DIY Boromir Costume!
So, you want to be BOROMIR for Halloween, the Renaissance Faire, or the Premier of Return of the King but do not have a clue to start, access to a sewing machine, or any creative talent whatsoever? I can help you. This costume calls for very little SEWING. Actually, you could not do sewing at all and get the affect, but it will look better if you use a needle and thread here and there.
This is why I did Boromir. One, I liked the character. Two, I worked months on an Aragorn costume, but it seemed that no one recognized the outfit at all. This is most likely because Aragorn has to be worn, dirty, and covered with accessories to get the proper effect. Create an Aragorn outfit improperly, and you will look like Adrian Paul from the Highlander series (That is who people thought I was trying to emulate for the most part).
This new costume is definitely a head turner. My first weekend out as Boromir, and EVERYONE knew who I was. The Boromir outfit is both eye-catching and recognizable because it is flashier, more complex, and of a unique design. Though mine is not an exact replica as you can tell, at a distance it is Johnny on the Spot.
This instructional will render you these primary costume components:
- The black surcoat.
- The Gondorian jerkin with intergrated mail sleeves.
- The Lothlorian cloak with clasp.
- The leather wristguards bracers.
Now, if you need leather boots, a sword belt, a blowing horn, a shield or a sword I can get them for you as I am a distributor in medieval replicas and weaponry. But act fast, because time is defiantly not on your side. You would have time before the Premier of ROTK but not for Halloween. I will detail what I can get for you at the end of this tutorial.
THE TOOLS YOU WILL NEED
- Fabri-Tac permanent clothing adhesive or similar found at any crafts store, sewing shoppe, or Wal-Mart.
- A needle and a spool of black thread.
- A sturdy writing pen.
- A Krylon gold-leafing pen.
- Steel wool.
- OPTIONAL Handy Stitch hand sewer to reinforce seams.
Boromirs most obvious costume component is the surcoat. In the FOTR movie, it is actually made from navy blue leather, but because of post-production digital film grading appears to be black. We are going on what things appear to be for a visual effect.
Now, I used a relatively cheap black cotton Catholic Priest Cassock from catholicsupply.com to create this item. You could also use a black trench or raincoat, a black graduation gown, or inexpensive Neo (The Matrix) coat from any costume store. The important thing is that it is long, black, and has a mandarin (squared off) collar. If the coat has any buttons, carefully cut them off as they are not needed.
Carefully remove the sleeves from the coat. I suggest cutting them to about three inches from the shoulder, folding an inch under, and hemming it. You can use the fabric glue to make the hem. This way the shoulders will flair out slightly.
Now, find a 1/4 inch wide metallic gold trim you like at Wal-Mart or a crafts store. This trim should be mostly fabric and should cost about .70 cents a yard. Get 6 yards of it, you will have a little left over, but better safe than sorry. I used a neat metallic gold and burgundy trim that was on clearance for .49 cents a yard.
Using the fabric glue, draw a very thin line about 1 from the collar opening on front to the bottom of the cloak lengthwise. Press the trim onto the bead as you draw the line. When you get to the bottom, cut off the rest of the trim with scissors.
Now, you want to trim the collar, front of the coat, and the sleeves in the same manner. Look at my picture for reference. The glue takes a little while to dry, but when it does, it is very strudy. I suggest laying to coat on the floor once you are done for an hour or so.
For the latches on the front of the coat, I once again went to Wal-Mart. I purchased three matching clasps from the button rack. These clasps had an elvish floral design I found interesting. Using the gold leafing pen, I painted the clasps gold. I then used a needle and thread to attach the clasps to the coat as illustrated below.
Make sure that the last clasp is ABOVE where your sword belt with hang. On my item, the last hasp is about 4 above my navel.
Thats it. You are done with the surcoat portion of the outfit.
THE GONDORIAN JERKIN/CHAIN MAIL
For this part, I purchased a mandarin (squared) collar womens top at Wal-Mart for about $16.00. It was a slightly quilted cotton jacket that had a slightly padded effect to it. I chose a burgundy paisley print, but you could use just burgundy or dark red. Remember that we are going for the visual effect here.
There were many other tops I could have used at Wal-Mart or the Salvation Army. You will see that this collar is a very popular style right now among women. I discovered that a womens size 18/20 fit me just fine. Of course, trying it on in the store was an enlightening experience for me. Dont worry about getting stared at, these people dont know if you are really a cross-dresser or not.
