In its most basic form, Greek Costume Armor can be created by folding a big
piece of cardboard and cutting a hole in the middle for the head to fit
through. (You can use other materials but it's hard to beat the cost of
cardboard.) The biggest problem is finding cardboard big enough to cover your
body. It should be as wide as your shoulders and twice the length from your
knees to your shoulders. (It works out great for kids.)
With three large pieces of cardboard, you can produce armor with more pizzazz.
As shown in the diagram, you cut two identical pieces that run from your sternum
to your knees; one piece goes in front while the other goes in back. Then sew
two long strips of velcro on the top of each piece so it looks somewhat like
The third piece of cardboard becomes the breastplate; it should overlap with the
waist-pieces by 2 or 3 inches. Try not to make it too long - you want the
waist-pieces to show from the waist to the sternum.
You can then spruce it up with some accessories (belt and separate shoulder
pads shown in the drawing) and a paint scheme. Branches and leaves work well for
a Greek/Roman flavor while geometric shapes tend to make it look futuristic.
For multi-piece armor, the basic idea is to construct a breastplate with several
discrete pieces. As you can see from the sketch on the left (a 3-piece breastplate
covering a Roman-style Lorica Segmenta with 3-piece shoulder pads on each side),
this adds extra panache and sophistication to your costume. Also note that using more
pieces will take you further away from the look of Greek/Roman armor towards that of
Medieval knights. To connect the various pieces together, you can simply drill holes
in a few strategic places and then tie it together with string. Make sure you drill
the holes somewhat in from the edge to give the links some strength.
The protection of choice for the Roman Legion was the Lorica Segmenta.
It consisted of a series of metal strips arranged horizontally to form a cylinder
that encased the soldier's waist/chest. In addition, several metal strips formed
half cylinders on the top horizontal strip to cover the shoulders.
To make this armor style, cut about 6-8 strips of cardboard 2 inches wide and tie
them together. If you can obtain cardboard long enough, the diagram on the left shows
the simpler (relatively) design. However, the one of the right can be more comfortable
due to the additional flexibility. Note, regardless of the design, you will need vertical
links at the side and back; otherwise, the cylindrical shape cannot hold upon wearing.
Two final suggestions: (1) straps over the shoulder to hold it up and (2) clasps
in the front to let you put it on/take it off.
You may decide you want to create a scale mail coat; I would suggest seeking
professional therapy first. While the concept of scale mail is simple, the
implementation is exceedingly tedious. Undoubtedly, you will become somewhat
unbalanced after painting and sewing/glueing/tying 100+ little pieces of
cardboard together. (On the otherhand, if you are already twisted out like me,
you can probably finish it.)