Introduction: Forge a Paper Sword

About: Dad and hubby, good food enthusiast, solar energy, boating, making stuff, melting stuff, and raising chickens.
I recently rediscovered the versatility of paper mache for costume making at Halloween. With some paper, cardboard, white glue (also hot glue) and paint almost anything can be made; add some auto body filler and sandpaper and it goes to the next level.

I made a Witch King of Angmar costume for my daughter for Halloween but didn't take many pictures, but when I started making the sword I had the camera ready and here are the results.

Basic tools include:
  • hot glue gun
  • medical scissors
  • box cutting knife
  • sandpaper
  • paint brush or sponge

  • cardboard
  • chop sticks or wooden dowels
  • paper
  • white glue
  • hot glue sticks
  • white masking tape
  • urethane foam spray like for house insulation
  • acrylic paints and hammer metal spray paint

Step 1: Draw Out a Sword on a Sheet of Cardboard

Draw out a full outline of the sword blade on a large sheet of cardboard. Use a box cutter blade or something similar to carefully cut out the blade outline.The cross-guard is drawn separately and the handle is a piece of PVC pipe cut to length. Use a hack saw to cut a grove into the end of the pipe and hot glue the "blade" into the grove as shown in the picture.

Step 2: Reinforce and Wrap

Hot-glue some small dowels or chop sticks to create a center ridge on the center of the blade; make half of the last dowel go into the handle. Spray urethane foam into the handle to hold in together; after it dries trim off any excess. Next glue on the cross-guard in several layers and wrap everything in masking tape.

Step 3: Paper Mache

Mix 2 parts warm water and 1 part white glue to make a glue mix. Tear old paper into little squares and fully dip into the glue mix. Layer the paper onto the tape wrapped sword to cover the entire sword; I just did 2 layers. Clip the excess once dry (sanding is optional depending on how smooth you like it).

Use more masking tape and some hot glue to build up part parts of the hilt or blade if necessary.

Step 4: Use Hot Glue to Make Designs

Use a pencil to draw designs on the paper mache` and carefully apply hot glue along the lines. I roughly copied the Witch King sword design from Lord of the Rings.

Step 5: Pommel

The pommel is made by inserting small dowels into the foam of the handle and wrapping with masking tape or foil to build it up. Hot glue on accessories and paper mache`. I added a half and half mixture of drywall mud and white glue to the pommel and sanded it smooth once dry.

Step 6: Paint and Finish

Paint the whole thing with hammered metal spray paint. Once the spray paint is dry, use acrylic paints to paint the details. I used a dull light gray with a sponge to tone down the shine on the blade and black on the hilt and around the hot glue designs.

A clear matte sealer should be sprayed on to protect in from any light moisture.

Halloween Props Contest

First Prize in the
Halloween Props Contest