Ed from Silly ghillie kindly sent one of his crafted hoods to have a look at, as he knows I’m a big fan of crafting! In this post I’ll be showing you how the hood looks on it’s own, worn and out in the wild, while discussing some of the techniques that Silly Ghillie has used.
The hood isn’t mine, it’s a build he’s done specifically for a customer who was happy for me to get my hands on it and bless it with the power of my garden flamingos (if you know, you know) and do a write up for Silly Ghillie.
SILLY GHILLIE – WHO IS HE?
A little bit about Ed AKA Silly Ghillie
“As a former realism painter I saw ghillie crafting as a way to monetize my interest in this form of art. When I started, as far as I was concerned we were trying to dress ourselves to mimic the flora of the countryside.
This to me was just a form of 3D art. The realization that there are many other practical constraints to ghillie suits meant a steep learning curve into textiles, reflective properties, dyeing, pattern creation and so on.
Materials must be lightweight, breathable, tough and have the correct reflective properties and colours. I learnt a lot from the French and Swiss Crafters Theyma HP and Le Covert sartorialist who are still at the top of their game.
I still am no where near what these guys have done for crafting community. As for Airsoft this was the outlet so I could use my creations. Otherwise I’d just be sitting in the woods wondering if anyone might walk by so I could say hi.”
base : VIPER CONCEALEMENT HOOD
The base that Silly Ghillie has gone for is the Viper Concealment hood (for some reason Viper still refer to it as the Viper Concealment vest).
The Viper hoods are great for the price, the quality is good, they have a super strong mesh base, so very easy to attach items too, plus they also have elasticated strips dotted all over for attaching foliage on the field.
I know the Viper Hoods used to come in 2/3 colours, but I think they are currently only available in V-cam if you decide to stick with the Viper brand. There are other brands out there, some are fine, but I’ve had a few cheaper ones from the likes of Aliexpress which have had weird colours and poor stitching.
CRAFTING MATERIALS USED:
This whole crafted ghillie hood is essentially done using just a few basic base materials (which are dyed/corrected). You can check out the picture below to see the the main components, which are a few shades of cotton and raffia, with a bit of burlap and coconut rope added in.
As for the base, V-Cam is basically a version of multicam and is definitely not suited to UK winter environment. It is too light. However for Ed’s purposes it’s perfect, as a light mesh allows dye and pattern creation.
He darkens the suit whilst creating his own macro pattern for the 3D elements. There were different shades of brown used for a Winter suit like this (dark brown that’s almost black, a warm brown, and a light tan- coyote colour).
A darker base layer is how you create the illusion of depth as it will contrast with the 3D elements which will be catching the light. Not too much contrast though. The shadow from the 3D will make it darker so getting the correct brightness of the 2D mesh is vital. The pattern also includes a macro aspect to it. This is where a large section of suit are a different colour/darkness/reflective properties. The 3D placement of different shades of materials then follow the 2D pattern.
You can add the most perfect 3D materials but if the base is the wrong colour and reflection it’s not going to work.
Having spoke to Silly Ghillie about the choice of materials he said,
“Cotton is just beige cotton bought from ebay and then dyed different shades of brown. The dying process is done in conjunction with field testing. This is very hard for people starting off as they kid themselves and say “that will do”. camouflage needs to be almost perfect otherwise even an untrained human eye will catch you out. We evolved to hunt remember. You don’t need training to see bad camouflage.
Raffia is again dyed brown and then lightly combed to thin it out. The raffia is not just cable tied to the suit, but also tied to the cable tie itself. Raffia is a really important material and in fact there are some companies that produce a full suit of raffia. However it will disintegrate over time and will need re-applying after maybe 30 game days. The suit I supply comes with extra raffia for you to re-apply. again suits come with extra raffia
Hessian or burlap is used alongside the raffia on the suit, it beefs up the raffia without interrupting its grassy look. very little of it is needed.”
When I picked up and tried on the hood for the first time, one of the things that caught my eye immediately was the addition of a wire inside the hood.
The idea of the wire stems from those boonie hats that have a wire rim in them, though it’s widely implemented and common knowledge nowadays, it’s a great little touch and serves a useful purpose.
The thinking behind the addition, is that it allows you to mould it around your head. So that it shouldn’t fall off when going through bushes/undergrowth etc. It also allows you to stretch it out a bit so the lower section creates a line from the top of your head to the tips of your shoulders thus completely breaking the line of head and shoulders. In one form or another this is what all ghillies try to do.
Another nice addition is a bungee cord on the back of the hood, which allows user to tailor how far the hood comes down over your face, again common in various products. It’s just a cord with a locking button that’s easy to find with the hood up, but it works well.
SILLY GHILLIE CRAFING IN THE WILD : HOW IT LOOKS
For the first few pictures, I’ve just taken some snaps of the vest literally dropped in my garden on the mud, on my path and with a friend wearing it.
Next up, are see some drop tests showing the hood on the forest floor, granted that this time of the year it’s not as dark as it would be in later months.
Below is an MFH suit in brown, just to show of the colour correct base, obviously it’s not fair to show a crafted vs uncrafted, but just as a highlight to show difference in base.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Silly Ghillie isn’t just another person who does crafting, the guy is an ARTIST. The amount of time and attention to detail he put’s into the items he crafts is nothing short of exceptional.
It’s actually made me feel very inadequate about my own crafting skills lol I’d probably just chuck him the money if I needed anything done in the future, as it’s a lot better than what I do.
If you follow Silly ghillie and his content, you can tell he’s a nice, genuine guy who clearly has a passion for crafting.
I’d personally recommend him to anyone who wants something crafted, whether it’s a suit, rifle wrap, mask etc. As I’ve said for years, if you have the time and energy to learn to craft yourself then go for it, there’s a ton of resources out there in groups like Sniper ops where you can learn.
If you don’t have the time or simply don’t have the enthusiasm (guilty), then I genuinely believe you can’t go wrong with Silly Ghillie.
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