My son’s 4th grade class is learning about Greek Mythology and part of the unit involves creating a Greek Costume. They were asked to choose a character – human or creature – from Greek Mythology and my son chose Ares. They were tasked with creating the costume, with minimal help from adults – tasks such as sewing or using sharp utensils, spray paint, etc were allowed from the adults. My son immediately got to work brainstorming his costume, and we had tons of fun looking through images of Ares and discussing what types of materials he could use for his DIY Ares Greek Mythology Costume.
Although I helped him with his construction plans, he executed the majority of this costume himself. It was so fun to watch him, and of course my heart burst when he said, “It is so cool to have a crafty mom. The other kids won’t have this many cool materials to choose from – they’ll mostly be using toilet paper rolls!” I love that he recognized the fact that he was lucky to have my craft room at his fingertips and that he appreciates my creative side. I did not take step-by-step tutorial photos since he was creating this and I didn’t want to bug him, but I will share the basic concepts for those that have landed here while helping their child research a DIY Greek Costume!
Mason decided on a basic tunic and skirt armor plus a deep red cape. After researching armor that Ares would have worn, he ended up deciding on greaves (leg armor) and wrist bracers. He also added a shield and sandals (because they were easier to make than close-toe shoes), along with a Spartan style helmet. He went back and forth between a spear and a sword, but after doing a bit of research he found that Ares is almost always depicted with a spear and only sometimes with a sheathed sword, so a spear it was.For the tunic I suggested using a man’s tee shirt. I had him put on the shirt inside out and then pinned it along the bottom of the arms and along his sides, so that it was a bit more fitted and looked less like a tent. I carefully removed it and sewed along the pins and he trimmed the excess fabric. He then put the shirt back on and we determined the length we wanted and he cut it to length. At Walmart he found some Greek Key ribbon that he wanted since he had seen an image of Ares with that pattern. He added the ribbon to the sleeves of the shirt with my help (he laid the hot glue and I laid the ribbon).
The cape was made from a red sheet I had left over from another costume I had made. After measuring the width of his shoulders I trimmed the cape into an a-line shape (narrow at top, wider at bottom). He then hot glued the Greek Key ribbon to the bottom of the cape. He cut a rectangle piece of the red fabric, and I sewed that to the top two corners of the cape, creating the drape around his neck. He hot glued two large gold buttons on the seam of the shoulders.
The armor was made from some microsuede material I had leftover from my Neon Stripe Clutch and is the piece I helped with the least. I created a tie shape template on some cardstock and traced it onto the microsuede for him to cut out. Microsuede doesn’t fray so it is perfect for creating these shapes and doesn’t require sewing. Mason wrapped a 2″ brown ribbon around his waist and trimmed it to about 2 inches too big. He laid the microsuede armor pieces along the ribbon to figure out spacing and then hot glued them into place. He also hot glued velcro for a closure. He then added gold gems as embellishments.
The greaves were made the same way with me creating a template and tracing onto the fabric. I helped him with the ribbon measurements and the velcro closure since it was a bit clumsy to work bent over. The same process was used for the wrist braces.
The sandals were made by tracing his shoes onto cardboard and cutting out with a box cutter. We spray painted them a bronze color and I helped him hot glue ribbon to create straps.
The shield was almost entirely his own doing. I had recommended picking up a dessert tray at the Dollar Store and spray painting it, but he went to the recycling bin and found a round cardboard piece from a pizza box. He then broke into my vinyl stash and covered it with gold vinyl. I helped him cut the brown vinyl “V” that he wanted to adorn the shield with and then we both applied it. To finish the shield he used a hole punch to cut out vinyl circles and adhered them along the edge of the shield. This process took him about 45 minutes because he wanted the rivets so close together!
The spear was all his idea as well. He found an old curtain rod that was the perfect fit. He added some Duct Tape “grips” to the rod and I helped him spray paint it bronze. He then found a styrofoam block in my stash and decided that would make the best spear head. He started to use a box cutter to create the shape, but he was making me nervous so I grabbed my Styrofoam cutter and helped guide him through the cuts. Once completed, he stuck it onto a skewer, I spray painted it bronze and he hot glued it to the top of the curtain rod.
The last piece of the costume was the helmet. I free handed the front of the mask onto some chipboard (though I did see some printable templates online for the front mask) and he cut most of it out, but asked for help with the eyes and nose piece. I also freehanded the back piece onto chipboard. He then cut two 12″x2″ pieces of chipboard and hot glued the two strips together. He then wrapped it around his head and I helped him mark where to glue the pieces together to create a headband to support the helmet. We then glued the front and back pieces onto the helmet – to do this he put the headband on and held the front piece in place while I marked where it should be glued. He then glued that in place and put the headband back on so I could mark where the back piece should be adhered. He took it off and glued that in place as well. He then cut 12″ x .5″ strips of chipboard. He glued one of the strips to the front inside of the headband, placed the helmet on his head and marked where to glue the strip to the back inside. We repeated this with a strip left to right and then diagonally until we had 4 strips creating the base of the top of the helmet. We blew up a balloon and placed the helmet onto it and proceeded to paper mache the top of the helmet. It took two coats of paper mache. After that dried, we spray painted the helmet bronze (I had him do the first coat and I did the second because his coats were pretty spotty and didn’t have super great coverage and he didn’t love the look). Mason brainstormed a couple of ideas for the plume top on his helmet and ended up deciding on black construction paper. He accordion folded three pieces and then I helped him glue them together and then attached them to the helmet.
It took about 2.5 days to finish the costume. He was so excited about the costume that we have completed it about 3 weeks before the assignment is due! I love his enthusiasm and excitement and hope he has a great time the day the project is due!