In today’s apprenticeship I will teach you how to make a con-ready Master Sword from Zelda: Ocarina of Time using PVC and an off the shelf thermoplastic!
Step 1: Watch the Video
Are you ready to make a sweet Master Sword that requires no paper or glue and doesn’t need an entire workshop to build? Let’s get started!
Step 2: What You Will Need to Get Started
For this build you will need:
- a 4ft length 1” Sch 40 PVC pipe,
- a 1ft length piece of ½” schedule 40 PVC pipe,
- a Heat Gun (I bought a nice one at Home Depot for around $35 and it is worth every penny),
- Rustoleum Metallic Silver Spray Paint,
- Rustoleum Metallic Blue Spray Paint,
- Minwax Clear Gloss Fast drying polyurethane,
- a Gold Deco Color Premium paint pen,
- My free downloadable master sword template,
- and last but definitely not least the most amazing stuff ever invented in the history of ever. A 35 oz. tub of Polly Plastics thermoplastic and if you stay till the end of the instructable I have a special offer for you.
Here is a Complete list of recommended tools to complete this Build
- Heat Gun
- Scotch Tape
- Wax paper
- Tin Foil
- Towels/Heat Pads/ Gloves
- Pipe Cutter (optional)
- 2x4's or other hard flat objects
- Sharpie/Pen/fine tip Marker
- Utility Knife
- Electric Sander/Dremel (Optional)
- 80 grit sand paper
- 150 or 200 grit sand paper
- File - Shaping Utensil (ex. Butter knife)
- string (optional) - mask (optional)
- Painters Tape
- Paper bag/ plastic
Step 3: Preparing Your Work Area
First things first, Download and print off the master sword pdf template.
Then tape together the six sheets that include the blade. If you would like to, you can use a sharpie to fill the gaps created by printer margins.
I’d advise taping the template down to keep it from sliding and taping down a layer of wax paper to protect your template and provide a non-stick surface.
I like to leave a little tab on the tape for easy removal later on.
Next, let’s create a forge for making our blade by laying out some tinfoil at least as long as the blade on the template and fold it into thirds and unfold it to create a U-channel that the blade can be heated in.
Make sure to protect your work surface from the heat. You can use towels, heatpads, even a posterboard scribbled on by your two year old. I’ll be using towels
Step 4: Preparing Your Blade
Use the template to Cut your 1” schedule 40 PVC to size.
Place it in the Forge and heat it evenly using a heat gun. It is ready when it behaves more like a swimming noodle than a PVC pipe.
Trying to keep it straight as possible pull it out and press it flat as possible between two flat objects like 2x4’s. If you have clamps, use them, or you can be like me and put it on the ground and just try to throw your whole body weight into it.
Use the template to draw the tip onto the top of the blade, make sure to connect the two tips together centered on the side.
Using the template and a ruler draw reference marks along the blade every 3-6 inches showing the flat section of the hexagonal blade. Once you reach the part of the blade where the sloping edge tapers, transfer the sloping taper seen on the template, onto your blade. Then play connect the dots with your reference marks down the length of the blade.
Use the template to mark the spot on your blade where it should taper from flat blade to round handle and then heat that section with the heat gun until it expands back to its cylindrical nature.
Wearing gloves or a hot pad make sure it cools straight and has a smooth transition from smooth to round. Then once again at the template, transfer the markings onto your blade marking the Ricasso or the unsharpended part of the blade above the Guard.
Step 5: Shaping the Blade
Now the blade will really start taking shape, you can cut the tip either by heating it and using a utility knife, or my preferred method, using an electric sander.
Either way you will need to re-heat the tip and press it together and trim any mis-shaping that creates. You may end up with some small gaps, but have no fear, that’s why Polly Plastics is here! You can easily fill those gaps at any time using your thermoplastic.
This next step is one of the most time consuming but is well worth it, we will be giving the PVC blade the Hexagonal cross-section that is an iconic and distinguishable characteristic of the Master Sword.
Using your lines you drew on both sides of the blade we will be tapering it at roughly a 15-20 degree angle from your lines towards the edge leaving the middle section untouched.
To do this you can use anything you have from sanding by hand, to a file, or once again my weapon of choice, the electric sander. I imagine dremel tool would work well too!
Whichever you choose, We are trying to get a rounded hexagonal cross-section. You can see where the primary portion of the blade tapers off, the flat portion of the blade is left un-touched for a nice smooth finish. The tri-force will go where the taper ends and then below that is the Ricasso.
We want the Ricasso to jut in a little more than the rest of the blade to accentuate the Triforce. So we will just flatten down straight across along your markings, all the way into the handle. I am going to use a file for this section but, once again you may prefer to wield a different weapon to tackle this foe.
The sander might be difficult to use to get the tip of the blade, a file works great to have a little more control over the taper in that regards. Regardless of the method used to create the taper and shape the blade, I do recommend giving all the shaped edges the twice-over with a lighter grit sand paper to get as smooth a finish as possible, it will make a difference when it comes to painting time, I promise.
