Introduction: Real Captain America Shield
When I first saw Captain America: Winter Soldier shortly after it premiered in theaters, I was in awe. It was easily the best Marvel movie I had ever seen. He had always been my favorite superhero, with his adventurous story, his good character, his quick thinking, and of course, his amazing shield.
Having known of Instructables for years now, I've seen the amazing tutorials you all have made. So for a while now I have been brainstorming to create something better than I have ever made before, something... super. That's when it hit me: The Shield. I've heard about and even talked to many people who would love to own a legitimate replica of the famous shield. But there is also a certain satisfaction that comes from building something yourself. So I went to work, and after months of sketching, measuring, planning and building, this Instructable is ready to be shared. I have designed the handles in a way that while still acting as handles, may be pulled from the back of the shield to convert them into shoulder straps, so you may wear the shield on your back.
So for those reading, thank you! I hope you enjoy. And to those of you who decide to make your own shield, I hope you have a super time!
Let's get started!
Step 1: Materials, Tools and Expenses
While Cap's shield is as beautiful as a new penny, for me (probably because I'm a teenager) it also cost a pretty penny to make. Your journey will likely take a lot of searching for specific parts, and also a lot of waiting for them to be delivered in the mail. I know I did myself. That being said, here is everything that you should need and how much it cost me:
- MH Saucer Sled ($32)
- Rust-oleum metalic paint in colors: Cobalt Blue, Silver, and Apple Red ($23-$25)
- Rust-oleum paint primer ($7)
- Two 44" tan leather belts ($20)
- Four 1.5" D-rings ($7)
- At least ten 3/4" neodymium disk magnets ($10)
- Superglue ($3-$15)
- General purpose repair putty ($5)
- About 5' of 1.25" x 1/16" weldable steel ($12)
- Eight 1/4" cable tie clamps ($8)
- Eight 1 1/2" rectangle rings ($9)
- Tiny furniture nails ($2)
- Small self-drilling screws ($3)
- Eight relatively small nuts and bolts ($1.50)
- Small drill bits
- Cutting wheel dremel bit
- Small abrasive engraving Dremel bit
- 800 and 150 grit sandpapers
- Painters tape
- Sharp cutting blade
- Palm sander
- Tape measure
Side note: Yes, the sled is made of plastic. However this is not your ordinary plastic, it is as smooth as metal, and much more light and durable. When finished, it will look and feel like metal as well.
Step 2: Preparing the Sled
Prepare the sled for painting by unscrewing the handles from the shield and setting them aside. There will now be 5 holes total on the shield. Use the repair putty to fill and cover the holes and leave to harden. When the putty has successfully hardened, use your palm sander to gently and carefully smoothen the putty. Once the sled has no holes left, use the palm sander to roughen up the outside and inside of the sled.
Now that you have a solid smooth surface, mark the exact center of the outside of the shield with a sharpie. Then start to divide the shield into 8 sections by drawing a straight line from the center to the very edge of the shield 8 times, as if you were slicing a pie.
The shield should now consist of 8 slices.
Step 3: Making a Mark
This step is quite possibly the most tedious and most important part of the project. It is imperative that this step is executed properly, because when the paint is applied it will really make any small flaws stand out.
Now that you have your shield divided into sections, drill a small screw into the exact center of the shield, but not all the way. You now need to trace the rings onto the shield with sharpie so that you will know where to dremel. Tie one end of the string to the bolt at the center of the shield, and the other end to the sharpie pen with various specific lengths of string. Look to the photo included for the diameters of each ring.
Essentially think of this step as connect the dots. Your goal is to swing the pen like a pendulum from one slice of the shield to another, making perfect circles and connecting the slices.
Once you have three rings traced onto the shield with your sharpie, preform the same pendulum-like procedure with the handheld dremel instead of the sharpie. Etch out the circles creating shallow grooves in the shield, giving it depth. Note: Make the rings a bit deeper than you want them to look when completed, because after a lot of sanding they will become shallower.
Finish this step by removing the screw, filling the hole with the same putty you used earlier, and thoroughly sanding everything down with your palm sander to remove any blemishes. Then give it a wash to remove any debris!
Step 4: You're a Star
In this step you will be etching out the last but key detail of the shield: the star. The tricky thing about stars is that they have to look perfect or else it will look wrong. Treat this step with great precision.
You'll need to go online and find a simple star that you can print to scale on standard printer paper and cut out. Everybody's shield will vary in little ways, so I suggest that you determine the size of the star yourself. Your goal is to have all 5 tips of the star coming right to the edge of the center circle perfectly. Now, tape the star into place with painters tape and trace the star onto the shield with your sharpie again.
Now that you have your star traced onto the shield, confirm that it looks perfect and get your dremel ready. This time you'll want to switch out the soft abrasive bit for a thicker cutting wheel. Very carefully use the cutting wheel to etch out the star to the same depth as the rings.
Then if you'd like to get rid of the debris you can wash it again.
