A mate and I make a mini-series for a kids camp we are leaders at called Guess The Leader. Basically, masked leaders do crazy stuff and the campers have to try guess who the leaders are. When coming up with activities for this we thought it would be awesome to have a game where our leaders had to try complete a course in the fastest time while water balloons were launched at them.
This meant I needed to make some riot shields that were easy to construct, cost almost nothing to make and were reasonably strong. I think shield made in this way would be great for air-soft or paintball but I haven't tested if they could be penetrated so test ones you make before playing with them.
Why Corrugated Cardboard?
Corrugated Card is strong, easy to work with and best of all free. I get boxes all the time from an appliance store called Magnus Benrow for free and most appliance stores will give them to you if you ask nicely :)
Cardboard Shield Promo Intro
Step 1: Materials
These shields cost me nothing to make at all! All the materials needed can be sourced (usually) for free or you will probably have them around the house. The only thing you may have to buy is spray paint later on.
You will need:
For Making the shield...
A Craft Knife
A Tape Measure
Some Wallpaper Paste
A piece of sandpaper (not too rough)
A Corrugated Cardboard Box
For Painting and Finishing...
Some Black house paint (or other black paint you have)
Some Grey paint
A paint roller (a brush will work if you dont have one)
A can of Silver Spray Paint
A can of White Spray Paint
A hot Glue Gun with Glue Sticks
Some Elastic (I used reasonably thin strips)
Step 2: Cutting and Gluing
On your Cardboard You Want to mark out a 100 cm x 50 cm rectangle (About 40 inch x 20 inch). This is the size of the shield so if you are taller than a 15 year old guy, you may want to make it a little bigger. The shield should go from about your knees to nose.
Once you have cut this out, trace it (or mark out the rectangle) again and cut that out. Give the two halves a quick sand to clean up the edges. Glue these together with the wallpaper paste and secure with Pegs - The two parts will pull away and warp otherwise.
Step 3: Edges and Bolts
While The two parts are drying, cut 3 strips of card that are about 2.5 cm thick (1 inch) and a bit longer than your shield. These will be stuck to the edges of the shield.
On top of these will be some bolts. I have included my template for them but depending on the use of your shield, you may want to make your own template. As the shields were for a kids camp, I chose to make oversized and cartoon-like bolts which i think turned out well.
Glue the template sheet to a piece of card and when dry, cut the bolts out. Give the edge pieces and bolts a sand as this will remove any jagged edges or mistakes.
Please Note ... On the sheet there are too many bolts for one shield, I was making 5 shields at a time so put a lot on one sheet.
Step 4: Glue Again
Once two halves are dry, Trim the edge strips to size and glue them onto the shield. Then paste the bolts on but remember to remove the paper backing of the template or the bolts will not glue on strongly and will fall off.
Once all this is dry, trim the edges with a razor blade or the craft knife (got my Dad to do this as he is good with that kinda stuff)
Step 5: Bullet Holes
You may choose to skip this step as it will make slightly weaker spots on the shield. To make the holes, stick the craft knife into the shield and rotate it 360° and then back. Its pretty easy but its a good idea to try this on a bit of scrap card a few times before hand. Make sure you don't go right through the board as that sorta defeats the purpose of the shield aye.
Step 6: Undercoat
Paint the shield with the black paint making sure not to flatten the bullet holes then, with a smaller brush, paint the holes and edges. It will probably take 2 or 3 coats to cover the card well. Remember that it is much better to do 3 thinner coats than one thick one. Once this is done, leave the shield in the sun to dry. Quite a lot of paint will be used in this step as the card is absorbent but its essential that you give the shield this undercoat as it seals the shield and provides a base for the spray paint.
Then with a slightly lighter grey, paint the bolts. This will accent the bolts and make them stand out.
Step 7: Spray Paint
Spray the shields with the silver spray paint lightly. This will give them a metallic look and looks pretty cool! I sprayed them with the can about 50 cm (20 inches) away from the shield.
Step 8: Handle and Arm Strap
To make the handle, cut a strip of card 25 cm x 4 cm (10 inch x 1.5 inch) and fold as shown in the picture below, then spray paint the handle with the white paint. Glue it on where you feel comfortable (remember your arm will be flat against the shield). This will hold reasonably well just make sure you glue it on with a lot of hot glue as on one of the shields, one with little glue, the handle fell off. The handle dimensions may need to be adjusted for a comfortable fit.
Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the arm straps before the shields were destroyed but I have included a sketch for reference. Basically, two lengths of elastic were curt and stuck on the shield to hold the forearm in place. Plenty of Hot Glue was used for this also.
Have fun making a shield and leave me a comment on how it goes.