Introduction: Costume Gauntlets for Less Than a Fiver.

About: A Freelance Web and Graphic Designer with a habitual need to make stuff in the physical world and escape a life spent in front of a screen.
At the end of July I am going music festival, they have a fancy dress day with the theme of "Medieval", so obviously I'm going OTT and putting too much effort into my costume, as part of this thought I'd have a go at make some gauntlets.

Having no real experience with metal work and very little money for materials I thought I'd devised an alternative way to make metal looking gauntlets.

Originally I was going use rivets and make proper joints between each pieces of "armor" but this did not prove possible, in the end it worked out that it was simpler and faster to do without and it still looks fairly good.

So what I think we have here is an Instructable that will allow you to make gauntlets with no special knowledge or tools and for very little cost

I am unsure how hard wearing these are but they should last the duration of any fancy dress event, and repair would be simple.

Whilst the number of steps might make this look complex it is actually quite an easy Instructable, I may have just overworked it.

Update: I've made some additions since I published this and so thought I would add these in.
This is only my second Insturctable, I hope you find it useful and enjoyable.

This video was taken before I added the Cuff sections, sorry for the lighting issues the reflections played havoc with my camera.

Step 1: Materials

So these Gantlets consist of three basic materials, with a total cost of £3.25:

Ladies Garden Gloves (£1 from Poundland)
4 Vinyl Self Adhesive Floor Tiles (£1 Pounldand)
Aluminum Tape [48mm x 10m] (£1.25 Hardware store)

A few words about the materials and why I chose to use them

Ladies Garden Gloves: It may seem strange to use and specify ladies garden gloves, however at the Pound store I bought these from the man's work gloves were of a very poor quality, the leather on the fingers was made for mismatched scraps, often too stiff to bend even before adding the "Armor". These ladies garden gloves seemed to be of higher quality, the fingers are supple and move easily and the colour is a good match for the final product, on the downside the non protective section was made of flowery fabric, but I covered this with permanent marker.

Vinyl Floor Tiles: Again an odd choice maybe, you could possibly use cardboard or craft paper or whatever you think works best, but as I will explain, vinyl has many advantages, as well as a few draw backs. The design on the tiles doesn't matter too much, however the façade is often textured to match the material it is supposed to be, try to choose a design with as little texture as possible, and don't worry about the texture we will take care of that later. Each you will only be using 3 tiles.

Aluminum Tape: I love this stuff, it is like slightly thicker kitchen foil, but with a self adhesive side, its official use, I believe is for air ducts. On hard surfaces it can be applied to look smooth as glass but on flexible surfaces it tends to crinkle a bit as you will see, I've used it to cover sketch books, make metal looking helmets, prop knives and a very cool (read: geeky) set of Wolverine claws. However it can be hard to find, so when I find somewhere that sells it I buy as much as i can, try hardware stores and the cheaper general household stores, alternatively online and sometimes at Lidl.

Step 2: Tools

No real specialist tools needed:

Hairdryer or hot air gun, any form of heat without a naked flame will do.
Mini Box cutter or Stanley knife or a craft knife.
Glue Gun and spare glue sticks of cause.
Tweezers or pliers or any griping tool.
Scissors - not essential, you could use the box cutter for all cutting but the scissors are easier and faster.
Cutting mat - not essential but defiantly a bonus.
Gloves - Optional, ideally thin but with some form of added protection.

Not Shown:
Nail file

Step 3: Patterns

Here are the cutting Patterns to be printed out.

They are based on some patterns I found online some time ago I have however re-drawn and adapted them to fit my needs.

For a complete pair of Gauntlets you will need 2 copies of patterns1 and 3 and one of pattern 2.

As requested I have uploaded a pdf of all three patterns, when printing either jpgs or pdf ensure that they are scaled to fill an A4 page each.


Thanks to psychoib for pointing out the original source for the patterns was from Thor Z. on The Armour Archive.

