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Homemade Henry VIII Costume

Prince Harry of Wales with a Henry VIII doll.
WPA Pool/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Henry VIII was the king of England from 1509 to 1547. While Henry is best known for having six wives, his appearance in his portraits provides good examples of aristocratic men's fashion during the 16th century. With minor repurposing and embellishment, a crafter can use articles of modern clothing to create a homemade Henry VII costume.


To reproduce Henry VIII's hat, take a large paper plate and cut the center out so you are left with a large ring. Using paint or a black marker, color the ring black. This will become the brim of the hat. Create the crown of the hat by stapling black fabric or piece of pliable paper, such as a wrinkled paper bag or newspaper, also painted black, to the paper plate rim. Decorate the hat with jewels, feathers or glitter.

Chain of Office

King Henry is usually depicted wearing a piece of jewelry, known as a chain of office, around his neck. This chain was an indication of his kingly status. Using gold spray paint, create a set of chain links by painting two sets of shower curtain rings. Join the rings together to create a royal chain of office.


Henry VIII's long outer garment is known as a greatcoat. Find an old men's bathrobe in a dark color, and cut the sleeves off at elbow length. If necessary, cut the bottom of the robe at knee-length. If there is a belt with the robe, discard it. Create Henry's broad shoulders by sewing old shoulder pads into the greatcoat, or use crumpled tissue paper to create the same effect. Use gold buttons, ribbon or rhinestones to decorate the edges of the greatcoat.

Shirt and Breeches

Under the greatcoat, which has elbow-length sleeves, Henry VIII wore a long-sleeved shirt coming to his wrists. A white men's button-down shirt can recreate the effect of Henry's shirt, especially if embellished at the wrists with lace or ribbon. His breeches are knee-length and fit tightly at the knee. A pair of plain, dark-colored sweatpants pulled to the knee can achieve this look, or you can cut an old pair of trousers to knee-length and add elastic to the cuffs.

Hose and Shoes

Men of the Tudor period wore tight-fitting hose that reached to the knee breeches. Use a pair of black or white women's trouser socks to replicate Henry's look. King Henry wore slippers or "buskins" with his formal attire. Use a pair of plain bedroom slippers or flat ballet slippers the same color as the hose to complete an authentic Henry VIII costume.

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