DIY Ninja Costumes.

Maybe you’re getting a little bit anxious because Halloween is right around the corner and you don’t have a costume for your little ghoul yet. That’s where I was at this point in the month a couple of years ago, but lucky for me Luke and Levi wanted to be Ninjas! You know I’m all about making things EASY.  The most popular post on my blog is my DIY Superhero cape tutorial which requires no sewing at all.  Apparently there are other moms out there who likes things easy too because it has been pinned thousands of times!  I thought I’d share another super easy costume idea with you all (and it’s no-sew too!)…

My boys love ninjas, so when they asked if we could buy ninja costumes I said what every craft blogger would say, “No…but we can make them!”  So I set out to find the pieces that I would need, black pants and black shirts (because ninjas are stealthy).  You can sew the shirt or pants yourself if you are so inclined, you’ll find a great pants tutorial here and an awesome shirt pattern here.  For the sake of time, I went to Walmart and bought the shirts and pants super cheap.  I spent about $13 on each boy’s costume… not bad compared to store bought ninja costumes that will run you well over $20 each!

All you need to make awesome ninja costumes is a pair of black pants (soft and comfy is the name of the game) and two long sleeved black t-shirts.  What makes the outfit is the “hood”.  It’s created by one of the long-sleeved t-shirts, by tying it around your child’s head like so…

This could not be easier to do.  Your boys will think you are the coolest when you show them how to make a ninja hood out of a t-shirt!  Paired with the black pants and black long-sleeved t-shirt you have the perfect ninja outfit.  I would suggest putting the clothes on first, then the doing the hood.  If you want to you can create a throwing star to accessorize!  I cut two out of cardboard and painted them with a few coats of silver spray paint.

Here’s Levi, my littlest ninja!

DIY Ninja Costume Tutorial at

DIY Ninja Costume at
DIY Ninja at

Levi thinks he is the absolute coolest in this outfit!  I love that it’s an easy dress up play outfit and that he can wear the pieces by themselves any day of the week!  Bonus! One thing to remember is that if this costume is being worn on Halloween, and you trick or treat after dark, you will definitely need to add some reflective tape.  I think it would look cool integrated into the outfit by adding some to the bottom of the shirt and a stripe down each side of the pant legs.  That way your little ninja will be visible while he’s out knocking on doors.

Thanks for reading!  Have a great time with this costume and don’t forget to check out more Halloween projects at The Southern Institute.

Easy DIY Fall Banner.

Last month I was invited by a friend to lead a local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in a fall craft.  I’ve never done anything like that before… there were going to be about 45-50 women attending.  I was pretty sure they would be excited about any kind of project.  If you have or have ever had a preschooler you know how it is, you’re just happy to be out of the house!  So I didn’t feel TOO much pressure, but I still wanted to bring them a project that they would be proud to take home with them at the end of the meeting.  I wanted it to be something that they would actually display, so I brought the supplies to make this DIY Fall Banner.

DIY Fall Banner from The Southern Institute

This was an idea that was inspired by a banner that I saw at Whole Foods, of all places.  They had done one for Halloween, a bit bigger, with different stencils and different colors, but the same thing pretty much.  I just made it “fallish” for the season.  I thought I’d share the quick tutorial with you.

There are just a few supplies that you’ll need for this project:

  • 12×12 patterned paper, cut longways into halves.
  • book pages that will fit the width of the patterned paper, leaving a little bit of margin on the sides and a good bit of a margin on the top.
  • fall themed stencils
  • dark brown craft paint
  • paint brushes or spouncers
  • glue stick
  • twine


Step One:

Divide each 12×12 paper into two, directly down the middle from top to bottom.

Step Two:

Use your gluestick to adhere a book page to each piece of patterned paper.  Allow more room at the top than the bottom, leaving room to fold over the top edge for hanging.


Fall Banner Tutorial at The Southern Institute


Step three:

Grab a stencil, your brown paint, and a spouncer stencil brush.  Get to painting.  It only takes a little bit of paint.  Allow to dry.

I created my own stencils with my Silhouette machine.  I searched the shapes I wanted at the Silhouette store and purchased them.  I did this mainly because I needed about 36 stencils cut for the MOPS group and I wanted to keep costs down as much as possible.  You could easily draw your own on card stock or trace a shape from any kind of source.

DIY Fall Banner from The Southern Institute.

DIY Fall Banner from The Southern Institute.

Step four:

Turn your paper over.  Fold the top edge of the paper over to the back to create a crease.  Open it up and line the crease with glue, then put some glue on the inside top edge of the paper as well.  Fold it over, making sure that it sticks well.  If not, add more glue.  Repeat with the rest of the panels, spacing them out as you wish.

DIY Fall Banner from The Southern Institute

Here’s photo of a few of the moms crafting and sharing.  They totally LOVED this project!  It was quick and easy… even for those who professed to be “uncrafty”.  I beg to differ.

DIY Fall Banner from The Southern Institute

Your banner is done!  

All that is left to do is decide where to hang it in your home.  Our mantle was the perfect place.

DIY Fall Banner from The Southern Institute

 What do you think?  Could you find a place for a cute little fall banner in your home?  What stencil shapes would you choose?

Thanks so much for coming by and spending some time with me.  Check out some other fun fall crafts while your here!  The tutorials tab at the top of the page has a seasonal section full of great seasonal crafts!

Faux Peter Pan Collar with Sumo from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff.

I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t even remember where I first saw today’s guest.  I believe it was one of her guest posts on another blog, but I can’t quite be sure!  What I am sure of is that Sumo is one sweet lady, and creative as all get out!  I’m so excited to have her as my guest today at The Southern Institute.  Please welcome, Sumo from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff! (Insert wild applause here)


I’m Sumo, and I blog over at Sumo’s Sweet Stuff.


Sumo's Sweet Stuff

I do a little bit of crafting, and a lot of sewing. With three little girls to sew for, I’ve always got plenty of projects to work on! Besides sewing and fabric shopping, I’m a big fan of historical fiction, diet coke, chips and salsa, and most treats.

I’m so excited to be visiting over here today!

The Peter Pan collar seems to be super trendy right now, so I thought I would jump on the bandwagon by turning some plain shirts into something a bit cuter.

Here’s what you need to get started:

- t-shirt(s)
- iron on vinyl
- iron
- pen/pencil

- scissors

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Start off by taking a plain piece of paper (even tissue paper would be great since it’s a little bit see through) and trace the neckline of the shirt.

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

You can probably find a template online somewhere for the collar part, which is totally great – but you do need to make sure your neckline will fit the shirt you have. Find the middle of the neckline. I just hand drew the collar part to the middle of the neckline next. I love the little scalloped edge!

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Cut out your template.

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

If you’re like me and like to match your girlies, you might have to take time to draw a couple of other templates as well. I did three different variations for my three girls’ shirts.

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Now take the template and trace it on to the back of the iron on vinyl. The iron on vinyl will have a clear sheet over the top of the side that will be displayed on the shirt. Flip the template and trace again so that you will have both sides of the collar.

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Cut the templates out and make sure the curve of the neckline is going to work with the shirt before you start ironing.

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Iron the templates on to the shirt, and peel up the clear backing.

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

And you’re done! Can you believe how easy that was?

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

I made all three shirts for my girls in an hour; talk about productive!

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Faux Peter Pan Collar - Sumo's Sweet Stuff

I hope you enjoy making your own iron on vinyl shirts; there are so many fun things you can do with iron on vinyl!

Come visit me at Sumo’s Sweet Stuff anytime!


Thank you so much for being my guest today, Sumo!  These are just adorable and perfect for pairing with spring and summer dresses!