How to Make Spartan Armor From Cardboard




Introduction: How to Make Spartan Armor From Cardboard

About: Hey, I'm Caleb I'm a Die-hard DIY-er and I love the spirt of instructables. We can make the world however we like, and we can do it from scratch. Lets get out there and re-use, re-think, modify, hack and Crea…

"No retreat, no surrender. That is Spartan law. And by Spartan law, we will stand and fight & and die. A new age has begun: an age of freedom! And all will know that 300 Spartans gave their last breath to defend it!"

Alright, So this past haloween I was crazy about the movie 300 and decided that I was going to be a spartan, so I built this great armor our of cardboard boxes I had lying around.
it turned out great and was a big hit!
i did it for pretty cheap, and my costume was very authentic looking,

So basically I will tell all of you out there how I did it, and what I used, so you to can be the hard, strong warrior that is a spartan

Step 1: Materials

You will need:

PART I; Cardboard construction:

-Cardboard (doesn't really matter how thick, I ended up using a couple different thickness because it's all I had) 3-5 larger boxes should do.

-Hot glue gun and glue

-A box cutter or razor blade, cutting tool, etc.

PART II; strengthening, and Finishing

-Fiberglass sheets/matting

-Fiberglass Resin with hardener, Syrupy stuff.

-Bondo or another type of filler with hardener.

-Sandpaper I used 100, 350, and 600 grits.(I used what I could find, you need a heavily abrasive, a medium, and a fine sander.)

- Spray paint: a black or gray base-coat , a Black Lacquer (optional), a Gold, a Bronze and a copper.1 can of each is fine, and maybe two or three of clear

-plenty of patience and time.

Step 2: Cutting and Constructing the Cardboard Helmet

The very first thing I did was to watch 300 and look at pictures of the armor I was trying to build, so I would have a better understanding; I recommend doing that a few times and picking up some pics on google, as well.

I started with the helmet.

First I made the Face plate, I had found a few templates online but I found that the "jowls" of the helmet were to extreme for my face. So I went through 21 different face plates until I came to one I liked.

The face plate should have boxy eye holes that are angled into the nose to create a frowning effect, the nose I made was spearheaded and so actually touched the point where the eye and mouth slots meet.

I gave a slight curve to the jowls and tried to make the gap for my mouth small enough so that you
couldn't see the corners of my mouth

The peak of the face plate I wanted level to the top of the dome of my head.
The rest of the face plate came down at a "45-degree-ish" angle so that the line traveled just over my ears and the two ends met at the back of my head right were my neck meets my skull

After I had a face plate I liked a cut large circles where my ears were covered.

The Dome
Using the same position as the face plate wrap a strip of 2" Cardboard around you head making sure it goes down between your neck and head in the back and up an inch or two above your eyebrows in the front. Tape or glue the strip together and then take a peice of cardboard and cut it into a circle as wide as a baseball, then glue it to the strip, after that get a new strip of carboard and run it over the top of your head running front to back , making sure to cut it where it meets the first strip, you don't want overlapping. hot glue it down to the circle, then to head band you just made, then trim excess.

Then do that over but perpendicular to the strip you just did so you have a head band with a strip running front to back and then side to side; make sure you constantly check so that the strips lie perfectly against your head when the band is put into the correct "Faceplate-position"
then proceed to put two contrasting diagonal strips cutting their ends with two 45 degree cuts so it wedges perfectly between the front and back strips, glue down to both the circle and the head band then trim. then once you have those in, make pizza shaped slices, checking so that they fit correctly into their spots until all gaps are filled and you have a solid dome.

Attach the Dome to the face plate.
Take the dome, put it on your head and figure out where you want the face plate positioned, after you've marked it with sharpie or somthing, glue it down, use tons of glue, you want this strong!

If you are having any trouble manipulating the cardboard simply spray it with some water and give it a minute to seep in, then bend it how you need it!

congrats, you've just finished one of the hardest parts!

Step 3: The Arm and Leg Armour

When I first made the armour I just basically made tobes, but it looked like just that. SO I decided that they needed to look stronger, ripped, and tailored. to do this I took some cardboard and cut it into long slivers a bit longer than I actually wanted. I then put two "bracelets" of cardboard, one at the baseof the peice9ankle or wrist and the other at the end or summit(below the elbowor knee).

then comes the fun part, Bend the card board so it matches an extremely muscular contour of your leg/arm, and then glue those long vertical strips two both braclets(try not to burn yourself, I ended up doing that about 5 times), don't for get to include a nice beefy calf muscle.

then keep it up untill you've done about two thirds of your legs/forearms, leaving only the underside; gotta get it off somehow.

from there I cut both bracelets and took the whole thing off, then duct taped the bracelets back together. After you have gone as far as you want to go around, take tiny slivers and jam them inbetween the small gaps you should have inbetween the strips, this will make it stronger, and easier when you get to the resin.

next just cut the overhanging strips, I made my bracer with a point at my non-hand end, and the legs have a big square of card board I added , as wel as a raised outline of a rectangle.

now just one last thing, there is a little raised area on the bracer in the movies so for that I simply used two left over strips and placed them down onto the bracer so they made a curvy I.

then I filled it in with hotm glue and horisontal strips.
Tada! one cardboard bracer.

it's the same for the arms so I didn't take pictures

Step 4: Fiberglass

this step is optional, but very benefitial.
The fiberglass will add an extra layer for strength and smoothness that will protect against cracking.

