Introduction to crafting a leaf suit
Crafting a leaf suit doesn’t have to be difficult however it can cost a lot especially if you’re not careful. Remember Leaf Suits are made to fit certain environments, so not every suit will work well in every environment as some people may make you believe. Some suits will perform better in a mixture of environments than others. For example, making a suit for English woodland you’ll be looking to use fairly dark olive tones whereas this will be completely different to that of Norway, see below. When you purchase your supplies keep that in mind and try to purchase dyes and materials that suit your intended surroundings.
As you can see terrain changes massively from area to area surveying the site you intend to play at most is of utmost importance. If you play at a few sites it might be an idea to take certain aspects from all your regular sites and see if you can make a suit fit into the different environment. However, it may be easier to simply purchase multiple suits. I have three suits for different times of the year. Seasons will also significantly change the tones and shape to how a woodland site looks especially comparing summer to winter. For this reason, I would suggest most players have at least two suits one for summer (typically green undertones) and one for winter/autumn (brown under tones).
Step 1: Gather Supplies and tools
Pick a leaf suit
The best suits typically start out with a good base as not all leaf suits are made equal, check out our buyers guide to picking your first leaf suit here. TLDR: To anyone starting out I would always suggest purchasing an inexpensive one to just try out different methods and find which methods work before for you and your needs. I personally started with a Deerhunter leaf suit and would suggest this as a good starting place. It’s relatively inexpensive on Amazon under £15 and the material can be dyed to get a more natural looking colour.
When looking to buy a new leaf suit I always consider what veil/gloves I am going to use, this is one of the reasons I would argue that the Deerhunter suit is amazing if you put in the time and effort as it has both a veil and gloves can be bought separately. If you haven’t already check out our review on the best ghillie suits of 2019
- NORTH MOUNTAIN (£80)
- OLD JACK PYKE (£140+ new JP isn’t nearly as good colour wise).
- KMCS (£180)
- MFH (£60)
- FSB (£140+)
- MANDRAKE (£30)
- Deerhunter (£20 or under usually)
Materials & Supplies
Illustrator of some old style “organic look” crafted leafsuits & what can be achieved given a little time and patience.
Before getting underway crafting a leaf suit it’s a good idea to make sure you have all the tools and materials you’ll need to quickly get started. Not everything in this list is needed and most are optional, however, certain tools like the rug hook will save you hours of time.
Step 2: Beginning crafting
Dyeing the leafsuit
Typically the colours of a leaf suit are not quite
Using Idye-Poly you can do all your crafting materials in one go and can easily vary the colour tones of your items by leaving them in the dye for longer or shorter durations. You can also change the colour slightly between batches to have a slight variation in colours.
This is my preferred method as I believe it gives a less uniform colour scheme. However, this method can be more expensive and labour intensive than the previously mentioned method. I found it took around 4 bottles of acrylic ink to cover my entire suit and to dye 500 maple leaves.
Crafting maple leaves
Artificial Maple leaves are the staple to any crafted leaf suit, they provide an additional level of depth that is great for producing natural shadows tones. To get the tones on the artificial leaves you have to follow the same process as the Leafsuit to adjust the colours to match. I would advise you to avoid purchasing any reds as the natural colour tends to be the hardest to mask. Instead, I’d look for yellow and green maple leaves as they tend to take to the dye the best.
After you’ve dyed the leaves I would suggest trying to misshapen them slightly, this can be done during the dying process. Or otherwise, my favourite method is to use a flame to change the shape and create natural looking creases and folds. Using this method you can also melt multiple leaves together along folds to create more complex shapes and almost daisy chain them together.
One of my good friends Stip has done a full tutorial on dying maple leaves which can be found here! Go check him out and drop a comment saying I sent you.
Adding Artificial Vegetation
Raffia is my favourite method of attaching vegetation to a suit as you’ll tend to want raffia on your suit anyway so this method kills two birds with one stone. However, it’s typically the longest processes out of the ones I mention. Using a Rug Hook can come in really helpful here as it will half the time you spend trying to thread and tie the raffia through the mesh.
Micro Zip/Cable Ties
Zip ties are a great option for attaching anything heavy duty such as sneaky-leaves or heavy artificial vegetation like ferns.
Using a glue gun, E6000 or Shoegoo is a great method for attaching permanent artificial vegetation. I would highly suggest using shoe goo over the other two options, as it’s not nearly as vicious. If you are planning on using a hot-glue be careful as the glue is extremely hot and very painful if you accidentally get any on yourself and will completely ruin any clothing. Also, be careful using this method that you don’t accidentally glue through the mesh sticking sleeves together and avoid glueing stuff on while wearing the suit, I did this and accidentally glued the suit to my clothes underneath.
Micro Tagging Gun
This is possibly the best method to attach seasonal vegetation as they can easily and quickly be attached and removed. Buying micro tagging