King Leonidas led 300 Spartan warriors into the Battle of Thermopylae to bravely face the Persian army and their ruler Xerxes in 480 B.C. Outnumbered by thousands, these fierce warriors held the enemy until they were betrayed and lost their lives in the battle. The film “300” brought the story of the Spartans to the masses, making the costumes, with their distinctive helmets, a desirable choice for parties and Halloween. Put together a Spartan 300 costume for your next party; however, plan ahead so you’ll have time to make all of the pieces and still hit the gym -- Spartans were notoriously buff!
Things You'll Need
- Thin plastic helmet
- 12-inch square craft foam
- Duct tape
- Utility knife
- Poster board
- Bronze spray paint
- Black acrylic paint
- Paper towels
- Large circular plastic trashcan lid
- Cardboard box
- Red acrylic paint
- Soccer shin guards
- Brown leather strappy sandals
- White bike shorts
- Brown fabric dye
- Bronze acrylic paint
- Measuring tape
- 1 yard of 3-inch-wide leather-like trim
- Large oval belt buckle
- Modeling glue
- 3 yards red fabric
Place your purchased helmet next to the sheet of foam. Place the pencil shaft against the base of the helmet so the point is on the foam. Move the shaft of the pencil over the curve of the helmet. The pencil will trace the curve of the helmet onto the foam. This will be the crest of the helmet.
Use the curve as your guide to cut out a 2-inch-tall piece of foam that will curve around the helmet. The piece should look like a crescent moon. You may have to trim the curve with a utility knife to get it to sit down onto the helmet. Cut the crest to run from the middle of the forehead to the middle of the back of the head. Glue the crest to the hat with hot glue. Secure the sides to the hat with duct tape after the glue has dried.
Tape a piece of poster board to the inside of the helmet. Have the poster board go all of the way around the helmet with the seam in the back. Trim it to where it hangs out of the helmet 8 inches.
Mix 4 cups of water with 4 cups of flour to create paper mache. Whisk well to eliminate lumps. Tear newspaper into 1-inch-by-12-inch strips. Dip a strip in the mixture and run between your fingers to eliminate excess moisture.
Place the strip on the helmet. Smooth the strip so it lies flat against the surface. Cover the entire helmet, crest and poster board with strips. Cover the inside of the poster board as well. Let dry. Repeat the process for a total of five layers of paper. Let dry overnight.
Place the helmet on your head and mark the location of your eyes, nose, mouth, ears and the end of your chin with a marker.
Cut two long upside-down U shapes on the front of the poster board on either side of your nose. Cutting out these eyeholes should leave a nose guard. Try the helmet on to make sure you can see. Cut the end of the nose guard into a point so it ends right above your upper lip. Measure 3 inches down from where your chin ends. Cut the poster board at an angle toward the ear. Cut it so it ends right below the jawline. Stop when you get to the ear. Cut up and around half the ear -- just to the opening of the ear. Follow the hairline until you reach the back of the head. Repeat for the other side.
Spray the entire helmet with bronze spray paint. Let dry completely. Take a dry paintbrush and dip it in black paint. Wipe the brush onto a paper towel until 2/3 of the paint has rubbed off. Run the brush over the helmet and wipe the helmet with a paper towel. This dry-brushing effect will "weather" the bronze so it will not look as shiny.
Place a circular plastic trashcan lid face-down on your work surface. Place your forearm across the center of the inside. Mark the place of your palm and elbow with a piece of chalk. Measure out a piece of duct tape that will fit across your arm and wrist. Double the tape up so the sticky side is covered by another layer of tape. Cut and tape to the inside of the lid to create handles. You’ll slide your arm into the one at the elbow and hold onto the one at the palm.
Turn your lid over and cut two pieces of cardboard to create a cross in the center of the lid. The pieces need to be 6 inches wide. Place pieces of duct tape over them to secure them to the lid.
Mix paper mache mix as you did for the helmet and rip newspaper into strips. Apply 5 layers of paper mache to the lid with each layer drying in between. Let the lid dry overnight.
Spray the lid with bronze spray paint. Let dry completely. Take a dry paintbrush and dip it in black paint. Wipe the brush onto a paper towel until 2/3 of the paint has rubbed off. Run the brush over the shield and wipe with a paper towel. Splatter red paint over a small portion of the shield so it looks well used.
Greaves or Leg Armor
Purchase a pair of soccer shin guards that are designed to slip on your foot.
Spray paint the entire shin guard with bronze spray paint. Spray with a second coat after the first coat has dried completely.
Use the dry-brush effect with black paint to age the bronze color. Pair the greaves with a pair of leather sandals.
Cape and Shorts
Create the shorts by dying a pair of white bike shorts dark brown. For a more authentic costume, you can wear a men’s bikini swimsuit.
Using the same technique as for the helmet, shield and greaves, dry-brush bronze and black paint onto the shorts to age them.
Measure from the top of your shoulder across your collarbone, under your arm, around your back and back to the top of the same shoulder. Add 1 inch and cut two pieces of leather-like trim this length.
Spray the belt buckle with bronze spray paint and let dry completely. Dry-brush with black paint.
Turn the buckle over and place it face-down on the work surface. Cross the two strips of leather-like material so they make an X. Pour the modeling glue into the belt buckle. Insert the ends of the strips, making sure they are still in the shape of an X. Hold the ends in the glue until it sets.
Gather the three yards of red material. The material is a large rectangle. Grasp the corners of one of the short ends of the fabric. Hold the material so the right side of the fabric is facing you. Set the gathered corners into the glue behind the leather. The cape will be layered behind the straps. Hold it until the glue sets. Add more glue on top of the fabric if necessary.
Let the glue dry overnight. Slide the cape over your head like you would a shirt. Hold your arms up and slide it over your arms as you guide them in between the upper and lower straps. Guide your head through and set cape on your shoulders. The leather straps will cross right above your sternum with the belt buckle in the center. The straps pass under your arms, around the back of your shoulders and across your body like an infinity sign or a sideways 8.
Trim the cape to brush your ankles.
Tips & Warnings
- Locate a thin plastic helmet at a party or a novelty store. They are often used as party favors and are themed as army helmets or other themed helmets.
- You can weather your cape fabric by burning the bottom edges. Be careful to not set the fabric ablaze. Singe the edge with a lighter and remove from the flame as the fabric starts to darken and curl. Do this outside in case there are any fumes from finishing chemicals in the fabric.
- Photo Credit Mark Davis/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
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