GHILLIE - The Home Made Camouflage

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Brokor, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    GHILLIE: The Making of Perfect Concealment

    HOW TO MAKE A GHILLIE SUIT / Home Made Camouflage
    This is an on-going project I have happening lately. I applied quite a bit of research and personal training along with military knowledge to arrive at this point. Some of these techniques are standard, while a few might be a little less known. Additionally, bear in mind I also implemented a few ideas of my own. If you are thinking about making your own ghillie, search around, try it out and use what works best for you and your environment. Time to get started...

    Let's start with the required materials I am using:

    81UD1f-GsfL._SL1500_. Every project of this kind begins with quality burlap. I ordered two 100 yard rolls that were conveniently cut to a 4" wide strip. I ended up using a little over one and a half rolls, with plenty to spare. The cost ran me about $21 with shipping for each roll, with combined shipping on two. Using burlap of this type pre-cut will save an immense amount of time, and I wouldn't have it any other way. All I had to do was cut the burlap down the middle for 2" wide strips and cut them to length. I also would cut those strips in half lengthwise to stretch my material a bit.

    Alternatively, you could order burlap bags, but you would have to cut and size everything by hand. Burlap is a natural fiber, and takes dye very well.

    71hUiFKBhGL._SL1500_. Get a quality canvas tarp or runner, anything 8 oz. or heavier will suffice. You will need to use canvas to pad the front of your ghillie (for crawling). I cut canvas patches for the elbows, entire front leg area to the belt line, and chest of my ghillie. Canvas is a natural fiber and also takes dye really well.

    817tdP-FDOL._SL1039_. The net for the ghillie should be heavier duty, and an old nylon fishing net with between a 3/4" to 1" spacing will work well. Also, I used a lighter bird netting (on right) at 3/4" spacing for my hat to cut down on weight. You would not want to use the lighter bird netting on the entire ghillie since it is not strong, and it's up to you to decide what is best. I decided not to weigh down my head, and this is a perfectly viable method.

    41lHLxSWEGL. 41oeZuGtK6L. Use either a coverall uniform, or a pant/shirt uniform. I will use the shirt and pant uniform for this ghillie. There are advantages to each, and it's more of a personal preference than anything else.

    71ufEdxzHQL._SL1000_. I recommend a cold set dye which uses soda ash as opposed to Rit dye. Again, it's up to you, but using this dye will ensure a very good set and very little to no color bleeding. I use hot tap water, mix the soda ash, add the dye and then add my pre-soaked fabric. With the yellow, red, turquoise and black dye package, you can make any hue of green, brown and grey --perfect for a ghillie.

    This is a chum bag.
    It is very cheap, but rugged and mildew resistant. I use this for the holes I cut out of the top of my boonie hat and the back of my shirt, reinforced with GOOP. This is strong stuff.

    Other materials:

    • Goop adhesive (either wood/furniture or general household works well)
    • Scissors ( a good pair of Fiskars will serve you well)
    • Sewing Machine or Hand Sewing Materials
    • Container(s) to dye fabric inside
    • Stir Sticks ( I used bamboo kabob sticks)
    • Iron
    • Rubber gloves
    • Patches --CamoPatch iron-on patches to apply vegetation as needed in the field.

    From left to right (below) --Canvas dyed dark green, light brown burlap, dark brown, light green, medium green, dark green, and grey burlap on the far right. These are the dried colors, the final result.

    This is the fully dried burlap strips (left) and the remnants of individual strands from handling the burlap. Both will be used in the making of the ghillie suit.
    Above, I am hanging the burlap strips to dry. It takes a few hours inside for each batch, but a very gentle way to dry the fabric. Do not use a dryer, unless you want a ball of string as your result.

    Here I have all my burlap and canvas after dyeing, sitting to wait for hanging. Actually, not quite all of it. I purchased these large foil pans at the dollar store for a buck each, and I also dyed in these pans. Be careful when moving them, because they will not hold their shape and can create quite the mess. Trust me. Do this outside or in a safe place like a kitchen or garage. Wear rubber gloves unless you like green hands. Be gentle with the burlap so it does not separate. BE GENTLE!

    Making The Ghillie

    Start with your burlap and cut it into strips you find to be adequate. I used two lengths, some at about 12" in length and many more at about 8" to comprise the bulk of my ghillie. Pre-soak, gently squeeze to ring out excess water, dye and separate to be rinsed and hanged dry. The longer you soak, the darker the color. Typically, from a quick dip of only a few seconds will work for lightest hues, and up to 5 minutes for the darkest. I generally stop now and get to work on the rest of the ghillie, but I will show you how to attach the burlap strips for ease of explanation.

