I have been in college for the last 3 Halloweens and I've seen a lot of great costumes. From the guy wearing nothing but a black box around his waist saying censored, to the army man painted green head-to-toe, and periodically going down on one knee with his bazooka. It's all about going all-out being really original and a little ridiculous. Now here and there you may see a Bud Light Cowboy, but I'll bet you've never seen a Bud Light Knight...Complete with beer-tab armor!!
This costume will not require much experience or skill with tools. The hardest it gets is sawing (and you may not even need to do that). It will require a pretty good investment of time. It will take a few hours at least. The vast majority of time is spent on the chain mail shirt. There is a really great Instructable that will walk you through the basics of making this chain mail. The good part is most of the work can be done while watching TV (I recommend football!) or listening to music, so the time passes pretty quick. And at the end of the project you will not only have a great Halloween costume, but a pretty good looking piece of armor that YOU made!
Step 1: What You Will Need
Solid joint cutter
Blue pants (jeans might work, but I think sweatpants are better)
1/4" x 1 1/2" wood, about 4 1/2 feet
Glue (wood glue, super glue, etc. all will work)
Wood saw (a jig saw would work too)
Lots and lots of pop Tabs (about 3500 or 2.5lbs)
Bud Light Case 6-Pack (Bottles)
Bud Light Case 24-Pack (Cans)
Bud Light Case 18-Pack (Cans)
Step 2: Making the Sword
You need to find some wood that is about 1/4" thick and 1 1/2" wide. Cut one piece about 6 inches long and the other piece about 4 feet. If you want a point you can add one as well.
When you have your two pieces you can glue the short piece across the long piece about 8" from the bottom. This may seem like a long handle but this will let you hold the sword with 2 hands like real knights did. Place something heavy on top the glued joint to make sure it has good contact while drying.
You can now use your duct tape to wrap the handle. I would have used hockey tape instead, but I didn't have mine here. Start at the top and angle the tape downwards. Once you reach the bottom wrap it a few times around to make it slightly thicker at the bottom. I added a couple pieces of fabric under the tape to thicken the handle and give it a softer feel.
Step 3: Finishing the Sword
Once the glue is dry you can start adding the bud light logos. Using the 18-pack case you first cut off front and back (referring to the 2 largest sides). Then cut 2 strips across the length of the case. One strip will include "Bud", the other "Light". Glue these strips lengthwise to the blade of the sword.
Now cut a strip that includes the "Bud Light" logo that goes across the handle. Please note this part is double-sided and most scissors have some trouble getting through this. Make sure you cut as close to the pivot point of the scissors as possible. Now glue that strip across the cross piece.
Flip the sword over and repeat the process. Since the case only has one handle you will have to use the logo from the flaps to cover the cross piece.
If you would like to make your sword even more durable, you can wrap your clear tape around the blade and cross piece to prevent them from coming off.
Step 4: Other Weapons
I was lucky enough find an old sign that was almost a perfect sword already. All I had to do was was pry the cross piece off and glue it back on a little higher to make the handle.
Keep your eye out for something that will make a good sword. Also, if you don't want to make a sword you can also make a lot of other weapons like axes, maces, and spears. For instance you could make an ax out of a badminton racquet or a spear out of any rod.
Step 5: Face of the Helmet
The helmet I made is based off a spartan helmet design.
The first thing you should do is draw this shape onto a piece of paper. You can go plamakershpt.com
to see the original image. I would recommend blowing that image up and tracing it. Cut it out when you are done tracing it.
Next take your 18-pack case and cut lengthwise on the handle side so you can lay it flat. Tape the stencil you just made to the inside of the case. Make sure you center the stencil on the bottom of the case (the side opposite the handle). Now you can cut out the face piece. Leave as much space as you can above the eye holes because you will need it to connect to the top of the helmet. Use the excess left at the top to make tabs as shown.
Step 6: Completing the Helmet
For the part of the helmet that goes around your head, cut the handle and dividers out of the 6-pack. The dividers hold the sides together so after you remove them tape up the sides. When taping up the sides make sure you try it on your head. This is your chance to change the size. When resizing make sure the back is taped together flush. The front doesn't have to be flush because it will be covered by the face piece anyway.
