If you have ever seen an awesome sword in a movie or video game and wanted to easily make a replica (without spending a ton of time and money) this is a great route to get that sword in your hands. Take a look at our build video and then embark on your own adventure!
Step 1: Collect Your Supplies
You are going to have to make a store run or potentially (for those who are internet savvy) purchase some items online. Below I have included a complete list of supplies and tools needed. Hopefully you will have some of this hanging around the house. The supplies that have an * by them will be enough for one regular-sized sword so just add more if you want to make more.
- *1 - Foam core board (typically 24inch by 32inch)
- *6 to 8 pages of regular white printer paper
- *6 or so hot-glue sticks
- *1-2 sheets colored tissue paper
- *Inexpensive flashlight or keychain light
- Role of clear packing tape
- Hot-glue gun
- Hobby knife
- Color Printer
- Computer with internet connection
Incase you are curious I have posted a blog post where I go more in-depth with what supplies and tools I recommend for best results and money saving.
Step 2: Choose and Print Your Weapon
Odds are you already have a sword in mind. I knew I wanted to reproduce Sting from the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit films (really from the books.. go Tolkien!). But you may also be like my kids who just wanted to search sword images for something that suited them. I found two swords that they liked and were creative commons so I could feel good about sharing them here. We learned the hard way that thin swords don't do well if you fight with them (which is kind of the point) so steer towards broader swords and hilts.
Once you have chosen your fearsome blade, you can print it. You will use the printed image as the overlay of your sword to give it a nice graphical finish. For those of you who need instructions on how to print it out to the right size I have covered that on my blog.
Print that thing off, cut it out, tape the sections together and voila! You have two paper swords. Don't give yourself a paper cut. Now to give them some substance! On to the next step.
Step 3: Forge the Foam and Tissue
Use your paper cutouts to trace out three outlines of your sword on the foam board. Then use the hobby knife to cut out the traced outlines of your sword. You should end up with three blanks as shown in the image above.
If you are planning on adding a light so that your sword will glow in the dark (for when orcs are nearby) then remove the middle of one of the blanks. You should leave at least a half-inch of foam around the edge. As you cut this middle space out keep in mind that you want light to shine up through the space you have cut to fill the middle and end of your sword. You can see how I cut out the center foam blank for Sting in the picture above.
Lastly mark and cut out tissue paper that is colored whatever tint you want your sword to glow. For my daughter's blue sword I didn't put any tissue because I wanted the blue and white of the light to shine through. For my son's red sword I had to put both yellow and red tissue to achieve the ember-like glowing red tint I was looking for. For Sting I used teal colored tissue and that worked out perfectly.
Step 4: Make a Sword Sandwich
First you need to imbed your light source into the central foam blank that you hollowed out in the previous step. Once it is in place, make sure you have a way to turn it on. Sting was turned on by pressing the button through the foam while my kid's swords had a switch that was on the outside of the sword... it all depends on what your light source is. Using your hot-glue gun, sandwich the parts together with the printed sword paper cut-outs on the outside, the foam sword blanks next, the colored tissue next and then the hollowed out foam blank with light in the very middle. If you want to see some footage of me assembling our swords it is shown towards the start of the video above.
Step 5: Finish Strong
It would be tempting to be done and go on an orc hunt with your newly forged sword but these finishing touches will keep it strong and protected. Purely for aesthetics I chose to cut a strip of paper and glue it along the outside edge of my swords. This gave it a nice finish and covered up the obvious layers of foam giving it a more solid look and feel. The last step here is to cover your sword with clear packing tape. Just take your time making sure each inch is taped over as best you can and that extra layer of durability and semi water-proofing will keep you in the fight.
Now it is time to attack, er I mean, wow your friends with your sweet glow-in-the-dark hero (or villain) sword!
Thanks for joining us in this adventure! If you enjoy spending time with your kids and would appreciate fresh ideas and inspiration weekly, consider subscribing to my youtube channel where I do a weekly project with my own kids. I would love to have you join our family!