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How to Make a Sushi Roll (California Roll) Infant Costume Without Sewing!

DIY No Sew Sushi Roll (California Roll) Baby Costume

I wanted something unique and memorable for my 5 month old son's very first Halloween costume. I really wanted to do something that was unique to babies, something they can't really do when they get bigger. I finally decided that a Sushi Roll would be the perfect nod to his Asian heritage, and Hubby & I could be Sushi Chefs!

DIY No Sew Sushi Roll (California Roll) Baby & Sushi Chefs

Once I decided, I scoured the Internet but I couldn't find one to buy anywhere so I wondered how hard it would be to make. I found ONE tutorial and she sewed it, and I did NOT want to sew! Okay, I thought, I can probably figure something out... so after a bit of trial and error, this is what I came up with… and full disclosure, I am including a LOT of details, I realize this looks like a lot of steps, but there are optional steps you can take out, plus I am describing a lot, so don’t get scared off, you can do this!

P.S. this is my first tutorial, so I apologize in advance for the photo quality


  • 1" white upholstery (chair pad) foam. (I got mine at JoAnne's fabrics, 15"x 17" sheets at $5 each, I used 4. I've seen these on sale online for 50% only $2.49, and a set of 4 on amazon for $14!) Side Note here: If I were to do this again, I think I would try a thinner foam, like 3/4" or 1/2" so it's easier to cut, if I can find it.

  • Utility knife with extra blades (its better if the blade is longer than 1" or has the capacity to cut more than an inch at a time when your foam is 1" thick)

  • Green Felt, 1-9x12 sheet

  • Black Sharpie marker

  • Acrylic Paint & Acrylic Medium (also called Textile Medium, its basically a thinner to add to paint so it becomes flexible and usable on fabric) Colors needed: dark olive green, light olive green, green, yellow, red, orange, black (lots of black). Get a hobby kit for the colors, which has lots of colors in small pots. And a larger tube of black.

  • Small Foam brushes ($1)

  • Shiny Black Duct Tape - 1 roll

  • White Packing Peanuts

  • Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks (low temp)

  • Scissors

  • Tacky Craft Glue

  • Black onesie, sweatpants (boy) or leggings (girl) & socks

TUTORIAL : (lets get started!)

Step 1: Cut the costume out of foam

The costume is 2 large circles for the front A and back B of the roll, and rectangular pieces for the body (the sides C & D, and the optional shoulders E & F), these are placed between the 2 circles, creating a 'drum'.

For the circles A & B: Use a onesie that your child fits into as your size guide. Place it on the foam to help determine the size you want to make the costume. I decided on a 15" diameter Roll.

Fasten a compass from a string tied around a sharpie marker and a stick pin and draw your circle. When cutting out the circle, you don't have to cut off all the black marks or make it terribly smooth, as you will be covering this with duct tape later. However, I still practiced cutting the foam so I wouldn't mangle it, after a few experimental cuts, you will know how to handle the utility knife and the material. Overlay the cut circle on a second piece of foam, outline it, and be sure to cut inside the line this time, so the 2 circles' edges will match.

For the body mark the head, arms and legs using the onesie on B, which should be the first piece you cut. At this point you need to decide how you want the costume to go on, "over the head" or "feet first". I made this for my infant, and I wanted his arms to be free to move around, and we were going to carry him in our arms, so I wanted it to put him in it feet first. If you are doing this for an older baby or toddler, and you want to go over the head, make sure the legs hole is large enough to go over the head.

For the Body rectangles:

Cut a 5" high/wide strip of foam, match it up to the space between the arm and the leg on the circle and mark it. Cut the Rectangle C and then duplicate D, mine was approximately 9" long.

Take the remainder, or cut another 5" strip, and match it up to the space between the head and the arms, mark it & cut the shoulder pieces E & F, mine were 2" wide (this step is optional, you don't really need shoulder pieces, I didn't end up using mine)

For the "ingredients": Download this free template to cut out the avocado, crab & cucumber pieces from the foam. Make sure to cut inside your lines, you don't want any black marker on these pieces, it will show through the paint.

free sushi baby costume template

Step 2: Paint the "ingredients" of the roll

Mix the paint with the fabric mixer & Paint your pieces as indicated on the template:

Crab is Orange/Red on the outside and white in the middle

Avocado is Dark Green to Yellow

Cucumber is Dark Green to Light Green/White.

Start at the outside and brush into the middle, letting all the paint come off until the brush doesn't have any paint left (I think this technique is called 'dry brushing'?), this will help to achieve the blended look we are going for.

Make sure to also paint the sides of the pieces.

Set aside and let dry

Step 3: Assembly of the "Roll" Hot glue C & D to the Back Circle B between the arm and leg markings Hot glue the "ingredients" to the Top Circle A Hot glue A to C & D Use your 2 'shoulder' pieces to give your roll support, but don't glue them in yet if you are doing the "feet first" option. If you are doing "over the head" then hot glue in your shoulder pieces E & F, making sure to leave enough room for the head to fit through.

