Two-sided Ghillie Blanket
with zippered ripstop nylon cover

     When I finished my two Ghillie suits, two Ghillie lens covers and two Ghillie tripod skirts, I had some Ghillie thread and a 4.5 foot by 5 foot section of netting left over. The netting piece was not large enough to make a full Ghillie blanket, but I didn't want to order more netting. A new net would be too large for a blanket and I would still have leftovers.

The finished Ghillie blanket folded for storage.
(It's so soft and puffy, it actually does
make a fair pillow)

     I finally decided to just use what I had and make a smallish blanket. It was certainly large enough to cover equipment, or to serve as a quick throw-cover over the camera and tripod, or even to cover me if I was seated or prone and already partially hidden. Since I had Ghillie thread in both greens and tans left over, I thought perhaps using one blanket for both colors might work..... just make it two-sided. That in itself is not so original, I suppose, but I was concerned that the netting would get hung on everything (tripod, camera, belt buckles, buttons just to name a few things) if used without a material backing. Since both sides would be covered in threads, even the Ghillie thread could easily get tangled and hung on something, and there I'd be trying to fight my way out of it.

     (1) We start out with the blanket laid out on the driveway with the "winter grass" (tan color) side up.
     (2) Flipping up one corner reveals the black nylon backing and zipper running across the middle.
     To my good fortune, a family member was cleaning out kids stuff and had an old sleeping bag to get rid of. It was a little worn and ragged, but the 6-foot zipper on it was in perfect condition. This was a heavy duty reversible zipper so it worked from inside or outside. I realized this was the answer to my problem.

     Now comes the idea that makes this rather unique, I think. I decided to use some black ripstop nylon material I had left over from other projects to make a nice slick backing for the blanket. I would use the zipper to open the backing so I could turn the blanket inside-out. That way, no matter which color side was out, the back side would be sealed inside the nylon covering. This would completely avoid any tangling. It would also prevent any backlighting from revealing a silhouette or motion under the blanket.

     (3) With the blanket now flipped over so the "winter grass" (tan color) side is down and the black backing is up I've fully unzipped the zipper to show the green Ghillie thread inside.
     (4) Here I've grabbed two corners inside and flipped half of the green side outward so the black cover on that half is now flipped under the blanket.  
     First I tied my tan mixture of Ghillie threads to one side of the netting just as I did for my other Ghillie projects. Then I flipped it over and tied the greens to the opposite side of the netting. That was the hard part, and it took many hours. Next I removed the zipper from the old sleeping bag by taking out the stitching that held it on. I only needed a little over 4 feet of the zipper, so I snipped off the excess length from the "tail end" with wire cutters. The "tail end" is the end where the zipper stops when it's fully unzipped. It was a vinyl zipper, so snipping was easy. This cut end would be sealed under material when sewn onto the blanket, so the zipper could not slip off the end when unzipped. The other end where the zipper stops when zipped shut was not altered. It already had a built-in stop.

     Then I measured and cut out two pieces of the black ripstop nylon material, each measuring the full width, but only half the netting length, plus an extra inch or so on all sides. I used this extra inch for the hem, folding it over on all the edges and sewing it to make neat edges to eliminate any fraying. Next I sewed a piece of the nylon to each side of the zipper, assembling it into the full-sized backing for the netting. Now I attached the zippered backing to the netting by sewing it around the edges on all four sides. Since the zipper is reversible and the nylon is the same on both sides, it didn't matter which side of the backing was up. It works both ways.

     (5) Here I've completed pulling both halves of the green side outward so all the black backing is now underneath.
     (6) With the blanket now flipped over you see the green side is down showing the black backing. The zipper is still open showing the tan threads are now inside. Once I zip it shut the tan will be sealed inside the cover and can't get tangled on anything.
     Thus I assembled what you might think of as a zippered pillow case, with the back being the black nylon, and the front being the netting/Ghillie thread. The difference is, the zipper does not go around one edge as you might expect on a pillow case. Instead it goes across the middle of the back side.

     That was all I had to do. The most tedious and timely part was tying the Ghillie threads. Making and installing the backing was the easy part.

     The numbered photos on this page step you through how the Ghillie blanket looks and works. Hopefully the explanations make it clear. It only takes about a minute to convert it from one color to the other. With the two colors I can convert it to match whichever Ghillie suit I'm using at the time. When I use the blanket the black nylon side is always against me or the equipment, and I don't have to worry about snagging the netting or threads. That makes it easy to adjust its position. It also makes neatly packing away this Ghillie blanket a simple and easy task.