How to Make a Nazgul Costume

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Mount Sunday, the movie set for Edoras in The Lord of the Rings
Image Credit: momo11353/iStock/GettyImages

In "Lord of the Rings" lore, the Nazgul are shadowy villains who serve Sauron in his quest to rule all of Middle Earth. In real life, they're the perfect inspiration for a simple yet menacing costume for a Halloween or Nazgul cosplay event. The Nazgul, also known as ringwraiths, have a distinctive look: They're faceless creatures dressed head to toe in black. Sewers might create black robes using a Nazgul cloak pattern or may alter store-bought robes to create the costume, but a Nazgul costume DIY is relatively easy to put together, especially because there's no hair or makeup required.

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Things You'll Need

  • Robe

  • Black fabric

  • Scissors

  • Needle and black thread

  • Wire brush

  • Dirt

  • Black shoes, pants, shirt

  • Black gloves or armor gauntlets

  • Black stocking

  • Sword

Step 1: Acquire or Make Hooded Robes

Black hooded robes are the centerpiece of any Nazgul costume DIY project. These nine characters were once men but became phantoms after being corrupted by power. From that point forward, the movie series depicts the Nazgul as being shrouded in black.

Experienced sewers may want to find and follow a Nazgul cloak pattern online to create a customized robe from black cotton or wool. Heavy fabric will make the costume look realistic but may also make it uncomfortably hot. If you can't find a Nazgul cloak pattern you like, any pattern for a hooded black cloak will do.

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The advantage of making your own robe is that you can make sure it's just long enough to let you walk safely. The Nazgul don't have physical bodies, so you would never see wrists or ankles stick out from their robes – but you don't have to be that realistic with your Nazgul costume. If you don't want to sew a costume, purchase a black hooded cloak from a store that sells Halloween costumes.

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Step 2: Sew on More Layers

The Nazgul are ancient, and their robes show it. Adding some additional pieces of black fabric gives your robe a tattered look, like it's been worn for centuries. Sewing on some extra pieces of fabric will also help the robe flutter and move in the wind.

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Rip up old black garments to create shredded patches of fabric or buy remnants of gauzy black material from a fabric store. Use a needle and black thread to attach one edge of each fabric swatch to the robe. There's no right or wrong way to do this, so use your judgement and add as many or as few pieces as you wish.

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Step 3: Make the Robe Look Worn

Add signs of wear and tear to make your robe look as realistic as possible. Use scissors to cut and fray the hem. Run a wire brush over the robe to create snags and give the fabric more texture.

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Optionally, rub dirt into the garment to further add to the idea that this robe has been worn for a long time.

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Step 4: Gather Undergarments and a Face Covering

Wear a layer of all-black clothing beneath your robe. You don't want any skin to show through any rips or gaps in the fabric. Choose black boots or any kind of casual all-black shoes. Pull on a pair of thin black gloves to cover your skin or better yet, black armor gauntlets like the ones medieval knights would wear over their hands.

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Because these creatures are faceless, a black face covering is generally part of a Nazgul cosplay outfit or Halloween costume. Don a black costume stocking mask, which is designed to let the wearer see through the fabric or make your own basic face covering by cutting one leg off a pair of opaque black stockings and pulling the fabric over your face. Do a test run to make sure you can easily see and breathe through your face covering. If not, wear a black plastic face mask from a costume shop.

Step 5: Complete the Nazgul Costume DIY

Once you have your all-black under layer and robe, the final piece of your costume is a weapon. Ringwraiths use a variety of weapons to menace and harm their enemies, but a simple sword is generally the standard weapon people choose for Nazgul cosplay. Carry a costume sword or cut your own long sword from cardboard and cover the blade with silver paint or foil.

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