After visiting the amazing Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo, NY this past summer, I felt inspired to come back next year more prepared. So I decided to start by creating a viking style shield.
Step 1: Materials & Tools
- 1/8" thick hardboard panel
- 3" x 3" x 24" wood
- metal bowl (I found a small dog bowl for $2 at a thrift shop)
- 1/2" x 48" x 1/8" steel flat ($5)
- leather ($5)
- hemp cord (optional)
- snaps (optional)
Additionally, you'll need the following tools:
- paint brushes
Step 2: Start Construction!
First, I cut out a 28" diameter circle from the cardboard with a jigsaw. I also cut a 6" diameter hole out of the center. This is where the shield boss will go.
I shaped the handle with a hand saw, files, and sandpaper.
I cut the steel flat into 4 equal sections of 12" each and drilled 4 holes slightly larger than the diameter of the nails. I also bent the ends using a vice and hammer.
The metal bowl had a very flat bottom so I hammered it out to give it more of a rounded look.
Step 3: Painting
For the painting of the shield, I picked 2 colors for the front and applied with a paint roller. One side of the hardboard is textured which really makes the front look like it's wrapped in fabric. On the smooth back, I wanted it to look like wood so I painted brown with highlights of tan, white, and black. I painted with a lot of water to get the nice streaky look and then whipped it dry with a rag.
I also wanted the metal boss to look less like aluminum so I sloppily painted is with a mixture of silver and black paint to get a more "worn-in", heavy look.
Step 4: Assembly
With painting complete, it was time to attach the leather border. I drilled holes 1/2" from the edge and 1" from one another. I cut the leather into 2" wide strips long enough to cover 1/4 of the circumference. Using the extra leather I had, I cut 1/4" strips and threaded the leather through the holes.
I nailed the metal boss into the center followed by the 4 steel flats. The 2 vertical flats nailed directly into the handle while the horizontal ones stuck out the back. Using a screwdriver (for support) and hammer, I bent the nails on the back, being very careful not to rip the thin hardboard. To prevent the nails from cutting me, I covered them in epoxy. Lastly, I further bent the steel flats over the edges.
The final touches included covering the handle in leather and adding a strap which I had just enough leftover leather for. I used some snaps and hemp to attach the strap.
Step 5: Complete!
There you have it - a pretty lightweight, viking style shield.
In hindsight, I probably would have used plywood rather than the hardboard. The hardboard did reduce the weight somewhat but it also made the shield more prone to bending or tearing. Let's just say, I wouldn't want to bring this bad boy into battle.
Hope you enjoyed!