How To Make an Easy Ms. Frizzle Costume
Supplies for the wig
-wig base (pick one of the following, see this yarn wig tutorial for more details): worn out pair of tights, wig cap, or stocking cap
-bright orange yarn
-light orange yarn
-tapestry (yarn) needle
Supplies for the dress
-blue dress (you can make or buy one)
-light blue, light green, brown & white felt
-washable markers or chalk for marking felt
Make your wig according to the directions in my yarn wig tutorial, specifically following the instructions for how to make a long wig. The key to getting The Frizz’s hair right is to give her wig a center part (securing your yarn bundles all in a row down the center of the wig). Another key is to use a lighter shade of orange yarn for the front couple rows of hair, versus a darker, bright orange yarn for the rest of the wig. The wig construction for Ms. Frizzle is so easy because once you make yourself a center part, long-haired wig, you simply style the wig into a big bun with a rubber band & bobby pins, and trim a few flyaway “hairs” for effect.
I based my easy take on Ms. Frizzle specifically on a 2001 computer game called Magic School Bus Volcano Adventure, largely because I knew volcanoes and globes would be pretty easy to draw and cut out! :D There are so many different Ms. Frizzle outfits out there, and there are even a lot of science-print dressed to choose from if you want to stick to DIYing just the wig. If you’ve got the orange hair and a space print dress, folks will know who you’re supposed to be, AND cute little kids might even want to give you a hug or two. Speaking from my comic con experience of such kid behavior, it’s super adorable!
Step one for the dress situation is to make or buy a blue dress. I used the Decades of Style ESP Dress pattern because it was beginner sewing-friendly and adding long sleeves with an elastic cuff was a simple modification.
Once you’ve got your dress base sorted, it’s time to get drawing! Grab your brown felt and place it right side down on your work surface. On the wrong side of your felt, draw several volcano shapes that are about 5 inches tall and cut them out. Using the volcano shapes as a guide, cut some white felt for each volcano: specifically, some smoke for the tops of your volcanoes, and some additional felt for the tops of your volcanoes, as shown in the photos. I freehanded most of them to give the dress a bit of variety (and save some time). In total, my dress had 8 volcanoes, and they all have smoke save for the two on the sleeves. Glue your cut-out volcanoes together using tacky glue and let dry.
Meanwhile, grab your light blue and green felt. With the right side of your blue felt facing down and using a small plate or lid as a stencil, trace seven circles onto your felt and cut them out. With your green felt, cut out several land mass-esque shapes to represent continents. Again, free handing will save you time if you don’t want to go for perfect accuracy. Just like with the volcanoes, glue your globes together using tacky glue and let dry.
To finish your dress, simply use tacky glue to stick your globes and volcanoes to your dress. Let dry completely before wearing. For bonus points, you could also make yourself a set of volcano earrings and shoe clips to round out the costume. In the end, just remember to have fun, and don’t forget Ms. Frizzle’s catch phrase, “Take chances; make mistakes; get messy!”
You saved my cosplay. There are no good Miss frizzle wigs out there for sale. This is genius I would of never thought of using yarn. I wish I learn about this for all my littles cosplays. I do have one question though did you do her bun? Is it a standard twist or a different way?
Good question! I just used actual rubber bands (because yarn is stronger than human hair, ha!) to make a bun, but the yarn is so thick and voluminous, getting the bun to balance and last all day/night is the one tricky bit. I actually was wearing this costume at C2E2 a couple years ago and went to the bathroom around lunchtime to tszuj my hair. Using my phone as a mirror to see the back of my head, a lady came up to me and started screaming in my face that a bathroom isn’t an appropriate place to take pictures. I tried to explain that I was fixing my hair, but she was was like, “YEAH RIGHT!” Again, with the face screaming. 🙄
She wasn’t there for comic con, and luckily other cosplayers were very nice to me when she stomped out of the bathroom in a huff, asking if I was okay and stuff. At least I learned that a women’s comic con bathroom is filled with folks with lots of nostalgia for the Magic School Bus who are ready to throw down over a yarn wig confrontation. 😂
Thank you for listening to my ted talk about styling a yarn wig. Feel free to email me if you want to keep talkin’ yarn wigs: heidi-at-handsoccupied-dot-com.