The tattering on my costume was accomplished using several tools.
First, scissors were used to make the bottom edge of the fabric look ragged and uneven.
Holes of various sizes were cut into the fabric, with a heavy focus on the bottom
Next, I used a plaster rasp. It is similar to a cheese grater in how it works, but
has smaller teeth and a longer surface to drag over the edges of the fabric. The
rasp was used to roughen up the edges of the holes and to wear the fabric away in
other places. Finally, a stiff wire brush was used to help pull the fibers of the
material apart, allowing for more efficient shredding.
A suggestion that helps keep the mess down is to make sure that your fabric is wet
before you begin shredding. It keeps the particles from going airborne as badly
as they do when youíre shredding dry cloth. Expect to have lint all over the place,
even after the costume has been washed a couple times!
You donít want to wear a really shiny new belt, boots, or gloves with a heavily shredded
set of robes, so itís a good idea to weather the leather pieces as well. Using a
high grit sandpaper will roughen them up, giving them a worn look to match the rest
of your costume. Avoid bright polishes, and consider washes of weathering paint
Part of what drew me to this version of Darth Nihilus was the worn look of his robes,
so once we'd gone to all the trouble of putting the costume together, I proceeded
to tear it back up again.
You can see in this picture the degree of weathering I gave the layers of fabric.
You donít just fray the hemline a bit when you make this costume. The fabric is
really shredded! My wife especially appreciated the fact that she didnít have to
hem the yards and yards of fabric on the robes and cape. Instead, she left the bottom
edges of the fabric unhemmed, and then sat back and watched me tear it to pieces!