Cheap and Easy Gandalf Costume!




Introduction: Cheap and Easy Gandalf Costume!

About: I am a geeky kid who loves drawing, dancing, gymnastics, rabbits, and creating just about anything!! :D

Hi Ya'll!

I don't know about you, but I LOVE Halloween! This year, my best friend discovered the Lord of the Rings and has been 'mildly' obsessed with it. She thought it would be fun to go as Arwen and Gandalf. Guess who gets to be Gandalf? Me. I was super excited for a fun costume challenge though!! :)

I researched several costumes, but the prices were absolutely OUTRAGEOUS! Plus, I really wanted to create my own. There aren't many tutorials out there, and they are mainly made out of paper, or go all out. My Gandalf costume is a mix of the two- not to simple but not overly complicated, either.

Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures until towards the end, but I am trying my best to make this easy to follow!

Total, I spent about $18 on the entire thing- the yarn for the beard being kinda expensive. Also, I spent maybe 2 hours creating the entire thing, but used hot glue a lot where I could've sewn. If you want a better quality costume, sew whenever I use glue.

Step 1: Materials

Most of the Materials I had laying around the house, but for the robes, I went to Goodwill for cheap secondhand clothing.

  • Hot Glue Gun and Sticks
  • Measuring tape
  • Stick pins
  • Marker
  • Sewing machine

For the Robe

  • Grey Vest or Sweatshirt
  • Size 3x grey dress pants. (The bigger, the better, for the sleeves)
  • Grey blanket or large sheet of material approx. 40x60'' (This is for the bottom of his robes, so make sure it is at least as long as you from waist down)
  • Binder Clip
  • Braided Belt
  • Grey Spray paint
  • A grey fleece blanket for his cloak

For the hat

  • posterboard
  • Another grey fleece blanket (I got them at Wal-Mart for $2.50 apiece!)

For the beard and hair

  • Grey Material (just scrap material from the hat)
  • Grey Yarn Bee yarn or other type of grey wool yarn
  • Felting needle and foam pad (more on this later) :D

Step 2: Making the Robe

Actually, the robe consists of 2 parts: The top and the bottom. The bottom is the easiest!

Bottom half:

Gandalf's robe is pleated, but because I wanted to keep this easy, I only did 3 large pleats in the front of the robes. The back is covered by the cloak anyway.Wrap the grey blanket around your waist. It may go past your feet but that is OK! Measure where you want your 3 pleats, and stick them with pins. Stitch them together.

Cut off the bottom of the blanket if it is too long. You may want to hem yours but, because I tried to move quickly and because it is fleece, I didn't.

Top Half:

I used a vest for my top half, but anything that is easy to sew into will work. You will be wearing it backwards, so if it is uncomfortable around the neck, cut it out. It doesn't have to be pretty since the beard will cover it. Hem the edges with hot glue.

Since the cloak will cover the robe, it was fine that I used a vest with buttons and pockets. It did not show behind the robe.

For the sleeves, cut the pants strait across at the red dotted line (see the picture). Cut each leg so that you end up with 2 tube-like pieces. Turn your vest and pant legs inside out. Pin the pant legs to each vest sleeve. If you don't use a vest, cut out the original sleeves first. There are lots of ways to sew on sleeves, but I did the most basic and just stitched them on while they were inside out.

When you turn it right side in, it should look something like Gandalf's robe!

Step 3: Belt!

For the Belt:

I bought a braided faux leather belt at Goodwill for $1. It was too short, since Gandalf's belt hangs lower, so I extended it by cutting it and adding an extra 6" of another belt. It is too thick to stitch, so I duct-taped them together. Then, I spray painted it all grey. The extra 6" was real leather (also from Goodwill) so it didn't color like the rest, but it was fine since the robe covered it.

Step 4: Cloak!

I've talked so much about how the cloak will cover the back, and so it's fine time we added it! :)

This is the simplest step. Take the grey blanket and throw it over your shoulders. Tie a loose knot around your neck. Presto! You've got your cloak!! You can leave the knot in, and slip it over your shoulders, or tie it on every time you put on your costume!

Step 5: THAT HAT!

This is what really takes the Gandalf costume to a new level!! His famous hat!

There are so so many tutorials out there! And they are all AMAZING!!

I mainly followed this one: but put less work into it. In my humble opinion, I think it turned out just fine for someone who only spent 25 minutes on it!

