Introduction: Leonardo Katana Tutorial TMNT

About: Prop maker from the PNW.

This is my interpretation of Leonardo's katana inspired by the 1990 movie and 2003 cartoon versions.

Tools you will need:

safety glasses


heat resistant gloves


box knife


small wood clamps

strait edge/ruler



1/4" drill bit

small square file

heat gun



Step 1: The Blade

Glue two yardsticks together using super glue. Be sure to line them up exactly on top of each other. Use clamps to get a tight bond. Measure down two inches then mark the blade angle from the opposite corner. Cut on the mark giving the blade is main shape.

Measure and mark from the hand end 11" and 12" down. From the 12" mark towards the blade point use a box knife to whittle the blade edge. Use the seam between the two yardsticks as a guide for the middle.

Sand the cut rough cuts with #80 grit sandpaper followed by #220. Apply a generous amount of wood filler. Sand again with #80 then #220. Apply a small amount of super glue to the tip of the sword and rub/brush it into the grains. This will reinforce the tip.

Step 2: The Handle

Mark 10" down from the non lethal side of the blade. Cut two 10" pieces of yardstick. Glue these to the blade to bulk up the handle. Round the edges of the handle using #80 grit sand paper. You may wish to keep it more square like mine or more oval.

Next, cut and glue enough pieces of yardstick to create an area bigger than 3"x3". Use the provided template to trace the tsuba pattern. Using a saw to trim the material into a 3"x3" square. Use a 1/4" drill bit to bore out holes for the blade to eventually pass through. Use a file clean up and remove excess material.

Give the tsuba a good sanding with #80 grit and try to knock down the red text as much as possible. Once again, patch any rough spots with food filler. Once dry, sand #80 then #220.

Step 3: The Habaki and Kashira

You'll need two pieces of pipe cut to 1" lengths. One needs to be 1" diameter of SCHD 40 PVC and the other 3/4" diameter thin wall PVC. Heat 3/4" pipe with a heat gun. You'll want to wear a respirator, heat resistant gloves, and have good ventilation for this part. Once the pipe is malleable slip it over and down the blade. Lightly hold it flat over the blade while is cools. Once it's cooled enough, it will maintain its new shape. Repeat this process for the 1" pipe. If the pipe gets too hot, the edges may start to bulge out a bit more. You can knock these spots back down with #80 sand paper followed by you guessed it, #220 grit to smooth out before painting. Glue both pieces into place, you're ready for paint.

Step 4: The Paint and the Grip

This process is very simple and straight forward. First apply gloss polyurethane, gloss black, and silver to entire sword. Mask off the blade and handle, then paint the habaki, tusba, and kashira rustic gold.

Painting tips:

Paint at a temperature of at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit with little to no moisture. Wear safety glasses and a respirator with good ventilation. I allow for at least 30 minutes between coats. Most people would probably recommend more but I'm not that patient and it yields satisfactory results most of the time.

Cut and gut 20' of blue paracord. Once gutted, the outer blue shell will lay flat. Be sure not to get cheap paracord as it is all fused together. Next look up a video on how to achieve the tsuka ito wrap. Handle wraps are not my forte. Trim and seal the ends using a lighter then glue them down.

Toys & Games Contest

Participated in the
Toys & Games Contest