Introduction: Bottle Cap Armored Bracer for Zombie Protection

In honor of the Walking Dead and other Post Apocalyptic Wasteland type shows and movies, I decided to create some original, scavenger-type arm bracers for protection after the apocalypse. You never know what you may come in contact with! These bad boys will protect your forearms from zombie bites, hits with blades and so many other things. The other thing about them is, they look badass.

The look I was going for was not uniformity, or patterns. I wanted something that looked like it was created by someone who after scavenging the wasteland, realized that out of necessity, the mother of invention, they needed to create some form of protection....and fast. That is why they are not all facing one direction, or why they aren't all one type of cap. The person found what they found, and put them on leather. There isn't time for artistic expression and beauty in the Post Apocalyptic Wasteland.

(I never understand the fact that those survivors in the Walking Dead rarely protect themselves in such a fashion. The first thing Brad Pitt did in World War Z was duct tape magazines to his forearms.

Enjoy this instructable- after all, it could save your life.

Step 1: Materials and Tools Needed

This is the list of tools and materials you will need to create your Bracers.


  1. Pliers
  2. Leather Awl
  3. Punch Pad
  4. Stone Anvil Surface
  5. Rubber Mallet
  6. Small Peen Hammer
  7. Leather Working Mallet
  8. Leather Scissors
  9. Ruler
  10. Seamstress Tape Measure
  11. Grommet setting tools
  12. Rivet setting tools
  13. Pencils
  14. Pens
  15. Small Paint Brushes
  16. Agressive Sandpaper
  17. Leather Punches

Not Pictured: A Drill with a small bit capable of drilling Metal.


  1. Bottle Caps- Around 72 for each arm to be safe.
  2. Medium Weight Leather
  3. Paper for Pattern
  4. Leather Thong Lace
  5. Rivets
  6. Grommets
  7. Rub N' Buff: Spanish Copper & Ruby

That is what you will need!

Step 2: Measure and Cut Leather for Bracer Base

You will need three rough measurements to lay out the pattern or your bracers.

  1. Wrist to top of forearm just before elbow.
  2. Wrist circumference.
  3. Upper Forearm circumference.

  • With these measurements on paper, lay them out similarly to my pattern. You will want to subtract and inch or two from the circumference measurements so as to leave room to lace up the bracers.
  • Fill in the rest of the pattern how you want it to look.

Trace the pattern onto the leather.

Cut it out.

Repeat if you are making two bracers.

Step 3: Make Over the Bottle Caps

This step is by far the most time consuming step. As there are many many caps.

Every cap will need to go through the following procedure.

  1. Bending
  2. Flattening
  3. Sanding
  4. Aging
  5. Drilling
  6. Final Bending

These Steps are to followed for every single cap. I will be writing the steps out referring to a single cap to make it easier. Just remember- Repeat 72 or so times. All of the steps are represented in the pictures.


  • Using your small pliers, bend the sides of the cap outward some so that it will flare out more. This makes flattening more uniform and simple. Flare out the full thing.


  • Using the rubber mallet, Hammer the cap on your anvil surface so that it flattens out completely. You want it to be like a thin poker chip. Don't worry about little wrinkles or bumps as it adds to the overall roughness of the aesthetic you are going for.


  • Using fairly aggressive sandpaper, Rough up and scuff up the surface of the cap. Make it look all beat up. Simple as that.


  • Using a couple fine artist brushes and the Rub N' Buff, It is time to make the caps old looking.
  • Start with the Spanish Copper Rub N' Buff. It gives the look of rust. Lightly apply it on the cap where it has been sanded or whatever you want. If you put too much on, wipe it with a paper towel.
  • After that, using the Ruby Rub N' Buff, lightly apply some over the other color to further the rust look.
  • It is up to you how rough and aged you want these to look.


  • Using a small drill bit that will allow a rivet to pass through the hole, drill the cap close to the edge on whatever side of the circle. Don't consistently pick a position. Try not to think about which way will be up.

Final Bending:

  • I found that bending the caps some over something round gives them a better effect when the whole project is complete. I also wound up bending the tops out some after i was done to make the scale look more exaggerated.

Step 4: Practice the Layout of the Caps

It is smart at this point to lay the caps out on the leather to figure out the pattern you want and the number of caps per row. This will all depend on how big your bracer is and as such, the size of your arm. Play with it some till you find out what looks best to you. Also try your best to grab each cap you lay out randomly. I really tried hard to make this look 100% random.

Do not lay caps too close to the edges as you will need space for the grommets later.

Step 5: Begin Process for Riveting Caps to Leather

It is time to rivet down the first cap. Pictured you will see the tools I use.

I know I missed a picture of the first one being riveted but fear not. The process is the same for each cap. I placed the first one right on the point of the bracer as you can see.

Also, here is a link to Tandy's youtube on how to use their rivets: How to set leather rivets

  1. Using the awl, mark the location for the hole for each rivet by poking through the hole in each cap.
  2. Using your smaller leather punch, punch a hole where the awl mark is.
  3. Poke the rivet base up through each hole of the leather and then through the corresponding bottle cap.
  4. Cap each rivet.
  5. With the leather sitting on top of the stone, use the rivet setter and mallet, and give each rivet five good taps to set rivet good and tight.

Continue the process one row at a time.

I used double headed rivets. Meaning both ends of the final rivet are domed. Use a concave anvil underneath to protect the rivet dome.

Work your way down the length of the bracer starting at the top obviously.

Do not lay caps too close to the edges as you will need space for the grommets later.

Step 6: Finish Up the Riveting Process

Keep riveting row by row.

On the last row, I stopped short of the end of the leather. I trimmed the excess leather off even with the bottom of the bottom row of caps.

The center bottom cap I applied last. It was larger than the rest so I used it as a "capstone" and gave it two rivets to lock it all together.

Step 7: Mark Spots for Grommets

Here is a link to a video that explains in detail how to set eyelets and grommets in leather: How to set Grommets

I laid out the grommets I was going to use to find out where they all will wind up. Look at my picture to see how I spaced them.

You will obviously need them on both sides of the bracer.

Step 8: Punch Holes for Grommets

Using a larger punch that will allow the grommet's post to go through the leather, punch all the holes you will need.

Step 9: Apply Grommets

Again, here is a link to the video: How to set Grommets

There are special grommet anvils and setting tools. Follow the directions in the video and you will have great success.

Step 10: Lace Up Bracers

I used leather thong lace material to lace them up. Start at the wrist and lace back towards the elbow. Tie a bow once it is good and tight.

Step 11: Repel Zombie Attacks!

It is usually at this point where I say to admire your work....


Now you can guard yourself from their bites in close quarters combat. They won't bite through these puppies.


Tips and such

  1. Getting a good variety of caps is key
  2. Bars can be resources for caps
  3. I ended up flaring out the tops of the caps to accentuate the scales look.
  4. As always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask me!
  5. Thanks for Reading!v

Survival Ready Contest

Runner Up in the
Survival Ready Contest

Halloween Costume Contest 2016

Participated in the
Halloween Costume Contest 2016