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This Instructable will teach you some of the basics of constructing prop weapons (or really any kind of prop out of MDF).

Why MDF? MDF stands for medium density fiberboard. Essentially, it is wood dust that has been compressed and glued together. Saying it like that, though, makes it sound like a horrible product. I thought so the first time I was introduced, but MDF is amazing to work with (as long as you don't mind a lot of dust!). While it's dense, it's fairly lightweight and it's soft, making it very easy to shape. Best of all, it's cheap! A 2x4 1/4" sheet of MDF will run you about $7, and it comes in thicknesses of 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 inches. Perfect for just about any build. It's only real downside is that unlike real wood it lacks a grain. This makes long, single layers of mdf fairly prone to snapping under the right force, particularly with a thin piece like a katana blade. I speak from experience.

Anyhow, let the dust fly!

Step 1: Research

Okay, okay, we're not quite to the dust generating point yet.

First off, Research!

Every project starts out this way: Several hours of research, which entails stalking Google image searches as well as forums such as www.therpf.com (Replica Prop Forum) for references of your subject, from every which angle possible. Always have your references handy when you're working. There are times when I have an impression in my head of how something should look, I make it, and only then do I look at my reference and notice that it's different in some fundamental way, forcing me to scrap my work and start over.

The above pictures are the best references for Tidus' Brotherhood sword. The first picture is best for figuring out the how the handle will look. There's a great sense of the roundness and depth of the handle's features, as well as the appearance of the blade as water. We'll come back to this reference in a bit.

The second photo is more useful for creating your pattern. It's a straight on shot of the side of the sword, and it shows the whole blade. You'll have to contend with Tidus, who is rudely standing in front of a portion, but it's an easy thing to follow the lines through to finish it up.
<p>Very cool. I need to try MDF. I've just used scrap &quot;whatever is around&quot; for most things I've made so far, but the results from MDF always seem to look good, and everyone sings its praises when it comes to the ease of working with it.</p>
<p>It is incredibly easy. It has its learning curve like anything but it's a very shallow curve. MDF is often a primary material for prop builders in making things like gun builds for example, and it's supremely cheap, so all the better!</p>
<p>THIS. IS. AMAZING. I love FFX! </p>
<p>Thank you, and me too</p>
<p>I would have voted for you if you had entered this in the Game Life contest. Beautiful work of art. Thank you for sharing.</p>
<p>I'm new to making Instructables, so I'll admit I didn't even know there were contests, lol. Thanks for the compliments and for reading!</p>
Ohhhh man! Great build, and all-around good i'ble! I've always been kinda wary of mdf, but you've convinced me to give it a shot :)!
<p>I'm glad! I'll admit I was reticent when MDF was first recommended to me, but I took to it pretty quickly. When I first started with it I literally only had a bench vice, coping saw, files, my power drill, and sandpaper. We did Avatar the Last Airbender and I made Sokka's space sword and boomerang, Zuko's double sword, and Suki's warfan and katana with it. It's been one of my go to materials ever since.</p><p>Thanks for the compliments :)</p>
THANK YOU!!!!
<p>Thank you!</p>
<p>badass!<br>Well done!&lt;3</p>
<p>Haha, thanks :)</p>

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Bio: The Goombah Squad is a family cosplay group and has been competing for about five years. Johny is the propsmaker of the Squad, making all ... More »
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