Apologies the credit was so late in coming

Step 4: Preparing the Pattern for Cutting

In this step we see one of the advantages to using the vinyl tiles, the self adhesive side allows you to stick the cutting pattern directly to the tile.

Cut off any large sections of blank white paper from the pattern1 print out. (Step Not Shown)
Lay a vinyl tile face down.
Position the pattern1 on the tile inline with the edges.
Very lightly score the tiles backing sheet, be careful not to cut the actual vinyl, although its not the end of the world if you do.
Peel away the backing for the section you have scored only.
Cut the two "Hand" parts of pattern2 apart, this allow you to fit one of the had sections to this tile.
Again score and remove the backing paper to fit the "Hand" cutting pattern. (Step not show)
If you prefer you can just remove all the backing paper in one go, but the sticky surface may be annoying, leaving it on you extend the life of the offcuts to be used if needed later.

Step 5: Cutting Out the Pieces

Use your scissors to cut out the pattern.
Use the knife to cut around the concave curves in the hand and first finger pieces (F1A, F2A etc.) it is harder to do with scissors.
Once all pieces are cut out lay the out as they will go on the gauntlet.
Ensure you know the correct orientation for all the pieces, the majority of the pieces are pretty much symmetrical, apart from "Wrist", "Hand", "Knuckle" F1A and F4A pieces, the the broadest sections of the wrist and knuckle pieces should toward the Thumb as should the indent in "Hand", The narrow protrusions on F1A and F4A should point inward to the fingers.

Often with cutting patterns each you should flip the pattern for the opposing hands, however with these materials it is not really necessary.

Step 6: Removing the Facade

You should be able to peel the facde off of the vinyl, carefully starting at one corner, to give a smooth surface. (this could be a feature of cheaper vinyl tiles only) Vinyl tiles with more texture will probably have a thicker facade layer, and may be harder to remove. If you find that you cannot remove the facade layer, no worries just, ensure that the pieces are orientated so that the facade faces down and will be the glued side.

Caution: Be very careful when peeling off the facade that you do not bend the vinyl too much it can be brittle and crack when cold. This is one of the draw backs of using it.

Do not peel off the pattern paper from the self adhesive side at this stage (if at all).

Step 7: Prepairing the Glove

Step not show: All the black sections on the glove where originally a "pretty" flower pattern, I covered over this with permanent marked, as I didn't think it gave the right impression ;) some of the pattern can still be seen through the marker but it shouldn't really show too much.

Another draw back of these cheap gloves is that most of the grey "leather" is actually rubber which doesn't bond to the glue gun glue very well.So using the nail file and blade from you knife roughen and scrape this fake leather (rubber) where ever it will come in contact with the glue, to make sure it will bond.

If the gloves you are using are real leather/suede you will not need to do this.

Mark position of your knuckles, not a vital step and can be helpful.

Step 8: Shaping the Pieces.

One major advantage of vinyl is it becomes malleable when heated and will hold its shape when cooled (some lose of shape is to be expected however)

Again lay out your finger pieces in order and in the correct orientation.

Using tweezers so as not to burn your fingers hold each piece in front of the hairdryer for a few moments until it is soft and malleable, then bend to the desired shape, this in most cases this is a simple curve. Hold the piece in the shape whilst it cools and it will retain the curve.
Don't try to make any extreme bends as the vinyl may tear.

Tip: If you can, slip a piece into each of the finger holes of your scissors to hold and cool.

Heating the pieces also heats the tiles self adhesive glue softening it and allowing the pattern paper to be removed is desired, I do not do this this unless the pattern paper happened to be on the side of a piece that would have hot glue applied to it i.e: on the inside of the piece.

The pieces may lose their shape over time this is not the end of the world.

Tip: I do this and the next two steps for each finger before repeating them for the next finger.

Step 9: Rough and Cover

With the piece shaped, check it against the glove so you can know for sure it is correct and which side the glue will be applied.

