Instructables
This instructable will show you how I made a Roman-esque Centurion/Legionnaire/soldier outfit.

Some background: I previously made a version of this costume in about 5 hours with some tape, cardboard, and spray paint about 12 years ago. The costume was passable, but boring and bland. This year I decided I was going to re-make this version to be more interesting, and more visually appealing.

I pulled together some ideas for texture, design, and flair to the costume, all while trying to keep it cheap and with the tools that I already had.

If you have better ideas about how to do stuff, post it - this outfit is FAR from perfect!

Disclaimer:
I do NOT claim to know anything about Roman history, armor, suits, etc. Please don't criticize me on it. I only wanted something that looked cool and was easy to make.

Also, any issues that may come from this are not my fault.
 
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Step 1: Assemble tools and materials

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MATERIALS

To make this outfit, I used:

Cardboard boxes
  • $FR.EE, from my work
Silvery buttons
  • Given by a friend
Silver and Black spray paint
  • 1x1x~$5.00 a can (I already had these)
Dark Red paint
  • $2.00 a bottle (already had this)
Red cloth
  • $1.00
Belts (one nice, one cheapo looking)
  • 2x$2.00
Hot Glue
  • $1.00
Wood Glue
  • $4.00 for 1 liter bottle (already had this)
Red T-shirts::
  • 2x $4.00
Small natural bristle broom
  • 2x $2.00
Velcro
  • 6 inches $1.00
Plastic folder
  • already had one, probably $1.00
Plastic sword and shield
  • 2x $1.00

Tools


Hobby knife
Scissors
Hot Glue Gun
Duct tape
Grommet tool (these are cheap)
Marker
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I know this tutorial is several years old, but wanted you to know that it is still being read and is still helpful for many people looking for a way to get started.

I have used your instructions and my grandson is happy with the results.

I thought I'd add this method of texturizing the helmet and breastplate to your tutorial. I glued twine to the cardboard in a desired design before I sprayed the helmet and breastplate.

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Frostxr2 months ago

If this is suppose to be Roman armor,why is there a Polish eagle on your chest? ?

RomanEmpire542 months ago

Thanks for the idea man im making one for my world history class to impress my teacher with the creativity. This is a huge help

saelnabe7 months ago

Since making one seem too easy, I made 7 of them hahaha just kidding...

This was very helpful... thank you!!
I love the fact that you're an engineer... I'm also studying engineering :)

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rhudy1 year ago
Cool armor I'm in the process of making my own with paper matcha and a cardboard base you are awesome never would have got the idea if it weren't for you thanks
frenchy22 years ago
Sir,

Just wanted to thank you for the idea for the soldier costume. I needed 2costumes for our Easter play and found yours online. We had a lot of fun making it in trying to stay with your instructions. Yours is better than ours, but I think for the first time making such a costume we did not do too badly. People were very impressed and surprised we use cardboard to make it. So again thank you for your beautiful example. I made the skirt with flannel material and we use red T-Shirt for the top. For the helmet we use a red broom. Also just want to let you know we made and use those costumes in a church in France.
Here are some pictures of our costume. Mrs. Carter
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mkanoap3 years ago
My son made this (minus the awesome glue texturing because we ran out of time) and got an A in Latin as a result. Thanks!

I've got a couple of picture of our version at the end of my "pictures of my son's costumes growing up" article at http://www.instructables.com/id/Growing-up-with-halloween/
TForsman3 years ago
Painting the bristles - wouldn't putting the thinned paint into a small coffee can up to the level of the bristles work? Then dipping the bristles into it? Easier to coat and more thoroughly.
laernmoer (author)  TForsman3 years ago
try it and reply back how it goes.. I have no idea..
bobita773 years ago
Hi,
I got everything to make this custome to my 6'7" husband (I know...huh) but I give it a try. Anyhow, I still can't figure out how you attached the button, the cape and the belt together at the front?

Great custome though...I evern found the dollar store shields so happy about it. Although mine has a dragon on it. :)

Thanks in advance!
laernmoer (author)  bobita773 years ago
The button has as rope laced thru it that goes thru the grommets

layering goes like this:

=button
=lacing thru all the grommets
--------
=grommet thru the next
=cape
=belt/strap
--------
=grommet thru cardboard
=cardboard
=plastic folder
-------

hope that this helps. (c:
Galonii3 years ago
my son would like to know how durable your costume is being as it's made of cardboard?
laernmoer (author)  Galonii3 years ago
How durable do you need it to be? mine lasted longer than a week.. cardboard is pretty tough stuff.. moreso when coated in glue..
hharwood3 years ago
Hi, thanks for your help. My sons school decided to drop the 'make a homemade roman costume' on me 2 days before it was due and i had no ideas. After a lot of looking through images my son loved the look of yours and so it began.Lets hope he wins first prize. Thanks again. :-)
Foaly75 years ago
Um. Cool instructable, but you don't have anything about what the materials would cost if you don't have access to free cardboard and buttons.
laernmoer (author)  Foaly73 years ago
you can get free cardboard anywhere. Grocery stores, shipping companies, neighbors, amazon orders, etc..

