We are creating the guide for crafting post-apocalyptic outfits, for those who’ve never sew on a button and those who cut an uncountable number of tires in their life. We’ll be successively adding tutorials related to creating costumes, weapons and gadgets. Now we invite you to read the Bible – the basic guide created by Wilk and a few of the most interesting advices from our Postapocalypting Crafting group.

Feel free to comment and share ideas – we’ll be happy to extend our tutorial with the most interesting of them. If you want to receive the latest information appended to the guide, join our newsletter. In addition, you’ll receive interesting articles and news about OldTown Festival (we send you two emails per month).



Basic Costume Tutorial (by Wilk)

Here is the deal, if you are total noob in terms of crafting, this handbook will be your Bible, your bedtime story, sometimes even your second mother. So if ypu dream about awesome poast-apocalyptic costume – let us show you how it’s done. For more advanced crafters – those are obvious basics and you can skip it, more complicated technics will be incorporated in the next part.


First things first – the gear!

Basic tools that you’ll use while crafting are widely available, easy-to-use and cheap like chips. You probably already have them in your home, even if you’ve never crafted before.


1.1. Needles and threads

Ask your mom, she probably has plenty of that. Probably more than you can imagine. In addition, buy a spool of twine (it’s cheap) and a few needles with large eyes. Twine is cool, looks awesome and will give you a rustic-hobo chic. The worse you are at sewing the more authentic look you’ll get!


1.2. Riveter

My favourite tool, since I know, from experience, that after hours of sewing with twine your fingers WILL hurt. You’ll need specific rivets (there is also a kind to use with a hammer) and washers (with holes of similar diameter to rivets’). And you are ready to fasten pieces of fabric, leather, metal or whatever you want.

1.3. Pocket knife, with serrated blade if possible

It’s the ultimate must have for any decent person! To cut, to pierce and to destroy in general. With a serrated blade you can tear cloths, a holesaw will be also great for that. If you don’t have a pocket knife (next birthday or Christmas, just ask your beloved ones for it), you can use kitchen knives.


1.4. Screws, nuts and washers

Great kit to fasten almost anything. Leather, metal, harness, thick materials, layered elements – the best way is to drill it through and fasten with screws or bolts. (if you don’t have a drill – why are you even reading this?). Power and beauty combined. You can buy all of that in any hardware store.


And now – action!

In this chapter I’ll use three items, that you can find in your wardrobe, to create post-apocalyptic pieces of clothing. Nothing fancy, but good enough to stop looking like on a camping trip with your parents.

2.1. Choosing the materials

Three items I’ll use are: a t-shirt, old jeans and a belt. Easy to get and undemanding to use. If you don’t have those, go to your local thriftshop and buy them.

2.2. The smelly, the dirty and the distressed

Before we can start crafting we need to batter and abuse our materials. Use this holesaw, serrated knife. Kick it around pavements or other concrete surface (if covered in sand and dirt – even better). Act like if you were cleaning the floors but with dust and gravel instead of floor cleaner.

A little burning gives great results. You can use a lighter or an electric cooker, heat it then wipe with your piece of clothing. It will change the colour and get cracked in the most burnt places. And remember – don’t get your mama mad, if you’ll use synthetic materials, they’ll stained the stove. And probably burn you. Plucking melted polyester from skin my hurt.

2.3. Design

Now, let’s play fashion designer. First – choose your main element, in this case our t-shirt. From twine, rivets, bolts and screws you’ll create modifications, accessories and attachments. Remember to attach metal pieces in places that won’t touch your bare skin.

2.4. Final touch

At the end you can tempted to slightly „refine” your work. Tear the parts that seem too new, stain the whole thing (I recommend diluted acrylic paint – brown, white, grey), you may attach some extra decoration.


A few inspirations

from the Postapocalyptic Crafting group

Open facebook group Postapocalyptic Crafting is bringing together all kind of craftsmen. Exchange your experience, give your advice and opinion. Let the world know what you are capable of – show us your crafting skills.


How to make a really awesome mask?

Alexandra Klemensowicz made her mask of hard plywood with 5 mm EVA foam.

