I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who has gotten into a YouTube binging habit, especially in recent weeks. It’s easy to find a subject you like, press play, and just let the videos continue in the background while you do what you need to otherwise. My current addiction is cosplay videos. I can’t help but think that this might have something to do with this week’s project, which is just perfect for your little warrior-to-be.
This lil shield is made of foam poster boards and generous amounts of foam glue. I was surprised at how well it came together with a little bit of effort put into details like wood grain and metal corrosion. It only took me about 6 hours from start to finish.
This makes for a suitable day project and easy for beginners (like me) to the prop making scene. It can be done on a small scale like this one (about 12.5″) for a kid, or on a larger scale for an adult. Once you have the basics down you can get inventive and branch out into different shapes to add to your playtron persona.
A few notes before you get started:
Research textures! You can take this shield from basic to unbelievable by researching things like wood grain texture, metal oxidization, and aging techniques. This will give your prop more dimension so it stands out from something you could buy at the store.
Let everything dry! Don’t get in a rush. Start early and allow the layers of glue and paint time to dry before adding more. Also, the foam tends to warp when you add paint to it, so use clamps along the outside to be sure it adheres properly when gluing. You may want to put a solid weight on the top so it seals well.
Sanding and spackling are going to be a lifesaver! Sand your edges so they fit together properly and have a more finished look. If your circles don’t match up perfectly, no worries! Just add layers of light-weight spackle along the outside, allow to dry, then sand it down till it’s even. This helps it look like a solid shield as oppose to three layers of foam glued together.
Once that last coat of glue dries, you can get inventive with this! Trying to keep track of a large family? Give the shields the same emblem and color so you can keep track of one another. Go big and make a replica from your favorite video game or tv series. Stay creative. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with.
D.I.Y. Children’s Foam Board Shield
- 3 22″ x 24″ x 1/4″ poster boards (craft form boards)
- Craft knife
- Hot glue
- Ribbon or thin leather strips
- *optional: Light-weight spackle
- *optional: Varnish
Step 1: Cut Out The back, front, and ring peices
- Determine the size of shield your child can comfortably carry.
- Draw a circle the size of your shield on two of the foam boards.
- Draw a circle the size of your shield on the last foam boards then draw a circle an inch or two inside the outer circle to create a ring.
- Use a craft knife to cut out pieces. Do not let children do this part!
- Optional: sand edge of the circles to create a more polished look. Wear a mask if you sand foam!
Hint: you can make a compass by inserting a screw into the center of the foam board and tying a piece of string to the screw and pencil.
Step 2: Cut out Rivet Pieces
- Cut out smaller circles from the extra foam board. Make sure they fit on the ring piece.
Hint: Try using a bottle cap to make easy, perfect circles.
- You now have two circles, one ring, and many smaller circle rivets.
Step 3: Create a wood textured shield front
- Use a craft knife to cut one circle into four pieces. Do not let children do this part!
- Use the back of a pen to press a wooden texture into the foam.
Advanced Technique: If your foam board is paper backed try cutting and peeling away the paper in wave and swirl patterns for a convincing 3D wood texture. You can also cut into the foam to make knots, imperfections, and battle damage!
Step 4: Paint Pieces
- Paint your pieces and allow to dry
- The color scheme is up to you, but we suggest black for the back piece, brown for the wooden front, and silver for the metal ring and rivets.
Advanced Technique: Try metallic paint to bring the “metal” pieces to life. You may also want to try painting techniques like dry brushing and stain washes to make realistic beat-up wood.
Step 5: Attach straps to the back piece
- Use a craft knife to cut 8 holes in the configuration shown above into the back piece. Do not let children do this part!
- Thread 4 pieces of ribbon or thin leather strips through the holes and tie them to make arm loops.
Step 6: Assemble Pieces
- Use hot glue to attach the wooden front pieces to the back (make sure the inside of the straps are pulled tight to the surface of the back)
- Use hot glue to attach the ring to the wooden front.
- Suggestion: You may want to lay some books on top of the pieces at this point and let the glue dry before going on to prevent/correct warping.
- Use hot glue to attach the rivets around the ring.
- Optional: Seal the shield with a clear varnish.
Advanced Technique: You can add light-weight spackle around the edges to hide foam edges and create a more finished look. After spackle has dried sand and paint.