The Dallas Museum of Art invited me to write a guest blog post on how to create a quick Greek god or goddess costume in honor of this month’s Late Night at the DMA program. The event is celebrating their latest exhibit, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece, so attending in full costume is definitely encouraged. You can read my full step-by-step tutorial below.
My tutorial also received a great write-up by the Dallas Morning News Arts Blog and they also explain how you can earn DMA Friend rewards points for dressing up. KERA’s Art & Seek blog also featured my tutorial in their Tuesday Morning Roundup.
See you at the DMA, in costume (of course)!
Update 09/17/2022: The link on the DMA website is broken. Here’s the full blog post below.
How to Create a Greek Hero Costume
Need help creating a Greek mythology costume for the DMA’s Late Night this Friday? Below are some simple steps to make your own costume without sewing or spending a lot of money. We’ll start with making a chiton (pronounced khitōn), the draped garment typically worn in ancient Greece.
• White sheet OR 2 yards (approx.) of white or cream fabric: It should be long enough to hang from your shoulder to the floor. If you want it to be knee-length, you’ll only need about 1.5 yards or less.
• Safety pins: We’ll be pinning the fabric together, but you can also sew it together.
• Gold rope, belt, or ribbon
• 2 brooches (optional)
Making a Greek Chiton
1. Cut the Fabric
Cut the fabric lengthwise so you have two long rectangles. One rectangle is the front, and the other is the back. If you’d like to have a knee-length chiton (more common for men), this is a good time to cut it shorter. (Bonus: If you don’t like the frayed edge at the bottom of the fabric, you can glue gold ribbon along the bottom edge to cover it.)
2. Pin the Shoulders and Sides
With safety pins, fasten the top corners of the front to the top corners of the back. You’ll want to bunch the fabric together a bit as you pin it. Be sure to tuck in the edges of the fabric if it’s fraying. Next, pin the sides of fabric together along your ribcage. It doesn’t have to be perfect, this is to help keep the fabric from blowing open.
3. Tie on Your Belt
Tie your belt around your waist or rib cage. You can use any kind of belt, rope, or ribbon. You can even paint something gold if you don’t have anything.
4. Add the Brooches
Pin your brooches to your shoulders. You can use them to hide the safety pins. I didn’t have any brooches, so I bought some earrings at a thrift store, glued them together, and added a pin to the back. You could even make your own out of cardboard or craft foam and paint them. Get creative!
Accessories and Props for Your Specific Greek Character
It’s time to customize your outfit with some props. They don’t have to be complicated in order to be effective. Below are some simple ideas to help identify yourself as a specific character:
1. Lightning Bolt and Beard = Zeus, King of the Greek Gods
Lightning Bolt: Draw a lightning bolt on foam board or poster board; cut out the shape and color with silver paint.
Beard: Paint on a beard with face paint OR purchase a beard from a party or costume store.
2. Laurel Wreath = Apollo, God of Music, Arts, and Enlightenment
Laurel Wreath: Create a headband with poster board. Draw leaves and cut them out. Use hot glue to stick the leaves in place, overlapping as you go. Color with gold spray paint.
3. Feathery Wings = Eros, God of Love (Cupid!), or Nike, Goddess of Victory
Wings: Purchase wings from a costume or party store OR draw wings on poster board. Cut out the shape of the wings, attach elastic straps with hot glue, and loop over shoulders.
4. Shield, Spear, Helmet = Athena, Goddess of Warfare
Shield: Find a large plastic platter or cut a circle out of foam board. Glue on a handle made of foam board or cardboard; color with gold spray paint.
Spear: Use a broom handle or dowel and color with gold spray paint. Draw a spearhead on craft foam. cut out two spearheads from the craft foam. Glue the craft foam together at the edges, and slide the broom handle into the pocket formed by the two pieces.
Helmet: Purchase gladiator-style helmet at a costume or party store; color with gold paint OR get creative with craft foam and hot glue to make your own!
4. Shield, Spear/Sword = Hercules or Achilles, Hero of the Trojan War
Shield and Spear: Follow steps above for Athena.
6. Gold Tiara/Crown, Veil = Hera, Goddess of Marriage and wife of Zeus
Tiara/Crown: Make a crown out of poster board; color with gold spray paint.
Veil: Take a piece of sheer fabric or leftovers from your chiton; attach to tiara/crown with staples.
7. Roses and Scallop Shells = Aphrodite, Goddess of Love
Roses: Purchase some fake roses or flowers from a thrift store; color them with gold spray paint.
Scallop Shells: Draw some shells on poster board; color with gold spray paint and add the shells to your flower bouquet.
Need to look up some other characters from Greek mythology? Check out this list on Wikipedia for more ideas.