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Complete Ghillie Thread

The Chef

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Right ho then,


People are always asking about ghillies and how to construct them. This is my very quick guide and sorry but it contains no pictures because my ghillie is packed away and pretty much already made.


But here goes.


The base: The base for your ghillie can be pretty much anything. an old para smock. a set of DPM overall, a large sheet of DPM or Hessian or something more tailor made like a Webtex Concealment vest. The choice is yours, but be advised, the finished article will be heavy (very heavy), which means hot.


The usage: most people dont really think about this, and just think a ghillie should make you look like a wookie. Not so. If you need to be mobile and have lots of dense sticky brambles, the wookie suit is the last thing you need and is more likely to be a hinderance than a help. A good ghillie can be just covering for the arms back and head, which still allows for great freedom of movement and isnt too heavy. So think, what is my playing style, what is the terrain like.


Things you will need:


Hessian/jute/burlap. Call this what you will, but its the stuff sandbags are made from. I went to my local fabric store (letched at the fit young haberdasher for a while) and bought a couple of square metres of hessian material for about £3. Cheap as chips.


Dyes. I used the 'Dylon' range of dyes here in the UK, they come in small tub and are a powder. Again very cheap. It uses salt to 'fix' the dye to the material. I used 3 colours in my ghillie. Coffee (brown), Forest Green (dark green) and another light green (cant remember the name and I dont have the packet anymore). They gave a very vibrant set of colours that blend perfectly with the rich natural colours that are abundant down here in cornwall. You will need to change these to suit your terrain.


Something to fix the hessian to your base: I used cotton, some people use glue.


Patience: You'll need it.


The Method.


Start by cutting your hessian into small strips, about an inch wide. You can choose the length depending on what you want. Mine were about a foot long and I doubled them up when attaching them to the base.


When you have a bag full of these small strips, make another bag full. You'll use it, trust me.


Now, stick the dye in a big pot (the bigger the better, and not one of your wife/mum's best sunday roast pots either, it will get knacked, and you will be in the poop). Add the salt as per the instructions, and now throw the instructions away. It refers to dying times, but what ever you do, ignore these!!


Dying times. The manual says something daft like 3 mins... stuff that. It makes all your colours almost black and is far too harsh for the job of a ghillie.

I did this.

Get a bunch of strips and drop them in the pot for about 15 seconds. Take them out and rinse them off in cold water. Most of the dye will come out, but dont worry about that.

The get another load and stick them in for about 30 seconds. Rinse again...

Another for about 1 minute and then rinse them.


Do this for all your different colours.


What this will do is graduate the shades of each colour, giving you about 9 different shades on your ghillie. Works extremely well and adds a bit more variation to the overall effect.


Now, hang them outside to dry and leave them for about a week (preferably a fortnight, go make a coffee). What this does is wash all the 'unfixed' dye out (so you dont get covered in it) and the sun bleaches the colours to a more natural state of affairs.


Now, you can either weather the strips now, or when its all finished. it doesnt really matter. You can weather the strips by running a wire brush over them or just cut into them roughly with a pair of scissors. They will naturally weather over time and with use.


Now you can attach them to your base. I have sewn all mine individually and whilst this is labourious, not many bits have fallen off since.

Try not to think in patterns (the human mind does naturally, so try and get out of the habit) and attach the bits randomly to the base. Try not to stick loads in one place, because it does make it stick up.

Conversely, try not to leave big gaps. Have someone wear it whilst lying on the floor and see how it falls naturally and then look for bits that are a bit bare ect.


After about 3 weeks constant sewing, you will have finished. sit back and admire the fruits of your labour.


A few tips.


Camo Netting (net being the operative word here). Sounds great at first, but all those little netty holes are ripe for getting caught on everything you pass by. Think before using this stuff, or if you do use it, sew it to your base and then cut through every 'hole' so there is nothing that can get tangled up.


Veggie Loops. small bits of elastic for you to add natural and local veg. The godsend of ghillies. Put as many of these things on as your little mind can handle. You'll never tire of them.


Thats about it really. they are not difficult or expensive, just very very time consuming.


I personally recommend getting a webtex concealment vest as your base. Its great. Lightweight, has all the veggie loops you'll need and hessian can be sewn straight to it.


Remember, tailor it to your most played terrain. The veggie loops will sort out the rest.


If anyone else has hints and tips, feel free to add and discuss.


This is a pic of my ghille (just head, shoulders and arms at the moment) with 'NO' local veg added.


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..Yet another ghillie suit guide huh?



I dont have anything to contribute to this thread, so I shall just make pointless comment.


Thanks... Please feel free to add your knowledge for the benefit of all the users. You'll notice with that keen snipers eye of yours that in this new section there is not a thread already dedicated to this subject, and it has been requested. Unless you fancy trawling through the perch thread.





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Have you tried pulling out some of the cross weaved threads of the hessian (I am sure someone can give them their proper name, like widdershins or some such).


*edit. apparently called warp or weft threads... not sure which are which. Anyways, thats the haberdashery lesson done for today.*


I did that on mine and the vertical weave ones unravelled a bit and went bushy.


Hope that helps.