Step 6: Shaping the Handle
With the blade complete, lets move onto the fun stuff!
Pull out your Handle/ Pommel Template, and some wax paper.
We will be starting with ribbed section of the handle
Begin by tracing the rectangle onto the wax paper.
Use a sharp point or a pen to poke a hole in all four corners of the rectangle.
Then laying the waxpaper straight on the handle portion of the blade transfer the corner marks onto the handle then you get to play connect the dots. Do this for both sides.
Heat along the lines with the heat gun and then cut out the rectangle with a utility knife.Repeat on the other side and while the PVC is still hot check for straightness and make any necessary adjustments.
Next insert a piece of ½” Sch 40 PVC into the handle, make a mark a ½” from the bottom of the handle, and cut it to size at that mark. This will be used to strengthen the handle and give us something to attach the pommel to.
Kick the Tires and light the fires, the time has come to break open the tub of Polly plastics, if you haven’t already.
Follow the directions on the package to soften 1 Tablespoon for our first application. We will be placing a ring on either side of our ½” PVC handle insert to secure it. Play with it till you get it to slide inside snugly, then hit it with some heat allowing the thermoplastic to adhere to both pieces of PVC. If you want it to cool quicker you can run it under some cool water.
Moving on, soften 2 Tablespoons of polly plastics for the first side of our ribbed handle.
- We will be doing some shaping on the handle and you need to choose whatever you have that works for you: a bobby-pin, a butter-knife, a skewer stick, or reven a piece from a lock pick set.
I happen to use lock pick set!! This is my preference because it has a larger flat end and a skinny nubbed end which makes it a spectacular sundry shaping superstar. Try saying that 5 times fast.
When the thermoplastic is ready! Spread it out evenly inside of the rectangle on the handle.
You can dip your fingers in some water to prevent leaving finger prints and rub it smooth.
Re-heat the thermoplastic and using your shaping utensil make the ribbed pattern in the template, alternating between a ½” rib and a 1/8” rib. Remember it’s not clay so it is not carved, it’s plastic, it’s pushed and pulled.
Keep shaping and re-heating the length of the handle and when it cools should look like the image above.
When you repeat that process on the other side I recommend hanging it off the edge of your work surface to prevent the first side from softening and deforming.
Step 7: Shaping the Pommel
Pay close attention to this next part because it will move quickly and I would hate for you to get pommeled with information. Do you get it, see what I did there… ok bad pun.
For the pommel, the template has 3 reference rings.The smallest ring is the diameter of the top and bottom of the pommel. The next ring is the diameter of the base of the trapezoidal shapes on either side of the center of the pommel. And the largest ring is the starting diameter for the Middle of the Pommel.
We’ll begin with the top section of the pommel.
Soften 3 Tbs of Polly plastics and mold it into a conical shape where the base of the cone is the diameter of the second ring and the tip of the cone is the diameter of the smallest ring and looks like the image above.I like to toss small pieces like this, into the freezer to cool while I work on the next part.
Next soften 1 TBs of Polly Plastics and flatten it to look like a plain brittish biscuit the diameter of the largest ring. Make sure to use a fresh piece of wax paper to prevent plastic from sticking. While this brittish biscuit will not make for a delicious dunking delicatessen, it will make for a great pommel starting by attaching it to the upper section we just made.
Now for the last piece of the pommel puzzle, soften another 2 TBs of polly plastics and begin shaping it into a basic dome shape, then attach it to the PVC outcrop we created at the bottom of the handle and finish shaping it so that it tapers out from the handle to the diameter of the mid-sized ring on the template until it looks like the image above.
Once it has cooled, heat both pieces and bring them together!
Lastly, hit the center piece with some heat and smooth it out so it doesn’t jut out so far and then blend and shape it so the 3 pieces flow seamlessly into each other.
Once that is cooled, it’s onto the detail work. Similar to what we did with adding the ribs in the handle we will be heating the top layer of the plastic, do not heat all the way through, and we will press in vertical running lines evenly spaced around the top section and upside down trapezoidal shapes on the lower section.
The finished pieces should look like the images above.
And with that the Pommel is complete!
Step 8: Shaping the Guard
Be on-guard moving onto this next phase as we put on the guard……. Eh…. Eh… still no…ok
Just like the pommel we will assemble the guard in pieces, starting with the base of each of the quillons and then adding the phalanges. Then finishing with the middle section. Ready, set, go!
Soften 2TBs of Polly Plastics and press it into shape using the quillon part of the template.
Once you have done two of those, hold them in place on the template and draw a line where each intersects the blade.
Take the blade pommel side up and mark a line a half an inch below the end of the ribbed section. We will be attaching these Quillon base pieces onto the blade even with that line. Heat each piece completely through to where it turns transparent up to the line you drew.Then press it against the blade trying to spread an even amount of plastic to either side and shape it till it looks like the image above.
Do that to both sides, clean up and smooth out any problems by reheating and shaping till it looks good on both sides.
