I am posting this in good faith that any one reading this will not sue me for an injury to themselves or destruction to their property if said injury or destruction occurs while building this. If you can't agree with this statement stop here.
Step 1: Materials in Two Parts.
1. Time. Do not try and start this a month before halloween. You will need more time trust me.
2. A source of plastic. ( ice cream container, milk carton, It required six total containers for all the scales. The banded look only needed five complete rims), two litters work but are more flimsy.
3. Flexible cutting board (old board are a bonus).
4. Old blinds or new blinds.
5. Scissors or a 2 inch hole punch by EK tools.
6. Highly recomend heavy duty hole punch by EK Tools for punching the holes into your scales. (if you use ice cream containers) I broke two cheap hole punches. Or you could use a drill.
7. Spray paint plastic primer.
8. Base layer, spray paint 99 cent colors.
9. Spray paint color. $8-9 a piece.
10. T-shirt 1-2 sizes larger then you normally wear if your still growing. T-shirt in matching color or black..
12. Thread ripper or seam ripper.
14. Old chair cushion, foam just to make plastic not directly on skin.
15. Clear spray paint enamel.
16. Elastic String (window blind skirt)
17. Some beads
18. Lighter ( melting string ends to stop fraying and to make plastic points so you can weave easier.)
19. Radio, or audio book... Highly recomend audio book makes it much much easier to sit and work at this for time It will take.
Step 2: Hole Punches Are Your Friend
4. Go get EK 2 inch circle punch. See picture works awesome with a little muscle! Or a knee.
5. Repeat repeat!
6. Your going to need a lot.
7. My four year old's took 235 scales.
8. I was able to cut 42/43 scales from one complete ice cream container
9.That means I used six full ice cream containers.
Step 3: Cutting Lots of Plastic Up
Your going to have to use your scissors.
1. If you use ice cream containers.. For their durability.. 2 litters work as well just a lot flimsier.
2. Cut plastic container so you maximize your flat surfaces. See pictures Above for how I dissected a ice cream container.
Step 4: Scales
You need to punch all scales before painting. Other wise paint wil flake.
Find spacing you think works, do three the exact same, then lay them out as in picture in the section then make one a master mold.
Punch all scales before painting.
Key notes as shown in pictures in this section your scales may have marks or be deformed from container shape. That doesn't mean you can not use these pieces just make sure deformed part is under upper layer where all your holes are... Or behind chest plate or somewhere inconspicuous.
Step 5: We Get to Spray Paint!
If this is to be for heavy play I would use only one color for easier touch up fixes. Make shield sword and helmet bracers or capes your accent colors.
Recommend spray painting out side. On a large piece of covered plywood.(so you can carry they back inside)
Before we begin. This is what I did... Does not mean you have too. I will not guarantee following my instructions wont cause paint flaking any ways.
If you want this as a prop or for one halloween or a sweet decoration this is the ticket.
If your plan is for heavy play item I would make this in one color. So you can easily retouch up every so often.
1. Lay out on news paper if you go out side newspaper over a piece of ply wood so you can move painted scales inside and leave it.
2. Mask up.
3. Old clothes, old shoes just in case!
4. highly recommend plastic primer! I didn't use it on first batch regretted it after I noticed some easy flaking. Problem was I had mixed my first batch with batch with scales I had primed with a batch I hadn't. First picture on this page is close up of scales ... There are two colors of pink I attempted to cover up flaking.
5. After applying primer. Wait a week ! Recommended by companies.
6. You can apply black base layer for cheap 99cent can which will make your chosen more likely expensive color really pop with less applications of the more expensive color needed.
7.wait again.another week
8. Final color.
9. You could add clear enamel... I did for breast plate... Becuase i used a water based paint to add design.. So you need to cover that paint in protective layer or it will wash away in light rain
Step 6: How to Transfer Image to Plastic.
You can then cut out the design with an exacto blade or hobby knife and have a negative image you can lay over your flat plastic and apply paint through to transfer the design to multiple surfaces. Sheild, breastplate, flag, back of cape?
