How to Make a USMC Ghillie Suit

by William McCoy

A ghillie suit is a camouflaged suit commonly worn by military snipers, including those in the United States Marine Corps. Ghillie suits are more than just simple camouflage. They use scraps of material, string and other substances to help the wearer blend into his surroundings. Marine Corps-style ghillie suits can be made for any kind of environment and, while they take a significant amount of time and effort to construct, will help you stay unnoticed in the woods, whether you're using the suit for hunting or for combat games such as paintball.

Step 1

Place the military-style coat and pants on the ground and spread them flat.

Step 2

Spread the netting out and lay it over the coat and pants. The netting can be bought in bulk or, if needed, you can simply buy a volleyball net at a sporting goods store.

Step 3

Cut the net with scissors around the outline of the coat and pants. Leave enough around the perimeter of the clothing that the net will completely wrap around the backside of the coat and pants, too. If you find it easier to simply cut one piece of netting to cover the front of the outfit, then cut another piece of netting to cover the rear, you can do so. The goal is to have the entire outfit covered with netting once finished.

Step 4

Sew the netting to the coat and pants using a needle and dental floss. Sew around every knot in the netting. This step will take a significant length of time because it is important that the net is sturdily affixed to the coat and pants. If you wish to have access to a certain pocket in the coat or pants, cut the netting away from the pocket and sew the edges of the net around the pocket’s perimeter.

Step 5

Cut strips of jute into lengths between 1 and 2 feet. There should be a varying number of different lengths of jute, rather than cutting all the jute to the same length. The key is to make the jute look natural, and this won’t happen if it is too uniform.

Step 6

Dye the jute to the color that best suits the natural environment in which you’ll be using the ghillie suit. You will likely need two or three colors of dye, such as olive green and tan. Apply the dye to the jute according to the dye’s instructions. You may have to soak the strips of jute in a dye solution or apply it with a brush.

Step 7

Attach the dyed jute to the ghillie suit by threading each strand through the netting and tying it at one end to the net. If you’ve dyed your jute into two or three different colors, apply the base color of jute first, then add the secondary colors as accents. Place the longer strips of jute along the torso of the ghillie suit and the shorter pieces around your hands and feet. The strands of jute should hang off your torso loosely, but be firmly knotted in place.

Items you will need

  • Military-style coat and pants
  • Netting
  • Scissors
  • Dental floss
  • Needle
  • Jute
  • Fabric dye

Tips

  • In addition to jute, you can use strips of canvas to add variety to the ghillie suit.

About the Author

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.