How to make a Spartan 300 costume

Written by jennifer claerr
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How to make a Spartan 300 costume
Spartan king Leonidas is a simple but memorable costume. (Getty creative)

The movie "300" is about Spartan King Leonidas' decision to take only a small force of 300 men to fight the Persian king, Xerxes, who was trying to assimilate Sparta into his empire. This film has greatly increased the popularity of the ancient Greeks. However, togas, chitons and ancient warrior armour have always been popular at Halloween parties. It's well worth the time and effort to make a stunning costume that will last for years to come.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Queen Gorgo costume:
  • 3 metres white cloth
  • Leather strap
  • Safety pins
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread
  • Jewelry and combs (optional)
  • King Leonidas costume:
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Brass fastener
  • Newspaper
  • Wall paper paste
  • Leather briefs
  • Red cloth or sheet
  • Brooch or belt buckle
  • Bronze spray paint
  • Hot glue

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Instructions

    Queen Gorgo costume

  1. 1

    Get 3 metres of white linen or cotton cloth from your local fabric store. Also purchase a dark-coloured leather strap that is at least long enough to go behind your neck, wrap behind your back then go around your waist twice. Place the strap over your neck and use chalk to mark where it reaches the middle of your shoulders.

  2. 2

    Lay the cloth on a clean workspace. Trim the ends of the cloth so that they are about 30 cm (1 foot) wide. Bunch up one end and use safety pins to attach it to the strap, beginning where you marked with chalk. Move downward, creating pleats in the cloth, until the entire end is attached. Cross the cloth over on itself and attach it at the other chalk mark with safety pins.

  3. 3

    Try the dress on. Note if any dimensions seem to long or too thick. The skirt should reach about mid-calf, and should not be too bulky. Mark where the dress needs to be altered. Trim down the piece of cloth until the dress fits properly.

  4. 4

    Hem the outside edge of the dress. Sew the pleats onto the dark strap. Wrap the strap around your waist twice and secure it in back. Style your hair simply, securing it back on the sides of your head with combs. Wear a bracelet on the upper arm, if you like.

    King Leonidas

  1. 1

    Put on some dark leather briefs. Get a red bed sheet or piece of cloth to create the Spartan cloak. Trim and hem it as necessary so that it covers the shoulders and is long enough to reach the middle of the calves. Clasp it at the right side of your chest with a large, gold-coloured brooch or belt buckle.

  2. 2

    Create the helmet. Cut 12 strips of chipboard, 61 to 100 cm (2 to 3 feet) long and 25 mm (1 inch wide) from old gift or cereal boxes. Lay 8 of the cardboard strips on a workspace so that they overlap, forming a starburst pattern. Punch a hole in the very centre. Secure the strips with a brass fastener. Pull the ends downward so that they create the basis of a helmet. Weave in the remaining 4 strips of cardboard. Place this assembly over your head to determine the proper size of the helmet. Mark off the place where the vertical strips meet your chin. Apply paper mache to the base. When dry, trim the helmet to fit your head and cut holes in the helmet for the nose and eyes. Leave a segment to cover the nose. Spray the helmet with a bronze paint with a satin finish.

  3. 3

    Protect your workspace with newspaper. Measure pieces of chipboard or corrugated cardboard to cover the front of your forearms and shins to create greaves. Arm greaves should go from elbow to wrist, and leg greaves from knee to ankle. Give the ends a slightly triangular shape. Wet the cardboard, then shape it to your body. Cut the greaves and paint them bronze. Make slits at each corner and run a black elastic strap through them.

  4. 4

    Measure the distance between your shoulder and hip. Use this as the diameter for a large round shield. Draw the periphery of the shield out of a large piece of cardboard. Wet the cardboard, then place it over a slightly curved object such as a large dustbin lid. Allow it to dry, then paint it bronze. Attach a handle on the inside with hot glue.

Tips and warnings

  • To save money, use vinyl instead of leather.
  • For more realistic King Leonidas armour, use paper mache to add decorations and contours to the shield, helmet and greaves.
  • Be sure to wear at least a pair of briefs underneath any toga or chiton costume, as they may slip out of place.

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