different types of crafts.  I used it in this project just to shine up the polystyrene balls to give them that gumball glossy finish but this can be skipped.

mod podge

Mini Gumball Machine – I got this from Amazon for £4 / €6.  Make sure it’s the mini one you get or otherwise it will be too big for your head!!  The one I got was about 13cm.  This is optional, you could also just use a red hat or a red lid on a hairband.  I didn’t do the lid because I wanted to do something more fun but being technical about it, the red lid would have been more accurate to the costume.  Meh….as long as you’re happy with the costume that’s all that matters 🙂

gumball machine mini

Thin hairband – I just picked this up in Claire’s Accessories.  I may have gotten a child’s one cos it was digging into my head for most of the night (or maybe I just have a big head) 🙂

Pom pom balls – Mr. Price or Dealz always have these.  I picked mine up in Mr. Price.  Use the size that will fit comfortably on the hairband.  So not too big and not too small.

pom pom balls

Hand Drill – I had gotten this from Amazon.  This is only used for the head piece so if you decide not to make the head piece then you don’t need it.  If you have an electric drill, you could probably use this instead.  I would be a danger to myself and everyone around me with an electric drill – they actually kind of scare me.  Also I don’t like loud noises 🙂 so the hand drill was perfect for me!


Now to get started making this costume all from scratch! 🙂

Step 1 – Best to start with the polystyrene balls as these take the longest to prepare.  You need to cut all the balls in half.  Some will get ruined by the polystyrene chipping off when you cut them so just be careful not to lose too many.  This was the worst part for me, the noise of polystyrene being cut is like nails on a chalkboard to me, but i just struggled through and got my boyfriend to cut a good few for me!  That’s a cheat right there 🙂

Step 2 – Paint all the half polystyrene balls all different colours to resemble gumballs with the acrylic paint.  I mixed colours together so I could get a wider range of colours.  You don’t need to paint the flat side, just the roundy side of the ball.  They will need about 2 – 3 coats of paint to make sure the colour is vibrant.

Step 3 – This is optional, when the paint was dry I put a layer of Mod Podge (gloss type) over all the paint on each half ball to make them shiny and glossy like gumballs.

Before I go any further, if the polystyrene balls seem like a lot of effort and you’re just like “Meh…effort”, you could always use pom-pom balls which I mentioned earlier.  I don’t think the end costume looks as good but it is easier and quicker and wouldn’t stiffen the top like the polystyrene balls do.  So it really depends how much time you have to spare to make this costume and how you want the end result to look.

Step 4 – Try the top on and tuck it in the red skirt and mark the red top were the red skirt comes up to.  You don’t want to have to do the balls all the way down the vest top because it stiffens the top and also like seriously it’s takes AGES.

Step 5 – I had to glue a bra into the inside of the top because it stiffens you need to put some shape into the chest part of the top.  Just take an old bra or even a cheap bra from penneys, preferably red (matchy matchy).  Put them both on and pin with safety pins so you know where to glue the bra.  Then take it back off very carefully so you don’t pull it out of place.  Plug in your glue gun and wait for it to heat up.  Remember to be careful cos the glue gets hot (duh Ciara we know).  But seriously I have the scars to prove it 🙂 Then glue the bra to the inside of the top, but make sure to leave the back unglued so you can still close it.  We only need the front glued anyway for the shape.

Step 6 – Place the scrap cardboard in between the front and back of the top so when we’re gluing, it doesn’t seep through and actually end up gluing the front of the top to the back!  It’d be a bit hard to get it on then!  Now start gluing the flat side of the balls onto the top.  Vary the colours beside each other, make sure it looks mixed up!  Continue down to the point where the skirt will meet the top and completely cover the front of the top.  Don’t stick any onto the back or this top will be impossible to get on because it won’t stretch at all.  This will take awhile so have patience, it’ll be worth it!! 🙂


Step 7 – Cut the silver (glitter) card paper to the size you want, this will be the metal part of the gumball machine at the front.  Cut out the following on the black (glitter) card paper – “25c” , a small box to resemble the part where you collect the gumball and then finally the turn handle part of the machine.  What we’re going to do is make the turn handle part 3D so it comes off the skirt.  Again if this seems too much effort for you, it will be fine to just do a 2D version with just the black card paper.  For the 3D effect, cut the black foam in the same shape as the turn handle.  Cut this out about 4 or 5 times.  Then cut out thin foam bits 1.5 – 2 cm and bend and glue in half.   Cut out about 12 of these or as many as needed.  We are going to put these between each layer of foam turn handle shape to raise them up.  Start with the first turn handle foam piece, glue 3 of these little foam bits on top, spread them out.  Then place glue on these little pieces and place the next foam turn handle shape on top. Repeat this until you get a raised effect that you’re happy with (see picture below).  Then the top layer should be the black (glitter) card paper directly onto the last foam turn handle piece so it matches the 25c and the box.  Glue this 3D handle to the silver card paper, and the 25c above this.  Then finally glue the top edge of the black box to the bottom of the silver card paper so it hangs down.  I did this costume last year so I don’t have any photos to help with the 3D construction of the handle but if you have any questions let me know.
Finally you’re ready to glue this to the red skirt.  This will be stiff so make sure to place it somewhere comfortable.  I put it somewhere in the middle so it didn’t restrict the elastic on the skirt waist band. (remember to put the scrap cardboard between the front and back of the skirt).


Step 8 – The head piece.  I put the hairband on and put the mini gumball machine on top to see where i wanted the gumball machine on the hairband first.  I used the hand drill to make a hole on one side of the gumball machine.  I found if I tried to put it through both sides of the gumball machine it wouldn’t sit properly on my head.  I then slid the gumball machine onto the hairband and put some hot glue when i had it positioned right around the hole where the hairband went through and also on the other side where the machine just sat on top of the hairband.  Then i glued pom pom balls down each side of the hair band.


Step 9 – Be careful putting the top on so that no balls pop off.  None of mine came off and once its on you it’s fine for the whole night, but just don’t be flinging the top on or some might fall off 🙂  Finally do some colourful makeup and paint your nails all different colours! Wear a pair of red shoes (if you have them, not essential though) to complete the costume 🙂

The final look:1378639467787

In the picture I have silver band down the end of the skirt.  I didn’t have instructions for this because I ended up cutting it before I even left the house because it completely restricted the movement of my legs.  I was walking like I had to pee.  This was a last minute decision to put this on so when I realized it was not going to work  I didn’t have time to try fix and think of something else to put instead.  I would just leave it off or if you can come up with something silver to put as trimming that will stretch well then definitely go ahead and glue that on 🙂

I loved loved loved this costume!!  What i love about making my own costumes is that they’re unique! 🙂 Best part was there was a few gumballs in my headpiece gumball machine and it worked like a real gumball machine so I was giving out some free gumballs throughout the night.  There’s a definite ice breaker that’s not creepy at all… “Hey want a gumball?”.  We’ve all been taught not to take sweets from strangers!! 🙂

A few people couldn’t figure out i was a gumball machine but thought I was Katy Perry….yeah i can see where they were going with that I suppose…..kinda… not really, I have a gumball machine on my freaking head and a sign saying 25c.  But hey each to their own! 🙂

If you decide to make this costume and have any questions just comment and I will get back to you.  Make sure to post photos of this costume if you make it to the Carm Crafts facebook page 🙂

A few more halloween bits and pieces to come so keep an eye on my blog and facebook page 🙂

Until next time 🙂

Lots of crafty love




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