Ghillie Instructions

Burlap fabric provides a rough, natural texture.

A ghillie suit is a form of attire meant to trick the eye with three-dimensional camouflage that blends into the environment. Soldiers and hunters, as well as paintball enthusiasts, commonly utilize ghillie suits. According to Tom Forbes, author of “The Invisible Advantage Workbook,” the best ghillie suits are handmade so the pattern is sporadic. The process of making a ghillie suit is simple, requiring only a bit of time and a few supplies.


1. Purchase a set of camouflage fatigues and a brown-brimmed hat or cap from your local surplus store. Ensure the fatigues, or uniforms, are long sleeved to cover as much of your skin as possible. If you do not have a surplus store nearby, a tan button-down shirt and tan pants will suffice.

2. Combine half a packet of both green and brown fabric dye together. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mix water with the dye powder, using a combined amount specified for one dye packet.

3. Dye five yards of burlap fabric in the mixed fabric dye per the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow the fabric to dry.

4. Cut the dyed burlap into strips ranging between two and four inches wide, and six to 12 inches long, with sharp scissors.

5. Sew the strips onto your camouflage fatigues and hat using a needle and brown thread. Only sew one end of the strips, leaving the length hanging down. The goal is to cover the entire suit and hat in strips of burlap. Do not make the burlap placement methodical; rather, sew the strips at random with one to three inches space in between. The strips should overlap each other and completely cover the suit. On the hat, strips should hang down over the brim, disguising its general shape.

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6. Tie local vegetation to the burlap strips at random, over your entire ghillie suit and hat. For example, gather local sticks, twigs and long grasses similar to your intended hiding location.

7. Put on your ghillie suit, and cover the exposed skin of your hands and face with brown and green face-paint. Paint the two colors in alternating splotches, forming a camouflage pattern.