Introduction: How to Make a Roman Shield

Picture of How to Make a Roman Shield

My kids love reenacting their own version of famous battles after playing strategy games on the PC. Then they ask me to make them outfits and / or weapons to go with them.

So I made this Roman shield. Took me a few nights to do it but worthwhile.

To make your own you will need the following bits n pieces:
- shield decoration templates ie lightning bolts, wings, unicorn horn (or make your own)
- 1 x sheet of white padded foamboard (20 x 30 x 3/16 inch)
- 1 x sheet of red A1 coloured cardboard (bigger than foamboard)
- 1 x square of frosted silver cardboard (6 3/4 inches) for shield boss
- 4 x large split pins
- a long ruler or straight edge,
- a pencil,
- a black marker
- a sharp knife or scissors
- a cutting board
- some adhesive tape (clear or silver) preferably with a dispenser
- mettalic gold & silver paint (acrylic)
- 1 paintbrush (fingernail sized brush)
- 1 fine paint brush for detail
- some rubber (eg tyre inner tube) cutoffs for the arm straps or alternatively any material suitably strong enough to hold the shield to your arm.
 - a hammer (optional).

WARNING: this is a toy for kids to play with and does not provide any defence against real weapons.  This toy is not intended to be used in combat situations eg LARP, historical re-enactments, role playing, etc.

Should you wish to do so then I suggest that you make the shield body out of wood (light enough to carry, strong enough to withstand blows) and similar sturdier attachments.

Note: Roman shields had a curved face and were not flat as a board.

Step 1: Glue the Shield Together

Picture of Glue the Shield Together

1. Lay out a drop-sheet or newspapers on a flat surface in your work area.

2. Lay your red A1 card down on top.

3. Spray the red A1 card with glue, taking care not to overspray.

4. Centre the white foamboard on top of the A1 card and press down.  Use weights like phone books to lay on top to help apply even pressure.

5. Leave to dry.
 

Step 2: Taping the Shield Edges

Picture of Taping the Shield Edges

1. Starting with the longest edges first, fold the overhanging card at each side back onto the foam board.

2. Apply sticky tape to the folded card and the foam board on each side.

3. Fold the top and bottom of the card back onto the foam board.

Note: I folded the corners like you would when wrapping a present for a softer corner.

4. Tape the top and bottom card onto the foam board.

Result: The shield now has a front (card) and a rear side (foamboard).

Step 3: Mounting the Shield Boss

Picture of Mounting the Shield Boss

1. Lay the shield down so that the card (front) is facing you with the shortest sides at top and bottom.

2. Draw a line in pencil (lightly) from the top left corner to the bottom right corner (use a ruler).

3. Draw a line in pencil (lightly) from the top right corner to the bottom left corner.

Result: The point where the lines cross is the mddle of the shield.

4. Apply glue to the back (non-silver side) of the pre-cut rectangle of silver card (shield boss).

5. Centre the glued silver card over the centre of the shield and press down firmly.

6. Leave to dry.

Step 4: Adding the Wing Decorations

Picture of Adding the Wing Decorations

1. Print out the wing template onto A4 sized paper.

2. Place a sheet of tracing paper or non-stick baking paper over the template.

3. Trace the wing template using a lead pencil or black marker.

4. Turn the tracing / baking paper over and run your pencil / marker over the lines.
Note: turning the paper allows you to make an opposing version of the wing.

5. Lay the tracing / baking paper onto the front of your shield with the tip of the wing pointing towards the top corner.

6. Run your pencil over the lines of the wing, pressing firmly.
Result: a "carbon copy" of the lightning bolt should now be printed onto your shield.

7. Repeat steps 1 to 6 for each of the three remaining wings.
Note: using a black marker to go over the lines makes the wing stand out.

Step 5: Adding Lightning Bolts

Picture of Adding Lightning Bolts

1. Print out the lightning bolt template onto A4 sized paper.

2. Place a sheet of tracing paper or non-stick baking paper over the template.

3. Trace the lightning bolt template using a lead pencil or black marker.

4. Turn the tracing / baking paper over and run your pencil / marker over the lines.
     Note: turning the paper allows you to make an opposing version of the lightning bolt.

5. Lay the tracing / baking paper onto the front of your shield with the tip of the bolt pointing towards the corner and the tail of the bolt starting at the corner of your shield boss.

6. Run your pencil over the lines of the lightning bolt, pressing firmly.
    Result: a "carbon"copy of the lightning bolt should now be printed onto your shield.

7. Repeat steps 1 to 6 for each of the three remaining lightning bolts. 
    Note: using a black marker and a short ruler to go over the lines afterwards makes the bolt stand out or "pop".

Step 6: Finishing the Decorations

Picture of Finishing the Decorations

1. Create the unicorn horn template on tracing paper as you did for the previous templates.

2. Place the unicorn template on the shield laying North of the shield boss.  Trace the pattern with a pencil pressing firmly.

3. Repeat step 2 for the Southern unicorn horn.

4. Draw over the outline of the horn on the shield using a black marker.

5. Paint the wings and lightning bolts with the gold paint.
    Note: Don't worry too much about covering up the feathers on the wings as the black lines show through enough.

6. Paint the unicorn horns with the silver paint.

7. Allow to dry.

Step 7: Adding the Shield Straps

Picture of Adding the Shield Straps

1. Poke a hole into each corner of the silver shield boss on the front of the shield.
    Note: just enough to fit the split pins through.

2. Poke a split pin into each hole, then turn the shield over.

3. Take your material for the shield straps and measure the distance between the top split pins and the bottom split pins.
    Note: allow enough slack to get your arm into the shield straps.

4. Mark the shield straps and poke a small hole through at each mark.

5. Slip ths straps over the split pins.
    Note: the straps must be vertical and parallel to each other.

6. Bend the split pins outward and tap lightly with a hammer or press firmly with your fingers.

7. Fold each end of the split pin back into the middle and hammer or press firmly.  You can add tape over the pins to keep everything firmly in place.

Step 8: You're Done! Enjoy!

Picture of You're Done!  Enjoy!

The beginnings of your legion stand before you.

Make 2 shields for single combat or dozens for a shield wall or the porcupine.

I hope you and yours enjoy these as much as my kids do.

Cheers.

Comments

EbubechiO (author)2016-04-12

cool shield it was amazing

Mrcookie (author)EbubechiO2016-04-21

Hello Ebubechi!

ralmazrouei (author)2016-02-02

hi liked you idea you could add like a half circled foam and spray in silver

ralmazrouei (author)ralmazrouei2016-02-07

Wow 4years ago

Aj Asian (author)2011-10-09

Where do you get the Red a1 cardboard????

Joe_90 (author)Aj Asian2012-09-02

Local stationary or art store has them round here. Would still work if you glued smaller sheets together.

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