Now put the face piece on the head piece as shown and tape or glue the tabs down. Make sure you leave the top tab for last. You can add tape to the sides to make the face piece more rigid.
Step 7: Vambrace (forearm Armor)
Last but not least we have the vambraces. This is the formal name given to the armor worn on the forearms.
In order to make these fit you have to do a lot of measurements on your arm. You need the distance around your wrist and upper forearm (just below the elbow). You also need the distance from your wrist to your medial epicondyle (that's the name for your elbow-pit). If you want the armor to end right at your elbow than go ahead and measure the distance to that too. However I just had my armor come to a point well past my elbow as I think it looks cooler that way.
As you measure the circumference of your arm make sure you add a couple inches. There are several reasons for this. The first is that cardboard is difficult to bend into a round shape. The second is that you want to over lap so it is harder to see the seam. And the third is that you want to be able to take the armor off and put it back on without having to cut it and re-tape it all the time.
Now use your measurements to draw out the pattern like the one pictured. Use a scissors or X-Acto knife to cut out the pattern.
Now trace this onto the 24-pack case, centering on the logo. Cut the piece out.
Running the pieces over the edge of a table works well to curve it. Once both pieces are sufficiently curved you can glue them together. Note that gluing them together before bending could cause the case piece to rip.
You can now tape the two sides together and try it on to see how well you measured.
Step 8: Chain Mail
This is the coolest and also the most time consuming part of the project. It starts with collecting as many pop cans as possible. The more time you have the better. Ask friends, relatives, and neighbors to collect tabs before they get rid of their cans. If you live in a state that doesn't have can deposits, you can probably just go out the night before recycling day and raid recycling containers. If you really don't want to work that hard for them you can just buy tabs on ebay. However be warned for the amount you need you will have to pay around 15 dollars. With time running out and my pile of tabs looking pathetic I had to bite the bullet and buy some.
Once you've got your tabs you can start bending, cutting, and weaving away. As I mentioned in the introduction the idea for pop tab chain mail originated with one of my fellow instructable creators. Instead of restating and taking credit for his work I will just link you to his instructable. Please use this as your basic guide for how to make the pattern and return to my instructable for tips on how to form it into a shirt here.
One thing I did differently from the other instructable is use an adjustable wrench instead of a staple remover. If you adjust the wrench to the thickness of a tab and duct tape it at that width it will work really well.
Step 9: Shape It Into a Shirt
Alright, now that you have figured out how to make a pattern of chain mail you need to learn how to make it into a shirt.
First take a shirt that fits you well and trace it onto a large piece of cardboard. Cut that out to use as a guide. You will need both the front and back.
Now once you have a big sheet of chain mail made place it on the cardboard stencil and keep adding tabs to cover the cardboard.
At the bottom edge of the shirt use tabs that are not cut since they do not need to be connected to anything else.
I recommend adding tabs in either diagonal or horizontal rows. Flip the tabs upside down so you don't have to lift the whole sheet up to add one. Keep working at it until you have completely covered the cardboard.
Step 10: Finishing Touches
Now you can fold the two sides together and connect them using the same method used to make the rest of the shirt. I recommend starting from the bottom and working up so you don't end up being off a row and having to go back and do it again.
Now all that is left is to connect the shoulders. Do this by cutting the thick side and connecting them just as you have the rest of the shirt. Note that you only need to cut the links for the 2 front straps or the 2 back straps. If you cut both front and back it will not work. Note this way does not seem ideal to me and I am still thinking of a better way to do it. If you have any great ideas feel free to let me know in the comments.
Now your chain mail should be completely finished. This is the moment you have been waiting for TRY IT ON!! If it is too small or to big don't worry, it is easy to fix just add or remove rows.
As a general rule of thumb make the shirt too big. If you need to make it smaller that's easy, but if you put it on and you can't get it back off it will be a little more of a hassle.
Step 11: Party!!
Enjoy!! Your sure to be a hit at any college party or bar.
If you like my costume or have any suggestions for how I can improve it please comment! Also if any of my instructions were unclear ask as many questions as you want, I will answer promptly.