How to Make Greaves (Leg Armor) Out of Cardboard




Introduction: How to Make Greaves (Leg Armor) Out of Cardboard

About: I am a untraditionally educated high schooler. If I'm not at school or the theatre, I'm probably listening to music (The Wailin' Jennys, Indigo Girls, Wild Rabbit, Of Monsters and Men, and Mumford & Sons are a…

I've enjoyed armor and making my own out of cardboard for awhile, but haven't ever gotten around to making an Instructable for anything, and I thought that entering theMake-to-Learn Youth Contest would be a good way to start. I'm planning to enter this in several contests, so be sure to vote if you found this helpful.

What did you make?
I made a pair a cardboard greaves, to replace my old greaves and to match a helmet I’m working on. They don’t work well as real armor, but are great for a cosplay or a Halloween costume.
How did you make it?
I got the idea to make greaves when I discovered that my duct tape greaves were too small. I made it by myself, but my family told me what they liked and what they thought I needed to change or add.
Where did you make it?
I worked on my project in my room, and while I was working on it, my normally clean room got very messy.
What did you learn?
I learned how to cut and bend cardboard to make it do what I wanted it to do. I learned that when cereal box cardboard is spray painted, the printed side is shinier than the non printed side. I also learned not to let my siblings take pictures for me. One of the things I had the hardest time figuring out was how to keep the greaves  from falling off. I tried a few things before my mom suggested I use a bicycle inner tube. I am quite proud of how the sides wrap around my legs because it keeps them from sliding down too much. If I made these greaves again, I would make the straps tighter, and maybe figure out how to make them adjustable.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

2 cereal boxes
1 can of silver spray paint
Leather lacing
24-30 small grommets (silver)
Hot glue gun
X-acto knife
Cutting mat
Grommet Setter

Step 2: Creating a Pattern

Before you can start cutting cardboard, you will need to have a pattern. I drew mine on newspaper. Fold the newspaper in half lengthwise. Get a measurement for your leg by laying the folded newspaper on your workplace (working on the floor is helpful). Put your ankle near the bottom of the paper, and put a pencil mark near the top of your knee. Draw half a pattern, up against the fold so that it's symmetrical after it's been cut out and unfolded. It may be helpful to look online for ideas (shape, length, width, etc.). I had to draw my pattern, cut it out, and look at it in a mirror several times before I liked it. Trace the pattern onto two pieces of cardboard.

Step 3: Shaping

Draw a line up the middle of the pattern with a ruler, going to just below your kneecap. From the top of the centerline, draw a line going out at about a 45 degree angle to the edge, and another to the other side. Do the same about an 1 ½ inches lower. Do this for each piece of armor. Then cut both greaves out and score along the top side of all of the lines with your X-acto knife, so that you can bend the cardboard easily. Bend the cardboard so that it stays in the shape you want.

Step 4: The Sides

Cut the skinny sides off of a cereal box and tape them to line up with the curve of the main piece. Tape these in place so that you can glue them. They should be just inside the main piece, and parallel to it. Remove the tape once you’ve glued the sides on. Slowly bend them so that they curve to fit around your calf. Use one cereal box side for each side of each greave. Trim the tops and bottoms to fit better. Add a small piece of cardboard to the back of the knees to reinforce them. After the shaping is complete, add a thin line of hot glue on each side of all seems and bends.

Step 5: Painting

Go outside and spray paint your greaves. If you want to add other decoration, any time after now is good. Just be sure it's dry before you do other steps. When you've added all of the decoration, especially if you've used a sharpie or something similar, give the whole thing a clear coat so that the color doesn't come off on your hands.

Step 6: Straps

If you used the first design and it still works well, that's better than mine did. One of the straps pulled out after only a few wears. This designs seems to work much better, and allows for adjusts to be made.

Make several marks near the edge on the inside at about equal intervals. I made five, adjust for your leg length. Do this on each side of each piece. Punch holes on each mark. If your hole puncher has a distance adjustment, set it to about half an inch. If your's doesn't, just eyeball it. Grommet all of the holes. Starting at one of the top holes, lace in a zigzag fashion to the bottom, and then go back up. Try the armor on. Tighten the strapping, tie it at the top. Give yourself several inches of extra leather on each side, and cut.

Step 7: Finished Product

These are my finished greaves. I added more decoration than there was in the original post.

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Participated in the
Make-to-Learn Youth Contest

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    9 Discussions


    7 years ago

    Good job; they have a professional appearance. You should create more instructables detailing other armour pieces! I'm organizing a box-war event
    ( and I'm planning to link to this instructable so people can better make armour.

    The same technique would work with forearm armour as well, and maybe thigh. I'd love to see an instructable about your helmet as well.
    Again, great armour, great instructable, hope to see more from you soon.

    Thank you. I looked at your website, and I think I have some friends that would like to try sometime. As for using this technique on other armor, I have started to think about some forearm armor. I am planning to post pictures of my helmet when I finish it.


    That is officially REALLY COOL!!!! Haymitch approves. Me gusta.