Introduction: Captain America Shield From Used Satellite Dish

Picture of Captain America Shield From Used Satellite Dish

I had been wanting to make a Captain America shield for some time, but had a hard time finding a suitable item to make it from. I originally tried using an old plastic sled, but it gave me all sorts of grief. The type of plastic would not take paint very well (not even Krylon Fusion for plastics), or any type of adhesive that I tried.

I eventually came across a used satellite dish, and with a little bit of modifying this turned out to the be best option for a Captain America shield.

If you are interested in making one of these, you may have to do a bit of searching and asking to find a used satellite dish. I've seen them show up at thrift stores from time to time. Keep your eyes open, and you should be able to find one.

If you don't have access to an old satellite dish I would highly recommend using a round metal sled, like this one from amazon.

I have a separate instructable on how to make a flyable version out of cardboard and duct tape, which you can check out here: Flying Captain America Shield.

Thanks for looking!

Step 1: Disassemble the Dish

Picture of Disassemble the Dish

I began this project by disassembling the dish and components. Some of the nuts and bolts were kept and used later on to attach the handles.

Step 2: Draw Circle

Picture of Draw Circle

The satellite dish was an oval shape, and Captain America's shield is a round concave disk.

I was worried that a circle cut from the oval-shaped dish would look warped. But once it was cut out, the circle looked perfectly fine.

I eyeballed where the center of the dish was and put down three or four pieces of masking tape, which provided a place for the needle of my homemade compass to bite. I then drew as large a circle as would fit within the back lip of the dish.

Step 3: Cut Out Circle Shape From Dish

Picture of Cut Out Circle Shape From Dish

I initially tried using a metal cutting Dremel attachment to cut out the circle from the dish, but it was too tedious. I found that my metal snips worked much better for this task.

After cuts were made all the way around the lip, I used a dead blow hammer to pound the tabs all flat. Then I used my sips to cut out the circle.

I used a Dremel grinding bit to take off the sharp, jagged edges around the disk that were left from cutting it out with the snips.

Step 4: Fill Bolt Holes

Picture of Fill Bolt Holes

There were four sunken areas in the dish for the bolts that needed to be filled somehow, and then ground off.

I used a Dremel grinding bit to remove the finish from the dish and roughen up the area around the bolt holes. I then used JB Weld to fill up the spots where the bolts had been. Masking tape was used to cover the backside of the holes while the JB Weld cured.

Step 5: Grind Off Bolt Hole Nubs

Picture of Grind Off Bolt Hole Nubs

The bolt hole nubs that were now filled with cured JB Weld were cut off with a metal cut-off attachment.

These areas were then sanded with 80 grit sandpaper.

I also removed the tape at the center of the shield and used a nail punch to mark the center of the shield. This was needed to help lay out the concentric circle design later.

Step 6: Smooth Out Bolt Area With Body Filler

Picture of Smooth Out Bolt Area With Body Filler

Bondo body filler was used to fill in and smooth out the areas where the bolt holes had been. This was actually my first time using bondo. My dad used it for everything, so the distinct smell brought back all sorts of memories of stuff my dad had either made for fixed with it.

After the bondo cured, it was sanded smooth with 100 grit sandpaper.

Step 7: Attach Bolts for Handles

Picture of Attach Bolts for Handles

Epoxy was used to attach four bolts to the backside of the shield. The handles were later attached to these bolts, which were left over from when I took apart the dish.

Prior to the epoxying of the bolts, the surface of the dish was roughened up with a Dremel grinding bit.

Step 8: Prime Shield

Picture of Prime Shield

With the bolt holes filled and smoothed over, the shield was ready to be primed.

It received three coats of primer, and was sanded with 220 grit sandpaper between each coat, along with a final sanding after the last.

The backside of the shield received a coating of flat black paint at this point.

Step 9: Paint First Coat

Picture of Paint First Coat

The shield received three coats of white, as the base. All the painting was done with spray paint. I avoid hand painting if at all possible, although this could have been painted by hand with the same amount of trouble.

I deliberated for some time as to the best way to paint this. I will admit, this was one of the most difficult things I've ever tried to paint. It involved a lot of masking, and a very specific step by step process.

Step 10: Add Red Stripes

Picture of Add Red Stripes

When the base coat was dry (about 45 minutes), I masked over almost the entire surface of the shield, and drew out the design.

An exacto blade was used to cut away the tape in the areas needed to create the red stripes. Prior to painting the red, a couple of heavy coats of white were put down to seal up the tape edges and prevent "bleeding."

Step 11: Add Star

Picture of Add Star

All the tape was removed from the previous step, and when the red paint was dry the inner white circle was remasked.

A star shape was drawn on the tape using a stencil. An exacto blade was used to cut away the needed areas, and the rest of the shield was masked off. The inner circle was then painted blue.

Painting this blue circle was especially tricky because the method used to seal up the tape in order to create clean lines and avoid bleeding only works if the tape is masking between two colors. Here, there were three colors I had to deal with all at the same time.

