Cardboard Riot Shield

Introduction: Cardboard Riot Shield

About: I'm a singer, actor, pianist (sorta), and a beginner cook/chef/ insert your word for a cooking person here.

First off, I need to give credit to my little brother for coming up with the idea to make a riot shield.. although I'm not actually quite sure why he wants one.. but anywho. This riot shield is good for airsoft battles, occupying, hiding behind, halloween, food fights, mud fights, snowball fights.. well I guess you get the idea! 

Step 1: Supplies

Supplies will vary but here is about what you'll need.

-Large cardboard box. You decide what size works best for you. It should pretty much cover the upper 3/5 of your body. 
-Duct Tape 
-Strong Scissors (Seriously! I broke 2 pairs of scissors doing this project!) 
-Soda Bottle or some other type of plastic to cover the eye hole
-Thin strips of lumber ( I used door and window trim, about 3 in by 1/2 in) 

Step 2:

This part is slightly hard to explain, but you're going want to turn your box into a rectangle.
Cut off the flaps (if your box has them) and cut right down the folds.

The picture shows is better than I can explain it. 

Step 3: Rectangle to 'Oval'

Now using a pencil, draw a curved line on the corner (See Picture). You're pretty much turning your neat rectangle into a oval with straight sides. 
Now start again, making another rectangle from the opposite side of the box. Then put your 'oval' on top of it and trace around it. 
Cut that oval out. You should now have two ovalish shapes. 

Note: The oval shape is somewhat optional. If you want it any other shape just trace out the shape on the other piece of card board. 

Step 4: Eye Hole?

If you want to see out of your riot shield you're going to need an eye hole. (If you don't want to see, please skip this step) 

-On one of the ovals draw a rectangle. Small or big is up to you. However much you need (or want) to see. 
-Cut out the rectangle. If it's not a clean cut don't worry. It works best to cut 3 sides and leave one till the end. 
-Tape the ovals on top of each other. (Just one piece of tape on the side and one on the top. As long as it stays in one place)
*Now would be a good time to make sure the ovals are the same size. Cut off any places where one goes over the other. 
-Cut the eye hole again on the second side.  (You could trace it and cut it, but I like doing it this way just to make sure they are the same size. 

Step 5: Supporting Your Shield

Now that you have the general shape of the shield, you'll need something to support it so that it won't just flop over. Small strips of lumber work really well for this. Make sure it's not heavy so you can carry the shield easily. I used some window trim around 3 inches by 1/2 an inch. 

First make sure the wood will fit on either side of your eye hole without sticking out.

Next cut the wood to the size you need. (You'll need two pieces, one for each side) 

Here comes the fun part. Open up your shield so that the two pieces are beside each other. (The tape on the side from when you cut the eye hole will make it open like a book. The tape on the top will have to be removed) Take the first strip of wood and carefully tape it down. Use the duct tape lengthwise and make sure you get a sharp crease in between the wood and the cardboard. 

Tape down both sides and the top and bottom, then switch sides and do the other board. Make sure it's taped tightly so it won't jiggle around. 

The main thing here is sharp, tight creases and strong duct taping. 

Also while you're here you can tape around the sides of the eye holes ( Don't tape them together!) if they got cut sloppily. 

Step 6: Protecting Your Eyes

So for those of you planning on using this riot shield for something other then a halloween costume (especially airsoft players), your eye hole is going to need something to cover it. A regular soda bottle works well for this,  and should hopefully save your eyes from destruction. 

-Take a 2 liter soda bottle, one with no pattern , such as the one shown in the picture, remove the label, and cut off the neck.
-Cut the bottle in half until you reach the very bottom and cut out the flower/star shaped part there. You should end up with 4 pieces as shown in the second picture*.

-Taking one of the halves turn it inside out so it no longer curves, and will almost lie flat. You'll probably have to do this a few times before it will start losing it's curved shape. If you can't get it to stay, put it under a few heavy books and let it sit for a couple hours. 

-Cut your plastic to around a half inch within perimeter of the eye hole, and then tape it on. You may have to tape it twice to make sure it will stay and not curve back into a bottle shape. 

*If your eye hole is extra big do this instead: Cut off the top and bottom leaving you with a sort of cuff/bracelet. Cut down one side of this so you can lay it flat. Then match it to your eye hole. 

Step 7: Tape Your Shield Together

The only thing you have left to do is tape the two sides together. Tape lengthwise, just like the wood. 
You don't have to tape all of it, but make sure you get the curves top and bottom and at least half of each side. 

You could also staple it but you would need either a staple gun or a stapler able to staple through two layers of cardboard. 

Step 8: Ha! Tricked You!

I told you had only one thing left. But I lied! Mwahahahaha! But seriously, this step is somewhat optional. 

To hold your shield though you might want some handles. You can easily make these by taking a strip of duct tape, folding it in half and securely taping it on. (Using long strips of duct tape to tape it on is a good idea. This is not shown in the picture because I didn't realize until after taking the picture and trying the handles) 

Step 9: Enjoy Your Shield!

Use this shield to survive 2012, the zombie apocalypse and black friday crowds. Oh and I want to see pictures of the shield you make!! 

Also if you feel like it you could spray paint your shield so it looks scarier. Make sure the duct tape you use can be painted! 

Oh and don't let your dad have the shield while a camera is in your hand or he will start posing. 

1 Person Made This Project!


  • Lighting Challenge

    Lighting Challenge
  • Metalworking Contest

    Metalworking Contest
  • Puzzles Speed Challenge

    Puzzles Speed Challenge

7 Discussions


8 years ago on Introduction

you shouldn't make it out of cardboard, my pistol will go through that.


Reply 4 months ago

Sorry but this is for nerf I think but feel free to make it out of wood


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

If you wanted you could reinforce it with duct tape.


7 years ago

Certain larp groups use a stiff foam board for shields, I've seen it stop an air soft at 20 feet. It gets some penetration but won't pass clean through.