Ever wanted to make some epic cardboard armour? Of course you have! Who wouldn't want custom-fit, waterproof, functional against a foam blade armour (all at one low cost)?Well, this was my first time constructing some cardboard armour, and I have to say, I think it turned out pretty good!
This is my first instructable, so I'm sorry if anything is not clear. If you have trouble following my directions, comment below and I will try to help you.
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Step 1: Gather Your Supplies!
You will need:
* = optional
• Cardboard. Lots of it. I'm a pretty small guy (around 5'7" and 130lbs) and I used probably around 60 square feet of the stuff.
• 1 mini hot glue gun
• 1 dozen hot glue rubber sticks (make sure they're the correct size)
• 2 Solid Grip Easy-Liner Non-Adhesive Shelf Liner, 12" x 7' in the colour of your choice (I chose white)
• *1 Plast-O-Mat Ribber Shelf Liner 12" x 10'
• 1 package Rubber Foam Weatherseal Self-Stick Tape (choose a thickness to your liking - I chose 9/16" but ended up cutting it down)
• 2-3 rolls utility duct tape (you could probably do with 1-2, but that stuff is really sticky)
• *1-2 rolls decorative duct tape (for decoration, obviously)
• 1 pack of 10 larger paracord bracelet buckles (I'm not sure what size they are (I don't know how they're measured) but I think they would be either 5/8" or 7/8")
• 1 pack of 25 smaller paracord bracelet buckles (probably 3/8" or 5/8")
• An old undershirt or thin t-shirt you don't mind cutting up, preferably matching the colour scheme you've decided on (I chose blue and white)
• *Cardboard cutter (I didn't have this but it probably would be useful)
• 1 box of 1-inch brass fasteners
• Spray bottle and water
• Ample workspace and time
• Some epic music or a favourite movie to listen to in the background
Step 2: Shape Your Chest and Back Plates
Cut out two pieces of cardboard roughly the size of your torso (make one about two feet wider than the other).
Cut the larger one on the sides so that it's like a T (see the picture). Then, dampen both sides with the water bottle and rub it in to make sure it's absorbed. Mould it to the front shape of your body with the top of the T by your waist (you might want a friend to help, but I did it - with difficulty - on my own). Have the sides of the T wrap around to your back. Mark with the pencil roughly where you want to trim for your shoulders and neck, take it down, and trim. Repeat until it feels comfortable (make sure it's fit a little loose though).
Dampen, mould, and trim the backplate as well.
Set both aside to dry
See photos for reference.
1 - the T
2- moulding the backplate
3 - both pieces
Step 3: Make the Shoulder Plates
Cut some more cardboard and experiment to mould them to your shoulders. Trim them into a pattern of your choice (not super sure what mine is, but I though it looked cool. Again, mark with a pencil where you need to trim for comfort. Keep in mind that his will be going over your chest and back plates, so account for that.
Cut four more pieces of approximate same size and mould them so that they have the same curve as the shoulder plates. Trim to your liking.
Use the brass fasteners to poke holes and create joints in the pieces so that two smaller pieces come down from each large one.
Place them both on your shoulders and connect the two pieces with your decorative colour of duct tape (if you don't have decorative duct tape just use the utility duct tape). Make sure that you account for the fact this will be OVER your chest and back armour.
Step 4: Making the Arm Guards
Cut out two piece of cardboard of the same size. Make them about as long as your forearms, but about two or three times as wide. Dampen and mould them to your forearms one at a time (they will uncurl a bit but that's ok). Trim to both shape and comfort.
Fold some of the foam shelf liner back on itself and cut two pieces of the double material that would fit nicely inside your guards.
Put the foam inside your guards and trim so that they fit with in them. They should stay in pretty well without any glue or tape, but you don't want it to slide out later on.
Hot glue the edges of the liner into the guard, then cover the edges with decorative duct tape.
Poke an equal number of holes down the sides (should be pretty big, but not too big) and tear or cut two lengths from the t-shirt. Should be at least two feet. Lace the arm guards.
1 - dampening the cardboard
2 - one finished and one unfinished arm guard. I know I did the decorative lining before hand on one, but I ended up having to rip it off to insert and hot glue the lining.
Step 5: Padding for the Chest and Back
Cut single-layered pieces of the foam matting so that they fit within the main parts of the chest and back plates. Tape in with decorative duct tape. That's it. Trim as needed. Hot glue if you deem necessary.
Step 6: Adjustable Buckling
To get you armour on, you'll have your back plate on, then the chest plate over it. The long shoulders that come over to the front on the back plate will be secured on your chest. The top of the T wraps around to the back OVER THE BACKPLATE. To secure it in place, I used buckles. I think they're 5/8 inch but I'm not sure.
They're paracord buckles, so they're curved. That's okay. Just turn one side over. It works still.
Follow the photos for how to string; you will be using duct tape.
Also I have a smaller sized buckle that's not adjustable. I just did loops on both sides for those ones. I ended up using about six of those I think.
Step 7: Making It Shiny
I poked holes to secure the buckles, but if your duct tape string isn't long enough for that, it's not imperative. You can see in the pictures how I secured everything.
Notice I put the buckles to secure the backplate on the straps and the chest.
Next, I taped down some of the Plast-o-Mat shelf liner on the front of my chest plate with duct tape, then covered the whole thing in duct tape. I repeated that process on the back plate too.
Step 8: Making the Tasset
It took me a little bit to figure out how I was going to do this.
So first, I make a stencil out of cardboard for the shape I wanted my plates to be. I decided to make two bigger plates and two smaller plates. So, I made the smaller plates the same size as the stencil, but the two bigger ones two and a half inches longer.
Spray them with water, rub it in, shape it to your hips and thighs, and you're less than halfway there.
After waiting for them to dry, cover them each in duct tape.
Use a nail to poke two holes in the top plate towards the bottom, one on each side. On the middle plates, poke four holes; two on top and two on bottom. On the bottom plate, poke two top holes.
Use brass fasteners to secure the plates together. You might want to use a pencil or something to widen the holes for the fasteners.
Poke two holes more to the center on the top plate, make some loops of duct tape fabric, and attach the loops to the top plates.
OPTIONAL: make a groin piece too (same way, basically)
I found some gripcord and another old buckle that I was able to turn into an adjustable belt to put the tasset pieces on. You can just use duct tape and tie it though.
Step 9: Shoulders
I took apart the shoulders and covered them in duct tape. When I put it back together, I found that my movement was restricted by the extra pieces, so I canned them.
I affixed the pieces to my armour with buckles on the front and back, and then one between them on the front.
Step 10: Put It On!
Now put on your armour and bask in it's glory.
You might need some help getting it on...
You will notice that I didn't put a helmet it. I did make a helmet, but I wasn't as happy with it as I was the armour. I'll probably improve it/make another one and put it up on instructables individually when I get around to it. That means that for this specific build, you don't actually need the peel-and-stick weather seal foam. It'll probably come in handy though!
Step 11: Add Decoration (optional)
Now you can use your decorative duct tape to add whatever flourishes you want! I plan on adding some sort of crest or shield onto the armour and adding accents to give it a more modern feel.
Thanks for reading!