How to Make a Homemade African Tribal Outfit

Decorate a cardboard shield with tribal patterns in earthy colors.
Decorate a cardboard shield with tribal patterns in earthy colors. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

The vast African continent is home to many tribes. If you want to create the authentic costume of a specific tribe you will need to do some research online or at the library beforehand. The Zulu tribe is the largest ethnic group in South Africa. Traditional Zulu dress is very colorful, incorporating beadwork and garments made of animal skin.

Things You'll Need

  • Colorful T-shirt
  • Fake leather or suede
  • Leather straps
  • Fake fur
  • Fabric glue
  • Animal print fabric
  • Stick-on loop and hook fastener
  • Feathers
  • Colorful wooden beads
  • Cardboard
  • Acrylic paint
  • Face paint

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Wear a plain, colorful T-shirt.Young men and women traditionally wear few clothes, but older members cover themselves with simple garments such as T-shirts.

Wear a loincloth made of leather or animal skin if you are male. Use fake suede or animal print fabric. Cut two 8-by-12-inch rectangles of fabric and glue each of them to the center of separate strips of fabric. Tie the strips at the sides so that one rectangle hangs at the front and one at the back. It is advisable to wear regular shorts underneath. Decorate the loincloth by painting tribal patterns with acrylic craft paint and sticking on colorful wooden beads.

Make a simple skirt out of a strip of black fake leather or suede if you are female. Wrap it around your waist and tie it in place with strips of leather or strings of colored beads.

Use a piece of animal print fabric such as leopard skin as a cloak for both men and women. Use stick-on loop and hook fastener to hold it in place around your neck.

Wear strings of colored wooden beads and strips of fake leather and fur around your neck, arms and ankles, and below the knees. Wrap strips of fake leopard skin around your lower legs.

Cut a shield and spear from cardboard. Paint them with acrylic craft paint, decorating them with traditional tribal patterns. Male Zulu warriors should carry these.

Make beaded headdresses by threading beads onto strips of leather. Add feathers and strips of fake fur for male headdresses.

Tips & Warnings

  • Strings of beads around the neck can pose a choking hazard; exercise caution.

References

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