Introduction: How to Make a Duct Tape Sword

This is the second instructable in a series about how to make weapons and other equipment for LARP.
My main focus is that the weapons have to be safe, so kids can play with them without direct adult supervision, without getting hurt. And secondly so easy to make, that big kids, with help, can make it them self.

These weapons is perfect for a backyard battles or a game of LARP (Live action role play) in the nearby forests.
If you keep the design simple it is easy to make, and with adult supervision kids can make their own.

The other guides:
Battle axe

Step 1: Things Needed

You will need
Sketch block
a pencil
A hobby knife, with interchangeable blades.
Extra blades
Used dull blade
a piece of cardboard or paper
a black marker
a cutting pad
contact glue
duct tape
reinforcement Tape
double sided tape
Silver tape, for decorations.
a sleeping pad
10 cm of foam tube
2 strips of cotton cloth
3cm thick bamboo, fiberglass or a broomstick

Step 2: The Design and Research Fase

Start by finding some pictures of "real" swords. Ex. do some google search.

Now you have enough inspiration to make you own design.
Just draw some quick sketches. They don't need to be beautiful, it is just so you will get the idea about how your sword will look like.
Don't make the design to complicated. Special the crossguard, it is easy to make a very good looking design on paper but it is difficult to make it in foam and duct tape.

My sword will be an elf sword, inspired by Frodos Sting from Lord of the Rings.

Step 3: Template

Now draw the design of your choice on paper or cardboard. This will be your template so be careful and take your time to make it perfect.
If you have problems with making the two sides of the swords identical, fold the paper in half and cut  it folded. When you unfold the paper the template will be perfect, and the two sides identical.

Step 4: Marking and Cutting the Foam

Now draw the sword 3 times on the foam. Pay attention to the placing of the pieces so you don't waste to much of the sleeping pad. The small space between the sword pieces is ideal for cutting the crossguard.
To be sure the pieces ends the right places I put numbers on them.
In the middle piece I cut a hole for the bamboo stick.

If the stick for the handle is to long, now is the time to cut it into length.

Step 5: Putting It All Together

On piece 1 and 3 of the cross guard I put a strip of reinforcement tape. This will stabilize the cross guard to ensure that it will not break or be ripped apart.

Now apply glue to one side of piece 1 and 3. And apply glue to both sides on piece 2. Also apply glue to the handle. Let it dry for 10-15 minutes, and press the pieces hard together.

Be careful the pieces glue together very quickly, so be sure that they are aligned, you will not be able to correct it. The only way to correct it, is by cutting away on the outer side.

Safety note
If your using the same glue I use you need to have good ventilation. If it's not to cold it's best to glue outside.
It's possible to get waterbased contact glue if you make this with kids, I recommend using that. But it takes a lot longer to dry.

Step 6: Cutting and Shapenig the Edges

To make the foam look like a real sword you need to cut the edge. If the layers got unaligned when gluing, this is the right time to cut that edge also.

Step 7: Taping

Add strips of duct tape to the sword. Be careful when applying the tape special around the corners. Take the hobby knife and cut the tape into strips so it will not get wrinkled. When applying a new strip of tape, don't make the overlay more than 1 cm. If you put on to much tape, the weapon gets hard and heavy, making it dangerous to play with.

Step 8: Making the Handle

I found a old piece of cotton cloth and ripped it into strips. I covered the handle with double sided tape, and tied the cloth tight around it.

Step 9: Decoration

I use the black marker to draw some decoration and to highlight the edge to give the blade more depth.
I cut some decorations of silver blank insulation tape and put them on the crossguard.

Step 10: The Finished Sword

Here it is the Elven longsword in all its glory.

Look forward to my next instructable in my duct tape weapons guide. Next time I will show you how to make a shield that is safe,beautiful and durable.

Step 11: Kids Making Swords

Here are some pictures of kids making foam duct tape weapons. And some kids playing with swords I made.


Silas+D made it!(author)2017-06-26

VERY AWESOME!!!!! I am about to make one!

gaudopippo made it!(author)2015-10-02

very nice, I had a sword like that, but I did not use the tape, I painted the sword with 10 coats of latex and acrylic paints ;)

Xygi made it!(author)2015-09-08

I made it!
Thanx morfmir for that great instructable!

Andrewsruth50 made it!(author)2015-05-23


DarkenedHer0. made it!(author)2015-04-28

made a single edged sword only without the rod support had to make the blade wide enough so it does not break when swung if made to thin will still break

snozzle1 made it!(author)2014-02-03

nice job i'm going to make a katana with this technique

SahilS made it!(author)2015-03-18

one of zoro's or a different one?

Dovakin made it!(author)2014-05-29

I tried to make the Skyrim steel sword, and this was my end result.
Whist making it, I used a Yoga mat instead. Because of the thinness of the yoga mat, I had to double the middle layer. I also found hot glue and scissors to be more effective.
Bamboo core, PVC piping handle (wrapped in hockey tape), and shiny silver duck tape I found at Walmart!

morfmir made it!(author)2014-05-30

Hi Dovakin

You sword looks good. Glad to inspire you.


slindblad made it!(author)2014-05-10

I wanted to make this for me and my friends, could you use 1/2 in.cpvc pipe to replace the bamboo rod? or will the pipe make it more dangerous?

Dovakin made it!(author)2014-05-20

PVC piping is alot more flexible! It shouldn't affect the force. PVC piping is a great choice!