OT crafting - 02 - mask

How to cut tires?

Ernest Warych explained the basis of tire cutting, it goes like this:

“I know this stuff, you get the angle grinder and cut that shit. It will take 8 hours, you gonna be covered in sweat and blood, the grinder will probably cut your hand a few times, but that doesn’t matter. IT WILL WORK. And then you will be able to look your children in the eyes.

How to make the post-apocalyptic jacket?

Krzysztof Teciu Tecław started with normal cloths.

So step by step – you take old, worn jeans jacket and you patch it with pieces of an military backpack. Fallowing other suggestions from crafters – make it dirty with some grease, rip, scratch with a holesaw, tear off one of the sleeves and replaced with some different material.

What to do with the barbed wired?

Marcela Marcevok Sobota has brought us some inspiration: Classically – wrap it around a baseball bat. Mythologically – wrap it around your head. Usefully – wrap it around a helmet. And Piotr Ratajczak showed us how to pimp your vehicle with it.

How to revamp a plain rubber mask?

There is loads of advices on that matter:

  • few old rugs, some back and brown spray paint, a few scratches and you good to go (Marcin Berezowski)
  • sandpaper (coarse or medium), for rubber I wouldn’t recommend it, you may try some solvent or acid (Dominik Chyła)
  • don’t touch the rubber, it may crack. You can switch it for strips of fabric and paint the rest black, stain it with white-out and smudge it over to get old-gum look (Daniel Garczyński)

Precise instuction (Michał Wieczorek)

  • melt it a little bit with a flame from a stove or a lighter, then imprint some patterns in the warm plastic
  • cut rubber (carefully, you don’t want to cut through)
  • grey spray foundation – sprinkle with dust or salt before it dry
  • grease/oil
  • black and brown spray paint, you need to disassemble the mask and paint every part separately
  • when it’s get dry – wipe it gently and the grey paint will show
  • last layer should be the green spray paint, wiped gently just after putting it

How to improve the look of your padded weapon?

I used epoxy glue the last time I’ve made weapon. That grey glue is elastic and gives great durability.

Do it like that:

Put epoxide in the random places of the padded weapon, smudge on the whole surface and then wipe it with a piece of fabric. 24h later, when its set, put another layer, foam should be cover, you can use spray gum. (Maurycy Dolina-Niżyńskija)

How to create realistic looking replica of a weapon?

Realistic looking replicas are made from elastic foam molds, but it requires a master form (e.g. made of silicone), which is filled with foam and covered with the dye of choice.

(Michał Blaumann)

How to revamp a dress?

Oliwia Wajdner was looking for inspiration for this dress

OT crafting - 06 - sukienka

The simplest and the most undemanding way is to cut sleeves the lengthwise, cut off the sides, trim to your size then damage, burn, rip and attach some scrap (Anna Polowy) You can also find more advanced project on our group: The part marked in grey – you should cut off. The buttons can be reattached if needed. Put some chains and pieces of chainmail through the holes on shoulders and neckline. Damage also the skirt part (should be cut off from the waistline) and fill the surface with some chains. Remember to rip off the very bottom and attach more random pieces of junk.

I’d also fasten shoulder pads made from pieces of tire. It’ll look awesome with rivets or bolts.(Mira Monika Magdalena Bedynek)

OT crafting - 07 - sukienka

How to make goggles?

Piotr Nawrot showed his work on goggles, which looked like this:


Here’re the goggles after you applying a few of your suggestions – I left out the lower screw, which looked just weird and added a meshwork.



How to improve a costume (medicine man example)?

Michał Młynarski wanted to create the post-apocalyptic medicine man costume inspired by medieval plague doctor: I have the idea for the mask – to stiff a pepakura, attached glasses from the gas mask, under the beak – breathing pipe from the same gas mask, link to the ‘herb bag’. I may attach some old syringes, sacks with herbs for different disorders and, of course, I need a walking stick (no idea how should it look). The main part of this costume’s going to be made out of a long coat (with the material on the shoulders) and the hood for protection from radiation and hostile glances from people. I have no idea if and how to „armour” the whole thing.