    • After dried, you can attach to your netting once it has been fixed to your ghillie uniform fabric.
    • Slip end through and prepare to knot end.
    • When tied with a simple knot, the burlap will hold. Adjust the placement of the knot for desired length.

    Next, you will want to prepare your canvas and cut out the patches to protect the legs, chest and elbows for crawling. I intend to glue the fabric on three edges and slip in some thin foam padding before sealing the patch completely, but it's optional. The Goop adhesive is extremely strong, and when allowed to cure will create a permanent, reliable bond. Sewing is somewhat optional, but it won't hurt to do some sewing as extra security for edges.

    I have already cut and dyed the canvas, and the fit is good. I allowed space for the cargo pockets on the pants, which I would like to keep. I did cut all pockets off the shirt, which allows for a flat bond. This will be where most of the wear will occur when crawling, aside from the knees on the pants. The pads I show above are military issue, designed to slip inside the ACU uniform elbow and knee area (which we never use so I had some on hand). I will seal the seams with extra Goop adhesive, paying special attention to the seams in the direction of movement while crawling.

    Next, get your mesh ready and cut your shirt and hat to vent properly.

    As you can see, I used Goop and glued the mesh (double layer on shirt, single on hat) to the fabric. Use a thick line of glue, press it in, smooth it quickly and let it dry until tacky, then press down firmly to seat the mesh really well. This bond will not separate, ever. I attached the thin bird net to the boonie hat with Goop, at each knot and left enough to hang in the back. I fixed two camo patches for applying vegetation on the hat --one in front, and one on my non-shooting side.

    After you have glued and sewn (if desired) your canvas to your uniform, and finished readying your hat, you can begin to cut and affix the heavier nylon net to the uniform using Goop at every knot. Allow to dry for at least an hour. Be sure to only affix the net to the back of the uniform, and there is some flexibility if you decide to apply netting to the sides as well. Do not apply net to the front of your uniform.

    You should not be in a hurry, here. The time to apply the burlap strips has arrived. Remember, take your time and do it ONCE. Nothing is more unnerving than to have to retie burlap. If you handled the burlap correctly, you shouldn't have too much separation and the strips have held their form. Tie them in the pattern you desire. I like to go primarily green, with the darker green toward the center of the uniform with the browns. I use grey as needed to break up the pattern a bit. Essentially, darkest toward the center, lightest around edges, with variations all around.

    After you are completed with tying the burlap, work it around a bit to achieve the desired look. The smaller fragments of burlap will separate from the long strings, and some will remain. Each strip will have a character of its own --just like nature.

    *Video currently in progress*
    *Final ghillie also still in progress*

    Here are some images of the ghillie in progress currently:
    DSC00090.JPG DSC00093.JPG

    Ghillie after canvas glued and spray painted to match fabric:

    DSC00095.JPG DSC00100.JPG



    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
  2. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    Nice work Brokor!!
    Looking forward to seeing the end result.
    Brokor likes this.
  3. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    That is a fine looking Ghili--looking forward to "not seeing you"--lol.
    Brokor likes this.
  4. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I am still working on the ghillie on and off. I have finally completed attaching the netting to the top and I am in the process of cutting the burlap strips into thinner strips so they fit easily into the net for tying. I started tying the burlap from the bottom and I am working upward as I go.

    DSC00247_Tying burlap2.JPG

    And a close up:

    DSC00246_Tying burlap1.JPG
    Yard Dart and Sapper John like this.
  5. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    Very nice. I tried making a ghillie suit once from burlap bags given to me from some sprinkler fitters. They kept asking me what I was going to do with them. I just replied 'arts & crafts' and would say thank you and walk away.

    A suit seemed like it was way too involved for what I wanted back then, so I decided to make a poncho. That way, I could still cover myself prone, but still walk with it. I used a nylon volleyball net and made a large square folded over with a hole for my head.

    I still have it, but even after washing the burlap bags and dyeing them, the suit still smells like oily sprinkler heads.
    chelloveck likes this.
  6. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Nice work, but I can buy one (in several variations) surplus locally for @$50.00. I am intending to add one to my hunting gear. I think I will pay a little more and buy ready made, and put the time I save into other repairs, but I like seeing what people can do, with just a few materials, and a plan.;)
  7. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Yeah, I have a Bushrag ghillie I bought some years back, and I thought it would do, but I found that it wasn't durable enough for my intentions. For a simple hunt or stalk, it might suffice, but even my Bushrag was falling apart and never quite fit right. The intention with this suit is to make a durable ghillie that can be used for stalks, crawls and essentially stand up to anything. Also, making yourself in this manner will produce a great fitting ghillie. However, the time involved is substantial.

