How to make a bullet proof armor vest at home ?

Bullet proof armor vests are a very basic need for the news reporters in working in hot war zones.
Being a freelance reporter, I would like to know how can one make a bullet proof armor vest by himself.

sort by: active | newest | oldest
Re-design7 years ago
You'll need to either weave kevlar cloth from kevlar thread or buy kevlar cloth and tailor your vest out of that.  I haven't researched if you can even buy kevlar cloth in the quality and weight needed for a true bullet proof vest.

It's really going to be much cheaper to just purchase one ready made and ready tested to actually work.
Body armor is quite expensive, no question.  However it's demonstrated to work, time and again.  Kevlar cloth runs about $40 a yard, and I'm not sure that even multiple layers would work---the armor I've seen uses what appears to be kevlar plates, not cloth.

A question you have to ask yourself is what your life is worth.  Are you ready to try to make your own life-saving device which may or may not work when the time comes, in order to save a few hundred dollars---or even a thousand dollars?
I agree, its not worth it to try and make your own.  I'm in the army, in Iraq right now.  I have seen what a 7.62 round can do to one of our esapi plates.  Were talking about military grade body armor too.  Check your local surplus store... it might be ancient, and weigh a ton, but it will be better than constructing your own, and you can usually get them at discount prices.
Doesn't Kevlar degrade with time?  Something about the weave opening up and not being as effective.

No, you're thinking of Zylon. Zylon has greater strength, but isn't as effective over time. Actually, studies are showing that Kevlar is stronger over time.

I'v never seen it degrade personally, but thats not to say it doesn't.  I do know, however, that kevlar is only used in the army for stray shrapnel.  It's not effective for direct contact with a round.  Our kevlar helmets will bairly withstand a hit from a 9mm. 
Not to mention safer.
1209244 months ago
How 2 Stay Alive With

My advice is Kevlar mixed with shear thickening fluid, about
8-16 sheets of Kevlar one on top of the other, to help catch the bullet.Unfortunately, Kevlar can stop bullets, but
not knives.Knives slide right through
Kevlar like butter, the threads almost "make way" for the Kevlar, and
thus the knife slides right past the layers, and into YOU.This is where the SHEAR THICKENING FLUID
comes in.This liquid (which i believe
is a silica base [don't quote me on that!])Is just a bunch of molecules floating around in the Kevlar like a liquid
should? Right?But when you apply
kinetic motion (i.e.: knife stab) the molecules form a practically unbreakable
lattice that only deforms when kinetic motion is no longer applied, so in
essence, you can stab and stab, and stab, and you won't be able to break
this.This also strengthens Kevlar's
ability to handle speeding projectiles.This has been tested, I can't quite remember the source, but i do
remember that they [researchers] dropped a huge knife (seriously, this thing
was HUGE) from 8 feet, or 243.84 centimeters, equivalent to a 220 pound force,
or 99.7903 kilograms.It barely made a
dent. A dent nonetheless, but still not very much.They tried some other test, mainly involving
a MASTER ARCHER, and a BOW AND ARROW.Keep in mind that this was a STEEL TIPPED ARROW, fired at a shear
thickening fluid/Kevlar set of sheets.The tip of the arrow, the STEEL TIP bent.This guy fired it about 187 miles per hour,
or 300.947 kilometers per hour.It was
only a dent, slightly bigger that the first, falling knife test.In all, if you're shot, it will hurt like h-e
double hockey sticks, and it will bruise, and/or break your bones.But this will DEFINITELY keep you alive.

P.S: Kevlar has been known to degrade due to UV radiation
(sun rays), and infrared radiation (heat), so use a thin layer of NOMEX (the
material firefighters use)

P.P.S: I haven't updated my profile pic in 4 YEARS, so sorry about that.

DISCLAIMER: These facts were from a documentary, of which
the credibility I cannot prove.(Although
I think it was PBS, or NOVA.)I don't
know whether the shear thickening fluid will dry, seeing as it’s a LIQUID, nor
if it has any negative effects on humans, or Kevlar, as this material is still
in prototype stages.In any case,
substituting/adding ceramic plates might help, like the ones they use in the

Thank you for your time and patience for reading this

-A 12-Year Old, 7th grade, super science nerd, with nothing
else to do.

