Custom Play Sword and Scabbard




About: Being yourself is the way to be. I'm proud of nonconformity!

I love sword play, but not the limited selection of foam or padded swords sold. PVC and pipe insulation are  fine, but the swords you can make with them are limited. However, with a bit of plywood and a saw, you can make custom sword of any shape or size. 

*Disclaimer: Swords of any kind are dangerous! This sword is padded but it WILL hurt if you get hit hard. Never use it to hurt another living being or someones property! I am not responsible for what you do with these instructions! They are ment only for informational purposes!*

Step 1: Tools and Materials

To make a sword using this method you will need:


A scroll saw or jigsaw (I used a scroll saw, but for larger blades a jig saw is better)

A Rotary tool with a sanding head and a cutting head

A drill/driver



3 1" screws (you may need more depending on the blade size)

1/2" PVC pipe

1/2" plywood

Foam pipe insulation

Duck tape


Optional but recommended:

Large graph paper

Box cutter

Step 2: Design the Blade

Using this instructable you can make a sword shaped however you like. To start I find that it is helpful to estimate the length of the blade. Doing this will give you a base to work off of. Draw the shape of the blade however you like. The finished product will have about 1/2" of foam on the edge so make your blade smaller than you want the finished product to be.  If the blade has complex turns it will be hard to add the foam, but it is not impossible to do. The handle will be 1/2" PVC so you don't need to draw it. to attach the PVC there dose need to be a 1/2" wide support where you want the blade with at least 1" of wood above it. I recommend that it is at least 2" long.

Step 3: Form the Blade

If you drew the sword on paper cut it out and either trace the outline, or use clear tape to attach the template to your plywood. If you drew directly on the wood you are clear to start cutting. Don't rush your cuts! it is easy to cut to much off the blade, but don't worry if the edge is a bit bumpy. As long as the general shape of the blade is close the foam will cover up any bumps so the sword will turn out fine. To finish the blade sand the edges using your rotary tool of choice. If the edge is not smooth it may cause damage to the inside of the foam.

Step 4: Make the Handle

Take a  of 1/2" PVC and mark the length you want for the handle. From that mark measure 1" for every foot of length from the hilt to the tip and cut there. Now using a saw cut a 1/2" wide slot from the end of the pipe to the mark that starts the handle. Measure 1/4" from the handle along the sides of the pipe and make a mark. From there mark every 1/4" up to the end of the PVC. There should be 3 marks per inch and 1/4" between the last mark and the end of the pipe.

Step 5: Attach the Handle

Take the blade and sand down the handle support so that it fits in the pipe. Insert the blade into the handle and if the slot was cut right the blade should fit in snugly and be held between the two sides of the PVC. Get a drill bit a bit smaller than the core size of your screws and drill pilot holes on the marks all the way thought the pipe/blade/pipe sandwich. Now Screw the assembly together. Using your rotary tool either cut the excess screw off or grind down the tip.

*At this point the sword is usable but NOT play safe*
*To make the sword play safe continue to the next step*

Step 6: Cushion the Blade

To make the sword play safe I used pipe insulation on the edge of the blade. Full sized pipe insulation is a bit too big so I recommend cutting the foam to 3/4 of its normal size. Take the pipe insulation and place it over the edge of the blade. If there are any sharp corners on your blade cut the pipe insulation at angles so it fits on. Using thin strips of duck tape attach the foam to the wood. Using more tape cover the entire blade. The sword is now complete.

Step 7: Make the Scabbard

To make a scabbard for your sword start with a large piece of cardboard. It should be at least three times the with of your sword and six inches longer. Trace the outline of the blade on the card board. If there are any projections or jagged edges on your blade trace from tip to tip and ignore th gaps. This will make it so the blade can slide easily. Cut out the outline and use the inside piece as a template to make another identical side piece. Before you continue, take a long piece of cardboard and make a strip of as wide as the foam is thick at its thickest point. The strip should be taped along the blade edge of the scabbard perpendicular to the side piece. using the same method attach the other side. Now take a long strip of duck tape and put is sticky side up along the open edge of the scabbard. using smaller pieces attach the tape to the sides of the scabbard to make a "roof."   This "roof" can also be made with another strip of cardboard. The sword should now be able slide in and out of the scabbard. To finish the scabbard either ad a belt loop or a shoulder strap or both! 

Step 8: En Garde!

Even though the blades are padded, getting hit hard will still hurt. These swords should be used with restraint, but they are safer than wood swords, so have fun! 



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    10 Discussions


    2 years ago

    It looks much more like a bardiche than a sword, because a sword's blade usually has the hilt attached to the bottom of blade while yours has the blade attached much like how an ax head is attached to its handle. A Bardiche has a blade that varied greatly in shape, but was most often a long, cleaver type blade. The distinction was in how the blade was attached to the pole. The bardiche blade was attached to the pole either via two sockets (one at the top of the pole and one lower, at the base of the blade) or one socket at the top and one surface mount at the base, effectively mounting the heavy blade to the wooden shaft. This construction is also seen in Scottish polearms, such as the Lochaber axe and Jeddart staff, and bardiches are known to have been imported into Scotland in the 16th and 17th centuries. Depending on the design of the particular weapons in question, at times a bardiche may greatly resemble a voulge.

    While the blade was often very long for an axe (usually exceeding 2 feet (60 cm)) the shaft was one of the shortest of all polearms; rarely did it exceed 5 feet (1.5 m) in length. It relied more on the weight of its heavy blade to do the damage than a swing from a long pole. This makes the bardiche more similar to the Danish axe, in some respects, than to a true polearm.

    Sorry if that was confusing, I guess I might have got a bit carried a way, but nice weapon you have created here.

    1 reply
    pie R []edh8864

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    It was originally developed for making amo boxes water tight (like ducks). As such it was refereed to as "duck" tape. It was also called "duck" because of it's fabric based that resembled cotton duck (canvas). It was later discovered that it works well on ducts too. Because that is now it's main "official" application it is normally called "duct" tape. However, I like to use the original name. Both names are technically correct.


    pie R []eddoomsdayltd

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    The handle is not quite long enough for a halberd, but I do see the resemblance. It is styled partly after a sword from the anime Bleach.

    doomsdayltdpie R []ed

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    ah, i thought it looked like that. but yea, halberd's are much a scabbed for one is redonkulus


    8 years ago on Introduction

    its a good idea and i understand were you are coming from with the idea. Another idea is to use poly foam planks, i use two inch thick ones to make shields and weapons from. Just trying to pass one tips from one foam smith to another.


    Wood is arguably the WORST core you can use for a padded sword of any kind. It's illegal in nearly EVERY game for a reason: It breaks. It splinters. Especially plywood. And with that "half-tang" construction, I have no doubts that sword will break at the handle. It's a nice idea, but don't expect any field-martial or Reeve to allow that sword onto a LARPing field.

    1 reply

    Its not meant as a LARP sword. It is a simple alternative to the PVC boffer. I made mine for use as a prop or dueling sword. It is meant as a step up from a normal wooden sword in terms of safety, and as testing ground for sword designs before you spend money getting nice sword foam.