A ghillie suit is a camouflage garment that can look like sand, snow, and different foliage types. If you’re in the woods, your ghillie suit might look like twigs, leaves, and scraps from the area. You might have seen these suits in movies when the snipers hide on the hills waiting for their targets, but soldiers, hunters, and wildlife photographers wear ghillie suits to hide.
Having a ghillie suit in your prepper closet is a wise idea. It will allow you to be stealth, whether you are hiding or hunting. If you’re short on time or high on budget, you can purchase a premade ghillie suit online, but they can cost a few hundred dollars.
Why not save that money for something else and learn how to make a homemade ghillie suit?
1. Research Your Area
Before you get started, you have to know the area you plan to hunt. Take some pictures and notes on the area you plan to be. Check to see what foliage is present at this time and how the plants are shaped. You want to try to match the colors to the best of your ability.
Take as much time out researching as you can because this step is the most important. Look at shapes, coloring, and textures. What textures are you going to include in your ghillie suit? Take a look at natural light as well and how it differs.
2. Get Your Supplies
You have plenty of freedom when it comes to making a homemade ghillie suit, but some supplies you might want to have on hand include:
- A turkey vest – make sure its the color of the terrain
- Poly-cord Craft Netting or Camouflage Netting
- Heavy-duty sewing needle
- Braided or fused super line with 15 to 20-pound test
- Jute, burlap, twine, etc77
- Zip ties, safety pins, or rubber bands
- Paint and brushes
3. Start Making Your Ghillie Suit
Now, it’s time to put all those supplies to use. You have free reign to make your suit how you want. It does need to match the terrain you plan to use it, so you need to put all those researching notes and pictures to use. Colors matter!
1. Take the netting that you plan to use and create a poncho that will fit over the vest you are camouflaging. Add sleeves to cover your arms, and you can add a hood to cover your head if you prefer.
2. Using fishing line, secure the netting to your vest by threading it through the heavy-duty sewing needle. Make sure you securely sew the netting to your vest.
You can also apply the net to the vest with glue. Take the mesh netting and apply glue to the corners of the netting every few inches. Allow it to dry well before trying to attach the fabric to the netting.
3. Paint what you need to paint. Ideally, you’ll be able to find jute, burlap, and netting in the color you need for your location, but things very rarely are ideal. So, use the paint you have to mimic the colors you need on your ghillie suit. Remember that you don’t need to be perfect. Nature is far from perfect, so haphazard works just as well. It’s the colors and textures that matter.
You don’t have to paint if you don’t want to. Dying is another option, and dying jute is an easy problem. If you decide to dye it, make sure to run the jute strands under cold water until the water starts to come out clear. You don’t want it to drip all over you if it starts to rain while you’re out.
Also, make sure you sundry the jute before using it. If you think that it’s too dark and not realistic, you can dip the fabric into a water solution diluted with bleach.
4. Separate the strands. You want to unravel the burlap or jute material into individual strands. This step is very time-consuming, but it creates the texture that you want.
5. Attach the jute, twine, burlap, and whatever else you want to use. You don’t need to tie knots on every strand of netting. Leave some gaps, and don’t work on any particular pattern of colors. Random works best.
When you tie the jute to the netting, tie it in clumps of 10 or so strands. Not all of those strands need to be the same color, but you can do clumps of a single color. Let that creativity flow and remember the colors you’re aiming to recreate.
TIP: Try to follow the color flow of the vest. If you come to a spot in the vest where it switches to green, switch to green jute, and switch back to brown when the vest does.
6. When you’re done, fluff up the ghillie suit and look for bald spots where there might not be enough coverage. Some bare spots are okay, but you don’t want insufficient coverage that doesn’t look realistic. Wave it in the wave and set it back down. Then, add more clumps of strands as necessary.
7. Now, add in some items from the surroundings. Do this each time you use your ghillie suit. Take 15 minutes and interlace organic materials from your area into the webbing. If you’re in a wooded area, you might want to attach small twigs and leaves to the upper part of your suit.
Always attach more to the back of the suit than the front. You’ll spend time crawling and on your belly when using your ghillie suit.
How Long Should it Take?
Making a homemade ghillie suit takes time. You can expect it to take several hours or days to create. Most ghillie suits involve over 3,000 knots of fabric and jute. No wonder they cost so much money!
When you’re out in your suit, remember to try to be aware of your setting. If you move, be sure your organic materials work still for your location. If they don’t, you’ll have to add different materials. Making a ghillie suit is a long process, but it’s worth it. It can also work well for survival scenarios and SHTF situations where you need to move covertly through terrain and dangerous environments.