Step 4: The Seaweed

Cut 2 pieces of duct tape the width of your rectangle pieces C & D, so 5" long

Cover the leg openings with duct tape, make sure to center the tape over the foam. Use craft glue first to help the tape permanently adhere, otherwise, it will just peel off.

Repeat for the arm openings and the neck openings (if doing "over the head" option).

Cut a piece of duct tape 1.5" longer than the entire height of your drum, so 8.5" long. Cut a 1" slit down the center on the top and bottom of the tape to create 'tabs'. Squeeze glue onto the area where the tape is going to go.

Place the tape so that it overlaps the tape on the leg hole (I lined it up with the edge of the leg opening), and the top slit starts right at the edge of the roll.

Using craft glue to secure the 'tabs' (so only put a little glue right at the edge, under where the 'tabs' will go). Press down one 'tab' or side of the split tape, and then the other, letting the tape overlap a bit and follow the curve of the roll.

Repeat, cutting enough 8.5" pieces to go around each side section C & D. You will also do E & F if you are doing the "over the head" option.

Hint: Be sure to accurately cut the tape each time, so the tape will be hidden under the "RIM" of the roll. I made a quick cutting guide using a metal ruler and painters tape.

Step 5: To get the clean "RIM" of the roll:

In hindsight, if you are precise when you cut your pieces in step 4, you would only need to create this 'rim' at the leg and arm holes. Keep this in mind as you read through this step, could save you some time... ;-)

*Have your extra long cutting board ready, or find a piece of counter that has a little over 2 feet of space, you'll need plenty of space for this next step!

Pull a piece of duct tape that is half the circumference of the roll. (Warning, you are about to use Algebra! Here's a refresher: Circumference=diameter x 3.14) So my circumference is approximately 48", so a piece 24-25" long, if you are doing a 15" diameter roll like I am.

Cut 1" long slits every 1/2" inch along one side of the tape *I found it easiest to put the tape on the edge of a counter with 1" hanging off the edge so I could just cut it to the counter edge.

Carefully center the tape to the opening in the drum and align the edge of the solid side of the tape with the bottom of A, using the 1" foam thickness to ensure that your 1" slits are on the top edge of A. (I hope this makes sense, wish I had a photo to help illustrate) Doing this on the part that doesn't have duct tape yet will allow you to re-adjust the tape as needed. Once you have the tape aligned, place a zig zag of glue between at the edge of A about an inch wide, this is going under the tape to secure it to the foam once dry. Start at one end of the tape and fold each slit over, so that it overlaps the previous slit. Be consistent so that each slit overlaps in the same direction.

Now repeat, cutting another piece of tape about an inch longer so you are sure it will overlap the first piece and do the other half of your roll.

Repeat for the back side (piece B)

Optional Step 6: Paint the inside black

The white foam on the inside of the roll was distracting to me, so I just painted the inside black, doesn't have to be a solid black, just enough so that it wasn't white anymore. If you are doing "feet first" take a piece of duct tape and temporarily 'mark' where the arm holes are, for later when you add the shoulder pieces E & F.

Step 7: The "rice"

Place styrofoam peanuts randomly between the filling and the 'rim' of the duct tape. This is the really fun part, its like a puzzle, get those pieces as close together so it looks nice and full.

Hot glue the styrofoam peanuts onto A

Step 8: Add The Shoulders This step is for the "feet first" option. Right now the head opening is very wide, because it includes the arms. Remember those Shoulder pieces we cut? Well you can add them in, but they can't be permanent because then you can't get the costume on and off. Or you can say its no big deal, cause baby is gonna ride in a stroller/wagon or your gonna hold 'em all night, like we did.

Wrap the 2 long sides of Pieces E & F with duct tape, remember to use craft glue first. Cut a longer piece of duct tape, adding 2" for each edge, so a total of 4" longer than your rectangle, so mine is 9". Glue to the front side of E, leaving 2" on each side. Now you can tape in the shoulder pieces and easily remove them to take on and off the costume.

Optional Step 9: Create the 'Sushi Grass' pillow for your baby's head to rest on

Cut a piece of foam 6.5"x10"

Place the Roll over the edge of a piece of foam and outline the curve.

Cut out the arc

Wrap the green felt around the sides and hang over the top edge

Align the green felt, trace the arc again and cut it out

Hot glue the felt onto the foam, leaving the top edge to hang off the foam

Cut out the corners, fold those pieces in and hot glue

Cut the top into 3 triangles, and cut again with straight lines to look like the Sushi Grass garnish. You could cut a 9"x10" piece and not have the top edge of the felt hang off the foam, in this case you would glue the felt down and cut both felt and foam to create the Sushi Grass garnish look.

Congratulations! You created a California Roll costume for your baby!! I knew you could do it! Please post pics of your creation, I would love to see!

As always, I hope this helped you as you are Doin' It All!

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