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Picture of Flying Captain America Shield
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This is a flying Captain America shield that you can make out of duct tape and cardboard. Make a couple of these and you can battle it out with your friends Captain America-style!

I had two goals in mind with this project: 1) that the finished shield could be tossed around safely and actually fly stable like a giant Frisbee, and 2) that it could be replicated by almost anyone, independent of their current crafting skills.

For this project I made a couple of different flying shield prototypes. After some experimenting, I eventually reached a design that flew really well . . . and now I'm excited to share it!

I've included a PDF with all the pattern pieces that are required to make this. I worked directly from these finalized pattern pieces to build the finished version of the flying Captain America shield you will see in the following steps and in the video below.

The finished shield is 22.5" in diameter, and weighs 27.5 ounces (780 g). It's hefty, but it flies great. Still, you wouldn't want to knock a little kid in the back of the head with it, but it's certainly a lot safer for throwing around than this version (also made by me).

Here is a video of my flying shield in action:


 
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Step 1: Things you will need

Picture of Things you will need
Here is what you will need to make your own Flying Captain America Shield:
  • Print-out of the attached PDF
  • Flat pieces of cardboard, at least 12" wide across the grain. I used thick double-ply cardboard.
  • Duct tape, one roll of each: red, white, blue, and regular
  • 24" of webbing or other suitable material for handles
  • 74" of 3/4" polypropylene rope
  • Cutting mat
  • Utility knife with extra blades (and/or heavy-duty hobby knife with extra blades)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Sharp scissors
  • Marking pen, like a Sharpie
In each step I will go into more detail about the materials and tools used.

Step 2: Cut out pattern pieces

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Begin by printing out the attached PDF from step one. It will be easier to use the pattern pieces if you print this on a heavier paper like card stock.

Carefully cut out each of the pattern pieces using either a sharp blade or scissors. Use tape to join the two sections that form the larger wedge-shaped piece, as shown in the photo.

Step 3: Cut out cardboard wedges

Picture of Cut out cardboard wedges
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The shield is made up of 20 individual cardboard wedges that are curled slightly, hot glued together, and then covered with duct tape.

The large wedge-shaped pattern piece labeled "SHIELD" is used to create all the individual sections of cardboard that go together to make the shield.

Trace this pattern piece onto cardboard 20 times, being sure the grain (or lines) of the cardboard run across the narrow width of each wedge-shape.

Use a utility knife with a new, sharp blade to carefully cut out all of these pieces. A sharp blade and cutting mat are a necessity for this step.

Work slowly, be careful, and watch your fingers.

Step 4: Gently curl each shield piece

Picture of Gently curl each shield piece
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For the shield to end up in a slight dome, you will need to gently curl each wedge-shaped piece.

Use both hands to pull each piece over the sharp edge of a table, which will "break" the stiffness of the cardboard. Your curled pieces should be similar in shape to the ones shown in the first photo.

Step 5: Tack together quarter-sections of the shield

Picture of Tack together quarter-sections of the shield
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Use hot glue to tack the shield pieces together. You don't need to use a ton of glue, as you will be adding plenty of tape later on which will solidify and strengthen the shield.

I recommend beginning by assembling quarter-sections of the shield. This will make it easier to keep things lined up and ensure that the completed shield comes out round. (If you add one piece after the other all the way around the shield, the pieces tend to drift or "creep," and you may not end up exactly where you started.)

Each quarter-section will have five pieces in it. Begin by gluing two pieces together, and then adding the third, fourth and fifth. You don't need to glue the full length of the seam between each two pieces--just the top and bottom couple of inches will do. The most important thing is that the outer edges of the pieces (which will be the outer perimeter of the shield) are lined up evenly.

You will need to gently adjust the curve of each of the pieces so they mate up nicely with each other. There will be small gaps, especially on the top portions of the shield, but this is okay.

Step 6: Join the quarter-sections

Picture of Join the quarter-sections
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Once you have all four quarter-sections completed, you are ready to assemble the final dome-shape. You may notice that the four sections are not quite 90 degrees, as you might have thought they would be. Don't worry, this is correct and everything will fit together nicely.

Begin by joining two sets of quarter-sections so you have two completed halves.

