How to make a roman uniform

Written by erin ringwald
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How to make a roman uniform
Make your own helmet to accompany your Roman uniform. (Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images)

One of the most iconic empires in history was the Roman Empire, along with its Roman Soldiers. The uniforms for the soldiers consisted of golden breastplates, red striped skirts and gold helmets complete with a fiery red feather plume. Making your own Roman soldier costume for a school play, costume party or for Halloween takes little time and effort. The finished product might not save you in battle, but this replica will save you from spending a fortune on a ready-made costume.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Metallic gold spray paint
  • Plastic breastplate
  • 1-gallon milk jug
  • Utility knife
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Sandpaper
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Hot glue gun
  • Red feathers
  • Red fabric
  • 3-inch wide brown leather belt
  • White T-shirt
  • Strappy leather sandals

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  1. 1

    Spray paint a plastic breastplate using metallic gold spray paint. Allow the paint to dry overnight. Look for breastplates at your local costume supply store.

  2. 2

    Cut the top 3-inches off a clean 1-gallon plastic milk jug. Discard the top section. Turn the bottom section over and place it on your head. Have someone draw the shape of the helmet on the milk jug so that the helmet will sit above your eyebrows, covering your forehead and have flaps that go down your cheeks. Leave the ears exposed and cover the back of the neck. Remove the milk jug and cut along the drawn shape using a utility knife or pair of scissors. Discard the cut out section. Sand the cut edges of the helmet using sandpaper to avoid potential cuts.

  3. 3

    Cut a 10-inch long strip of corrugated cardboard that is 3-inches tall. Round the top edge like a crescent and the bottom edge to fit the shape of the bottom of the milk jug. Apply hot glue to the bottom side of the cutout and press it to the bottom of the milk jug. Hold it in place for two to three minutes while the glue sets.

  4. 4

    Spray paint the entire helmet metallic gold using spray paint. Allow it to dry overnight.

  5. 5

    Insert the quill ends of red feathers into the top of the corrugated cardboard crescent. If the feathers are loose, apply hot glue to the tips before inserting them into the cardboard. The number of feathers needed depends on the fullness of the feathers used. Insert enough feathers to create a full plume.

  6. 6

    Cut 3-inch wide red strips of fabric to a length that is the same as your waist to knee measurement. The number of strips needed depends on your waist size. Use hot glue to attach the strips to the backside of a 3-inch wide brown leather belt. Space the strips 2-inches apart.

  7. 7

    Wear a long white T-shirt with short sleeves under the uniform to create the tunic. The shirt should fall below about mid-thigh. Attach the belt with the red strips around your waist. Add a pair of flat, strappy leather sandals. Or, if you can find a pair, wear a pair of gladiator sandals that tie up the calf. Wear the helmet and breastplate over the tunic to finish the look.

Tips and warnings

  • If desired, carry a fake sword and shield as accessories.
  • To avoid serious burns, do not touch the glue or glue gun while they are hot.

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