Introduction: How to Make Cheap Fake Barb Wire

Picture of How to Make Cheap Fake Barb Wire

I needed some barb wire for a costume prop. Obviously I didnt want to use the real stuff because of the potentional for accidents. I could have brought some of the fake stuff but the cost of P&P; and the item always puts me off buying them from online stores.

So I thought I'd make use of the things I have lying around the house then I dont have to wait for it to arrive and I could get on with my prop that same evening

It's a very simple and easy technique that I hope people will follow and use in the future.

Step 1: The Materials

Picture of The Materials

You will need:

String, roughly 2.5 times more string than you want barbed wire.
PVA glue, the staple of many a project
Grey Paint, I used grey poster paint, actually white and black mixed but anything that will mix with the glue will be fine.

Make up a pot of glue. I diluted mine down 1:1 with water, which means it dries softer and is easier to work with. I mixed the grey paint into the glue at this stage to ensure nice even colouring. Roughly 4:1 is my ratio of dilluted glue to paint.

Step 2: Making the Wire

Picture of Making the Wire

Take a length of string roughly twice as long as you want the wire to be. This string will have a natural twist from it's own construction. The string I have is twisted clockwise. Tie one end of the string to an object (I trapped mine under a weight on the table) continue to twist the string in the same direction as it's construction.

Now comes the trick for the wire. Carefully fold the string in half, it should start to twist around itself because of the extra twists you just put in the string. With a little nudge you can place these twists evenly along the length of the string. This will form the base of your barbed wire.

Next you need to dunk the string into the glue, make sure it is covered all over and none of the string shows through the glue. The best way to do this is just to accept you're going to get glue all over your fingers and enjoy it. Hang the string up to dry, or curl it up on a surface, just make sure it isnt touching itself or you'll have a gluey mess.

Step 3: Making the Barbs

Picture of Making the Barbs

Each barb starts life as a length of string about 10cm long. Dunk this string in the glue and coat it thoroughly. Then wrap it around the wire section you prepared earlier. It will try to straighten itself out again so leave it resting on a surface until the glue has set a little.

Once the barb has dried completely then cut the ends at an angle to give it a pointed look.

Repeat this process to place barbs at your own preferred spacings along the wire, before you know it you'll have a long section for your own project


vlogozio made it! (author)2016-10-27

Thanks for the excellent writeup! I used this method with some slight modification on DIY Prop Shop. You can check out the full episode here:

If you have a portfolio or personal website, we'd love to link to it to give you proper credit. Thanks again! - Vinny

I saw this and instantly thought of your bat! Awesome job!

JustAddSharks (author)vlogozio2016-10-27

my website is or
, cool episode

James NixonS (author)2016-10-26

Amazing idea thank you!

AlessandraM4 (author)2015-12-10

I'm going to be making this (about 200' for a concert stage) as soon as my darling gets home from work with the string. Thank you so much. There was no way on this Earth or the next that I was paying $11.50 (CAD) for 7.5' of fake barbed wire. No freakin' way. I used stainless steel coloured metallic paint and darkened it ever so slightly with matte black for an oxidized look. Cost? Five bucks!

JohnF363 (author)AlessandraM42016-09-13

Out of curiosity, where did you find fake razor wire for that price? Looking for some right now (price is not an option and I've given up with the internet.

Subjectv (author)JohnF3632016-09-18

Party City is currently selling some at their store for a fairly reasonable price. I saw it in store (took the picture I attached just a few days ago) that looks pretty decent for the price. Unfortunately the packaging doesn't say how much you get, but you might be able to find more details on their website or in store if you have one close to you. Hope this helps!

JimP29 (author)2016-01-20

Thanks! Works great!

Aluminum lake (author)2015-09-01

Looks great! Would be fun to make for Halloween , I'd love to put it around the door to freak out trick or treaters! Ha ha!

ElizabethF1 (author)2015-02-25

where did you get the PVA glue? :-|

a66fordvan (author)ElizabethF12015-07-07

PVA glue is just elmers glue (white glue)

a66fordvan made it! (author)2015-07-07

I make this and use it in my crafting. I LOVE it! It looks GREAT on my papier mache witches!!!

a66fordvan (author)a66fordvan2015-07-07

PS thank you for posting the instructions!

msmont (author)2015-07-01

will this technique stand up to all weather if used outside does anyone know

HamSandwich1 (author)2014-10-23

this is brilliant for my wwe figures so they can hit each other

susan.schaefer.758 (author)2014-08-03

This. Is. Brilliant. In fact, the only improvement I can think of (and believe me, I KNOW MY CRAFTS) is to use Swellegant in Iron instead of paint, and follow up with Darkening and one of the other two patinas, which will rust the iron, though one looks like real rust, and the other looks like souped up rust from a dystopian graphic novel. You could even add some traces of Blood Red. Yes, their red is genuinely called Blood Red. That's what attracted me to the stuff in the first place. XD

I'm going to have to apply this to some jewelry. I wonder what would happen if I substituted different textures of string, twine, and yarn? Ooh, I wonder what would happen if I used different METALS? Copper barbed wire with green patina would be either Steampunk as hell, or reminiscent of Poison Ivy. (I am incapable of following directions or recipes as written. Usually, this ends well, but let's not talk about the time I watched $35 in candy ingredients turn to charcoal. It still hurts.)