Step 5: Details, Details
Now that you have the general details done, it's time to refine them. Give your shield a quick coat of white primer which really brings out any small flaws. Once you have found and addressed any minor flaws, sand it all down and give it a couple more layers of primer. Make sure that you allow ample time to dry!
Step 6: All American Paint Job
You now have a solid coat of primer. Once it's dried, it's time for the stars and stripes. Carefully give the shield an even layer of silver paint, covering the whole body. Allow time to dry, then for good measures give another coat of silver.
Note: Be careful to paint away from anything that you do not want to get paint on, such as houses, cars, or other valuables. Wind can make airborne paint travel a long distance... I've learned that the hard way.
Now that your silver shield is dry, it's time to add some red. Take strips of your painters tape and make sure to completely cover the middle stripe and the center circle, as you want to keep those silver. Whatever is not covered with painters tape, will turn red. Maybe you're wondering, how can you cover a rounded edge with straight edged painters tape? Well, not only do the grooves you made in the shield look awesome, but they're also helpful. Use your fingernail or a thin, dull object to press down in the circular creases you made to define the circle under the tape. Then use your sharp blade, and cut off the excess! Proceed to paint multiple coats of red until the color is solid and no silver shows through.
Using the same taping procedure, cover the star and the rest of the shield however you please, and get ready to paint the shield blue! As with the rest of the coats, I recommend you paint a few. Make sure all of the little details look nice and neat, and you're done with this step!
Step 7: The Finest of Details
It's time to add what really makes the shield pop! The star on the shield is supposed to have a slightly smaller star etched into the inside of it, with rivets at the tip. Well, I wanted to get that exact look without actually riveting the shield, because it could mess up the paint. So I opted for the cheaper, safer, equivalent and got these neat nails that look identical to rivets.
To etch the smaller star, print out a slightly smaller star (again, it will have to be your own proportions) and trace it out with a fine tipped sharpie. Since this is supposed to only be an etch and not a huge cut, you won't be using any motorized tools. I used a very small flat head screwdriver to slowly and carefully etch out the small star.
Once you have the star etched out, nail in the special furniture nails to the tips of the etched star. Through this detailing process you will have taken off some paint, so sand down the star and give it another coat of paint.
Congratulations, you have finished the front face of the shield! You may now give it a couple semi-gloss protective coats and now move onto the back of the shield!
Step 8: Metalworking
At this point you're going to need to put your cutting wheel bit back on your dremel, as it's now time to cut some metal!
Measure out with your tape measure 5" long rectangles of steel. You will need four 5" rectangles. Also measure out two 9.5" rectangles.
After you have all of the pieces cut out, cut both ends of the 9.5" rectangles and one end of the 5" rectangles at a 30° slant. You will want them to look like as pictured in the photo.
Use 2 cable tie clamps on each of the 5" pieces of metal, more specifically, the flat ends. Make sure you have a rectangle ring inside the tie clamps when you secure the tie clamps.
To give the metal the look as if it was bolted into the shield, but not actually have to bolt it, you will need to drill the screws into the metal however you would like it to look, but cut off the excess coming out of the bottom of the metal. After it's smoothened, you have two options:
1. Superglue the metal to the inside of the shield
2. Use the putty as mentioned earlier in the instructable to secure the metal to the shield, which will give it a more welded look.
Go ahead and give the back a silver coat to make everything a uniform color!
Step 9: Leather Addition
You are going to need to cut your belt into separate lengths for different parts of the handles. You'll need to cut off two 11" long strips from the ends of each belt, for a grand total of four 11" strips.
You'll also need to cut one 9" piece off of each belt for a grand total of two 9" pieces. Set aside the remaining portion of the belt.
Start by feeding the 11" belt through both the D-rings and the rectangle rings and bolting the belt together together as seen in the photo, on all four sides. Then take the two 9" pieces of belt, slip on two rectangle rings, feed them through the D-rings, and bolt them to themselves, also as seen in the photos.
Now is the time to add the main handles. Remember putting the two rectangle rings on the 9" leather piece? Those are so that you can slip in the remaining buckle portion of the belt . Those will be your arm handles! You'll need to take your drill and make some small holes so that the buckle can, well, buckle.
Step 10: Securing Magnets
Here is where the magnets come in. Man, I love magnets.
I found that I needed to glue 10 magnets to both the belt and metal to sufficiently hold up the shield. Since your own shield may be a bit different, you might need to place the magnets differently than I did. However, I can at least show you how I placed them.
Side note: Magnets stick to magnets stronger than magnets stick to plain metal. So, if you find you need a stronger bond, try gluing some magnets to the shield where they'll connect with the magnets on the belt.
Step 11: Time to Admire
Congratulations Captain, you now have your very own shield. What are you going to do with it? Take it to ComiCon, share with your friends, fight your neighborhood crime? Whatever you decide to do with it, I hope you enjoyed building it as much as I did mine. Thank you all for reading, and best of luck!
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