The link above does a great job explaining how they made the hat, but I'll show you how I did it here:

Cut out a circle of the poster board for your brim. It should resemble a doughnut, with the inner circle approx. 2'' bigger than your head and the outer circle 5-6" bigger. (I made the inner circle's radius 5" and the outer circle's radius 11"). Cut out the inner circle so you have a nice doughnut shape.

Cut out a wedge - like the red dotted line in the photo. It doesn't matter how big, but about 1/6 of the doughnut.

Hot Glue the grey fabric onto the doughnut so it is covering both sides.

Measure it around your head and find the right size that fits you. Hot glue each end of the doughnut together so you have a slightly curving brim.

Create a cone out of the fabric for the peak of the hat. It should be approx. 22" long and bending backward slightly. Glue it together and then glue it onto the brim. Now you have a Gandalf hat, but it will flop over pathetically!

Stuff the hat so it stands up. Don't overdo it though! Using fabric scraps, you can glue in a lining to the inside of hat so the stuffing won't fall out. My lining didn't look great, but it did its job!!

Hopefully, now, your hat looks something like Gandalf's! If it refuses to bend backward, bend it slightly back and add hot glue to the spots where it naturally creases. (See photo)

Step 6: The Beard

Gandalf wouldn't look so good without his beard, right?

There isn't much out there as far as Fake Beard How To's, so I had to make one up! At Hobby Lobby, I bought a special yarn that is 15% Wool, 50% Acrylic, and 35% Polyamide. The brand is Yarn Bee, however, if you can't find this yarn, find the grayest, most beard-looking yarn you can. I'm not very scientific, if you can tell! :D

Cut out a shape that roughly resembles a beard out of grey material. It should be about 6" long. Make sure you leave 2 strips to use to tie it to the back of your head. BUT, because of the material, they may stretch and narrow, so make them extra wide. You can always cut them down.

Make a hole for your mouth and tie the beard to your head. You want to make sure it is comfortable and fits you before you attach the yarn.

Start cutting lengths of yarn that are slightly longer than the material. You don't want the material to show! Using generous amounts of hot glue, glue the yarn onto the material. Use extra hot glue so the yarn will not fall off in costume! *GASP* How embarrassing!

When your beard if filled out with yarn, flip it over and glue the tips of the beard that are around the mouth down to the back. This will keep you from getting a mouthful of beard every time you breathe and suffocating!

Now, the beard will look filled out, but looks way too bushy and neat. To make the tips narrow and more natural looking, I felted the tips into a point. I only spent a few minutes per piece of yarn, and so it is pointed, but not TOO unnaturally so. Felting is basically pricking the wool with a felting needle until it starts to weave together and compact. Felting kits are sold at most craft stores and there are hundreds of tutorials online.

If you do not have a felting needle or pad, you can trim the yarn into a point, or leave it how it is.

Step 7: Almost Done! HAIR!

Almost done!

Gandalf's hair reaches about halfway down his back. Using the yarn, I simply measured how long I wanted it and hot glued it into the hat. It took up about 2/3 of the circumference because I wanted it to blend into his beard. After gluing it on, I took a strip of scrap material and glued it over top the hair, holding it in place. This kept it from detaching from the hat.

Like with the beard, I felted the tips of the hair to give it a scraggly, more natural look.

When the hat is worn with the beard, I almost look like Gandalf! All I need is his robes!

Step 8: And Your FINISHED! WHOO HOO!

And IT'S DONE! Gandalf's costume is complete!

When putting it on, make sure to put on the top half of the robe FIRST, and the the BOTTOM. This will give it a one piece look, especially with the belt covering up the transition.

I hope you enjoyed my Instructable and make a Gandalf costume of your own! Post a picture of it if you do! If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them!! Thank you!

~Elsie B.

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    2 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Hi Half-blood;

    I am very impressed! You really came through on this challenge.You have done a more convincing job with bits and pieces than most experienced adults would be able to do with a pattern, sewing machine and store bought materials. I really like how you matched up the grey colours so well, making it look so seamless. The end result is amazing. You are very talented. How well did your friends Arwen costume turn out? I hope you enjoy having a great night out wearing your costume. It really looks great!


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you so much! I'm so glad you like it- that really means a lot!

    My friend is wearing an Arwen costume her sister made several years ago, so she did not make anything. It is a beautiful dress and looks very close to the real thing!! :) Thank you!