CompGeekie (author)2013-10-02

Wow! Just one question, would I be able to use Mod Podge instead of PVA?

timingworks (author)2013-09-24

That's a great effect! Now I just need to figure out where to use it!

Advar (author)2013-09-24

Ohhh, man! Great for my zombie Jesus costume for next year! (always planning a year ahead, just in case)
Nice job, and thanks! :)

psiren (author)2012-10-21

This looks really good. I've had a go myself to make a headpiece for a Halloween costume, I could only get really rough string so it doesn't look as good and was tricky to work with but it looks OK. I brushed mine with a tiny amount of brown paint on a dry brush to make it look rusty and will probably add a bit of fake blood to the tips.
Thanks for the instructions :)

joetubealong (author)2012-03-31

That is really ingenuitive and it looks cool!

zac_9687 (author)2011-11-16

this is beautifully made. i was looking for some alternative to the real thing for a bracelet im making, but when i looked i didnt honestly think i was going to find something that looked so good. major props for the fantastic barb wire and thank you very much for a great ible

masterochicken (author)2008-05-31

"Obviously I didnt want to use the real stuff because of the potentional for accidents." This makes no sense to me

If I ran around at a party waving real barb wire somebody could get hurt. This stuff is a whole lot softer than the real thing so wouldnt cause an accident

Sora_1_2 (author)msraynsford2011-02-12

I think (READ: hope) he is making a comment of your spelling.
You said potentional
Instead of potential.

feswee (author)masterochicken2009-02-24

lol.. do you even know what barbed wire is used for??

thepelton (author)feswee2009-07-16

I agree. I was born in Wyoming, which has thousands of miles of the stuff.

barbed wire is designed to catch on clothing and such things and Cut and Rip them...

dadoftwins (author)2010-10-26

How long does it take to dry?

Broberg (author)2010-09-24

This is some of the best looking "barbed-wire" I have ever seen! you could even tip the ends of the barbs in red paint to get some blood on them or maybe a rust color to get an aged look.

Big KUDOS!!!

SasquatchKid (author)2010-06-11

This wont work like we used it in Guadalcanal i even still have my barb wire roll

jbicb3 (author)2009-07-16

Very cool. I do a lot of photo shoots, and was going to try to make razor wire for one coming up, but I think this will be a lot easier. Thanks for your creativity!

daninja (author)2009-02-18

what was the costume??

msraynsford (author)daninja2009-02-19

It's a long story, and much easier to say costume or prop for an amatuer dramatics production. PM me and I'll send you a photo if you're still interested

daninja (author)msraynsford2009-03-14

yes, very.

cosgrove (author)2008-06-22

Awesome, I'll maybe have to try this, One Idea, If you get silver paint, put it onto a paintbrush, then wipe most of it off, and lightly drybrush the "barbed wire" it will give it a metallic look. Creative and Well Presented 5/5

red-king (author)cosgrove2009-01-23

you could even get a bit of reddish brown paint and add a small amount after painting it silver to give it a rusted look...

bigfangirl (author)2008-12-25

cool :D that looks awesome!

jennakp (author)2008-08-07

i'm going to try using thin leather strips/rolls from a crafts' store. i've been thinking of tying to do this somehow with thin wire. you just solve the problem for me. thank ya

mhavrilla88 (author)2008-06-22


scopevisions (author)2008-06-10

nice instructable !!! what if ... you use liquid latex (add color first) it wll be flexible and accident free. just a thought...

Sehnsucht (author)2008-06-07

what's the flexibility of this, asks the "alternative" dresser?

GorillazMiko (author)2008-06-01

Awesome and amazingly easy. Great job, this would work great on Halloween, or at school to scare friends! MWUAHAHAHA! +5/5 stars.

Juklop (author)2008-05-31


duck-lemon (author)2008-05-30

All your stuff is brilliant brilliant BRILLIANT! are you making a movie or something or are you just making it for the fun of it?

msraynsford (author)duck-lemon2008-05-31

I make because I can. And largely cos I want to impress at fancy dress parties, dont forget the Saw stuff was made last halloween and the Iron man stuff was made this year. I do have other costumes I'm working on though. Must remember to take more photos of those.

HeWantsRevenge (author)2008-05-31

well done 5*

Arbitror (author)2008-05-30

Favorited and *****!

Spl1nt3rC3ll (author)2008-05-30

Nice! Very realistic.

canida (author)2008-05-30

Wow, that looks convincing! Nice job.

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