My son is obsessed with Moana and Maui especially. Today I’m going to use my Cricut Maker to make a DIY Maui Costume. This should take a few hours to make but it’ll be well worth it in the end.
If you want to know my thoughts on how this costume is/isn’t cultural appropriation, skip to the end.
DIY Maui Costume using your Cricut
For starters, I began by uploading this image of Maui’s tattoos into Design Space. I really tried to make an SVG in Illustrator but it would not trace well. I found the best way to do this was to upload the image directly to Design Space, using the upload image function in Design Space, and slicing the image in Design Space.
Use the shapes to help you slice the Maui tattoo image. I also used the contour tool which was really helpful while making this. Also, duplicate your shape multiple times so that you can easily use just one portion of the shape after you’ve sliced it.
Cricut just started doing templates in Design Space again and I used it to size the separated images. Sometimes I would get a clean sliced image, when that happened I just added another Maui image and sliced off what I didn’t need.
This was a labor of love. I wish I could just share the image after I took all that time to fix it but that is just not an option right now. I would only recommend doing this if you’re comfortable using those Design Space functions for making your Maui costume.
How to make a Maui cosplay costume
The first part I worked on was the neck. I placed a square or circle on separate parts of the image and then I slice it. It took a lot of small adjustments but I eventually got there.
The trick to slicing images in Design Space is to make sure that only two images (layers) are selected. If an image is grouped together, it won’t work. You’ll need to ungroup and detach any images so that only two images are selected, then select slice. You can delete any extras so that the images are all separated and you can size them on your templates.
A great function to use in Design Space is the Contour button on the lower right side of the canvas. You can take away small areas that you don’t to be cut by simply selecting the cut line. To make it reappear, just select contour again and click on that same cut line and it will be back in your image. Hey, Let’s Make Stuff has an awesome tutorial on using Contour in Design Space.
After I cut and weeded all of the black iron-on vinyl, I used my EasyPress to attach it to the onesie. Malakai has the perfect beige tone of skin so these ones I found on Amazon were perfect. They’re the perfect tone for this Maui Halloween Costume.
The new Cricut Interactive Guide for their EasyPress machines is so informative. You can also select that you’re using an iron or if you have an EasyPress Mat or a towel. I sized the leg tattoos to be about 4.5″ wide and placed the weeded image where I wanted it on the pants. I used the EasyPress at 305ºF and pressed it for 30 seconds. I then turned the pants over again so that it’d get heated from the opposite side.
When using the EasyPress, you’re going to want to make sure that no vinyl comes in direct contact with the heated element. So when you have to overlap to get a good seal on an image, you’re going to want to make sure that the carrier sheet is covering all vinyl.
Maui Tattoo Shirt Instructions
I began with the neck so that it would line up with everything else. I then did the sleeves, back and then the chest last. Again, watch your HTV so that the heating element of the iron or EasyPress is not touching it. You can reuse your old carrier sheets or place some wax paper in-between.
Time needed: 10 minutes.
How to Apply Iron On Vinyl
- Cut your Iron On Vinyl
After you’ve uploaded your design to your software, you will want to cut your Iron
–On Vinyl shiny side down and be sure the image is reversed. Your machine should not cut completely through the clear carrier sheet. You want your vinyl to have a “kiss cut” meaning it has cut through the vinyl but not the sheet it came on.
- How to Weed Iron On Vinyl
Using a weeding tool or safety pin, remove all of the negative of the
image. Leave the part of the image that you want on your carrier sheet so that the image will stay where it is supposed to.
- Prepare your surface
You’ll want to preheat your clothing to get all the moisture out. Follow manufacturers instructions on what temperature you need to press at and whether or not you need to peel the carrier sheet off while it is still hot or has cooled down.
- How to Apply Iron On Vinyl
Again, read the manufacturer’s instruction on what temperature you need to set your Heat Press or EasyPress on. The most common kind of Iron-On is called Siser EasyWeed. To apply to a cotton t-shirt, preheat your EasyPress to 305F degrees and press your HTV for 30 seconds. Remove while the carrier sheet is still warm.
- How to care for your garment after applying HTV
Wash your garment inside out and if you need to press, press it from the back. Hang dry or tumble on low heat.
Felt Leaves for your Maui Costume
I grabbed this package of green felt from Benzie Designs and I love that it comes in different shades. I did use some embroidery floss to add some details to some of the leaves. The felt is soft so you’ll want to thread the leaves in and attach them to each other using some fabric glue.
I highly recommend using the Cricut Maker with the rotary blade to cut your felt. Use some felt that it’s 100% wool, polyester works better for your tree leaves.
Aileen’s Fabric Fusion works great for this. The colors in her cactus pack are perfect for this DIY Maui Halloween Costume. Some of the leaves I cut are not available in Design Space. I used a few from Lia Griffith and some from Amy Robison. Just click on their names and you can buy the shapes there.
Lia has a membership site and I highly recommend it. She has so many SVG files that you can download on to Design Space and cut whichever ones you’d like. She also just has great printables that are all included in her membership fees too.
So in all honesty, this was a labor of love. It does take a lot of time and attention but I really love the outcome of this Maui Costume. He looks so cute and big.
He’s only 20 lbs. and turns 2 on September 30. He’ll do anything to be big. He’s been around older kids so much that I don’t think he really knows how to act like a baby, except when he’s crying and rolling all over the floor. He’s such a fun kid to have around and I can’t wait until he figures out he can go door to door and get free candy.
Supplies for your Disney Costume
- Cricut Maker
- Cricut EasyPress
- Pink Fabric Grip Mat
- Weeding Tool
- Green Felt
- Design Space File
- Maui Tattoo image
- Black Iron-On Vinyl
- Embroidery Floss (optional)
- Aileens Fabric Fusion
- Jute Ribbon
- Onesie and matching pants
- Brown Moccasins
- A lot of time…
His latest thing is to grab his tongue. He has never done it before but he chose this day that he was supposed to be my model and went to town.
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THIS DIY MAUI COSTUME WILL BE PERFECT FOR ANY TODDLER AND IT’S DEFINITELY ONE THAT YOU CAN SHOW OFF WITH PRIDE.
Is the Maui Costume Culturally and Racially Insensitive?
So if you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that my husband is from Tonga. My son’s name is Malakai and it’s spelled the same way in the translated scriptures just like the prophet Malachi.
The original Disney Maui costume was pretty offensive considering that they had the skin-tone dark and if you saw a white child walking around, it’d be pretty obvious that they were (though, unintentionally) walking around in a type of black face.
I DO NOT condone you or your children dressing up in ways that make their skin look darker or perhaps making their eyes smaller just so that you can try to look like someone of color.
What I did with my costume is I chose a pant/shirt combo that was closest to my
Maui is most relatable to Polynesians for obvious reasons but people of any culture can wear it as long as it is in a respectful manner and it’s done with good intent. Maui is a mythical God, almost like Zeus, in the islands and they’re taught from when they are young that Maui raised the islands from the ocean floor.
Go for it, but go for it with thought. I don’t see anything wrong with someone of color dressing up as Dog the Bounty Hunter (without lightening their skin) if they want to. In fact, some people at my Polynesian church did it and it was all in fun.
This is coming from a privileged white woman who has seen racially motivated comments made towards my husband and children but my husband also doesn’t get what the problem is if you do it in this way. The problem comes from trying to make your skin darker.