Konrad Dalegor Radziszewski gave very useful advices: This kind of character doesn’t need any armour. You have to focus on details. A cane – crooked wooden stick, wrapped in a few places with dirty rugs and warn out leather. As a medic, hang on it little medicine bottles on and animal parts. Those bottles might be revamped nail polish bottles, you could add a few painted ampoules. I think, that the great inspiration for your coat, hood and other elements should be the seer from Vikings. Hands can be wrapped with bandages dyed yellow, ripped and stained (with something that looks like pus). Things you can attach to the belt:

  • rusted small blades (from hacksaws)
  • rusted scissors
  • rusted tweezers
  • homemade scalpel: chicken bone + blade from a pencil sharpener
  • bottles and bags
  • awesome if you have an old metal-glass syringe

How to distress leather?

Michał Walter linked this indispensable tutorial

How to create small things that fulfil atmosphere – cards?

Such small things fulfil atmosphere – burned playing cards with the box wrapped in perforated grey paper. (Tomasz Biegalski)

OT crafting - 08 - karty

How to make metal pieces rust faster

Whole handbook:

  • salted water and peroxide, for better effect – scratch the surface with a piece of small-gritted sandpaper (Anatoliy Ivanitskiy )
  • beer with salt, works like magic, especially if you’ll warm it for a few hours (Karol Wojtas)
  • rust will appear in the salted water, the problem is with stainless surface of the bolts and screws, putting them in hydrochloride acid is the simplest way to remove it, after that just drop them in water with salt and done(Marek Linguado Dziędziel)
  • warm vinegar creates patina on metal pieces, that’s an interesting effect (Daniel Dziku Zalewski)
  • for a quick matte effect – put stainless pieces into the nitric acid. Use dissolved kind and read the instructions for safety. Nitric acid creates awesome patina on brass elements (Konrad Dalegor Radziszewski)

OT crafting - 09 - rdzewienie

How to fasten pieces of metal sheet to leather?

Rivets will be the best for this job. Instruction from Agnieszka Pilch: Pierce- > put the rivet -> hit with hammer, swipe with sandpaper if needed.

How to make a helmet?

Not the easiest job, but worth of trying: It’s made of styrodur (XPS) with CNC machine [original 3d file from Fallout was used]. Model has been created from 4 basic elements and then spackled with plaster finish. It’s going to be paint with shiny acrylic paint and used as a mold. Then I’ll laminate the helmet (Grzegorz Chewie Mazur)
OT crafting - 14 - hełm

How to make shoulder pads? - unusual usage of a bra

Anna Polowy gave us interesting idea for creating shoulder pads – with bra cups it will be quick and easy.

OT crafting - 15 - naramienniki OT crafting - 15 - naramienniki na kurtce

Is there a cheap way of creating a post-apocalyptic costume?

Konrad Dalegor Radziszewski’s outfit brings some ideas: Armour-plating were made of the old, rusted drainpipe, boots protectors are made of cracked riding boots with pieces of bike tire, whole costume underneath is made of an old jeans from the thrift shop and piece of thick fabric (some old military bag) for the hood. The bow is made of PVC pipes with metal elements.

OT crafting - 17 - strój

What kind of synthetic materials can I use to make an armour?

Laminate is easy to use, just make a glass shape of whatever you want and cover with laminate layers. It’s going to be pretty  durable surface that can be safely drilled, riveted to the plate, etc. Buying buzzer or protectors is even easier. Scavenging for pieces may not be easy but it’s for free and very post-apocalyptic. For the power armor – first a hip belt, shoulder belt then actuator. Final look really depends of details. Theoretically, no one would allow their machete to rust on wasteland… but at the convention the rustiest, smeared and even some decorated with some junk will look the best.

People who are really good at it (I’m not one of them) will come up with a cool theme, and then choose materials and do … and then  spend time on improving strips, decorating, attaching pieces of rugs, paint, scratch that paint, starch the surface, cover it with dirt and sometimes put lacquer on the dirt. (Piotr Ługowski)


Share your opinions

comments, inspirations