Introduction: The Monado: Shulk's Sword
Our Shulk costume wouldn't be complete without the Monado.
This ible will take you through how I made this Monado. There is definitely room for improvement. I kind of figured things out as I went rather than plan ahead and plans changed along the way as well.
Step 1: Template
The Monado is a pretty big thing. My son is pretty tall so I decided to make the Monado about 4' long.
I found a good image online and opened it in Photoshop. There I greyscaled it and enlarged it to the preferred size. Then I broke it up among several sheets of paper so that each sheet overlaps the previous to make alignment easier.
For this step you need:
foam insulation board: comes in 4'x8' sheets at Lowes or Home Depot for around $13. *The sheet was too big to fit in my car so the employees were great and cut it into 4 equal pieces for me. I only used one piece so there is plenty.
Print the template pieces and tape them together.
*(I don't know why the pieces uploaded red like that, they are white on my computer)*
Cut the template out. Use an exacto knife to cut out the interior parts.
Trace the template on the foam.
Flip the template over and trace it on the foam. You should have 2 swords traced now that are mirror images.
* Ours is made with only 2 pieces but the end product isnt as sturdy as I would like so maybe 3 would be better.
Step 2: Cut and Design
Time to cut the templates out.
You will need
box cutter or something with an extendable blade and/or Hot knife
Carefully cut out your sword pieces.
I tried first with a wood burner tool with a knife attachment. It works great with one problem. The blade is too short to cut all the way through the foam. So I got one of those knives with the snap off blades that you can extend the blade to the size you need. It reaches all the way through the foam but takes longer and isn't as clean. It works best if you work in small pieces like in the photo here.
Once the pieces are cut out, you need to draw on the light channels.
Use the template as a reference and sketch out the design on the pieces. The hardest part is doing the mirror image piece, having to draw it backwards.
Step 3: Stick Together
You will need
a thick dowel rod
Before we stick the two parts together, we need to try to fortify the handle since it is so thin.
Lay the dowel rod on the handle on the inside of one of the pieces. Mark where you need to cut it so it will fit. Use the scissors or something to cut the rod.
Lay the rod in place again and mark around it with pen. Use the blade to cut along the lines into the foam a little ways. We want it deep enough to hold half the thickness of the rod. Once the edges were cut, I used the end of the dowel rod to poke it and scrape out the foam to make the channel. There is a better way I'm sure, but it worked.
Test the fit of the rod. Then lay the other piece on top and line them up. Try to mark the placement of the rod on the other piece while its lined up.
Dig a channel in the second piece using the placement marks.Test the fit.
Line one of the channels with tacky glue and put the dowel rod in.
Cover that sword piece in tacky glue and apply the second piece. Make sure the pieces are aligned correctly. Sit some slightly heavy items on top to apply firm pressure while it dries overnight.
Step 4: Channels and Shaping
Now the super messy part.
You will need
a rotary tool or dremel
60 grit sand paper
Space outside or in a workshop
Use the rotary tool to cut the channels in the pieces.
The depth of your channels depends on the lights you are using. Originally, I was going to use some EL wire I bought on Amazon for about $3. It is really thin so I didn't make my channels very deep. Later, my friend told me he had a strip of RGB LEDs that I could use which is a hundred times better than that one color EL wire but it is much wider as well. We had to deepen all the channels to accommodate it. Also, we didn't plan ahead how we were going to work the light path to get every channel in an unbroken string. That turned out to be the trickiest part. As far as we could figure out, there just isn't a way to get all the channels in an unbroken chain. We used the best path we could find that covered the most channels and used the least amount of light strand. Even so, we still ran out of lights before reaching the end. I'm not even sure how long the strand was since he had bought it a while back and it was just in a drawer. I know 9' was barely enough for one side so it had to be at least 15' to 20'. I made a little diagram here to show how to cut the channels. The green marks are where to widen channels or get rid of a small divider between two channels and the red is where to add more channels for the light strand.
So there is no easy clear cut way to do this other than just going for it. Use the dremel or rotary tool to get the over all shape. The sand paper head workes the best for me. Use sand paper to clean it all up and smooth it out.
Step 5: Prep and Paint
So I did some research of the best way to prime and paint foam pieces and there is alot out there. Varied information. I wanted the cheapest and easiest way to get some color on there so this is what I went with.
You will need
Primer (white) spray paint
Red spray paint
This is done in 3 steps.
