How to Make Cardboard Shields for Halloween or just for fun
With a bit of cardboard, some posterboard, duct tape and a little creativity you can make some great looking medieval shields. They are perfect for Halloween or just for some medieval fun.
This tutorial, which includes a video, will show you some neat tips and tricks on how to make your cardboard shield durable and attractive.
I have a video tutorial of this project at the bottom of this page.
Lets Begin: The picture above shows the materials and the beginning step for making a shield. In the picture there are two different types of shields: A Round Buckler type shield and a Kite shield. Select which type you want to make, draw it on your posterboard and cut it out. Then put it on your cardboard, trace around it and cut the cardboard shape out.
Making the Cardboard Shield
Note about the grain on cardboard. If you are making the Kite Shield and you want it to be curved you have to pay attention to which way the grain runs in the cardboard.
The Panel on the back is the secret to getting the shield to have a nice bowed shape. You make this rectangular panel anywhere from 1/2 inch to 1 inch less narrow than the shield. Tape one end of it to the back of the shield then press on the shield and tape the other end.
Add the Handles by making them out of Cardboard strips and taping them to the back of the shield. Make one handle large and one smaller. The large one is where you will fit your arm inside and the small one is what you will grasp with your hand. This configuration can go either way depending on whether you will put the shield on your left hand or your right hand. So try it out before you tape it down too much. When you are ready to tape it down put lots of tape on it so it is good and strong.
Now it's time to paint your poster board. Using posterboard is optional and if you want to you can just go ahead and paint your cardboard shield. A tip when it comes to painting is that you can use masking tape to mask off sections. In the picture below I painted the whole shield black then I masked off the cross in the middle. Now I can quicklly and easily spray paint the gold cross. After it dries I remove the masking tape.
Once it Dries you can glue or tape it down to the front of your cardboard frame. The picture below shows the completed shield.
Making the Cardboard Buckler Shield
Typically, a buckler shield is smaller than a kite shield. It was often small enough to hook on a warriors belt for easy carrying. So you can make yours as small as 18 inches to 2 feet and it will look good.
The buckler I make here in this tutorial is flat so there is no worry about the grain of the corrugations or bending it. A Buckler usually looks best if you do a couple of things to it. First, you should have some kind of an protruding circular section in the middle of it. This is a common look for a buckler. I painted a plastic bowl gold then glued it down. You can also make something out of cardboard and attach it. If thats too hard you can just paint a circle in the middle!
Second, the buckler will look good if you put a band of color around the edge. In the picture below I show how I got a pretty uniform ring of gold around the edge. I made a mask out of poster board and taped it down. Then it was easy for me to just spray paint it.
Now just make a handle out of a strip of cardboard and attach it to the back of the buckler. Tape it down nice and secure. The picture below shows how to do it. Put lots more tape than I show in the picture. And cover the handle itself with tape so it won't tear. Also, for a shield of this size you only need one handle.
Painting and Decorating your cardboard shield
You can get real creative when it comes to painting your shield and you don't have to make it traditional if you don't want ot! You can use lots of colors or even glue macaroni it to it! You could make yourself the Macaroni Knight! You can even glue pictures to the shield! Pictures of fierce creatures would be great because it would strike fear into your mortal foes!!
Medieval Shields to look at for ideas on how to paint yours
If you want to make your shield more traditional in how you paint and decorate it you can take a look at the various shields I have on my other website here: Medieval Shields
The Video Of this Cardboard Shield Project
Make a Roman Scutum
Here is another curved foam board project. Interesting process for easily getting a beautifully curved shield. This is an easy project that looks great. And a terrific companion to my Roman Gladius sword project. Make a Roman Scutum.
Make the Elven Shield from Lord of the Rings
This is an easy to make project. The shield itself is just one sheet of foamboard. And I show you a neat technique for curving it!
Here is a set of Medieaval shields made by Anna for a medieval themed birthday party. She also made a dragon pinata. I have a tutorial on how to make that pinata here: Dragon Pinata
Can you make a cardboard shield? You sure can, and you can get creative with it! Here is a shield that a web visitor made (Ella) And she made it very viking like! My thanks to her for sending in this pic!
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