If your worried about hurting people, add more foam. Or if you have lying around, a yoga mat to do a thinner layer.

pentechguy made it!(author)2014-03-29

I've used pool noodles for the padding and 1/2" SCH 40 pvc for the core. Noodles have a tendency to deteriorate over time more than the camping pads, but are a little cheaper. for the longer weapons (Pole arms, axes, spears, etc.) I go with 3/4" SCH 40 PVC to reduce whippy-ness, but add extra padding for the weight. I like the beveled edges you can make with layers of camp padding though.

Zender+cool made it!(author)2013-12-13

cooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool and how do you make it

umashadi made it!(author)2013-08-15

U could make a ninja kantana out of this. All ur 'ables are Viking related. Nice.

Jyssa made it!(author)2010-03-14

OMG when I saw the thumbnail of that last pic, of them up against your couch, I thought the items were resting against someone's FINGERS - and I went WTF???  Miniatures?? How the hell do you make those out of foam and duct tape?

The+Rambler made it!(author)2013-03-22

Haha, I had the same thought too.

scistone made it!(author)2011-06-04


Portalman made it!(author)2010-11-01

YES!!!! me too.

taria made it!(author)2010-07-12

you did too huh? that's what I thought, I was thinking gees he's making swords but they are tiny

redpepper237 made it!(author)2013-02-02

The hobbit? or LOTR?

morfmir made it!(author)2013-02-03

it is the same sword. Sting is still Sting no matter the film.

morfmir made it!(author)2013-02-03

it is the same sword. Sting is still Sting no matter the film.

althetrainer made it!(author)2012-07-19

OMG! This is so cool. See if I can get hubby to make something like this for our little guy. Thanks for the instructions.

althetrainer made it!(author)2012-08-04

We did it! Made two of them. My boys had a wonderful time playing sword fight and no one was hurt! :-) Thanks again for the tutorials. Excellent!

bethcdh made it!(author)2012-01-28

These absolutely rock! My son and his friends have been saving up for Nerf brand toys and now they can save some money and outfit their entire class. Reminds me of my dad making rubber band guns for himself and all of his friends when he was a kid.

mcpoofy made it!(author)2010-12-02

This is so great, I needed a prop sword for a movie I'm making and this makes a great and safe way to shoot an epic battle scene. I've got my layers glued together and I'm ready for shaping. Do you have any tips on carving and shapping? I really need this to look great.

Dr+Qui made it!(author)2011-12-10

An electric carving knife if you have one, makes carving foam a piece of cake.  I worked in a hardware store that sold foam sheet cut to order, we used an electric carving knife as it cuts even 6" sheets of foam like butter.

If you dont have an electric knife a sharp kitchen knife with a serrated blade works ok

morfmir made it!(author)2010-12-02

You can make some engraving with a soldering iron, put the tape a little lose on the relief and highlight the engravings with a marker. Make some tests on a scrap piece of foam to practice.


mcpoofy made it!(author)2010-12-04

Awesome, thanks! I have a lot of small details that needed to be carved in th middle and I had no idea how to do it, Your soldering iron tip will work great!

Dr+Qui made it!(author)2011-12-10

Impressive stuff, well done and keep it up.

harry+potter+rules made it!(author)2011-07-12

amazing i rated it 5.0

wolfking1016 made it!(author)2011-11-18

5.0 thats an insult i rate it infinty and beyond you obbiously dont know kids

heat700 made it!(author)2011-11-09

Where exactly can I get a bunch of that foam?

broper made it!(author)2011-08-21

if your wondering who your new suscriber is its me

morfmir made it!(author)2011-08-21

Thanks, I will make more 'ables soon. I'm very busy right now, but I have some ideas for new ones.


Mechanical+Undertow made it!(author)2011-11-08

hello thomas i was wondering do you run a nerf class?

harry+potter+rules made it!(author)2011-07-12

im soooooo subscribing to u !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

nehi made it!(author)2011-06-22

That kids sword is bigger than himself!

nehi made it!(author)2011-06-21

Do you know how much it costs to get all the supplys?

canadianrock made it!(author)2011-01-26

Thats pretty cool! thanks for all your help, im gonna use that for my Halloween costume!!

smileys made it!(author)2010-12-04

hmmmm.... I wonder if you could do a sephiroth style sword using this method.... better yet cloud's buster sword!!! Oh by the way if you can't tell I like final fantasy....

skittlespider made it!(author)2011-01-13

That could work but I see a length/weight issue with those two swords. You will have to put something pretty sturdy under the duct tape

anex made it!(author)2010-04-15

 Good to see you are training the kids in the way of Awesomeness early.  Then when they are older they can truly be epic larpers!

seflynn made it!(author)2010-09-19

i agree thoes swords remind me of the old larp swords in my group now we have new epic ways of makeing them

tsukiyomaru0 made it!(author)2010-08-25

I'll be sre to use THIS instructable instead of the other one I found in another site! :D

Attamet made it!(author)2010-08-18

I made one! the one on the left is mine, the one on the right is my brother's. The method here makes really fun swords that don't hurt at all! From now on I'm making all my swords like this.

Foam Swords.JPG
morfmir made it!(author)2010-08-18

That looks very good. Great design I'm glad that you like my instructable.

Attamet made it!(author)2010-08-14

Very good instructable with awesome results! Keep up the good work

evenstay2 made it!(author)2010-06-13

hey i am wanting to make my own sword and im just wondering is it safe to say that ur foam is about 5mm thick?

morfmir made it!(author)2010-06-13

The foam I use is 8mm. If you can only get 5 mm and you feel that the sword is to thin with 5mm foam, just use 4 or 5 layers til you feel it has the right thickness. /Thomas

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