Buttons, yeah, those can get expensive, but you only need two. Or you could use pieces of cardboard and MAKE buttons. or use jar lids, or whatever you can think of to decorate your costume. None of this is historically accurate, just make it look COOL.
chris209125 years ago
Thanks for posting this! Very cool and great to have the comments from the learning along the way. I'm putting together my own version this weekend. When I was shopping for parts I realized a simple solution to keep the belt from sliding down, Braces/Suspenders. Most of them are clipons these days and can attach directly to the belt once you get them adjusted properly.

Thanks again! I'll try to post a pic of my finished product as well. :)
laernmoer (author)  chris209123 years ago
nice! that's a good tip if your belt doesn't tighten enough..
bobica2574 years ago
This is most gratest costume I ever seen and maked...
I am going to win the best costume prize this year.
Its going to legen---wait for it----darry!
laernmoer (author)  bobica2573 years ago
haha, nice! Good luck!
nuparu1084 years ago
why did you use corrugated cardboard i just used cordboard from an old cereal box and it worked fine.
laernmoer (author)  nuparu1083 years ago
corrugated was the strongest. I needed it to last a week, and it was the easiest to find. I had tons of it laying around waiting to be taken to recycling.
tcubsleader3 years ago
You are AMAZING!! I have been a girl scout mom for a few years,and thankfully, my girls were blessed with the queen of crafting as their leader. I pitch in my share of supplies and she does the rest. Which works out well since I have ZERO creativity jeans whatsoever! Even the school projects I pass on to my husband. Sad I know, but he does construction for a living, so your average solar system or shoe box habitat haven't been a problem. But this year I had the bright idea (all for my 6 yr old son with severe ADHD) to sign up for being the den leader for his age level.... more busy boys his age, in my house every week. Not too smart! They assured me if I followed the plan from the book it would be a breeze. My house is full of kids 24/7 anyway so no sweat, right? Big WRONG! The book tells you what you need to teach them of course. But offers no suggestions on how to do this of course. That would be my job! Yeah! My husband refused to help... I volunteer I suffer. Google has been my friend for sure! But I never dreamed I would be so lucky to come across your genius skills for exactly the cheap and creative idea I needed. Bless you for you have saved me from disappointing my son. He would have been wrapped in foil if it weren't for you sharing your awesome creation. I admire your creativity! I'm learning slowly but surely! Thanks again...really thank YOU!
laernmoer (author)  tcubsleader3 years ago
Believe it or not, most creativity stems out of 2 things for me: 1) shortness of time and 2) a need.

Put your feet to the fire more and your creative juices will flow, i always say (c:

Creativity isn't magic, it's a muscle you have to exercise and practice. Good luck!
sstephens23 years ago
i wish you would have added dimentions...2" here and 2.5 here would have been better than "i just eyeballed it" >.> mind adding that? haha i have to make 4 of those by friday ...sheesh!
laernmoer (author)  sstephens23 years ago
Haha, sorry, I was avoiding using dimensions to prevent people from getting upset with me for giving them numbers that don't work.. if I said 2 inches and it didn't fit, i thought I'd get complaints.. you have a point tho.I should have put a ruler in for easier "eyeballing"!
Thank you so much! I am working on a spartan armor and this helps me with certain parts of the build. If I did not find this, I would have never been able to cheaply make spartan armor. Thank you so much!
laernmoer (author)  weareforsparta3 years ago
(c:
nbohn3 years ago
this is how I made mine I think it looks pretty beast...also I love unicorns so thats why I carved on out and put in on the breast plate <:D
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laernmoer (author)  nbohn3 years ago
Awesome is not enough to describe the awesomeness of this - good work!
nbohn3 years ago
what was the plastic folder used for because I didn't use one :/
laernmoer (author)  nbohn3 years ago
I used it to strengthen the rivets..it's not necessary, but I needed to wear mine for a week, so I wanted it to be robust as hell. (c:
what i do when i make helmets is to take normal white glue and paint it on with a paintbrush. then i sand it very lightly so paint will stick better

also, steaming the cardboard might make it easier to bend
Mothys5 years ago
wait... do you wear the 2nd t-shirt on your waist???
laernmoer (author)  Mothys5 years ago
 yup. cut the neck out, step thru it and tie the sleeves around your waist.
Mothys5 years ago
yeah i get what you mean by pointy end of staples pionted outwards i found that out the hard way....
red-king5 years ago
the "skirt" is called a Tasset (i had to look it up...). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tassets
slimguy3796 years ago
here is my finish stuff not as good as yours but I had to improvise considering I only had a few hours I also only used on side (breast plate) and used rope to hold it to my chest. so thanks for this tutorial this really added a good grade to my English report!!!
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very nice!
jziesemann5 years ago
Thanks for this awesome instructable! We made this costume for a series at our church. I used red pipe cleaners instead of the broom for the helmet!
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