Introduction: The Black Knight Costume (from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail")
This year I decided I was going to go to our annual Halloween party as the black knight from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". As usual I wanted something relatively cheap and easy to pull off. The results were great.
Black Fabric (Should be about as wide as your shoulders)(Should be opaque as possible. I doubled mine up)
Red Acrylic Paint (this can be found cheap at many dollar stores)
Black Acrylic Paint
A medium sized, art-style paint brush
A small sized, art-style paint brush
Boxboard (just an empty club soda box)
Black Nylon? fabric (This was taken from a halloween cape, bought at a thrift store)
Hot Glue Gun with glue
A modified copy of the Black Knight's logo (originally for a stencil, but later used to sketch from by hand instead)
Other things needed to finish the entire ensemble:
Black long sleeve shirt / Black hoodie
Black pants (I wore black chinos)
Black socks / Black boots (depending on indoor or outdoor)
A large sword (preferably up to your chin, mine came up to my chest) (See Cheap and Easy Wooden Knight's Longsword)
***The following article from the Etsy New York Street Team blog was a huge help. link
***Also very helpful were production stills from the film found all over the net. (Especially close ups of the helmet)
Step 1: The Tunic
I pictured the Knight's tunic as basically a modified poncho that hung to just above the knees. and was held on by a belt around the waist. The amount you need depends on opaqueness and how tall you are. Your fabric for this should be as opaque as possible and should be even on your front and back, sitting just above the knee. To accomplish this even-ness, I first, folded the fabric length-wise and used the hot glue gun to seal the seam (this increased opaqueness), and then folded the fabric in half across where my shoulders would be. From here, I measured to find the center of the crease and then cut out a half circle about the size of my head. This worked the first time, but was tight, so I refolded the fabric and made the half circle larger, until it was comfortable, and sat evenly.
The image for the center was taken from a t-shirt depicting the original logo. I modified the logo in GIMP to be white on black, and enlarged it and printed it. I tried to print it over two pages to make it large enough, but the printer would not cooperate, so I ended up sketching the image by hand from the attached picture.
I determined where the logo should be on the chest of the tunic, and sketched the outline first. This was done with a small art-style paint brush. Once I had the outline, I filled it all in with red paint. At this point, you should put newspaper inside the tunic to prevent bleed through. I needed to use multiple layers of paint, drying in between, as my material was quite porous (think table cloth). After the outline was filled with red, I used the different ridges and valleys as landmarks to draw in the rest of the lines in black. It turned out to be a lot easier than expected. Any mistakes you make along the way can be touched up with the black paint.
Once all of the above is finished, you are finished the tunic.
***Sorry for the lack of pictures. I thought I had more, but when I went to write this up, it looks like some were missing. I must have gotten mixed up as I was working on this one and the King Arthur costume at the same time.
Step 2: The Helmet
This was arguably the most difficult part of the costume, as getting it right was key to the look of the costume.
To start this off, I bought 3 sheets of Creatology Fun Foam 12" x 16" (see pic) at Michael's. This turned out to not be enough, so it was augmented with a club soda box. The result was pretty good, as you can see.
I started by taping the long side of one sheet to the short side of another, lining up the edges. I repeated this on the other side and then did a test fit. The front sheet was overlapped over the back sheet. I ended up overlapping one of the sides a bit more than the other to get the right fit. This, I determined, was at a point just a little bigger than my head. I, then, hot glued the seams, and trimmed the excess. (See pic)
Next I cut the point for the front of the helmet by finding the center of the bottom edge of the sheet, and marking out a line from there to where this sheet joined the back sheet. This was done on both the left and right sides, and was out out. I then went to check out the test fit in the mirror, using my phone to see how it looked as I had yet to cut the eye slot...(See pic). The top was not big enough, but this was ok, because the helmet did not yet look like the style of the one from the movie yet.
At this point, I realized that I was running out of fun foam. I had already cut out a top piece, which was a poor fit, and this left me with not enough material for the top strip of the helmet. What was I to do? Recycling bin to the rescue! I went to check out what I could find to reuse in my recycling bin and found the perfect thing. An empty club soda box. The box was disassembled by taking apart its seams and this left a good sized sheet of cardboard. This cardboard was cut into two continuous strips, approximately 2.5-3" wide. The strips were "tack welded" to the foam with hot glue, by laying the helmet down and doing a few "tack welds" at a time. This allowed the cardboard to align with the outer edge of the foam, and allowed it to curve with the foam. I tried to line up seams with the seams in the foam, for the most part. (See pic)
A top was then cut from corrogated cardboard, after placing the helmet, upside down on it and tracing a top. This top was also attached using the hot glue tack method. (See pic)
The eye slot, and breathing holes were then cut. The design was based on the original. The eye slot was placed by pushing in on the foam, while wearing the helmet, to find where the edge of my eye was, then marking this place with a pencil. Once I had the eye slot, I eyeballed where the vents should be from there. The top row of vents should start about an inch below the eye slot.
Straps and rivets were then cut from foam to match the metal straps and rivets apparent on the original. This served double duty, both adding style and covering seams. Any extra gaps were carefully filled with hot glue. (This had the added benefit, after painting, of kind of looking like real welds)
Finally, to make sure everything on the helmet was the same colour, I put on 2 or 3 coats of black acrylic paint, and then added a small piece of nylon fabric inside the helmet so that no one could see my face.
Step 3: Guard Some Bridges!
That's it! You're done. Combine the tunic and helmet with the long sleeve shirt, pants, gloves, socks, and sword, and you've got yourself a nice intimidating costume.
I had people quoting the King Arthur / Black Knight scene to me all night. It was even suggested I act this out while standing in front of the fridge. haha.
Enjoy your costume, and "...move for no man...", unless of course he chops off your arms and legs. Then, we'll call it a draw.