Construct a Homemade Ghillie Suit - Best Instructions On the Net!

Published: 17th March 2009
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Build a Homemade Ghillie Suit

In these tough, difficult economic times I know we will all be tempted to cut back on expenses and make a ghillie suit yourself. Rightly so, making your own ghillie suit can be a very satisfying project. On the other hand making your own ghillie suit is an extremely time consuming commitment and you should consider this before you embark on a project you might not finish, not get the results you want and you will ultimately have to determine if its worth your time.
Straight out, Ghillie Suit construction is extremely time consuming, a chore you will discover once you've read the step-by-step process. Typically, the most basic ghillie suit can take anywhere between 17 to 43 hours, a really great ghillie suit can take up to 100 hours to make. Like any "arts & crafts" projects we enjoyed as kids, making your own ghillie suit will give you that sense of ownership & hard work; but when you spent 9 - 22 days spending 1-3 hours per day - you might have second thoughts on just day 4.

When we're always deciding on whether to buy something or make it ourselves, we always calculate the savings benefits of making something yourself. Personally, whenever I decide to pay someone to do something for me, I always ask myself "how much is this task worth to me"; if the value is there for someone else to do it for me, and save myself that time, I have no problem paying that person.

Now, lets say you can finish making your full ghillie suit in 23 hours. How much is your time worth? If you earned minimum wage at lets say $6.55 (the current (2009) Federal USA minimum wage), the cost of making this ghillie suit to you is $150.65. If you enjoy making a ghillie suit, then the "value" isn't there for you, but if you value your time, then the value in buying a ghillie suit is there.

Cost of Ghillie Suit Materials

Unless you already have raggedy camouflage jackets, pants and other ghillie suit materials you don't need any more. You will find the cost of ghillie suit materials will soon add up pretty quickly, that the savings of making your own ghillie suit become a liability to your time.

Main Materials Needed:

-Ghillie suit clothes (jacket, pants, overalls, flight suit, BDUs) - approx: $20-$45

-Netting - $14

-8lbs or more Jute Thread - ($6.74 x 4 = $26.96)

Additional Materials Needed:

-Dye - $2.50

-Dental floss- $3.00

-Sewing needles - $3.00

-Spray paint - $5.00

-Shoe Gue - $4.00

Obviously, if you have a flight suit, overalls, jacket or pants will significantly reduce you costs. If you don't have any of the materials what so ever, it will cost you a minimum of $57 dollars to $82 dollars. The better the quality, meaning the more realistic and the more jute you add the more it will cost you.

Basic math will tell you, the costs add up pretty quickly, and buying a ghillie suit may seem like a better choice that the arts and craft route. Making your own ghillie suit will give you that sense of pride knowing you made it yourself or the compliments you'll get when asked "where did you get your ghillie suit" you can proudly say I made it myself.

If you've accepted the challenge, I'm guessing your wondering now how to make a ghillie suit?

Now, if you see value of buying an already-made ghillie suit or don't want to spend time with gluey fingers - great, affordable, high quality suits that are popular with our customers include:

-The Paintball Ghillie Suit - $57.87

-The StealthSuit Ghillie Set - $89.50

-The Ultra-Light Ghillie Suit - $133.00


Advantages of a Ready-Made Ghillie Suit

-Most are Machine washable


-More comfortable


-Fire Retardant

-Designed for many weather conditions (heat, cold)

-Available in many different terrains

-Long Lasting

-eady Out of the Box

Disadvantages of a Ready-Made Ghillie Suit

-Less customization


How to make a Ghillie Suit

For many military personnel and seasoned professionals, they opt to create their own Ghillie Suits. While others choose to purchase "Create-Your-Own" Ghillie Suit kits online. To summarize the build process, its very simplistic. Start with a jacket and pants, lay them down and attach netting over them, and then tie strands of dyed jute to the netting. To summarize the process to these simple four steps is an understatement, because there are dozens of steps in between with meticulous details.

