My daughter wanted to be Xena the Warrior Princess, but store-bought costumes were either EXPENSIVE or looked really bad. So I decided to take a stab at it myself.

This Xena The Warrior Princess Costume is made from paper mache and a thrift store duster. The whole thing cost about $25. For the armor, I used plaster bandages and made a cast of my daughter so it would fit perfectly. Then I used paper mache strips over the cast to build a base for the armor. Using paper mache clay (you can find recipes all over the web) I sculpted the details of the armor. I then painted it with hammered bronzed spray paint.

For the skirt, shoulder armor and arm and wrist bands, I looked at purchasing leather, but that was costly, and vinyl didn’t look right, so I found a black leather duster at a thrift store for about 10 bucks. It was really thin leather, which worked out great because it was easy to cut and sew (I am horrible at sewing).

I cut strips for the skirt and lined them with black felt. I just used a really strong rubber cement, On some of the strips I hammered in brass topped push pins for the studs (only did this on the front) I hammered them on a hard surface so the tips were blunted, Then put the felt on. I attached these to a leather strip cut from the duster. She just wore black shorts underneath. I did purchase a cheap faux leather bustier and modified it with straps for the top (I told you I can’t sew).

For the gauntlets and arm bands I drew out a pattern on poster board, which I cut out of leather and lined them with felt and punched holes for leather strings to tie them on. I then drew out a pattern on poster board for the “metal” part, which I cut out and spray painted with hammered metal spray-paint, and glued them on. The shoulder guards are made much the same way and have straps which attach them to the chest and back armor with black elastic.

The knee guards are just skateboard knee pads bought at a thrift shop, which I painted to match. She already had the boots. For weapons I made the chakram (the round thing) from paper mache. I applied strips to two plates and cut out the middle and attached them together and painted it. I ran out of tie, so we just borrowed a cheap plastic sword from the neighbor kids.

All in all it came out pretty great. The worst part is hearing her practice Xena’s war cry.