Introduction: Aztec Warrior
We were invited to attend a huge youth activity where we all dressed up like people from ancient American civilizations. The crowning piece of my costume was an Aztec obsidian bladed sword, actually called a Macuahuitl (ma-kwa-weedle).
Material: Wood and Leather
Total Cost: about $5
Step 1: Cut Out the Sword
From a 32" piece of 1x4 lumber form the handle by cutting 3/4" off both sides of the board for 7" from one end, as per the picture and drill a 3/8" hole near the end for a wrist strap.
On the other end from the handle, cut 3/4" deep by 1/2" wide notches on both sides of the board. Cut a total of 5 notches down each side of the board with 3 3/4" between each notch, as per the picture.
Using a scrap block of 1x4, mark the center of the 1" narrow edge. Set the table saw blade at about a 10° angle and about a 3/4" deep cut, then make a test cut on the scrap block. As per the picture. Continue to adjust the angle of the blade by increments until the center mark is reached (make sure to adjust the fence so as not to contact the saw blade). Cut the other side of the scrap block to verify the "Obsidian Blades" looks right.
Once you have the saw blade and fence dialed in correctly, cut all four edges of the 1x4 sword. This should leave a sharp edge down the center of both narrow edges.
Sand everything down really good. Especially the "Obsidian Blades", you don't want saw marks on the blades.
Step 2: Decortate the Sword
Place an animal skin printed ribbon down the center on one side, wrap it over the end opposite the handle, and then down the center on the opposite side. Nail the ribbon in place on one side, making sure the end and the nail will be covered by the leather of the handle. Stretch it tight and nail it on the end opposite the handle (see the picture). Then nail it on the other side, again making sure the nail will be covered by the leather of the handle. Trim the end of the ribbon as needed.
Paint the "Obsidian Blades" with black paint (apply as many coats as required to make it opaque). Once dry, paint the whole sword with several coats of Mod Podge glue, including over the animal skin ribbon. The Mod Podge glue makes the "Obsidian Blades" look like real obsidian and gives the wood a nice used weapon finish.
Nail one end of the leather for the handle down. Wrap the leather around the handle, making sure to cover the nail. Trim the end and side of the leather to make a nice finished looking circle around the handle. Continue to neatly wrap the leather around the handle, making a nice even spiral along the handle and covering the ends of the animal skin ribbon. Nail the end of the leather on the side, as show in the picture and trim the end and side of the leather as needed to make it look nice.
Thread a 15" strip of leather through the hole drilled near the end and tie a knot to form the wrist strap.
Add artwork, feathers, or other items to enhance the sword.
Step 3: Make the Smock or Robe
Fold in half a 30" wide by 70" long piece of cloth. I liked animal skin patterns but other people like different Aztec type prints. Cut about a 7" hole in the center to form a poncho, see the first picture. Helm the edges if you want.
Another option is to just get cloth or blankets in the color and pattern you want and drape them around yourself, see the second picture.
Get a belt to help keep the smock or robe in place. I just went to the local thrift store and got a black fake leather belt.
Step 4: Super Easy Headband
Get a headband or get a belt that would look cool as a headband. I got the belt I modified at the thrift store.
Place the best looking part of the belt on the forehead, wrap the belt tight around the head, and mark both ends of the belt where they meet in the back. Make sure there is sufficient length on both ends and cut one side of the belt off. Wrap the belt tight around the head again and mark where the cut end overlaps the non-cut end by about 3/4". Cut off the other end of the belt making sure that when the belt is wrapped around the head there is at least 3/4" overlap.
Punch 2 wholes in the belt a shown and use brown thread (or thread that matches your headband) to tie the two ends together.
Once you put the headband on, stick feathers inside the band on one side.
Step 5: Make the Cloak
Fold in half a piece of fake leather fabric approximately 3' by 5'. tie two of the corners together with a nice looking square knot as shown.
This is then placed over the head and the knot positioned over one shoulder. I prefer placing the knot over my left shoulder because I hold my sword in my right hand.
Step 6: Put on the Finishing Touches
Add some manly beaded necklaces with claws, shark teeth, arrow heads, feathers, etc.
Do some face paint. I'm not very adventurous, but there are tons of Instructable on how to do some pretty awesome face painting.
Add any other bling that looks Aztecy, like leather braces.