The smooth vinyl doesn't always bond to the glue as you may like, so again I use the nail file and knife to roughen the glue receiving surface to ensure better adhesion.

Tear of a a piece of tape long enough to cover a section of the "armor", remove the tapes backing paper and apply to the armor, smoothing with your finger, and creases can be smoothed down with the back of a finger nail.

Curl the tape around the edges and press to the underside.

If the piece of tape is not broad enough to cover the whole armor section, or you apply the tape crooked, don't worry just use a smaller piece of tape to cover the remaining section.

The glue wont adhere to the aluminum tape very well so remove much of the excess from the underside.

Be aware of where armor sections will overlap and make a note not to put glue in these areas.

Step 10: Gluing the Fingers

Note: The heat of the glue will soften the vinyl and make it malleable again.

Important: When Gluing the fingers always start at the tips and work your way down.
Remember: The pieces need to overlap, leave the overlap area free from glue.

Gluing the pieces on can be approached in a few different ways choose the best for you.

Either apply the glue to the armor piece or the the glove itself (having first marked where it will go).

You can either place something in the glove (thick marker pen, or padding) and glue the pieces on using you knuckle marks as a guild, or as I chose to do, wear the glove when gluing.
Obviously this comes with some risk, the hot glue gets very hot, so I wore one of the second set of gloves inside of the actual glove and on the wrong hand, so the protection was on the back of my hand to save me from burning.
Wearing the glove when gluing has makes it easy to make adjustments before the glue cools and sets,and lets you test the movement is free, also it allows you to mold the pieces to your digits.
When doing the third section of each of the four fingers (F1A, F2A, F3A and F4A) the narrow sections that go between the fingers is often the hardest place to get the glue to bond and may need to be revisited once the glue cools and re-glued.

Test the movement often to make sure you are not locking any joints with glue.

Step 11: Glueing the Hand.

Lay your armor section out on the hand to ensure you have the correct orientations.

Remember 1: The broader ends of the Wrist and Knuckle sections go to the Thumb side.
Remember 2: No glue on the overlaps especially at the base of the "Hand" section.

Note: With the hand start at the wrist and work to the knuckles.

Shape and cover your pieces. The "Hand" Section will probably require two and a half strips of tape.

Glue the "Wrist" section on first, if it overlaps the end of your glove, as mine does, do not put any glue in this area.
Glue the "hand" section next leaving a large area towards the wrist without glue to allow the "Wrist" section to move under it. Use the heat from the glue to mold the section to your hand, and make sure the indent is in line with the thumb.
When gluing on the the "Knuckle" section you are actually going to glue it only to the base of fingers 1 and 4, so ensure you have plenty. of glue in those areas.
The "Knuckle" section will arc over the base of fingers 2 and 3 and not be attached to them. When making a fist the "Knuckle" section will mover with the fingers.

You may wont to go back and check all the glue points, especially on the sides of the fingers and re-glue if needed.

Step 12: The Cuff

Step 13: Embelishments and Alternatives.

As you can see I have added some further aesthetic embellishments.

Spikes: I had some paper mache spikes around form an earlier project, I covered them in the tape, then scraped of a small section of tape from the knuckle section where each would go, roughened the exposed vinyl slightly with the tip of my knife and glued the spikes in place.

Fake Rivet Heads: Using some of the vinyl off cuts, tape and a hole punch I made some self adhesive rivet heads so give it a more authentic or industrial look, whilst I like the look I'm not sure how long they will last as the tile's glues doesn't adhere to the tape very well.

If you are unable to find Aluminum tape I'm sure you could paint the armor instead, I would use Acrylic Paint as it will bend with the vinyl with out chipping.

If you would like to make more elaborate armor plates this should be fine provided you use the basic pattern and add to it.

Thanks for reading my Instructable please leave feedback and let me know of any mistakes I have made (including spelling and Grammar)

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