Now onto what I am referring to as phalanges. We will continue with the same way we have been going using the template, soften 1 TB for each phalange, you will shape them to match the shapes on the template and round them off on the top. Start with the inside one and work your way out. Repeat this process for all sides left and right and front and back.
Make sure to leave the base layer showing above and below the phalanges according to how it is depicted on the template.
Once you have all phalanges on all sides attached, bring on the heat, hit the tops and sides and smooth out any visible creases from the layering and help the phalanges from either side flow into each other.
It should look like the image above after smoothing
Once again, I’d advise using my patented aquathermo digitation technique of heating the plastic with a quick heat pass and dipping my fingers in some water to rub it smooth.
Alright, you know the drill, soften 1 TB polly plastics and shape it using the template, this one will be shaped like a half circle.
Heat and place flush with the line made by the base Quillon pieces.
Shape, and smooth to taste…. but don’t eat it, it is non toxic… but still… ewe
Do that for both sides and it should look like the image above when done.
Soften another 1 TB and its Time to make another brittish biscuit chop that biscuit in half, now all you gotta do is make like Zuko and hit with some heat till ¼” from the flat edge is transparent, this is so we can press the softened plastic around each edge to connect the two halves around the blade.
Do to both sides, heat, smooth, aquathermo digitation, etc. etc, etc. Ta-Dum!
Now for the piece that will taper from the circular piece we just added to the handle.
Use about ½ TB of softened polly plastic, roll it in your hands like an old school play dough worm and wrap it around the blade. Smooth it out, press it to give a nice smooth taper down to just above the ribbed rectangle on the handle.
Home stretch, take a softened ¼ TB and shape the diamond using the template.
You guessed it, say it with me now, do both sides, smooth, aquathermo digitation, and so on.
Step 9: Making the Triforce
Now for the triforce! Another ¼ TB for this one
Shape it to the full triangle and then use your shaping utensil to press down along the lines separating the triangles.
Then give them a slice so that the three triangles of power, wisdom, courage are separate and cannot be used by Ganondorf.
Place the Triforce on the blade and gently heat it up in place till it goes clear, then you can go to town on assembling it and whipping it into shape.
Once it has cooled you should be able to touch it and according to legend be able to mold the sacred realm to reflect the desires of your heart.
While you are waiting for that wish to come true, lets add a little detail to the triforce using some scrap Polly plastic lying around or by heating up some more. I also added this detail to the template if that will make it easier for you.
Are you getting sooo excited, I am! Your Master Sword is almost complete, a little paint and you will soon be able to wield it’s power for yourself!
Step 10: Painting
Painting is easy, just time consuming.
Step one paint the blade with the metallic silver spray paint, a little overlap is not a problem at this point. I recommend trying to hang it like I have if you are able to, it makes the process easier and quicker. Let it sit for 20 mins – an hour and add a second coat.
Then after letting it hang out for 24 – 72 hours you can tape around the guard, you can use small pieces to make sure you get a nice clean taping along where the blade meets the guard. This taping is important to get a nice clean finish. It is worth it to buy painters tape to make sure it comes off easy and doesn’t damage your paint job.
Once you have the detail sections taped with a couple inch buffer, you can tape a paper bag, wrapping paper or plastic around the rest of the blade.
Then its time to use the magical rustoleum metallic blue paint! Just like with the silver, give it 20 mins to an hour and do a second coat.
A couple hours after the second coat, you can carefully use the gold paint pen to paint on the Gold jewel, don’t press too hard with the gold pen because it will run and don’t put it on too heavy close to the tape either because it can seep through the cracks of the tape. Let sit for 24 hours and then use a utility knife to make sure the tape will remove cleanly.
Finally, this isn’t necessary but I highly recommend that you add the Minwax Clear Gloss polyurethane coat. This will not only make your sword more durable but it also increases it’s luster and shine.
Wait for 1 hour and then add a second coat.
Then give it at least 24 hours to set before normal use and 72 hours before heavy use.
Step 11: Conclusion
Well, that’s it, you now have your very own sword, you can go take it to comic con, hang it on the wall, wear it out to prom, whatever you would like you are the Master of your own Sword. Ok, this is why I don’t do stand up.
Feel free to check my Other videos like the one above that go more in depth in working with Polly Plastics!
PROMO CODE DISCOUNT ON POLLY PLASTICS
This should get your attention, as promised I have struck an awesome deal
for you in obtaining Polly Plastics. If you send an email to email@example.com with the subject heading Plastic_Apprentice Promo. They will send you an amazon promo code for 20% off a 35oz. tub of Polly Plastics! Just tell them you saw my tutorial and take advantage of the savings!
Also, if you end up making this sword, please send me a picture of it, I want to see your awesome work! Send it to CosplayApprentice@gmail.com
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial as much as I did, I would love to hear your comments and questions also let me know what other swords you would like to see made.
Enjoy, and until next time, Cosplay on my Friend!