Step 1: cover the whole sword in tacky glue. Use your fingers or a paint brush and cover every inch in glue. This takes a few days since you have to do one side, dry, other side, dry, repeat. Get at least 2 layers of glue on it. I also used the glue to fill in parts that were unfortunate victims of my ineptitude with a rotary tool.
Step 2: apply a coat of primer. Again takes a little while to spray, dry, spray. but not as long as that glue
Step 3: Color yay! Spray a coat of the red.
Step 6: Lights
Make it Glow!!
you will need
RGB LED strip or other lights
card board, color pencils or other stuff to use as wedges
electrical tape or black tape
The diagram here shows the path that I used to string the lights. The only two channels missed are the two at the top of the blade.
Start at the handle shown on the diagram and begin pushing the light strip into the channel. I pressed mine up against one side of the channel. My lights were sticky back so I tried adhering them solely with that but it wouldn't hold so press them firmly into the side and squeeze a line of glue along the seam. It is also a good idea to squeeze in some glue between the lights and the side before pressing them together. It takes forever to dry so unless you wanna stand there for hours pinching it in place, you need to make some wedges to press in to hold the lights against the side. We used short colored pencils and folded cardboard pieces cut from a pizza box from dinner.
Work in short sections at a time, running in the lights, adding glue, putting in wedges, then move to the next section. Follow the path until it ends when it runs through the circle in the middle.
*note: I only ran through the circle and to the other side so only 2 LEDs are in the circle. This doesn't light up the symbol very well later on so it would be a good idea to run around the circle once for more light within. But you need longer lights than I had for that.*
Let it dry. It takes a long time. Minimum one day and one night.
Flip it over and repeat. We are running the same path in reverse. continue until you run out of lights or reach the end. I ran out just shy of completion.
There is one place on each side that the lights run through where they aren't supposed to be. Just wrap that section of the lights in black electrical tape. *room to improve, plan ahead and make a through channel to pass the lights through instead.
Step 7: Power
Provide the juice man!
you will need
8 AA battery holder with switch and leads.
the control box that came with the lights
the controller that came with the lights
We need to provide portable power for the lights. They need 12volts and a car battery is rather heavy for a kid to carry all night. You can get a battery holder like mine on Amazon for about $6.
Strip about an inch of the coating from the end of the wires of the battery box and the plug to the light control box. Twist the red wires together and secure with electrical tape. Do the same for the black wires.
Put batteries in the holder and the remote. Plug the lights into the control box and the battery pack into the control box. Turn on the battery pack and use the remote to turn on the lights and test it out.
Satisfied that it all works, its time to figure out how to secure the battery box and control box. Here is where there is need for improvement and planning ahead. It would look fifty times better if a place for this stuff was worked into the design from the beginning but since we changed lights mid way, we had to make do.
My solution was to shove the control box into the circle in the handle. It sticks out a bit on one side. I then lined up the battery box against the handle and pressed against the control box on the side of the sword that I ran short on the lights. I used Velcro to secure the box to the sword and added some electrical tape on the sides for extra security. It doesn't look pretty but at least it's all attached to the sword.
Step 8: Symbol
In the Smash Brothers game Shulk has 5 different Monado arts. Each has a different symbol and the sword lights up a different color. I had my son choose his favorite to be represented. He picked the final smash symbol which lights up red.
* improvement: make changeable symbols
you will need
clear plastic plate
sharp metal tool to scratch with ( I can't remember the proper term. I had it left from printmaking class)
Use the hot knife to cut the fancy designed curved edge off the plate leaving just the clear flat part with a little of the curved edge. Cut right where the design on the plate begins. You can do this very carefully with a normal blade but it takes so much longer.
Cut 2 plates.
Print or draw the symbol in mirror image in the size you need to fill the flat area of the plate. We will etch it on the inside so it is smooth on the outside so we need to print it mirror image so it is the right way from the other side of the plate.
Place the plate so the flat side is resting on the table. The curved edge is facing up. Place your symbol under the plate where you can see the symbol through the plastic. Tape it in place.
Use the engraver tool to scratch into the plastic to etch in the design.
The plates will be applied to the sword with the curved edge down so the plate buldges out rather than in.
Squeeze a line of glue around the edge of the big circle on the sword. Press one of the plates into it. Sit something slightly heavy on the plate to apply pressure. Squeeze another line of glue along the seam where the plate meets the sword. Let dry. Then do the same for the other side.
Step 9: Final Touch
All that's left to do is paint the little protrusions in the two openings on the blade on each side black.
Light it up and play with the colors, effects, and brightness. Have a blast being awesome.