How To Make a Homemade Viking Costume: Ideas and Instructions
Make Fabulous Viking Costumes the Easy Way!
Welcome to the site where you can learn how to make a Viking costume! Your homemade Viking costume will be the envy of any party you decide to crash and plunder. Making homemade Viking costumes isn't that hard and can be done without a sewing machine. It's the kind of costume that's especially good for large groups. Additionally, you can limit the cost of your Viking costume by carefully choosing materials and accessories.
Here's Our Motley Viking Crew - Ready To Go Out and Pillage
Making the Viking Costume Vest: Used Is Best
The best way to make the homemade Viking vest is by
- Using an old suede jacket, fur, or faux-fur coat you own that is no longer regularly wearable, or
- Purchasing a used suede, fur or faux-fur coat.
You can find excellent, inexpensive specimens at your local Goodwill/thrift store or on eBay. Once the coat is in your possession, turn it inside out and remove the sleeves by cutting the seams with scissors or a special thread-cutter (available at craft stores). If the jacket is lined, you'll have to remove the lining of the sleeve before you can remove the outer sleeve. If that's too much work, you can always simply cut the sleeves off. The vest only has to last for one night, after all!
A furred vest can usually stand on its own. To make a leather or suede jacket more interesting, use hot glue or a sewing machine to attach craft-store and thrift-store finds such as metal braided wire, shiny bits of metal, or additional bits of fur or leather.
While you're at the thrift store, keep your eye out for interesting jewelry, belts, scarves that can be used as belts, and even helmets or plastic axes. You'll be amazed at what you can find!
What To Wear Under the Vest? Anything?
If you're really bold (or if your vest closes all the way), then you won't need to wear anything under your Viking costume vest. If you do want to wear something, it's easy enough to create a simple covering. The easiest thing to do is to wear a dark brown t-shirt. Another easy way to cover your chest is what we did here: we purchases inexpensive brown fleece blankets from Walmart (they were cheaper than the same yardage of brown fleece at the craft store, though that would work too). Then we folded them in half and cut a small hole for the head to create brown ponchos. Once you cover them with a vest and tie off with a belt or scarf, you won't even be able to tell it's not a real shirt!
Wrapping the Leg Coverings with Strips of Leather/Faux Leather
To make the wrist and calf bands, measure and cut a trapezoid of faux-fur fabric (make sure to keep the calf bands loose, so that they can be put on easily). Turn the fabric fur-side in, then sew or hot-glue down the matching trapezoidal sides. Turn inside out, so fur is on the outside, and slip on!
Above is a close-up picture of the faux-fur leg wraps. I made long strips out of the leftovers from the cut-up leather jackets (with a little bit of sewing), and these were wrapped around the leg coverings in a criss-cross pattern for a little extra flair.
Faux Fur is Your Friend: You can use faux fur for all manner of accents, from bands that go around the wrists and calves to a cape—your budget is the only limit! Save money by using faux-fur only as an accent or by finding faux-fur items in a thrift store and recycling them.
You'll Also Need Some Faux Leather Fabric (Brown Fleece Works In a Pinch)
You can use faux-leather fabric to make an easy wrapped faux-leather Viking skirt for girls, or to sew or hot-glue onto an old pair of pants for a guy's Viking costume (if you don't have any suede or leather pants, or pants that look vaguely like leather). Alternately, there are tons of great fabrics out there in shades of brown that look close enough. If you're extra adventurous, and haven't done the vest part yet, you can make your own homemade Viking vests out of this fabric as well.
Save the remainders from this fabric to cut into inch-wide bands to use as wraps around the faux-fur coverings on your lower legs.
Viking Costume Shoes (Unless You Want Bare Feet!)
I wouldn't suggest buying new shoes for a homemade Viking costume unless you really want to. Any brown, black or tan men's or women's boots should do the trick. If you absolutely can't find anything, try draping some leftover fabric over your shoes to disguise them.
If you do decide to purchase boots, choose a pair made of material that resembles fur or leather. Make sure that it will suit your activity—whether that be watching Halloween movies, trick-or-treating, or dancing the night away.
Time For a Break! Here's Some Research Material
Ann S. Says:
"Thank you for all these tips! I looked around my house and found almost everything I need to put together a Viking costume for my 7 year old son! He's going to wear my faux fur vest wrapped up with braided belt... He has a cool nordic looking necklace and a sword to stick inside the belt. He's VERY excited and so am I!"