When you get the resin it should come with a little tube of hardener compound, and with that directions for how much of each to combine. if not it's pretty forgiving as long as you use enough of the hardener.

and you can get either the sheets or matting,they'll both work fine, but I think the matting works better for this project.

once you mix the resin with the hardener you won't have very long to work with it untill it becomes very stiff, so it's best to have your peices laid out and ready. I even had torn little wallet sized squares and mentally placed them on the peices.

first you should put some resin on the cardboard itself so the fiberglass has something to stick to, then mash the fiberglass squares down using a brush with more resin.

Everything will get really sticky and tedious but hang in there it'll work out just keep mashing the fiberglass down with the resin.
if you are having trouble with the fiberglass staying in little crevises use more resin, and try to get rid of all air bubbles.

Step 5: Bondo!

so now you probably have let it dry for ahwhile and you've got some bumpy monster sitting in your works station, well this is where the bondon comes in

You'll probably need to do some triming of the dried fiberglass(wear a mask, or it'll kill you) so the edges are nice, and some sanding won't hurt.
then once you've gotten your peice pretty smooth brush all the dust of and wip out the bondo.

it's the same deal as the resin, a big bucket of ish and the hardener compouns, mix etc.
but this time when you mix it should change color and temperature, this stuff drys very fast so be ready to spread it on your peices.

it's better to use more in an area than not enough, you can always sand it down. make sure you have a nice coat spread over the face of the peice, then set it down and let it dry.

The photograph is post bondo and sanding

Step 6: Paint Prep

so the key to this paintjob is how shiny we can get it, and to do that I've got a couple of steps I'm going to go through.
first of sanded as smooth as you can, I used pretty low grade sand paper when I did the project nothing higher than 400 grit, but you may get better results with something more, I liked mine fine though.

after you sanded, do a little buffing, the smoother the shinier. I didn't use anything proffesional just my hands and a rag.

now we lay down the black or gray primer, a good even coat, then buff, thenblack laquer, a whole can of it, bufff, buff, buff
voila! look how shiny!

the pic's don't do justice, the thing looked very wet when I took the pictures yet it was dry, that's what you want.

Step 7: Paint

Historically they used bronze, the spartans.
but I wanted mine to really shine like the movie, so I bought 3 different types of spray paint, a bronze a gold and a brass. I ended up using ostly the gold and brass and then bronze on the edges.

After you spray down your paint, let it dry and buff it.
then your almost done

Now that you have this beautiful gleaming thing I want you to take a paper towel and smear black paint all over it into the crevices, but make sure to wipe it off everything else.

THen clear coat it to death!
over and over and over! as many coats as you can get.

an then you could put elastic or velcro straps on it if you felt inclined, but mine stayed on fine w/o so I jst left em as is.

For the cape I found a gleaming red table cloth and took a few belts, strung them around my chest arms and back and made a little brooch, which was pinned on.
I borowed some greek sandals from a friend and ordered a spear.

Congrats if you made it, post some pics of you holding the line!

Step 8: The Legendary Leather Bannana Sling

haha, I laughed too.
So this was foolishly left out but a very important piece to the costume.

I searched far and wide for a premade one, only to find an extremely expensive option from a leather store that dealt with more. . .playful leather undergarments.
So I decided I would make my own, not much to them it seemed.

I studied the screen clips ans production stills to figure out how they worked and eventually stumbled upon this made by someone on some forum for some ____con. I really don;t remember aanything else, sorry,

they work a lot like child's diapers actually(flattering, I know). it's all one piece that wraps around the waist and then you pull up the front flap and button it to the other to pieces that wrap around from behind

I studied that and then drafted a pair in newspaper and found an inexpensive leather skirt from a thriftstore and bought it for the material. I used the newspaper as a pattern sewed it all togetherm and bought a little snap kit from a fabric store and hammered it together. and voila presto chango.

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    12 years ago on Step 2

    How can find a paint for the helmet?

    Cpt. Caleb
    Cpt. Caleb

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    I just picked up some gold. and brass  and a little bronze Rustoleum from a home depot or lowes


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Random rant post, sorry. But the Spartans weren't stupid....they wore breastplates..that 300 movie irks me...

    Johnny Topside

    Hey man I just wanted to let you know I did the spartan training and I got my 6 pack.

    Cpt. Caleb
    Cpt. Caleb

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    you could probably get the finish and texture with a papermache finish, it just takes much longer, I originally started out using just papermache but I wasn't getting the results I wanted so I read all I could on Fiberglassing and jumped in, my first time using and I feel like a pro now.


    11 years ago on Step 7

    what about your cloak? how did you make it? more specifically, how does the fabric attach to the leather? how does the leather go around the body and attach?

    Cpt. Caleb
    Cpt. Caleb

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I ran out of time, so when it came to that I took two belts and fastened them together, wraping so they crossed on my chest, then simply took that unaltered fabric and wrapped over, saftey-pinning underneath. I know it's not pretty but I was out of time.


    11 years ago on Step 8

    haha.... you need to gain some muscle mass dude, but thanks for the costume idea.

    Johnny Topside
    Johnny Topside

    11 years ago on Step 2

    SPARTA is awesome. I am working on my armor and 6 pack. I wil post pictures once Im done


    12 years ago on Step 7


    Cpt. Caleb
    Cpt. Caleb

    Reply 12 years ago on Step 7

    Sorry man, but I believe the Original Spartans are the ones who should be honored first. But I plan on making Halo Armor someday

    Lt. Duct Tape
    Lt. Duct Tape

    12 years ago on Introduction

    Just what I was looking for! And now to write an 'ible on the "airbrushed abs" technique as shown in "Meet the Spartans"


    You suck Cale this project is bunk and was amazing when you showed up on campus dressed as a Spartan. 5/5 my friend 5/5.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Can you please give me the link you used to get the helmet stencil becasue i would like to make a costume for this year.