A Ghillie suit is a form of camouflage usually used by snipers or Special Operations Forces while operating in a specific area. This latter bit about 'specific area' is important since the Ghillie suit will have to be tailored to match the vegetation coloring in the operational area, as a pine/woodland scheme will not work in desert scrub and vice versa.
The goal of constructing a Ghillie suit is to make the user resemble a large random pile of native vegetation, or anything that is not human and therefore not likely to be shot at. Some research will have to be done concerning the vegetation around the area where you will be 'working' or deployed.
Time Estimated for Completion: 8-12 hours.
Required Materials for the Construction of a Ghillie Suit:
-One set of one to two size too large BDUs (Battle Dress Uniforms,) or a flight suit of similar proportions.
-Sufficient burlap to wrap the end user (completely) three times from head to toe, plus any weaponry that they may be carrying. Burlap should be of an olive drab or dark khaki (nearly brown,) color for woodland operations. (Which these directions are tailored for.)
-One bottle of olive drab fabric dye.
-One bottle of ochre or other dark brown fabric dye.
-One spool high tensile strength OD green nylon thread.
-One sewing needle or sewing machine of decent quality.
-One pair jungle boots.
-One pair of decent shears.
-Two to four large buckets.
-Access to a washing machine.
-Two boxes frozen Macaroni and Cheese, microwaveable. Brand not necessary.
-One roll black or olive drab reinforced tape (i.e. non-silvered duct tape.
-One dog or other metal tooth comb and brush.
-One pair Nomex flight gloves and one square foot of sturdy olive drab canvas.
-One floppy olive drab wide brim hat.
-One six to eight inch wide, two to three foot long piece of thin, soft fabric. OD green or brown in color.
Before you begin: Wash uniform. DO NOT USE DETERGENT WITH EITHER PERFUMES OR OTHER SCENTED CHEMICALS ADDED. Straight water will do nicely. This is to ensure that the uniform fabric is completely shrunk prior to use.
How to set about this:
1. Take burlap sheeting and cut into equal quarters such that you should have approximately eight sections.
2. Take four of these sections and place into buckets with a liberal amount of olive drab (in one) and brown (in another) fabric dye and the appropriate amount of water. Directions for the dilution of the dye should be marked on the package itself.
3. While waiting for dye to take, begin cutting the remaining burlap into strips approximately one inch wide by 12-24 inches long. These should be sorted by color and it is important at this stage to keep them somewhat neat.
4. After waiting time required by packaging instructions remove dyed material and dry. (I will leave it up to the your imagination on how to go about this.)
5. Repeat latter portions of step 3 concerning the cutting of fabric for the now dyed materials.
6. At this point you should have a fairly large mound of strips in various colors from a slightly darker to slightly lighter in color. It is critical that there is not a significant color contrast between various shades.
7. Begin sewing strips onto flight suit or BDUs such that there is a one quarter to half-inch overlap between strips (horizontally,) with the rows completely circling the body. Vertical separation for the rows should run approximately two to three inches, depending on user preference. It is recommended that you start at the lower portions of the uniform and work your way up with the exception of the neck, arms and feet. This will have to be completed last and is tackled later. Random colors should be used, on other words avoid sewing a large section of similar coloring together, and do not attempt to vary shades from lowest to highest based on height. When laying on the ground this will provide an undesirable contrast effect. It is also a rather smart idea to leave access to the pockets on the uniform, or as stated above to add more.
8. Once complete, nuke Macaroni and eat lunch. You have fifteen minutes to complete this evolution.
9. Neck area: A longer (two to three foot) scarf should be constructed out of random strips, this will be tucked into the edges of the neck area. Using the metal comb and brush, create as much fraying as possible around the neck area in an attempt to disrupt the silhouette created by the top of the uniform as much as possible. Take the soft fabric strip and sew to scarf. The soft side will go towards user.
10. Arms: The same strips should be used on the bottom of the arms with careful attention being paid to not restrict freedom of movement. Towards the end of the arms, take the canvas sheeting and cut in half to yield two 90-degree (right) triangles. These should be attached to the ends of the arms so that they completely cover the hands and trimmed to extend approximately two inches over the ends of the fingers. Small finger loops should be then sewn onto the bottom of the canvas, do not sew in finger loops for the middle and index (trigger finger) on the appropriate hand. E.g. Left hand shooters should have their left index and left middle finger free, whereas right hand shooters will require the exact opposite.
11. Feet: These should be finished nearly in the same manned as the rest of the ghillie suit, save the bottom strips near the sole of the foot should be trimmed to within one inch of the ground. It may be necessary to tie additional material on after being deployed to the field. Using light sandpaper, gently remove most of the black coloring from the leather on the boots. This will require some time and patience, the end desired effect is a sort of mottled brown and dull black color.
12. Hat: Same as the remainder of the uniform with special attention being paid to disrupt the shape of the hat and head as much as possible. Some fabric should drape down in front of the face of the user, however not enough that vision is disrupted. With the scarf in place (wrapped loosely,) about three to four inches of the face should be visible upon close inspection beneath the brim of the hat.
13. At this point you should now have something resembling a large ball of fuzz that can be worn as a pair of pants, shirt, boots and hat. The intended user should now put on the ghillie suit and the assistant shall comb out the ends (last three inches or so,) of the strips to create a stringy and frayed look. This should be concentrated on more around the strips hanging from the bottom of the arms and anywhere around any solid lines on the body. When finished the silhouette should be fairly blurry and not completely discernable.
14. User should now find local vegetation, dirt, soil, and other materials from the environment to be operated in (or as close to it as possible,) then roll about in said as much as possible. This will pick up loose bits dirt and other matter that will in theory prevent the operator from being spotted.
Care and Feeding of Your Ghillie Suit:
-DO NOT WASH.
-Take time in rolling around in loose leaves, dirt, shrubs or anything else in the operating environment. Although this seems bizarre it is fairly important and works very well for the intended purpose of making one look like a large semi-anthropomorphic shrub.
-Attach random things (twigs, small GREEN branches, leaves,) to the ghillie suit as you feel fit. This should be done on impulse and not as a pattern.
-Remove dead vegetation when walking into an area with a large amount of green foliage.