Before painting the blue coat, I very carefully spayed the edges of the taped star white, and the edge of the circle red. This sealed up the white star and the red circle from blue bleed-through. This worked very well and prevented any ugly bleeding.

Step 12: Make Handles Using Old Belt

Picture of Make Handles Using Old Belt

An old belt was used to make the handles for the back of the shield. Holes were drilled through the ends of two pieces of the belt, and these were attached to the bolts that were epoxied to the back of the shield.

Step 13: Touch Up Blemishes, Add Clear Coat

Picture of Touch Up Blemishes, Add Clear Coat

I had to touch up a handful of small blemishes and imperfections with a small paint brush, primarily where I wasn't careful while removing the masking tape and smudged a few spots. (I prefer to remove masking while the paint is wet. I think it makes for cleaner lines, but you run the risk of getting into a lot of trouble if you're not really careful as you take it off.)

Once everything was dry I lightly sanded the entire thing with 400 grit sandpaper, which gave it a cool weathered, battle-scarred look.

It was finished and sealed with three coats of crystal clear acrylic spray. It turned out very nice.

Thanks for looking. Let me know what you think!


ShashwatS20 (author)2017-05-23

Then throw it like captain america in big field or any big ground place

SteveH54 made it! (author)2017-02-24

Great build. Mine turned out awesome

seamster (author)SteveH542017-02-24

Very nice - that looks fantastic. Thanks for the photos!

WestonCurran (author)2016-02-08

Hi! that looks freaking awesome! do you think I could use a hack saw to cut down the bolt holes,then fill with bondo, I can't afford a Dremel and no one I know has one nor knows what one is, I have all the stuff for the shield I just need to know if a hacksaw would work thanks!

cfinke made it! (author)WestonCurran2016-10-18

Instead of grinding or cutting off the raised bolt holes, just use your metal shears to make about a dozen cuts from the middle of the hole to the edge of the raised area, and then carefully hammer the pieces down. Flip the dish over, and hammer them flat again from the inside. Use some Bondo to fill the small hole leftover, and you can skip the JB Weld step.

Floyd_Waxler (author)cfinke2017-02-02

I like this. I started a shield last year but the JB weld fell out of one of the holes. This really helps. I may just try the project again!
Thank You!

Tuấn MinhL (author)2016-08-03

that was something,though i'd prefer silver base

PatKarrow (author)2016-07-28

What kind of paint did you use? also are they specific colours?

seamster (author)PatKarrow2016-07-29

Hi! The paints I used were all Krylon brand spray paint. I believe the red was called "Banner Red" and the blue was called "True Blue."

PatKarrow (author)seamster2016-07-29

Great thank you. I'm using a different technique with a different material but I hope I get it looking just right. I got a dark red called "cherry red" because it looks like the colour of the shield from The Winter Soldier (I love that movie!)

Zandarkoad (author)2016-06-21

Okay, so this is the fastest and cheapest way to get your hands on a suitable satellite dish. Call any local satellite technician at who works on Dish Network or DirecTV systems and ask if they have any junk dishes for sale. Keep these things in mind when calling:

1.) You don't need a complete working dish. You just need the part that is called the "reflector". The technician can keep the LNB, LNB arm, and mounting hardware.

2.) You need a "reflector." That is the part of the dish you want.

3.) The best size dish for this project is a "Dish 500" reflector. It's best if it isn't dented or rusted of course. The Dish Network Dish 500 reflector is 20". It is not perfectly round, but there are literally no dishes that are in the US market that are perfectly round, unless you go to the bigger ones that are 30" or larger. Those are also very rare and far more expensive. A DirecTV standard definition dish reflector (18") is a good runner up to the Dish 500 for this application.

4.) Offer $10 or so. All Dish 500s are nearly useless in today's market because they are used almost exclusively for standard definition programming. Remember, you don't need the LNB.

5.) If you offer $20+ they may even drop it off at your house depending on where you live, and if you are willing to wait until your house is near their route.

Source: 10+ years as a satellite technician.

seamster (author)Zandarkoad2016-06-21

Excellent info! Thank you for sharing these tips! :)

PatKarrow (author)2016-03-15

This is awesome, I'm going to give this a go! Hope to have it finished before Civil War comes to theatres. I will send you a picture when I am done!

Jedi_zombie85 (author)2016-01-27

Dude this is epic, love works like this that make something awesome out of something save taking it to a junk pile, congrats

seamster (author)Jedi_zombie852016-01-27

Thanks! This was a fun little project. Nothing more fun than transforming junk into something cool! :)

Floyd_Waxler (author)2015-12-30

Making preperations for making my own (going for the sky blue stealth shield!)... is the auto filler necesary or will just metal paint primer be okay to fill scratches?

seamster (author)Floyd_Waxler2015-12-31

If you're just filling minor scratches, I would say that a few coats of primer with 220 grit light hand sandings in between coats should be sufficient. Depends on the size of the scratches though :)

Good luck! I'd love to see a photo when it's done!

