Introduction: DIY Xena Warrior Princess Costume

About: Former Instructables employee CHECK OUT MY WORK


Strength. Intelligence. Ululations. What’s not to admire? If you’ve ever wanted to be like Xena, here’s the easiest part of the process: the outfit.

Learn to fashion your own chakram, the skirt, the boots, and the armor. You’ll be dressed to impress, lay waste to a costume party, or spurn the advances of Ares.

Required skills for this build:
clay molding

Step 1: Chakram

  • Cardboard
  • Silver and Gold Spray Paint
  • Scissors
This is really simple to make.  Sketch out the design of cardboard then cut it out.  Spray the outer ring silver and the inner section gold.

Step 2: Corset

Since I am not a master seamstress I decided to buy a corset instead of making one.  However, if you are up for the challenge, there are some fantastic corset making tutorials on Instructables.  Use these resources to make the top half of your costume.

Make your own Corset:

Buy a Corset:  I bought this corset

Step 3: Sewing the Skirt

This was one of my favorite parts of the costume to make and it was surprisingly easy!

2 yards of brown pleather (match the color of the corset)
100 studs (mine were silver)
sewing machine

Large Flaps
Cut out about 16 flaps that are 3" wide and 20" long.  The bottoms of the flaps should be curved.

Small Flaps
Make 9 small flaps.  Each flap will have 9 panels on it.  Cut out the panels as I did below.  Attach them with a stud.  I didn't sew these panels together I just used the stud and they stayed together fine!

Put it all together
Cut out a long skinny piece of pleather the size of our waist +5".  Sew the small flaps to the pleather spacing them 2-3 inches apart.

Sew a round of large flaps behind the small flaps. Make sure the flaps are touching each other. Sew a second round of large flaps where the first round of large flaps meet so all the gaps are filled in so when you wear the skirt your skin doesn't show.

Attach to Skirt
Sew the belted flaps on the inside of the skirt.  I also added some grommets for decorative detail.

Step 4: Cast Breast Plate Armor

I wanted to have real looking armor w/o being weighed down by metal.  So I created armor out of latex.  Its actually a really simple process:

Materials: you can find all of these materials at Douglas and Sturgess
Modeling Clay
Liquid Latex

Design Armor by draw out on paper/cardboard how you want the breast plate to look.  This will just be the 2D design.

Mold Clay into the 3D design of the breast plate.  Spray the clay mold with a parting agent.  This will let the clay separate from the plaster.

Pour the plaster over the clay model. Follow instructions for mixing the plaster. Make sure to build a wall around our mold before you pour so the plaster doesn't run everywhere. Once the plaster dries remove the clay from the plaster.  I had to use a toothbrush to get some of the clay out.

Fill the negative plaster mold with liquid latex.  I painted it in with a paint brush.

Once the latex is dry, paint the breast plate with a latex paint.  I added hammer in snaps to the breast plate and the corset so it was removable like the real Xena outfit.

Step 5: Arm Bands

The accessories like the arm bands and the shoulder pads really made the costume come together.

Brown pleather fabric (same as you use for skirt)
You will need to cut two arm bands for each arm: the upper arm band (UAB) and the lower arm band (LAB). 

UAB: cut a rectangle 4" wide and 1"-2" longer than the circumference of your arm. 

LAB: spans from your wrist to just before your elbow.  It goes straight around your arm, but make it a bit shorter than the circumference of your arm because you are going to lace this arm band up.  The end near your elbow comes to a point, while the end near your wrist goes straight around.

Hammer in Snaps (or velcro)
This is to keep the UAB together.  I found the snaps were much more robust.  Follow instructions for on package to add them to UAB

Grommetsand Thin Brown Cord
Add grommets along the long sides of the LAB. Lace up the LABs by threading the cord through the grommets like you're tying shoe laces.

Gold studs:
Line the edges of the UAB with gold studs like these.

Add Detail: Cast armor or Paint Armor
I went an extra step on these arm bands and casted the detail in latex.  For details on how to do this see Step 4: Cast Breast Plate Armor.  If you want the same detail i suggest painting the pleather with gold metalic paint (I think this is the best way to go)

Step 6: Boots

The other element that I didn't make from scratch was the boots - for obvious reasons. I bought a pair of inexpensive tall brown boots from here.

I added painted and latex detail.  Instead of casting the shapes I dried 1/4" thick sheets of latex and cut out the shapes from that.  I glued the latex detail on with epoxy. 

For extra detail, I added grommets to the top of the boots.

Step 7: Shoulder Pads

Armature Wire (thick)
Armature Wire (thin)
Brown Pleather

Cut shoulder pads out of pleather.  You can see the pattern I used in the pictures. 

Sew a small sleeve in the middle of the shoulder pad to run a thin piece of armature wire through.  This will allow you to shape the shoulder pads.

Run the large armature wire through a longer sleeve at the edge of the shoulder pad.  You will attach the shoulder pads to the costume using this armature wire.  I bent the armature wire for decorative detail.

Add latex detail and studs.

Step 8: Sword and Sheath

Make a simple sheath for your sword.  I attached it to my costume with snaps.  It was really easy to access.  I also sewed a pocket in the sheath that I put my money/phone/credit cards in so I didn't need to bring a purse with me.

Buy Sword Here

Step 9: Xena Fights a Space Viking.....Who Do You Think Won?

Autodesk Employee Halloween Contest

Finalist in the
Autodesk Employee Halloween Contest

Halloween Epic Costumes Contest

Participated in the
Halloween Epic Costumes Contest