How to Make a Sniper Ghillie

Written by mike andrews
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How to Make a Sniper Ghillie
Snipers depend on gillie suits. (sniper rifle on the tripod and optical sight image by Vladimir Melnik from

Virtually everyone knows what camouflage is, but few have ever heard of the gillie suit. Nevertheless, the gillie suit is a sniper's most important asset---aside from his weapon. Without the protective camouflage of the gillie suit, modern snipers would be extremely vulnerable and their effectiveness nullified. Hunters would be easily spotted by their prey, and extreme paintball snipers would "die" much more often. For each of them, the sniper gillie is a critical item.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Camouflage fatigues (or "BDU's")
  • Camouflage, fishing or volleyball netting
  • Burlap, jute or other natural fibre materials
  • Clothing dye in natural colours

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  1. 1

    Buy camouflage fatigues (trousers and jacket) and netting from an army surplus store, or buy fishing or volleyball netting at a department store. After measuring the fatigue dimensions, cut the netting to match the suit snugly, but not too tightly. Then sew the netting to the fatigue jacket at the shoulders, waist and small of the back. On the fatigue trousers, sew the netting around the calves, upper thighs and waist.

  2. 2

    Cut the burlap and/or jute into random strips, shapes and lengths. The gillie suite is intended to break up the body outline with random camouflage, so avoid creating any type of pattern which will look unnatural in the field. Your best bet will be to cut your materials into varying lengths first, and then go back and cut them into varying widths and shapes, cutting some into spirals, etc.

  3. 3

    Choose a base colour for your suit that will best match your environment, and dye much of your burlap or jute that colour, which will be attached to every side of the suit. Dye the remaining pieces of burlap and jute different colours which naturally complement your base colour, and also match vegetation that will be in your operating environment. Be sure to use natural colours (brown, green, etc.) rather than brighter, unnatural ones.

  4. 4

    Starting with your base-coloured pieces, sew strips of burlap and jute to every side of the suit by attaching the strips to the suit's netting in a random fashion. Once your base is in place, sew your complementary coloured pieces randomly all over the suit, being sure as you do not to create a visual pattern which may give the wearer away.

  5. 5

    Add actual growing vegetation from your environment or on-site in your operations zone to complete the suit's camouflage effect. By including indigenous plants in the make-up of your gillie suit, you'll further break up your body's outline, as well as preventing your suit from standing out as a bare mound among a field of plant life.

Tips and warnings

  • Any exposed part of your body will stand out when wearing your gillie suit, so complement your gillie suit's camouflage by wearing camouflage gloves and face paint when in the field. You'll also need to camouflage your weapon to prevent being spotted in your suit.

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