How to make Dora the Explorer’s magical backpack

Go back in time for a night with this Dora the Explorer Halloween costume. Who doesn’t secretly want to be a carefree kid again? This costume will bring out the inner child in us all, and at less than $30 to make, it won’t empty your wallet!

Dora the Explorer Halloween costume

What you’ll need*

• One 48-inch by 12-inch sheet of cardboard: $2.97 
• Ten 9-inch by 12-inch sheets of purple felt: $0.23 each
• One 9-inch by 12-inch sheet of white felt: $0.23
• One 9-inch by 12-inch sheet of black felt: $0.23
• One 9-inch by 12-inch sheet of red felt: $0.23
• One light-yellow sheet of paper
• One white sheet of paper
• Colored pencils
• Black pen/pencil
• Glue gun and glue
• Ruler
• Scissors
• Pink shirt: $3.00
• Orange shorts: $5.00
• White shoes: $5.46
• Yellow socks
• Yellow bracelet

*Prices may vary.



Draw and trace.

Draw and trace the backpack for your Dora the Explorer Halloween costume

On a 9-inch by 10-inch piece of paper, draw a template for the shape of your backpack, then trace your template onto the sheet of cardboard. In order to make the front and back of the backpack, make sure to mirror your template and trace again, creating a single piece as the body of the backpack. Save this template. Once your piece is traced, start cutting. After your piece is cut, fold the cardboard to make the front and back.


Body of backpack

Create the body of your Dora the Explorer backpack

With a hot-glue gun, attach the purple felt to the cardboard. Start by gluing the center of the felt and moving to the edges in order to wrap it around the cardboard. Do this for both the front and back, and make sure to cover the bottom, too.


Sides of backpack and side pockets

Create the sides and side pockets of Dora's backpack

Measure two strips of cardboard for the sides of Dora’s backpack, and cut; this will be the thickness of your backpack. The strips can measure the desired width. Then, glue two slightly bigger pieces of felt to each cardboard strip. This is done by gluing the strip to the middle of the felt, making sure to leave a border without wrapping around the remaining felt. Leaving the border will help you to easily attach the side parts to the rest of your backpack. Glue the rest of the felt to the inner parts of your backpack to close the sides. For the side pockets, measure two pieces of felt about two inches wider on each side of the backpack. To create the pockets, fold in and glue an inch of the felt.


The opening flap

On a piece of paper, trace and cut the desired shape of the flap. This is to create a template and to trace it on the cardboard. After you have traced the flap and cut the cardboard, fold the flap twice to create three pieces to make it wrap around the backpack. Then, glue the felt to the flap and wrap it all around the edges so no piece of cardboard shows. After you’re done gluing the felt to the flap, glue the flap to the backpack.



Creating the straps to your backpack for your Dora the Explorer Halloween costume

The strap will be composed of two parts. One part will be attached to the top, and the other part will be attached to the bottom of the backpack. For the top part of the strap, measure the strap (2 inches by 12 inches) on what is left of your cardboard sheet, and cut. Once you have the two pieces of cardboard that compose your top part of the strap, cut two pieces of felt (4 inches by 12 inches) to wrap around the straps. Glue the straps to the top of the backpack, but not to the bottom. For the bottom part of the straps, only use a strap of felt (for this part of the strap, no cardboard is needed), and glue to the bottom of your backpack. Connect both the top and bottom parts of the strap with tape; this will enable you to put on and take off your backpack.


Magical backpack face

Create the face for the magical backpack

Eyes: With a pen or pencil, on your template for the backpack or any other piece of paper, draw the eyes as shown in the image. Make sure to have a thick outline to show a white ellipse within. Once you are done drawing the eyes for the backpack, cut out the white part of the eyes; this is your template to trace on top of the white felt. For the outline of the eyes, cut two ellipses from the black felt.

Mouth: Draw the mouth, following the same process as for the eyes; trace the pieces onto the black and red felt.

Eyebrows: On a piece of paper, draw the shape of the eyebrows, and color in with a yellow pencil.


Dora’s magical map

Creating Dora's magical map

For the body of the map, roll your light-yellow piece of paper, and tape the edge to keep it rolled. Make sure the magical map fits in the side pockets of your backpack. On a piece of white printing paper (8.5 inches by 11 inches), draw the eyes, the mouth and the eyebrows for the map. With your colored pencils, color the mouth in with pink or red and the eyebrows with blue. Then cut everything, and glue onto the rolled sheet of paper.


Dress the part!

Dora the Explorer Halloween costume

Now that you’ve finished your backpack and map, throw on a pink shirt and some orange shorts, and your homemade Dora the Explorer costume is complete!

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