Picture of Forge a Paper Sword
I recently rediscovered the versatility of paper mache for costume making at Halloween. With some paper, cardboard, white glue (also hot glue) and paint almost anything can be made; add some auto body filler and sandpaper and it goes to the next level.

I made a Witch King of Angmar costume for my daughter for Halloween but didn't take many pictures, but when I started making the sword I had the camera ready and here are the results.

Basic tools include:
  • hot glue gun
  • medical scissors
  • box cutting knife
  • sandpaper
  • paint brush or sponge

  • cardboard
  • chop sticks or wooden dowels
  • paper
  • white glue
  • hot glue sticks
  • white masking tape
  • urethane foam spray like for house insulation
  • acrylic paints and hammer metal spray paint

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Step 1: Draw out a sword on a sheet of cardboard

Draw out a full outline of the sword blade on a large sheet of cardboard. Use a box cutter blade or something similar to carefully cut out the blade outline.The cross-guard is drawn separately and the handle is a piece of PVC pipe cut to length. Use a hack saw to cut a grove into the end of the pipe and hot glue the "blade" into the grove as shown in the picture. 

Step 2: Reinforce and wrap

Picture of Reinforce and wrap
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Hot-glue some small dowels or chop sticks to create a center ridge on the center of the blade; make half of of the last dowel go into the handle. Spray urethane foam into the handle to hold in together; after it dries trim off any excess. Next glue on the cross-guard in several layers and wrap everything in masking tape.

Step 3: Paper mache

Picture of Paper mache
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Mix 2 parts warm water and 1 part white glue to make a glue mix. Tear old paper into little squares and fully dip into the glue mix. Layer the paper onto the tape wrapped sword to cover the entire sword; I just did 2 layers. Clip the excess once dry (sanding is optional depending on how smooth you like it).

Use more masking tape and some hot glue to build up part parts of the hilt or blade if necessary. 

Steamcrunk11 months ago
I like that you used an unconventional material to make a conventional sword. Well done!
Jake_Makes1 month ago

Love the costume, so good it looks real.

paperfreak2012 months ago

this is awesome but i dont read the newspaper... no papier mache :(

starwarsgeek12 months ago
thats really cool thanks for the idea
timcaird3 months ago

Amazing job! Using the hot glue for bringing out the raised detail is a great idea and the mixture of paints at the end works very well. How is the sword bearing up a while down the line?

so helpful ill use this for my Ezio costume thnxx
ElCubano7 months ago
Nice job dude! You really have art skills!
bpochynok9 months ago
Also what size of PVC pipe?
bpochynok9 months ago
Where did you find the urethane spray?
Teachable11 months ago
Please let me know where you got that spray paint and what brand it is if you would be so kind.
robbtoberfest (author)  Teachable11 months ago
I bought the Rust-Oleum hammered metal paint at Walmart and used light grey and black acrylic paint applied with a sponge.
Thank you I appreciate it.
robbtoberfest (author)  Teachable11 months ago
Actually it's Krylon Fusion hammered metal; I just double checked. Either should work though.
pfiddle11 months ago
Really good this. Well done. Very creative and I'm sure your kids must love you for your inventiveness.
Vikingtrader11 months ago
Great idea. I love the sword. The ingenuity of people on this site never fails to amaze me.
syates311 months ago
I really like the sword looks great, I helped my friend make a similar costume but I used leather for the gloves (don't recommend it) I'd love to try making a sword like this one though cause the metal one we have is kinda heavy, and we don't have a morgul blade. So using something like this I think I could create a very good replica and starting small might be easier anyway.
seresataka11 months ago
Wonderful! I'm a firm believer in the power of cardboard.
blanchae11 months ago
Well done! The best part is that it is inexpensive and looks great!
robbtoberfest (author)  blanchae11 months ago
That's my favorite part, the whole thing cost less than $2.
l8nite11 months ago
that looks AWESOME ! !
imbiglarry11 months ago
Bookmarking this for next Halloween. Thanks.
Printy11 months ago
Totally realistic! Love it!
Infinitevortex11 months ago
Awesome! Looks totally real!
Fluffy42011 months ago
Wow...good enough to knight a Knight at night...{O..O}.....
rachruiz111 months ago
Exceptionally well done! So impressed. If I was wearing a hat, I'd take it off for you.
The Rambler11 months ago
Awesome. I continue to underestimate the power of paper mache.
robbtoberfest (author)  The Rambler11 months ago
I'm lovin' it. It's steampunk gear next :)
Oooo, sounds cool. Anything specific in mind yet, or just kind of "steampunk, go!"?
robbtoberfest (author)  The Rambler11 months ago
A nice top hat would be a good start and some kind of arm and shoulder prosthetic. Next Halloween.....
Very cool, if you're thinking of using leather for your top hat allow me to toot my own horn and point out that if you check out my instructables I have written one on the subject. It's a bit stylised but the method should be fairly universal.
v_barnett200211 months ago
Wow, this is fantastic. It looks great, and gives me some ideas for next years Haunted Library. Thanks for the tutorial. (Costume is excellent, too. )
robbtoberfest (author)  v_barnett200211 months ago
That is the most non-paper looking paper sword ever!
robbtoberfest (author)  Penolopy Bulnick11 months ago
Thanks, it's very simple and fast to make too.