120924 1209244 months ago

huh, must've been a text glitch, when i copied this over from word (it has better spellchecking) sorry for the no spaces.

jr2312 months ago

thin vests might stop the bullet but you still get the effect of the bullet even with police vest it bruises and hurts. not sure on plates . so not perfect but better than a shirt

GarrettK21 year ago

you can get yards of Kevlar material online easily. using felt as an internal liner and an external compression layer to soften the blow you could do it. I would take a watermelon put the felt on it, put the layers of Kevlar on it, put your compression layer on it, then shoot it with whatever iiia iii or iv caliber from about a foot away. if successful I would replicate and add double the layers of Kevlar.

The only reason I would give such foolish advice is that I want to do the same thing for the doors and back of my pickup as a bug out vehicle. I have a professionally made iiia stealth vest. I want to look innocent while extracting through check points.

Buy your vest and make anything that you want to save that they wont sell you.

Also I have a pair of tactical pants where they have a knee pad that's replaceable. I am going to make a pair of iiia knee pads that wrap around. a leg wound is one thing but a knee injury is for life.

jgdabble2 years ago

I recently read an article about how you can make Boron Carbide, (which is what they use on tanks, and is much, much stronger than Kevlar,), from an ordinary cotton T-shirt. If you have access to an oven that can get about 1300 degrees fahrenheit, that could be a relativity cheap way. http://news.discovery.com/tech/gear-and-gadgets/t-shirt-body-armor-tank.htm

I have personally dealt with a company called AR500 at www.AR500.com

They are great. Their product are legit.

ChinaMike3 years ago
I came across some mention by a sheriff that some "ghetto vests" were made from cut-up steel belt tires, inserted two or three deep over vital areas. I could see that stopping common firearms. As far as trusting it, I would think it would be better than nothing at all.
If you have the ability to harden steel (it's not that difficult, you can actually used most home ovens, the directions are out there) you can make a relatively lightweight steel helmet that will stop AK rounds np, The WWII Nazi helmets were designed by a metalurgist who understood the qualities of hardened metal. From 50 yards an AK round will NOT penetrate. and btw they weigh about as much as the crap kevlar the U.S. keeps giving the troops. The U.S./allies were more interested in quantity over quality, much as today, likewise allied helmets from the same era at best might deflect an AK round. I'm not sure how they will hold up to .223/5.56 round. But if a kevlar won't stop a 9mm reliably I assume it's no better against .223. Likewise HARDENED steel plates in combination w/ kevlar are highly effective. I would research and make my own conclusions as the Gov't, body armor producers are not going to undermine their product by telling you how simple it is. One problem w/ hardened balistic plates is the possibility of ricochet resulting in an indirect hit. A layer of thick padding can soften this risk.
tribedog4 years ago
I work at Renegade Armor and produce several Ballistic packages know as "soft Armor" the threats these Kevlar packages cover are basically hand gun threats from point blank ranges and further. They are made from several different materials or combinations of materials and the manner in which they are sewn together also has a huge effect on performance. All our packages are rigorously inspected by a third party ballistic lab and then the NIJ issues a final certification after testing. If you are seeking protection against rifle rounds you will need a plate carrier. Plates are made of all sorts of different material but the easiest way to think of it is the lighter the plate the more expensive it is. Feel free to go to our website and check out our product. We only sell to military and law enforcement but at least you can educate yourself about what is available. Please don't build your own vest, you'll be glad you spent the money if you are ever in a situation that requires your vest to perform.
bertmacklon4 years ago
I love the idea! I know that all law enforcement tactical gear can be pricey, but cost is equal to the quality. I can honestly say that purchasing a bullet proof vest instead of making one at home, can and would be the most important decision of your life, if the time came! It's a cool idea to try and make one, but be sure that you don't have your buddies shoot you to try it out! Could be messy... But seriously, I love the idea of making one for the fun of it, but definitely not for actual use. Good luck.
curvy774 years ago
iv actually seen a video of 3 rednecks make thier own kevlar armor. it was triple layered, and they tested it (did i mention they were morons?) by shooting thier friend with a low caliber rifle, from 20 feet away. the vest barely turned the bullet away and the idiot was left with a pretty good sized cut, near his kidney. either buy one or make a vest out of steel/ thick aluminum.
I just found out, from my brother inlaw who is a retired marine, that the Kevlar vest has a bullet resistance plexey glass that slips in a pocket on the front and back. Before the flak jacket was made into a lighter vest for ground infantry it had a steel plate. The vests that are made for lower caliber bullets like 5mm.
Yea, i knew that they used to make the vests as steel plates. However they were troublesome to manuver in, so the BB vest was designed. I only say use aluminum as a substatute for steel (though it has to be at least .5x thicker than if one used steel.) Because its cheaper and can be made urself.
godot015 years ago
well of course you could buy one. but this is instructables not qvc. unless you are in a war zone, you may never test it. the LA bank robbers made their own and they lasted thru 45 minutes of police gunfire.
of course making your own vest is foolhardy - that's the whole point.
ROBOCOP6035 years ago
What if you used a three metal layer that has 3/5 inch diamond plated steel on the outside, a 1/3 or 1/2 inch lead plate in the middle, and another diamond plated steel plate on the back that is 1/4 inch thick.
Or you could look into the still expiremental buckypaper that is 250 times stronger than steel and it is also stronger than diamonds even while being as thin as fabric.- But that stuff is more expensive than diamonds as well. 0w0
abadon5 years ago
I was reading this somewhere, this would probably seem easiest and more effective than Kevlar:

Supposedly, if fiberglass strands are mixed in with a 3/4" slab of ceramic, which is then fired in a kiln, the resulting material is said to be the equivalent of a Class 4 rifle plate. However, the slab MUST be fired below the melting point of glass, otherwise, the fiberglass will melt and bleed out of the ceramic. Just in case you don't know what a Class 4 plate is, a Class 4 rifle plate is guaranteed to stop at least 1 .30-06 Armor Piercer round.
Crash bags are made from kevlar,
Junk yards will (sometimes) give away used bags for free.
lschurman6 years ago
JimFlo- M-16 rounds do not have good penetrative qualities unless it is "green tip" ammo or armor piercing. the .223 round is frangible so it will supposedly be more effective at making the wound hard to treat...the rest however i agree with. Steel is too heavy to wear for protection against bullets. Buy a decent vest but don't expect it too protect you from rifle fire. If you knew how to weave kevlar into a bullet-resistant material I'd say combine that with titanium alloy plates...strong as steel but about half the weight. Either way, it would be cheaper to simply buy a vest....your life is not something that you should think about secondary to money concerns. http://www.atlanticfirearms.com/storeproduct991.aspx
There's a good vest for handgun fire, if you want to survive against a .30 caliber here is one made by IMI (israeli military industries) http://www.zahal.org/products/21th-century-robo-bullet-proof-vest-iiia?path_parent=153423
vince 097 years ago
 a couple of steel plates lol it would be heavy but it would work 
JimFlo vince 097 years ago
No, it wouldn't.  5.56 (M-16) rounds go through just about any metal plate thin enough to wear. It will punch through 1/4 and 3/8 steel without slowing down. 7.62 fmj has some inpressive penetrating capabilities, at close range, under 50 feeet, it will penetrate 2 to 4 inches of "bullet resistant" glass. Don't get someone killed putting out bad info please.
With as many high power weapon out there I would think that nothing gonna protect you from everything.
Hell, a CROSSBOW bolt will go through a metal plate !
Heck, an ordinary arrow has decent odds of going through traditional plate armor when fired from a medium-weight longbow or recurve bow. Plate was intended to protect primarily against hand-to-hand combat.