Now join both halves. This may take an extra set of hands to hold them together while the hot glue cools, since the two halves will naturally want to pull apart. This is where the dome takes it's final shape, as you force these two halves together.

You should now have a "naked" Captain America shield. You're half-way there!

You'll be tempted to take it outside and try to throw it. Don't do it. Resist the urge!

Step 7: Reinforce backside of shield

Picture of Reinforce backside of shield
Use strips of regular duct tape to reinforce the seams between the glued sections on the backside of the shield. Make sure you press down firmly so the tape sticks well.

Step 8: The secret to making it fly...

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A length of suitably heavy rope needs to be added to the underside perimeter of the shield, which is the trick to making it stable enough to fly like a Frisbee. It also provides a nice lip for looks, as well as a place to grip for throwing or catching.

You will need about 74" of 3/4" polypropylene rope, which can be purchased by the foot at most hardware stores.

To keep the rope from fraying when you trim it to length, wrap a few inches of tape around the cut ends. You could use a lighter or torch to fuse the ends as well, but it will all be covered with tape soon enough, so it's probably not worth the effort.

Use hot glue to firmly glue the rope down along the underside edge of the shield.

Step 9: Cover the edge with red duct tape

Picture of Cover the edge with red duct tape
Use 6- or 7-inch strips of red duct tape to tape over the rope and edge of the shield. Try to keep the tape as tight up to the rope as possible so there aren't any big air pockets along the inside lip of the shield.

Note that for all pieces of duct tape that you use from here on, you will want to cut them off of the rolls rather than tear them off. This will help keep things clean and neat. This is where a sharp pair of scissors comes in very handy.

Step 10: Cover backside of shield

Picture of Cover backside of shield
Cover the backside of the shield with strips of regular duct tape.

Try to be as efficient in covering as you can in order to keep the weight down, but make sure every bit of cardboard is covered.

Step 11: Attach handles

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You have some options here.

I had some 1 1/2" webbing that I salvaged off of an old gym bag which worked very well as handles for my shield. If you have some 3/4" webbing, that would work equally well. You could also just as easily fashion some handles out of a few layers of duct tape.

Whatever you choose, cut two strips of your material about 12" each (add a little more if you have bulky forearms). Hot glue the ends down, positioning the handles similarly to what is shown in this photo, and reinforce all around with more duct tape.

Step 12: Cover top of shield

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Cut strips of red duct tape and cover the top of the shield. Try to keep everything as smooth and wrinkle-free as possible.

Step 13: Add center blue circle

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The pattern piece labeled "CENTER CIRCLE" is used to draw out the shapes that will be used to make the center blue circle on the shield.

Lay out three 24" strips of blue duct tape, overlapping each piece about 1/4", similar to what is shown in the second photo. (I initially only laid out enough blue tape to draw out 6 pattern pieces, so I had to do this part twice.)

Trace the pattern piece 12 times onto the blue tape, and use a sharp hobby knife or utility knife to cut out the wedge-shapes. When you pull them up off the cutting mat, be sure to pull them up starting with the layer of tape that is on the bottom. This way the separate pieces of tape that make up each wedge will all stay in place.

You should be able to see where the exact center of the shield is, based on where the cardboard wedges meet. If you can't see this through the layers of tape, squish the tape down with your fingers to feel where the center of the shield is. Make a mark or poke a small hole with a pin if you need to, to use as guide to help you place the blue wedge-shapes in the center of the shield.

Step 14: Add white ring

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The white ring is made from white duct tape, and is completed in similar fashion to the center blue circle. 

Trace the pattern piece labeled "WHITE CIRCLE" 8 or 9 times onto two strips of white duct tape, as shown in the second photo.

For placement of the white ring on the shield, I just eyeballed it. The goal is to have three rings of equal width (red, white, red). If it looks funny or crooked, you can always pull it up and re-do it.

A more precise method would be to use a ruler or measuring tape to place a few marks around the shield from the center point to aid in the placement of the white ring. The inside edge of the white ring should be placed about 7 1/8" (181 mm) from the center point of the shield. (Thanks to Iron-Man227 for this tip!)

Step 15: Add center star

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The center star is completed similar to the method used in the last two steps, using the pattern piece labeled "STAR" to draw out the five sections that make up the star.