Step 7: Weaving
Key thing is when weaving start from the bottom up.
1. Lighter. I used the lighter to heat the ends of string so it melts together and stop ends of string from fraying which makes weaving easier. The more of a point you can make easier it becomes. (WET FINGERS BEFORE TOUCHING MELTED STRING AND GO QUICK OR YOU CAN BURN FINGERS)
2. Lay the shirt that will become armour down. The bottom of hem of the shirt should lay flat all the way across.
3. Take string. Tie it to one scale opening the bottom left hole.
4.Drag string across to bottom right. Stick through. Take up all slack.
5. Bring next scale bottom left next to your previous scale. Come up through left over scale and back through the hole on right.
6. Repeat until you have your scales lay flat all the way across the bottom of t-shirt.
7. Count scales you needed. Then add that many more to your chain. Then tie the line in circle with all tops facing up. Make sure you have no slack between scales pull tight.
8. Punch hole in hem with thread ripper or heavy duty hole punch. You will have to use thread ripper after first row.
9. I went through the t-shirt on every scale, time consuming but gave consistency and quality I liked.
The skirt and cutting board at top I used elastic rope. The banded pieces are woven with clear fishing line. But attached to cutting board by drilling holes then using elastic cord.
Step 8: Flat Cutting Board Becomes Both Chest Plate and Top of the Armor.
I cut hole large enough for her head to go through with it curved as it would be when in its final form.
Step 9: Skirt
Each window blind had two holes in it at top.
I used the holes for the strings that it come with on some. I my blinds had a curve I made sure all curves faced the same way then punched them all.
I also rounded the other end free hand.
I came from behind through two pieces every time. Then added a bead then went back through same hole. So all string was hidden.
I ended up attaching skirt under a row of scales by weaving elastic rope through the elastic on skirt then over each scale with a hooked needle.
Step 10: Fitting
Step 11: Final Steps.
First I cut the padding to fit her head again. Stuffed it under her shirt and positioned it.
I cut the sleeves then folded the sleeves into the shirt over padding. Then stitched with needle and thread to hold the padding and sleeves in place.
I attached cutting board shoulder straps to shirt with elastic rope.
At the top of the cutting board I did not want my weaving to show through. I pulled the string through from behind then placed a bead on the string then pulled the string through the exact same hole so that it had originally came through thus hiding my weave. While at the same time adding some decoration!
The skirt I used a large curved needle to go over top two holes in a scale with elastic rope.at proper height. Even though it's not seen I used same trick with beads as I did while attaching my shoulder plate. I was origannlly planning on having skirt over top of the scales but it would have kept slipping. I left one long loop of elastic to hang a sword from in case she got tired of carrying it.
Last but not least I found glow in the dark spray paint. I added it to the costume. Looked amazing, but I wouldn't do it again. Not enough charging and you would have have to be in bright light over and over. I had originally thought it would make for added safety. I think you will be better off with reflective tape.
Step 12: How I Made the Shield
2. The brackets the leather is tied to bought at clothing store $3
3. Leather was old belt I cut up.
Laid the strip of leather out. I folded the strap over a bracket and itself. I then placed it over a piece of scrap 2x4Took a hammer and nail. Then put two holes through it on each end. Then used needle and thread to wrap numerous times over under around and through. Most likely not the proper way to work leather but it suited the need.
I stained the front with wood stain from lowes. That was for looks.
I used tape and paper to make outer rim with spray paint.
I covered the nuts on front of the sheild with a lid I cut rim off from an ice cream container.
Presto you have a shield.
Step 13: Helmet and Bracers or Shin Guards
I used hot glue and some rhinestone jewels from craft store for some bling. Before placing gems on the helmet I laid out a few different designs becuase once it's on its on. Example in pictures.
Shin guards were the space bracers from the dollar store. Which I primed, spray painted, then hand painted details, in matching pink acrylic paint. I covered in a clear spray paint lacquer. In case of rain.
I used elastic strap to allow them to slip on. Same technique as on the shield straps. But I didn't need the nail just a needle.