Ok….cut the sleeves off about 2 below your elbow and hem them with the fabric glue. Paint the buttons with your gold leafing pen if they need it. Sit the top aside to dry for an hour or so.
Now, for the chain mail part. I used a black and silver sequined material again from Wal-Mart. You can see some of this material in the upper right corner of the TOOLS YOU WILL NEED photo. Cut two 12 x 18 rectangles of the fabric. Turn the fabric over to it backside (non shiny side) and fold it in half. Run a bead of the fabric glue approximately 1 inside of where the fabric meets and press the fabric together to create a tube. Let the glue dry for about an hour.
Use the fabric glue to attach the sleeves to the inside of the jerkin like below.
Wait until the sleeves have dried firmly to the jerkin, carefully turn it to correct side out. Using the rest of your gold trim, circle the outside sleeves of the jerkin. Use the same method for applying the trim to the surcoat.
When finished, hang the jerkin to complete drying while you work on the Lorthlorian Cloak. You are almost there!
THE LOTHLORIAN CLOAK
Ok….I did not go all out for this portion of the costume. I wanted the visual effect of a cloak, but I did not want a heavy, bulky, sweaty, cumbersome item to wear around. The jerkin is hot enough with the surcoat over it. If you want to go all out for the cloak, you can find directions at alleycatscratch.com
This is more of a cape concept, just for the visual flair.
I took a rectangular piece of shiny and thin green fabric (Wal-Mart – $2.00 a yard), approximately 3 x 5. Folding it over at the neck, I stitched it together at the top leaving a hole large enough for my head to get through. The cape should come about the bottom of your calf when worn.
For the final touch, I used a cheap version of the Fellowship pin I purchased at a local costume store. It looks good, and runs around $10.00.
These can run up to $400 a pair, so you definitely want to look at the alternative. The cheapest retail ones I found were at bladesbybrown.com, but still run around $100 and can take a month to get to your door.
I went to a local leather shop that made saddles, and bought a large piece of thick leather scrap for $5.00. This piece was about 12 x 18. Using an Exacto knife, I carefully cut the leather in half. I then cut the leather into the basic hexagonal shape for each arm.
I used a drill to put three holes even spaced on each side of the bracer. Using a sturdy writing pen, I first drew my design on each bracer so that it was slight scratched into the surface of the leather. I went back over the completed design and bore down REALLY HARD with the pen to create an embossed effect. I then traced over the design with the gold leaf pen.
After letting the gold leaf dry, I took a piece of steel wool and buffed off the excess leaving the cervices filled with gold leaf. I then polished the bracer with Kiwi shoe polish and a brush to add an aging effect.
I dampened the bracers with a sponge and using rubber bands, folded them around spray paint cans to add the curve needed. To get the end to bend up, I simply worked the bend in with my hand and placed it against something sturdy to hold the bend overnight while the leather dried.
You are finished for the most part at this point. There are several other items that you might need to complete the outfit, but the hardest parts are done.
You can use any belt brown/black leather belt you wish to place about your waist. I can make you a double wrapped sword belt with a built in scabbard mount (frog) like the one I am wearing if you need me to, but it would take about two weeks.
Since United Cutlery does not have a Boromir sword out yet, I am using a UC1299 Striders Ranger sword in a black custom-made scabbard. I would suggest going to eBay and finding a generic one that comes with a scabbard for $50.
Since I am an antiquities dealer by trade, I did some research on Boromirs sword. He carries what is known to historians as an Oakeshott Type XVIII. These blades are fairly broad (2″-3″) at the hilt, and taper gracefully to a sharp point. The hilt is short, intended for one-handed use. The blades are of flattened diamond cross-section, often with a pronounced mid-rib for rigidity. This style is very well adapted for both cutting and thrusting. It was most popular in the early to mid 1300s in Germany.
I can get Type XVIII swords and they look almost identical what Boromir is carrying, but you would be better off using a replica unless you are willing to pay $200.00 for myself to import one from Germany for you.
I used tall black leather moccasins that I purchased from one of my distributing companies. The movie boots are actually standard biker or engineer boots that you can get anywhere.
Now, you want to keep this as cost-effective as possible so dont go around buying $500 of stuff to get this right, it should only cost around $100 using my method above.
SEE YOU AT THE PREMIER of ROTK!