When the shield is held level on the left arm, the star should be pointing up. Place all the star pieces accordingly.

Step 16: Clean up the shield, and you're done!

Picture of Clean up the shield, and you're done!
A little bit of denatured alcohol on a rag will quickly clean off any marker lines left over from tracing your pattern pieces, and will leave your shield looking slick and shiny.

That's it. You're done!

It may take some practice to be able to throw it well--if you have a hard time throwing a Frisbee, you may struggle with this. Practice with a regular Frisbee if you need to, and work your way up to your awesome homemade Captain America shield. Remember to whip your wrist as you release the shield, to give it plenty of spin.

I'd love to see some photos of your finished shield if you make one. Just upload a photo or two and post them with a comment.

Thanks for checking this out. Go Captain!
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when i try to open the pdf it wont, can you help?
seamster (author)  Kurohitsujii2 years ago
Here's the file right here. If still you can't open it, it's a problem on your end. Make sure you have the latest adobe reader.
May i ask did you really trace the black line or you used a ruler too make it straight?
two questions, what size paper do you print the pdf onto?
And how much cardboard is needed?
seamster (author)  ElizabethS1016 days ago

You need 8.5" by 11" standard office paper. For the cardboard, I think I used a couple of small boxes worth.. I really can't say exactly.

Thanks for answering so quickly! I guess I'll figure it out on the cardboard...

lynx267617 days ago
what whith of cardboad do you need
wilburckwong made it!21 days ago
Thanks seamster. This is a replicate from Hong Kong in the Asia!
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seamster (author)  wilburckwong21 days ago

Very nice! You shield looks excellent. Thank you for the photos!

kkazuto774 made it!25 days ago
Finished my shield! And I must say: I'm proud of it! Definitely taking this to Avengers: Age of Ultron! Thanks a lot!
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seamster (author)  kkazuto77425 days ago

Awesome! Glad you were able to make one. Everyone at the movie will be jealous!

Be sure to tell them where to find the tutorial! ;)

AG3NT_47 made it!26 days ago
Really awesome job bro. Perfect to take to the Avengers: Age of Ultron. Thanks a ton! Didn't have duct tape so ended up using paper and worked out great
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seamster (author)  AG3NT_4725 days ago

Hey, nice job!

I think using paper instead of duct tape is a first! I like the clean, classic look of it. Thanks for sharing the photo here!

kirei.kotomine.7 made it!26 days ago

Thank for the great and easy to do instruction. I made a few adjustment with your step ( using colored Decal instead of tape). The rest is just Stick and Stick.
The 1st one on the left kinda Flat due to applying to much pressure on the surface while stick the decal on. My second look better Though. Once Again , Thank You.

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seamster (author)  kirei.kotomine.726 days ago

Nice! Thanks for sharing the photo--the shields look pretty good!

kkazuto77429 days ago
This is awesome, dude! I was panicking because I'm going to the premier of Avengers: Age of Ultron next week and needed something awesome. Definitely making this! Thanks. I'll post pictures when I'm done!
seamster (author)  kkazuto77429 days ago

Glad you found this! If you're feeling really ambitious (and happen to have an old satellite dish available), you ought to try my metal version: http://www.instructables.com/id/Captain-America-Shield/

Whatever you do, best of luck! Can't wait to see how your shield turns out!

driley10uk1 month ago
Good fun build. I found when cutting the star/blue circle/white ring out that sticking the tape to greaseproof paper first really helped. That way you can cut out the pieces easily and they have a peel off backing that makes it really easy to apply.
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seamster (author)  driley10uk1 month ago

Awesome! Good tip too on the greaseproof paper. Thank you for sharing the photo!

Yodilee made it!1 month ago
Thank you thank you for these super easy to follow instructions and the template! I was able to knock this out in an afternoon. I accidentally printed at like 150% so I ended up having to take two inches off the diameter, but everything was still in proportion to do this. So excited--thank you! Going to be volunteering with a superhero group as American Dream.
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seamster (author)  Yodilee1 month ago

Very cool! I'm glad you found this and were able to make one. Love the idea of volunteering with a group like that. Thanks for sharing your photo, I love to see that people are still finding this and making captain shields with it!

ashbrian made it!1 month ago
Thanks so much for this demo. My boys love their shields.
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seamster (author)  ashbrian1 month ago

Oh, awesome!