(As I understand it, the advantage of crossbows was largely that they are so much more _accurate_ for equivalent amounts of practice, allowing untrained farmworkers to be rapidly turned into a reasonably effective combat force. Note that William Tell was a crossbowman, which makes the story of the apple much more plausible. On the other hand a crossbow's firing rate is much lower, so the effectiveness of a _trained_ bowman in either style is close to equivalent. I believe the top-rated archers in the Society for Creative Anachronism are split between these two categories of bow.)
At the battle of Agincourt, it was estimated that there were between 30 and 100 arrows a SECOND landing from the longbow archers. For precision, a crossbow, for withering firepower, give me a longbow.
It took the French another, what, 500 years to realize that 'Fire burns'-they WALKED up that hill with the idea that to die in battle was a good thing.

Depends on WHERE on the armor-some parts were thicker to deflect lances, others thinner to conserve weight (though some armor still reached 90 pounds...)

dekiii6 years ago
Yes it can be done and it can be done cheaper than real vest and relatively safe with smaller caliber rounds and projectile ricochets but is better used as a stab proof vest. What you need is few layers of felt, cotton and metal plate. Cut out two larger pieces of felt that cower you from neck to waist, cover one side of both pieces with silicone plaster mixed with carbon fibers and join those pieces together. put on one side metal plate and fix it onto the felt. Then take 3 paddings of cotton, dip it into plaster then press it with anything heavy and let it dry do it multiple times with other cotton padding and in the end take all dried up cotton paddings and dip them all into the sealant. Glue it to the metal plate and you got yourself a nice stab proof, smaller caliber(.22 Long Rifle, .25 ACP, .32 S&W Long, .32 S&W, .380 ACP, and .45 ACP ) partially proof vest. I hope my english was good enough :)
Razortape7 years ago
There are different weaves of Kevlar, you'll want one that lists as "balistic" as opposed to stab/knife proof or the type used for construction projects. It's my understanding that a flack vest has 16 layers of kevlar (this may have been the number needed in the 70s). Anyway, a flak vest will only stop flak and not a bullet (except maybe .32s, .25s, etc). I think for a vest to be rated to stop a rifle round (.223, 7.62x39) it would have to include plates - either ceramic aloy or laminated kevlar. Anyway, I'm gearing to do some DIY work with the stuff so if anyone has found any good sources with specs, please let us know.
If you are part of the media, this is a very good protective vest made to be worn over your clothes. Level IIIa bullet, level II spike and stab. Much cheaper than other similar quality vests I have seen, others will cost you thousands, this is $750
Hard to believe, but the original vests were made of silk. Whether they would stop modern ammo I sincerely doubt.

This is NOT a home project.

you are correct in saying that the vests were once made of silk (only reliably stops arrows though not modern amunition). unfortunatly we are not allowed to have them in Australia so I bought a Miguel Caballero jacket at Harrolds in England(It cost me big but I have a descrete typeIII body armour in a leather jacket)
muhammajunaid (author) 7 years ago
Hi all, Thanks a lot for the rich commentary on the question about how to build an armor vest.

It has given me a deep insight starting from how it can be built and upto how safe and practical it would be to build one at home.

thanks once again.
Buy it: http://www.kingofswords.com/Armor-Shields/Bullet-Proof-Armor.html They have level II vest for less then $200.
lemonie7 years ago
Buy one, ask for a donation. You shouldn't try to make one.
Unless you want to get a big jacket and stuff it with loads of padding, paint "Press" on it in big letters and hope people won't take shots at you... Not bullet-proof but it might be bullet-deterring.

JimFlo lemonie7 years ago
About as non detering as them not shooting at my medical insignias because the Geneva convention says they shouldn't...Been there, done that, interesting scars.
lemonie JimFlo7 years ago
I did use the word "hope"...

My dad works for NIJ (national institute of justice) the following words are all 100% HIS

"Do NOT try to make your own vest,even if you have been doing tons of research and use top-notch materials and are very careful! It is a very bad idea to make you own.Even professionally made vests,on rare occasions,fail.Do not make your own even if you intend on being shot with nothing more dangerous then a hardend ball of playdough with a slingshot a hundred feet away.Do not try to make yor own!
Couldn't he have been a bit more emphatic ?


Absolutely sound advice.