Floyd_Waxler (author)seamster2016-01-01

thanks =) still working on it! Probably gonna take the rest of my weekend lol

I'm also making my own Instractable for it =)
First time for everything!

amartin77 (author)2015-11-29

Hello , you just do a good job but the dishes is too fine ( excuse me for translate i'm french ) , so how could you make it a little bit thicker ?

seamster (author)2015-10-27

It depends on how big the dish is that you're starting with, and how small you're willing to make your finished shield. In other words, yes, you could avoid the bolt holes, but it will make a much smaller shield.

MitchellR3 made it! (author)2015-09-15

finished it a few weeks ago. looks great and makes for a great profile pic

seamster (author)MitchellR32015-09-15

Your shield looks fantastic! Very nicely done.

Thank you for sharing the photos too. Very happy you found this guide and were able to make one!

Captain Bryce (author)2015-08-19

I've been asking around and looking everywhere but I can't find a satellite dish anywhere. Any suggestions?

Nicolas15 made it! (author)2015-07-24

Thanks for the tutorial. I have mine hanging in my room

xMonstermanx made it! (author)2015-07-13

my sons...

seamster (author)xMonstermanx2015-07-14

Very nicely done!

Spike629 (author)2015-06-15

What types of dishes can I use to make this

TNTman (author)2015-06-06

What are the measurements you used for the stripes and the circle? Getting my used satellite next week, really excited! Thanks!

seamster (author)TNTman2015-06-06


I'm not really sure of what the exact dimensions were (I no longer have this). But the width of each stripe is 1/5th the radius of the entire disc. The radius of the inner blue circle is 2/5 the radius of the entire disc. Hope that helps! :)

WilliamC4 (author)2015-06-01

I just happen to have one of these sitting on my roof...looks like I have another project to work on. Approximately how close to actual size (from the movies) is this?

seamster (author)WilliamC42015-06-01

It's a little smaller I'd say. But I'm not sure exactly how big the move one is! :)

This one was about 22" in diameter.

WilliamC4 (author)seamster2015-06-01

Awesome. If memory serves, it's like 24", so...22" should be just about perfect! Thanks!

Backyard budget (author)2015-05-19

Question you may have answered: Is the finished product, being made of metal, too heavy for extended cosplay use?

I would say no, not too heavy.

However, from what I've heard you might get turned away at most conventions though, because it's made of metal.

softenersreviews (author)2013-03-02

Everybody wants to be Cap. America ;)

so not true!!!!!!! (most do) :) ?

LanH3 (author)2015-01-15

Thanks a lot, ur tutorial was a real life saver, i was dying to get one, Im looking to put some battle damage on it, any advice!!!, a really warm greeting from Mexico

doug.lavoie.1 (author)LanH32015-04-22

i used fireworks .roman candles

seamster (author)LanH32015-01-15

Thank you for sharing the photo of your shield! I'm glad you were able to make one. It looks like it turned out really nice. Awesome!

Turtle_Titan (author)2015-04-08

About how heavy is the shield? I'm considering sewing in magnet strips to the costume so the shield will stick to my back.

csillet (author)2015-01-01

Hey Seamster, I am currently in the process of gathering materials to make this shield but I was wondering when you cut the satellite down did it become flimsy or structurally weaker?

seamster (author)csillet2015-01-01

That's a great question. It does in fact lose a little of the rigidity once you remove the sidewall. I wouldn't say it becomes flimsy though. You can flex it a bit, but with mine at least, it was still very solid.

csillet (author)seamster2015-01-02

thanks for the help I'm glad it stays rigid

tomatoskins made it! (author)2014-11-30

Hey Seamster! This is how mine turned out. It turned out great! Since it's going to my 27 year-old brother-in-law for Christmas, more than likely it will go on the wall in his game room. So I thought that I'd add the convenience of being able to hang it on the wall. Thanks again for the great build!

seamster (author)tomatoskins2014-11-30

That looks sweet! Thanks for sharing the photos. Your bro-in-law will be pretty pumped to get this, I'm sure. Nice work!

tomatoskins (author)2014-11-03

Seamster, how did I not know that you made one of these till now? A dish is an amazing idea! I think I just found my brother-in-laws Christmas present!

seamster (author)tomatoskins2014-11-03

Yeah man, what the heck!? :)

If you're serious about making a shield, I've got an extra dish if you need it!

tomatoskins (author)seamster2014-11-03

Really? I won't be back down in your neck of the woods for about a week. I'll look for one up here, but if I can't find one I'll definitely hit you up! Thanks!

amarshall17 (author)2014-08-05

Awesome!! I was wondering if the dish would revel a metal finish if sanded enough as i really like the look of the shield from The Winter soldier were the white part of the shield is a silver color. Thanks

seamster (author)amarshall172014-08-05


Yes, it could be sanded down to show bare metal. But the finish is very thick and durable, like some kind of industrial weather-proof epoxy, so it would be a lot of work. Also, not sure if I'd want to breath or spread around too much of the dust that would be created by sanding it down. Chemical stripping may work, but I haven't tried it.

Best bet, I'd think, would be to just paint the whole thing with silver metal-looking paint, and then add the other colors.

About This Instructable




Bio: I got an old sewing machine when I was just a kid, and I've been hooked on making stuff ever since. My name is ... More »
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