    Anyway, here's the latest pics. It is coming along quite nicely. From the last pictures until now, took only about 1 to 2 hours. I had to cut the strips and tie, so it would be less time just tying. I cut some strips down the center to make thin strips and I also cut them only 3" down and tied them off to make thicker strips in varying places. This should make it so the fill is nicer.


    I am working across for three layers at the bottom, then upward in rows on the edges and two rows in the middle. Then, I will simply fill in as needed. I want to keep the weight down as much as possible, but also create as much fill as necessary.

    A close up of the two center rows:

    A close up of one of the edges:

    The edges are important because you will want to fill in as much as possible. Make certain you spent time securing the edges of the net really well here also.

    Attached Files:

    chelloveck, Yard Dart and kellory like this.
  8. KAS

    KAS Monkey+++

    nice work..
    i heard of a guy one time using a mush football jersy and some frayed out manila rope tp make one ...
    no idea what he ued for the pants ....
    but i like your and home made is always cooler...
    Brokor likes this.
  9. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    Looking good Brokor [winkthumb]
  10. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    DSC00313.JPG I still have to work on the sleeves, but the back side is completed.

    DSC00311.JPG I used some natural burlap without dye to add some dead leaf coloration for the woodland camo ghillie. This is optional.

    This is what it looks like hanging from a hook. The burlap is still new, and will shed some of its horizontal fibers as it is worn and used. I am saving that task for later when I take it outside, or else it will create quite the mess. Just shaking it right now leaves a mess to be cleaned up. After it is completed and has been broken in a bit, I will post finalized pictures. Most likely, I will also show its effectiveness in the woods with a live demonstration.

    Stay tuned!
    Motomom34, chelloveck and Yard Dart like this.
  11. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Nice work, good to have the canvas, knee and elbow pads too.... Bet I'd end up crawling up on a Rattle Snake now, last time it was a SC Cotton Mouth! Use to hunt in the Monks Corner Ammo Depo of SC. NEVER step over a log, step on it first and look down, it'll save your A$$.
    SB21, Tempstar, KAS and 4 others like this.
  12. mrkermit

    mrkermit Monkey+

    I commend your hard work. I will stick with my leaf suit ghillie hybrid as ghillies are far too hot, IMO. Will you add tie ins for vegetation? Be sure to fireproof it if you smoke.
    melbo and Brokor like this.
  13. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I agree, it can be quite heavy. I am hoping to alleviate some of the weight by reducing some unnecessary burlap and incorporating more mesh. As for tie-in for vegetation, I picked up several packages of iron-on Camopatch™ patches to affix in various places to make it easy to throw some vegetation on. I already placed some on the boonie cap, and plan on placing a couple on the back leg area and shoulder/back area if possible. I like these patches because they have spandex bands which will hold the stems of any plants or light branches and can be removed easily.

    I definitely don't smoke, but some fireproofing isn't a bad idea.
  14. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Finished the top.

    DSC00017.JPG I had to add some netting to the sleeves to get some added coverage.

    DSC00018.JPG I can store my ghillie in this compression sack. Works great.

    DSC00019.JPG Coloring is decent, it will look a bit different after I have worn it in and rolled around in it outside. It will also be lighter as it sheds extra burlap.

    DSC00020.JPG From the front at an angle. My collar is up, so please excuse that.

    DSC00021.JPG From the rear. Again, this will look quite a bit different after I roll around in it.
  15. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    Looks good Brokor, nice job!!
  16. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    The Ghillie is complete. Now all I have to do is bring it out and give it a thorough workout and break it in. More coming in the spring...

    Final pics taken in living room (not the best lighting) and more to come when spring hits.
    DSC00032.JPG DSC00030.JPG DSC00031.JPG DSC00029.JPG

    There are still a few rough areas I intend on filling in as this gets worn and used. No matter what, I will lose material as the burlap frays, a normal occurrence with this process.
    3M-TA3, VisuTrac, Sapper John and 4 others like this.
  17. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Looks good.[winkthumb]
  18. KAS

    KAS Monkey+++

    Nice work
    Dam we got some talanted monkeys out there!!!
    kellory likes this.
  19. vonslob

    vonslob Monkey++

    That is neat. It must have taken some time to put together. It looks better than some of the store bought ones.
    Brokor likes this.
  20. AD1

    AD1 Monkey+++

    Last edited: Jul 24, 2016
    3M-TA3 likes this.
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