The Do has 4 parts to it, the abdominal section, the chest section, the lower back section, and the upper back section. All the strips( I will refer to the strips as lames though, as it distinguishes a piece form a section) for each section were made 2.5" wide, but the lengths are different for some sections. Before starting to cut, you need to make some measurements. The main measurement you need is the widest point on your waist. There are variations and more measurements to take, but I found it to be a little to complicated to make a "V" contour to the piece. Besides, my waist is not so small ! Ok, so measuring your waist. Once you have that add .5" to 1" to it to allow for under clothing, divide it by 2 so that the lower 2 sections(abdominal and lower back) equal the waist size plus our added inch.Abdominal section
: Once you have the needed length for this section, you have to cut it with one side straight, and the other side curved. This makes more of a rounded appearance for the abdominal section that most breastplates have. One way to do this is to use a poster board template the same dimension of the abdominal lames. Find the center point on the poster board piece and use a flexible ruler or something else to make a subtle curve out to the end of one side of the lame. You only want to take of about .5" on the outer end. Trace the curve on to your template and cut it out. Now you have a template that is half the length of the lame and you can just flip it to get both sides the same. I added a pic below to illustrate this, but its in MSpaint ! Also, you want to drill a series of holes along the sides of the abdominal section to add a 2" x 10" panel of sintra to overlap the lower back section. This is for velcro so the Do can be removed easily enough. Just try and make sure the holes on the abdominal section and the 2x10 panel match up in spacing. You can just send a lace through these 2 parts to attach it.Chest section
The chest section is done in the same way that the abdominal section is, only that the top 3 lames are only 12" across. The bottom lame of the chest section is made 2" longer to make a transition curve from the chest section to the abdominal section. It seems small, but it will give you room to move and it fits on me well at 6' tall. The top lame of the chest section was cut using a glass to trace the round parts and a straight edge to connect them. This adds a more decorative look to it and the curved sections left were bent forward for a better look. That is where your shoulder pieces will attach.Lower and upper back sections
These are fairly easier to make then the abdominal and chest section. The lower back section is 4 lames at 2.5" wide and half of the circumference that you calculated earlier. The upper back section I made 4 lames at 2.5" wide and 14" long. The upper back section should be wider then your chest section. Again, the lowest lame of the upper back section was made 2" longer at each end to make a transition cut to the lower section.
So that was the front and back Do construction, however, there is more. You have to shape the plastic to contour to your body.Try and do this forming before you drill the holes. With the holes i found it to be a weak spot and it wont form a smooth curve. You can flatten these pieces out to drill and it will spring back. It actually goes pretty fast once you get the hang of it. I used a big pot of near boiling water to heat up the sintra. I just ran the piece end from end through the water until I felt it getting loose. You may want to practice on a scrap piece, oh, and don't burn yourself.
Traditional samurai armor was contoured and laced (or riveted) together. It is best to consult the website on my intro page if you want to follow it to the "T". It is a lot more work and I could not justify it for this costume. The holes for the lacing also follow a certain pattern. I recommend cutting your lames, sanding if you want, shaping the sintra, then drilling the holes for the lacing. There are templates for the holes that can be printed out here
. the best way to add the holes is find the center point (which all ready should be marked from your cutting) and measure out equal distances to the sides. I think I went every 3" for mine from the center of the lame.
For drilling these holes, I found it best to drill all the holes for an abdominal lame and then use that for the template. You can use this lame for drilling all
of lames of the Do, just be sure to line up the center lines of the lames so your lacing matches up. You can stack 3-5 lames to drill at once as long as you have clamps to hold it in place while drilling.
After drilling, its time to paint ! I put around 3 coats of paint on all the armor sections but depending on how you spray, you will be able to tell when it looks uniform in color and has a semi-gloss look to it. Once paint is dry, you can tack all the lames together using the glue gun and see how it looks. Samurai armor usually had an overlap of the lames but I felt the sintra was to thick for that look, so I put them together edge to edge. It still turned out well, just need glue to hold them together instead of the lacing doing it. Lacing
If you used the lacing templates from that website, you might have had to modify the height of the pattern to fit your lame width. That's fine, just use the picture below to see how the lacing goes in. You can refer to the samurai armor website again if you have any problems.
This is the biggest and hardest part of this costume!