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DIY Corpse Bride Costume


We took a thrift store wedding dress, soaked in the kitchen sink with 8 large tea bags, bought a wig, painted some blue on it and painted her arm like a skeleton. None of it did any good until we did her face – they key is in the eyebrows people! You gotta get that “curvy” thing down! Practice on paper first. Oh, and I added alight blue wash color to her skin using watered-down craft paint. I love it and so does Maya!


A Corpse Bride costume goes down as a timeless classic costume. Not only because the Tim Burton movie is so eerily entertaining, but also because Emily, the dearly departed, is just too cute and funny to resist. Who wouldn’t want to be her in the afterlife? To get the look, you can visit eBay to find handmade Corpse Bride-inspired dresses that are going for up to $300. Or you can check out the expensive packaged costume route, the flimsiness of which will only disappoint you.


Third choice? The do-it-yourself version. It’s not only affordable, but so much fun to put together. Remember, Emily had been buried for years so the dress has to look old and tattered, but still pretty. I found this wedding dress at Goodwill for $19. If you aren’t so lucky, a white slip and tulle will work just fine.

Corpse Bride Costume


1 unwanted wedding dress or slip
1 unwanted wedding veil
1 unwanted pair of long white gloves (optional)
1 black wig with white stripes (or all black is fine)
1 can blue spray-on hair paint
Tulip Face Paint Kit
Medium brush and a liner brush, sea sponge, cup of water
Red lip liner
1 box of large tea bags

Directions: Take the dress and snip it vertically in various places at the bottom, and then rip it up above the knee, so the lining shows. Snip, and then rip the hand portion off the gloves. Fill the kitchen sink halfway with hot water, and add about 8 tea bags. Submerge the dress, veil and gloves in the tea bath and let soak for a couple of hours. During the process, squeeze the tea bags in your hands over various areas of the dress so there will be contrast in the stain. When the dress, veil and gloves are at the desired shade, take them out, wring and then hang to dry or put in dryer. Lay the dress flat on a table and on the right side of the rib cage area, paint on a white blob. Outline it with the black paint, using the liner brush so the blob will look like a hole in the dress. Use the white to paint bones and use the yellow to highlight and black to outline. Let dry.

To paint the wig, go outside and use the blue hair spray paint to cover the white streaks.

To paint the body, you want to create a “blue wash” look. Create a creamy, watery mixture of the light blue, white and water. Use the sponge to spread a light layer over the face, neck, arms and upper chest and back. Use the white and black paints to paint bones on the left arm. If desired, paint the skeleton jaw line and teeth along the left side of the face. Under the right eye, use the green, red and yellow paints to draw the maggot that crawls out of Emily’s eye.

The trick to getting the right facial expression is to paint the eyebrows in a curvy fashion (see picture), use dark-blue eye shadow on the lids and paint lines for the eyelashes. Use the lip liner to outline the shape of the mouth and fill in.

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