How to Make a Witch-King Costume


The witch-king is an imposing figure from the Lord Of The Rings trilogy. A fearful sight dressed in ragged black robes and wearing armor, it can be a spectacular Halloween costume. Creating the costume is not as difficult as you might think, and basic materials are all the is required.

Things You'll Need

  • Photos of the witch-king for reference
  • Landscape burlap - 36 inch wide roll
  • Cheesecloth or black gauze fabric
  • Scissors
  • Black fabric dye such as RIT
  • Heavy black thread
  • Large sewing needle
  • Heavy posterboard
  • Grey vinyl material or silver contact paper
  • Black spray paint
  • Glue
  • Round silver paper fasteners
  • Black gloves, pants and shirt


  • Research the character by studying photos, pictures of other costumes, or watching the video to get an idea of how the costume looks. These will be a point of reference to use when creating the costume.

  • Unroll the landscape burlap and stretch it from your feet, over your head, and back to the ground again. Cut it to this length. Mark the point where your head rests at the fold. Cut a circle for an opening for your head.

  • Cut a piece of burlap that is equal to the length from your shoulders to the ground, doubled. You can just hold a doubled length of the burlap up to your shoulders and cut it to that length. The cuts and lengths in this costume are very simple, as they should be rough.

  • Dye the burlap black and hang it to dry. If you have cheesecloth that is white rather than the black gauze fabric, dye it black along with the burlap. Hang all the fabric in a location such as outdoors, where drips will not harm carpet or flooring.

  • Fold the shorter piece of burlap without the head opening over so it is doubled. Cut the front side up the center to the fold. Make two cuts to the side about 4 inches long. This should look somewhat like a T.

  • Lay the piece with the head opening on a flat work surface folded double with the head opening at the top. Roughly sew the sides together down both outside edges of the fabric starting about 12 inches down from the top fold. You can use a very large open whip stitch, or just place one stitch and tie it off every few inches. This does not need to be an even closed seam, it only is meant to pull the sides in so that it resembles a very rough robe.

  • Cut a 6-foot piece of the black gauze fabric or dyed cheesecloth. Fold it in half. Cut another piece that is 12 feet in length.

  • Place the robe over your head and put your arms through the openings at the top of the sides. Place the doubled-over piece of burlap that you cut up the center over your shoulders so the slit is in the front. Using your scissors, cut vertical slits along the bottom of the fabric up a few inches so it looks like fringe and the bottom is ragged.

  • Place the doubled-over piece of black gauze or cheesecloth over your head as a hood. Lay the longer piece of gauze or cheesecloth over your shoulders like a drape. This holds the hood in place and adds a layer of movement to the costume. The overall effect is a somewhat ragged bulky layered robe with a black hood. Store the robe wadded in a ball to add wrinkles, and even throw in a few leaves and a hand full of dirt to add realistic detail. Wear the robes over black pants and shirt.


  • Measure your arm from elbow to finger tips. Trace a rough outline of each of your arms on the poster board. Extend the tracing 3 inches for each arm and cut out the template. Mark the pieces left and right so you know which is which on all pieces. Place these on the poster board, and cut two more of each piece, making a total of 6 templates. Cut one more of each arm, but cut away the hand portion. Mark these two as bottom left and bottom right.

  • Glue the gray vinyl to four of the templates and trim it to match the shape. If you are using silver contact paper, remove the backing and cover four templates with it and trim. If you can't tell which is right and left at this point, mark the templates on the underside to keep them straight.

  • Using the photos as a guide, trace a scalloped plate design onto one of the covered arm templates. Cut these out, rounding the outside edges of each. Begin laying them in layers as if they are plates in the armored gauntlets.Do this so it extends down to the tip of the fingers, but do not make individual fingers. Repeat for the other arm.

  • Using the extra set of templates, cut out more plates, and lay them out in a dry-fit, or as they will be when you fasten them together. Make sure there are no gaps, and the plates are layered realistically.

  • Take one base template and add the plates for that arm to it by using the silver paper fasteners, one at each outside edge. These should look like the rivets that hold plated armor together. Do this for the entire arm. Repeat for the other side. Lay the blank white bottom arm template for that arm on the bottom of the gauntlet, using the duct tape, secure the top to the bottom, making a sleeve to slide your arm into and to hold it on. Repeat for the other side. Wear these over the black gloves.

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