Nothing Like a Little Viking Bling - Find Some Kick-Butt Jewelry!
It's hard to find jewelry that is truly "Viking" without taking a trip to an ancient Norse tourist attraction. However, Celtic jewelry is popular; alternately, anything in bronze, silver, or black will do to add that extra oomph to your homemade Viking costume. Chances are you already own some jewelry that will work. Men can get in on the jewelry action too—remember, Vikings used to wear their wealth, and they never had to worry about how manly they looked! Don't go overboard with Viking-themed jewelry, but necklaces, earrings, and armbands are nice.
Speaking about bling, you'll never guess how we made the "crowns" for the women! This is where real costume-making ingenuity comes in. We went to the hardware store and looked at the different types of plumbing fittings. They had different types of round strips of metal, and we found ones that would fit around our heads (they were only a few dollars each). Then, we simply had to remove a bracket that held the rings together and then wrap some leftover fabric around the joint. Voila! Stylish metal headbands without a lot of cost or work. Not something you'd want to wear every day, but fine for one night.
If you're going to dress as a Viking, why not get a piece of jewelry that you'll want to wear even after Halloween? This runic pendant not only looks awesome, but it also grants you invincibility in battle. How about wearing that to your next exam?
Female Viking Costume Hair and Makeup - Do You Need Anything Special?
Here's my gorgeous sister in part of her Viking costume get-up. We used minimal makeup, a little bit of eyeshadow and mascara. After all, a hard-working Valkyrie doesn't have a lot of time to spend primping and preening. Although, she still wants to look her best when she goes pillaging!
If you can manage it, a braid or two are always best for your Viking costume hairdo. A ringlet, helmet, or crown will add that little extra pizzazz.
Male Costume Hair and Makeup: The Beardier the Better!
If you're a guy planning on dressing up as a Viking, you really ought to plan on growing some facial hair. Seriously; do you really picture the Vikings as smooth-shaven, or do you picture them with awesome beards?
If you're not the type of person who can grow a beard fit for a Viking in a couple of weeks, or if you just don't think that a Viking beard will fit in with your current lifestyle, you can always purchase one.
One note of caution: real or fake beards can be extremely warm and itchy! Don't say that we didn't warn you! However, the irritation can help you develop a characteristic surly Viking attitude.
Choose Your Weapon!
With the recent resurgence in popularity of Thor, the hammer (or Mjölwernnrlnrrnwjur, as he likes to call it... or something) is one of the most-desired Viking costume weapons.
The Sword We Used: Plastic King's Sword
If you're looking to create a historically accurate Viking costume, you might want to try producing a Viking weapon out of cardboard and tape, or even wood and metal if you want to get really fancy. However, we found that a plastic sword had a great combination of durability and cheapness for our needs (the cardboard shields we created disintegrated quickly). Again, it all depends on how much time you want to spend on each individual part of the costume.
The Viking Belt
Any sort of black or brown leather belt will work; even a leftover piece of fabric will do. This part of the Viking costume is very important, as it makes your homemade Viking vest look more like a vest and less like a leather coat with the sleeves cut off.
However, you will definitely get bonus points for your homemade Viking costume if you have a belt with any sort of embellishment or designs. You want to look like you're the toughest Viking on the block, don't you?
Don't forget when purchasing the belt that you'll need a larger size than you usually use. After all, it needs to go over your vest, which will add several inches to the required length.
What Do You Think of Making Homemade Viking Halloween Costumes? - Vote Here!
Would You Dress Up As A Viking?
Time to Enter the Viking Fray: Horns or No Horns? - Do Battle Here!
There's been some debate as to whether people should wear horned helmets with Viking costumes, because it's not technically historically accurate. Shout your opinion here! Anyone can have a say (you don't need to be logged in).
Did Vikings actually wear helmets like these into battle? According to this article from The Straight Dope, they most certainly didn't! However, the "horned helmet" has become the most recognizable symbol of the Vikings, despite this inaccuracy. It's up to you whether you want to be faithful to history or take a little creative license.
Alternately, a metal band wrapped with a bit of leather or brown fabric works as a Viking costume "crown" for women. I actually bought some type of plumbing equipment shaped like a metal circle and bent it to fit my head.
In a pinch, you can build a Viking crown out of cardboard and shiny silver duct tape. Decorate it with odds and ends from the craft store.
Is it appropriate to wear a horned helmet with your Viking costume?