Intro: DIY Gamora Sword Build
This was one part of a large Halloween Guardians of the Galaxy project. My daughter wanted to be Gamora and we needed to make her a suitable sword to really help identify the character. The concept was simple but I encountered a few problems I had to overcome. Here are the supplies that cost about $15:
3/4" PVC pipe, reducer fitting and curved cap - Home Depot
expansion foam - Home Depot
Elmer's glue - Michaels
modpodge - Michaels
metallic silver spray paint - Michaels
Step 1: Create the Basic Shape
Her sword has a very unique shape to it. I found some artwork and printed it on a transparency film, then projected it on the wall where I had taped a piece of cardboard and traced the image onto the cardboard after I had adjusted the image to the desired size - about 2'.
There are also a couple of other smaller pieces that are hear the handle of the sword where the sword is thicker and has some detail and design. These couple of pieces needed to have two copies made (one of each for each side of the sword.)
All pieces of cardboard were cut out using an Xacto blade. There are some pretty small details, especially the center channel of the sword that required patience.
My initial cardboard draft I cut was out the the "grain" of the cardboard perpendicular to the long axis of the sword. This resulted in the sword being weak length-wise and prone to flexing and bending.
So I made a second copy of the sword using a thicker piece of cardboard and with the cardboard "grain" following the long direction of the sword, but slightly off (about 30 degrees) so it had strength in both directions.
The smaller detail pieces were glued with craft glue to the main body of the blade.
Step 2: Create the Handle
I needed to create a groove in the center of the handle to slide the cardboard blade into. I also had to taper the handle as it transitioned to the blade. I used my mitre saw for both. The width of the table saw blade was essentially perfect for the width of the cardboard to slide in with a tight fit. After I was satisfied with my cuts on the handle I glued the detail pieces (cap and fitting) onto the end of the handle. I used a very small amount of expanding foam to fill in any gaps between the handle and blade. When all was dry, I sanded everything down.
Step 3: Reinforce the Sword
Because my first attempt at this sword was very weak with the cardboard, I wanted to make sure that I gave it as much strength as I could, so I used the following steps to reinforce the blade.
The first step was to cover the entire cardboard sword blade in masking tape.
Then we paper mache'd the sword blade using a combination of newspaper and a 50/50 mix of water and Elmer's glue. My daughter and I applied 2 layers of paper mache.
The final reinforcement step was brushing matte modpodge alone the entire blade to add more rigidity.
Step 4: Finish Details
I used an Xacto knife to trim some excess paper mache and globs of modpodge. I finished it off by sanding the blade to a smooth finish.
The final step was to apply a couple of coats of silver spray paint to the entire sword.
Then use it with the remaining costume and have an amazing night of trick or treating!