Rafiki The Lion King DIY Costume Guide

Adult Rafiki costume Lion King

Do you want to know how to make a Rafiki costume from Disney’s Lion King? We show you how to complete this fun and easy DIY outfit – the perfect project for adults and children – with our step-by-step guide.

Rafiki (voiced by Robert Guillaume in the 1994 original animated movie and John Kani in the 2019 remake) is a wise and mystical mandrill (not a baboon as many fans believe) who serves as a spiritual guide to the rest of the herd.

Rafiki’s name is a Swahili word for “friend”. He plays a significant role in Simba’s spiritual journey toward becoming the ruler of the Pride Lands. While some of the other animals lose faith in Simba’s return, Rafiki – perhaps thanks to his mystical connections – knows that he will one day return to his rightful kingdom.

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The character design for Rafiki is vibrant and memorable. A long white mane contrasts with his dark gray fur and he carries a wooden staff/walking cane that symbolizes both his advanced age and deep wisdom. It is these aspects that we will focus on replicating to make our own Rafiki costume.

How to Make a Rafiki Costume

Rafiki (Lion King) DIY costume guide

Buy Rafiki costume items:

  1. Three-piece pajamas set
  2. White feather boa
  3. Silver anime wig
  4. Fake eyebrows
  5. Official Simba Plush
  6. Craft twine
  7. Red baubles
  8. Rustic wood walking stick

Step 1: Rafiki’s monkey outfit – There are a few ways you can make Rafiki’s outfit. We went for a cute three-piece, fleece pajama set with a white crop top, gray shorts, and a matching overshirt. This set matches Rafiki’s color scheme perfectly with his white chest and gray body fur.

For a male costume, a gray fleece onesie is another suitable option. Or, if you are making your adult Rafiki costume on a budget or time constraint, any dark gray top and pants would also work.

The finishing touch? A plush Simba doll so that you can recreate that iconic scene of Rafiki holding Simba up and announcing his arrival to the Pride Lands. Alternatively, if you are making a family Lion King costume, might we suggest the most adorable baby lion onesie ever?

Step 2: Rafiki’s hair – Rafiki has a white mane that blends into his long beard, as well as his bushy brows. For our outfit, we chose an anime-style silver wig and a pair of the busiest fake eyebrows we could find.

For his beard, we went a little abstract with a white feather boa. This combines well with the wig and creates the impression of a long and untamed mane.

Step 3: Rafiki’s staff – Finally, making this staff is a fun and easy DIY project in itself. We started with a rustic, wooden walking cane. At around 4 feet tall, this was just the right size for our staff prop.

Next, using some rustic twine, we tied three red Christmas baubles around the top of the cane. Rafiki has African fruits tied around his staff, so if you have a coconut or other hard-shelled fruit to hand, that will also work well.

Alternatively, if you have nothing but a length of rope handy, you could also create a couple of monkey first knots to achieve a similar effect.

Rafiki Makeup Tutorial

Rafiki costume makeup tutorial

Check out this quick and easy tutorial from Metiza Magazine that shows you exactly how they did their makeup for their Rafiki Lion King costume.

This model is completely transformed into one of our most beloved childhood Disney characters using little more than a face paint palette and a paintbrush. Check it out!

Just remember, when using face paint, look for products that are hypoallergenic, paraben-free, non-toxic, vegan, and all-natural. Also, if you have never used face paint before, make sure to check the ingredient list for any products you might be allergic to.

A couple of premium-quality, long-lasting, and sensitive-skin-friendly brands we highly recommend are Ucanbe and CCbeauty. Both come highly rated on Amazon and offer inexpensive but comprehensive palettes with all the colors you might need for your own DIY Rafiki costume.

Can I buy a Rafiki Costume?

Does all that DIY-ing sound too much like hard work? Maybe you just need a quick and easy costume for a last-minute costume party?

Don’t worry, you can find a complete, Adult Rafiki costume from Fun Costumes.

They also offer a kid’s Rafiki costume – with or without the staff included – that is suitable for children 4 years+ and just perfect for a family Lion King cosplay.

Is your four-legged friend the only family you need? Well, how about Rubie’s officially licensed Simba and Rafiki dog costume? So cute it hurts, this outfit is available in small-XL sizes so should accommodate most dog sizes.

We just hope your dog is more patient than ours – we’re not sure how long our pugs would tolerate such indignity!

More Rafiki Lion King costume ideas

Need a little more inspiration? Check out some of the best DIY Rafiki and Lion King costume ideas from our favorite adult cosplays and family outfits.