I commonly refer to needing a jacket and pants - but this would the first decision you would need to make - whether you want a 1 piece or 2 piece ghillie suit. There are advantages and disadvantages of each option. The one piece ghillie suit will allow you to get in & out of it easier, and won't get caught while your crawling, because there is no seem. If you just need to wear the top part of the ghillie suit, the two piece ghillie suit is its main advantage. Remember, to always buy one or two sizes larger than what you normally wear. Click here for Ghillie Suit Sizes and Ghillie Suit Colors.

For netting, any type of strong netting will do. I usually recommend people use a black volleyball net, which works great for ghillie suits. Other netting options include fish netting - if you choose to use any other color net, don't forget to dye it darker when you are dying your jute.

The meticulous work begins when you start attaching your netting to your suit - do this by sewing the netting onto the suit. Using regular thread won't work, because its not strong enough. You'll have to a stronger material like a waxed dental floss, which is also incredible cheap to get. If sewing is not your thing, some people just glue the netting on the suit using Shoe Goo; which I've personally discovered that Shoe Goo dries very strong and leaves your suit flexible. Using Show Goo gives your fingers a break and saves labor hours, but you lose real time when your waiting for the Shoo Goo to dry - so its breaks even, time wise. For best, long lasting results, experienced hunters do both. They sew the netting onto the suit, then Shoo Goo the corners to make sure the dental floss doesn't come undone.
How you attach the netting - whether its on the back online or on both sides, really depends on how your going to use the ghillie suit. If you will be using your ghillie suit to crawl or lay down most of the time, then you do not want netting and jute on the front of the suit. If you will be walking or crouching a lot, then netting and jute should cover the front of the suit.

You got your suit, you have the netting sewed or glued on. Now, its time to color the jute. Selecting the choice of colors is wholly dependent on your environment. A good starting off point would be tan, green, black, brown and dark green.

Other jute & synthetic threads are available in black, brown, dark green, gray, light olive, lime green, olive green, natural tan, and sage green. The colors you choose will be based on your environment - some general color themes include: Woodland, Mossy, Desert, Timber, Leafy & Winter White. You can always color the thread by using dye. Once you decide what colors you want, determine how much jute you need of each color (always buy a 1-2lbs extra, then what you think you need) and then cut it in those section, and dip them into dye. Dye can be purchased at any major Big Box store like Wal-Mart.

To save time and avoid a mess, you can always purchase a Ghillie Suit Kit, which comes with pre-cut and dyed jute along with netting. The Ghillie Suit Kits are usually 5 lbs and 7 lbs in sizes.

If you decide on buying a Ghillie Suit Kit, you can get the basic Ghillie Suit Kit, or get specialized ones like a Paintball Tracker Kits, and the Paintball Ultra light Ghillie kit. Or get the basic Ghillie Suit Kit, but customized colors and amounts.

The next step, after your jute thread is dyed is to have the thread cut into different lengths and attach them to the netting. The jute should be cut into strands of 18 to 24 inches and then begin tying them to the netting. Start with your suit's main color such as lime green. Take all the lime jute and tie one strand onto each netting square in the centre. Then begin to add on the other colors in a random pattern.

Once all the jute thread is attached, do a quick shake test to make sure everything is secure. Make any changes that need be, like if you feel the color pattern isn't random enough or give it more color by simply giving the thread a light spray painting.

Then take a deep breath, step back and admire your creation. Finally, take it out the woods and show it off!

Advantages of a Homemade Ghillie Suit

-Can be less expesive than Ready-Made Ghillie Suits (Depending on what materials you already have)

-Get exactly what you want

Disadvantages of a Ready-Made Ghillie Suit

-Time consuming up to 100 hours

-Can actually cost more than just buy a ready-made ghillie suit

-Not all materials are fire retardent

-Not machine washable

-Depending on effort, quality may not be that good; making it a one time or a couple time use suit. is an active community for people interested in the outdoors, emergency preparedness and more. We connect & interact with our users through our blog, forum, and Facebook. Join Us!

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Lucy on September 13, 2011 said:
Sounds like something I would love to do!

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