The art of not being seen...... I am sure that can be the subject of an entirely seperate thread, afterall, who needs a ghillie to crawl up dead ground?

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Chef when i did my rather poor ghillie i did it in strips like yours but even the weathering didnt make it nice and "bushy" it staid more or less in strip format


any ideas?


use a wire brush and brush it down, it'll fray the burlap pretty quickly


also you forgot to mention, all the strands in a ghillie shouldnt be the same length, using "patches" of shorter stuff about the size of your fist will make the ghillie poof out alot more, and it'll weight less, and be less warm.

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Ok this is the Army method of making ghillies (or shrouds as we call them, full ghillie suits went out of fashion about 3 years ago)



Get concealment vest, cut the hood off and throw it away (you should make a seperate head piece as moving your head inside a hood from side to side will leave you looking at the inside of the hood).

Cut a load of sandbags (or buy some of that hessian sheet, i know it can be hard for civvies to get sandbags) into strips about 2-3 inches wide and of varying lengths.

When you think you have enough, use a wire brush to remove all the horizontal threads, leaving you with the bushy effect (when it's weathered) but leaving an intact piece at the top of each strip to keep it together.

Starting at the bottom, attach the strips of hessian to your shroud by cutting a small hole in it and tying the hessian strip on, work horizontally and slowly work your way up to the shoulders. There is no set rule to how dense it has to be as it is only there to break up your outline (the natural foliage added in the field creates the true camo effect).

Be careful not to completely cover any of the elastic loops on the vest as these are vital for camouflage later.

Continue to cut holes and tie the strips on until you have covered the entire back and the front of the shoulders.


Weathering: Find a muddy puddle or make one yourself in the garden. Drag your shroud through it until saturated, then hang it out to dry naturally for a couple of days. It will now look ragged and natural.


Headpiece: Get a jungle hat and a suitably dull couloured t-shirt. Cut a length off of the t-shirt long enough to hang from the hat and cover your neck. sew/glue this to the inside rear of your jungle hat. using the same technique as the shroud, attach hessian strips to the t-shirt and hat, starting from the bottom. Pay particular attention to the top as you do not want to create a bunched up mound effect, and make sure the strips at the front are long enough to break up the outline of the hat brim but not too long so they get in your eyes.

weather in the same way as the shroud.


And that is basically how to make a ghillie.



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Starting at the bottom, attach the strips of hessian to your shroud by cutting a small hole in it and tying the hessian strip on, work horizontally and slowly work your way up to the shoulders. There is no set rule to how dense it has to be as it is only there to break up your outline (the natural foliage added in the field creates the true camo effect).


wouldnt you have to cut /two/ holes to tye the hessian to the shroud? ~_^

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I don't know how i missed this thread originally, but i'll add my 2p's worth seeing as i've been tinkering and experimenting with Ghillie suits for about 16 years now.


You lot might want to check out the resource i created for my cadets to use:


(constructive comments always welcome on that)


Some of the suits on there are a bit OTT compared to the currently approved military style of suit that darkchild130 outlines. But as cadets/airsofters do not "normally" have the luxury of the time to adapt the artificial/natural material mix to their surrounding these tend to be a good compromise in most cases.



The only "tip" that isn't on that sit is the one to age your suit but putting it in a pillow case and sticking it in the tumble dryer! You might even want to throw an old trainer in the case with it. This works surprisingly well!


I've got tons of photos of suits i've created over the years in case anybody is interested! and YES i could bore for Wales on this topic :)

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that top one in the image gallery looks brilliant, similar style to my own. although, mine is a poncho which im not happy with. as soon as i get a new set of dpm's i will make another but just ghillie the back of them.

Thank you very much. I was offered £90 for it by a Rock-Ape a while back, who when i declined then asked me what he thought my chances were of getting to the end of the exercise still with it!

Needless to say it did it's job and he never spotted me all night :)

Not that i wasn't watching him mind :D

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OR, do what i've done for one or two suits, which is get some nylon netting (try looking for cricket practice netting, or pond netting) and attaching that to the concealment/sniper vest (sew it on with garden twine using a wool needle to save time!) then you just tie your garnish onto that!


This method allows you to use any backing/base you may have to hand.

i.e. take an old oversize dpm shirt or jacket, rip any linings out, cut the arms off at the elbows (or add padded elbows!), attach the netting and hey-presto!


Also this means that you don't have to sew dozens of small elastic foliage loops on as your natural vegetation gets attached through the holes on the netting, saving a LOT of faffing in the field trying to find those annoying little loops!

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i made a ghillie a while ago!!


bought a really *beep* one off fleabay and used it as a base


basically cut it to shreds and used the marerial!!!


got a boonie for me head!!!


mines only a 3/4 length one as i mainly use it for hunting!!! - the fron isnt finished but im no to bothered about it because i crawl most of the time!!!



edit: will post pics at a later date - link didnt work!!



regards amsniper

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ive got a few smocks and '95 shirts spare, im thinkin of gettin some nettin and cutting up some waterproof material (kinda like a poncho like material) and tying some of that on, bit of hessian from some sandbags i have and dye some hessian ... do you think that could work ?

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