I love the batman one a lot. They both look like they turned out great (the shields, not the boys--they look a bit mischievous).

;) Thanks for sharing the photo!

You know: I am a huge fan of Cap Shield builds. Most of them are trying to make a final product that looks as metallic and realistic as possible. I'm a fan of this build because being able to throw your shield is every Cap fan's dream.


This is a great instructable. Keep up the good work.

seamster (author)  TheFrankTurk1 month ago

Thank you! My kids loved this and it's long-since been destroyed by overuse.

Might be time to make a new one! :)

stupidname1 month ago
I made it and it is so cool!
jayden_tunstall made it!2 months ago

I'm going to London Comic Con this year and I am cosplaying as a female Captain America. I had been searching for a shield but all the ones I had found were either too small or too expensive. I found this but used different materials such as coloured card and wrapping paper. I also used spare shoelaces for the straps. I am really proud of this, thank you,

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seamster (author)  jayden_tunstall2 months ago

Awesome! Glad you found this and were able to get a bit of help from it. Your costume sounds great. Thank you for the comment and the photo!

ricardod3 made it!2 months ago

greetings from the Philippines!!!

tyvm for the instruction materials. my son and i really enjoyed doing it. due to budget & availability constraints, we used duck tape at the back portion of the shield only, the rest was made by applying packing tapes.:):):)

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seamster (author)  ricardod32 months ago

Hey, awesome! Your shield looks great. I'm glad you found this tutorial and were able to make one with your son!

_solovable made it!3 months ago

thanks for the great tutorial! :) i did it today, i just used colored paper for it, it also worked. Greetings and thank you from Germany

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karolinka2251 made it!3 months ago

Hi. I'm a woman, so I am proud that i managed that :D
Just finished a shield for my 3 year old son.
It isn't perfect, and not as cool as yours, but my son i happy anyway :)
Thank you for this tutorial!
Greetings from Poland! :)

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seamster (author)  karolinka22513 months ago

Your shield looks great! I'm sure your little boy will love it. Thanks for sharing your photos!

Topzmad1 year ago

I am 14 and dont have access to tools like this, and cant get any diffrent color ducktape. Do you have any other methods that i could use?

At first I thought I was going to have the same problem, for tools use your mom' kitchen cutting board to cut the duct tape, kitchen scissors for the cardboard and for the colors use acrilyc paint very cheap at walmart like .50cents may need lots of layers but it works. I found the duct tape, and are trying the glow in the dark white paint for the start..just try and have fun ...
.just a suggestion ?
seamster (author)  Topzmad1 year ago

Hmm. I'm not sure of any other methods you could use. You might be getting to that age where you can get a little job, save up some cash, and buy yourself some supplies. In fact, you might be able to track down a lot of the stuff you need for free. Just ask around.

I'd recommend starting with a small cutting mat, an exacto blade, decent scissors, and a glue gun. These basic things will open up a lot of creative possibilities for you. I started gathering stuff like this when I was about your age, and put all my stuff in an old fishing tackle box, which I still have 20+ years later!

baseball42296 months ago

If you don't have a cutting mat or cutting table how would I mark the templates onto the duct tape?

My 2 sons (7&10) and I just finish this project, didnt have the tools, so instead of a mat I used my kitchen cutting board, it worked great ?
seamster (author)  baseball42296 months ago

I'm not sure. Tools are required for most crafty endeavors, and a cutting mat and exacto blades are pretty basic.

Here's an excellent mat for not a lot of moolah: 18" by 24" Alvin double sided cutting mat on amazon

You can save money by getting a smaller one, or spend a little more to get a bigger one. Whatever you do, don't buy an Olfa brand one from a fabric store. They are ridiculously over-priced and only single-sided. (Although that's what I have, I would never repurchase. I actually have an Alvin one on the way right now.)

Hope that helps!

joshua.chaplin.1 made it!4 months ago

Thanks for this instructable. For halloween this year my son wanted to go as Captain America, so I started making the shield. Then he changed his mind and wanted to be Batman. Well, I wasn't about to stop making the shield; hence the creation of 'Batman America'. My son especially enjoys the detachable batarang I added to the front of the bat shield.

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