DIY Halloween Costume: Poison Ivy

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Kim Kardashian as Poison Ivy
Kim Kardashian as Poison Ivy for Halloween | Avalon

Here at CF, we are proud to admit that we’re a little geeky on the inside (okay, maybe a lot geeky). And what’s better than showing off our inner geek with a geeky Halloween costume? As the DIY columnist, I’m *obviously* going to DIY my Halloween costume.

For my costume this year, I wanted to pay homage to Poison Ivy, the sexy, powerful villainess from the DC Universe who often makes appearances as one of Batman’s adversaries. Here’s how I did it!

Materials You Need

Diy costume poison ivy materials
  • A green dress. Bonus points for something that shows off the girls; this dress is from Forever 21 and only costs $13.80!
  • Scissors and a wire cutter
  • Needle and thread
  • LOTS of fake leaves; you can find these almost anywhere that has a “home décor” section; you can get one bunch for $1 at the Dollar Store!
  • Optional: defining accessories, like a red wig.

How To: DIY Poison Ivy Costume

There’s only really one step for this DIY…

Diy costume poison ivy just sew

Sew the leaves onto the dress. Or, if it’s really last minute, glue them on instead. This won’t give as much of a  3-D effect, but will save a lot of time. Be careful if you choose the glue-on method, though – it’s messy!

Tips and Tricks For Creating a DIY Poison Ivy Costume

Now, I could just leave it at that, but here are some helpful tips and tricks for creating this costume:

Tip 1: Variety

Utilize a variety leaves; opt for different types, sizes, textures, and colors. You can even add a little more jazz by throwing in some roses and, if you’re feeling really fancy, ivy tendrils and vines (these are a tad bit more expensive, $6 at Michael’s).

Diy costume poison ivy tip1

Trim some leaves off the main bunch with scissors, or even chop whole stems off leaves by using wire cutters to cut through the wire stems. If you’re feeling particularly lazy strapped for time, utilize the entire bush! More on how to sew these below…

Tip 2: Sewing Leaves

Diy costume poison ivy tip2,1

Slide the needle at the base of the underside of each leaf. Do this through a very small section of the leaf, so the thread is barely visible on the outside. Secure this to the dress. (And pardon my chipped nails!)

Diy costume poison ivy tip2,2,

To get the leaf to lie flat against the dress, simply take the thread and run it down the middle of the leaf (similar to above), line this up to the dress and secure.

Diy costume poison ivy tip2,3

Make sure to space out the leaves by sewing down the dress in small increments… these become important later.

Tip 3: Sewing Stems

“But sewing on each individual leaf takes sooo long!” That’s OK! I’ll show you how to sew on multiple leaves at once, starting with stems.

First, slide off the stems from the branch, so you’re left with several leaves joined together with a convenient hole.

Diy costume poison ivy tip3,1

Thread your needle through this convenient hole, and attach to the dress.

Diy costume poison ivy tip3,2

Tip 4: Sewing Branches/Bushes

“But Halloween is tomorrow!!” you say.

Diy costume poison ivy tip4

Remember those increments we spaced out while sewing down leaves? These increments are also a great way to hold branches/bushes; simply slide a column through each increment loop to secure, making sure the leaf sections all the way down the individual branches “catch” on each loop. That way, the branch doesn’t fall. You can also sew a tight loop around the branch/bush stem to secure the whole dang thing to the dress, like I did here.

Additional Advice:

  • Don’t cover the whole dress. You will end up looking a lot like shrubbery.
  • Balance the number of leaves. It helps to generally plan out the layout beforehand. For example, if the dress is starting to look top heavy, place an equal amount of leaves on the bottom to visually balance the leaves out.
  • Try on your dress often to check the placement of the leaves. It may look good on a 2-D flat dress, but when worn, your lovely girly curves will change that!
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Translation: don’t use one string of thread to sew down all the leaves; if one ends up getting snagged/pulled somewhere, ALL the leaves will fall off. Instead, use a finite amount thread and “section off” where the leaves go. (For example, use one yard of thread per strap, one yard of thread per the belt section, etc…).
  • For roses, simply slide off the rose head from the stem. Next, slide off a leaf section from one of leafs on the vine, and slide the rose head onto this empty nub.


Diy costume poison ivy finale

Optional: The Finishing Touches

Diy costume poison ivy accessories

Now the dress alone is pretty stunning in itself, but it can definitely be taken to the next level and look more like Poison Ivy with a few defining accessories:

  • Obviously, opt for a bright red wig. I’m making one out of these hair extensions.
  • I’m using these face “glitter tattoos” and painting the black over with my glitter green nail polish.
  • Also, these metallic nails would normally be incredibly tacky, but for Halloween? They’re perfect!
  • Not shown: I’m ordering black full length gloves and planning to make a leaf crown (see this DIY for help!)
  • If you ended up getting tendrils/vines, they’re actually very malleable , and you can easily bend them with your hands to create “jewelry”; I made a necklace-choker thing so the leaves “cover up” the intensity that is my cleavage (shown below).
Diy costume poison ivy necklace

And that’s it! I’d show you the full-on look costume, but I kind of want to save the “wear once” items for when it’s actually Halloween. But the photo above shows you just how amazing these leaves look!

My favorite thing about this costume is it can easily be adapted for other different costumes. Try a nude-colored dress and go as Eve (strategically place the leaves) and have someone else go as Adam! Use fall-colored leaves and wheat stems and go as Demeter, the Harvest Goddess! Try a green body suit and green tights to take this all the way into cosplay! So many possibilities, what would you choose?

Feedback please:

Are you an inner-geek? If so, let me know your favorite comic book character! And while you’re doing that, what are you going to be Halloween? What do you think of this DIY post, and what would you like to see in the future? Let me know in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “DIY Halloween Costume: Poison Ivy”

  1. This is a really great idea for a costume! I understand you don’t want to mess with the costume much before Halloween, but I would love to see a pic of the final product with the hair and everything! Any chance of that happening at some point?

  2. I bought a $15 white dress from H&M and dyed it hunter green. Also I’m stapling the leaves… Sewing takes too long!! I’ll post a pic on Friday. Thanks for your help!


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