This will be a tutorial on making your very own Link costume from the Legend of Zelda game. This will assure your child gets cult nerd status on Halloween night as we learned when we went trick or treating. You will find out, the majority of the people have no clue what the costume is, but those that do will give your appreciative kudos.
This was all my son's idea, and it took about six weekends, and some late nights but the end product came out nice. The sword and shield were made out of wood (I thankfully had access to a laser cutter but it could be replicated with a jig saw) and I will provide cad files and pdf's of all the pieces as well as the laser settings for anyone who may have access to a laser cutter.
For the costume itself, I had a friend come by and show me how to do basic sewing, and now that I have made it, I will CAD a pattern and also upload several file formats for downloading. If you follow the link to flickr, you can see all the build images, and as I can update the tutorial I will: Link Costume
Step 1: Getting Your Materials and Tools in Order
Okay, so first things first, you are going to want to get your materials in order. I used basswood and some really thin plywood to build the sword and the shield. In hindsight, I think next time I would only use basswood. The plywood is a beast to cut, and bending is NOT fun.
Materials For The Build
Okay, so here is the supplier I recommend for procuring all your basswood needs: nationalbalsa. Eric and Tammy will set you up straight away. I have been using them for years and ALWAYS had prompt service. Tell them I send my love ;)
Aleene's Tacky Glue and 3M Super 77. I have these on hand for other projects, and you can probably get away with just one good glue that works well with wood.
I used a enamel spray paint. Red, Yellow, Silver, Blue, and a clear coat spray.
Tools For The Build
1. Cutting Device:
If you dont have a laser cutter or a friend that has one, fear not. I suggest printing out the templates I will upload and using a jig-saw, band-saw, or similar tool. In the end, even if you use a laser cutter, you will see that I filed and sanded the material so it looked a little more battle weary, so a looser tool will not make the end product any less cool.
You really cannot have enough clamps. Seriously. If you dont have enough, use this as an excuse to go buy as many as you can. Clamps were vital in this process.
This one may seem puzzling, but it makes more sense once we get further down the road. Short of it is, that when you get to gluing pieces of the shield, you will find that some of them are hard to get a clamp on, so it is handy to have a couple of these around.
4. Sanding Files:
These will come in handy when filing the millions of pieces that you will assemble. This part of the process is probably the most tedious and annoying, but in the end, if you put some love into it, your pieces will have that battle-worn look that we know LInk has earned.
5. Orbital Sander:
I have one of these, so that is what I used. Honestly, you could use any sander. This one seemed to work well.
6. Sandpaper and Sanding Block:
I used 220 grit mainly for these. DONT buy a sanding block. Just use a scrap piece of wood, spray some Super 77 on the paper and presto: a sanding block.
7. Xacto Knife:
I used a large and small one.
8. Scrap For Jig
You will need to make a jig to bend the shield (if you want to), and I used whatever scrap I had. This end up being a lot of castoff pieces of chipboard and a couple dowels, but you could easily use some plywood and cut the shape out with a bandsaw.
Alright! We are ready to look at the design!
Step 2: The Design
So, after some hard internet searching, I actually pulled up on amazon a sword and shield that someone was selling. So I used these as a precedent, although if you look hard enough at the finished product you will see that I made some changes.
So I got the images, brought them into AutoCAD and scaled them to the size that I wanted. At this point I traced both the sword and the shield. You can get the two images below and do the same, OR since I did the hard part you can jump ahead to where we start cutting and assembling.
If you decide to do it yourself, you really need to visualize the end product and start breaking the shield and sword down in your mind into its component layers.
Next we will see what that looks like.
Step 3: Breaking Down the Components: the Shield
Okay, so if you chose to draw up the pieces, this is where you can check it against mine. I possibly made it harder than I needed to, but having built a ton of stuff like this, I really like to build up the process.
Okay so this is the shield. I made up a rough key to outline the main components. The colors are not indicative of the final product colors, but hopefully they will help show how the shield is broken down.
A: Triforce pieces - These were three triangular pieces cut out of 1/32" basswood (painted yellow)
B:Shield edges - These give the shield a little depth, and were cut out of 1/16" basswood (painted blue)
C:Head piece and buttons - These add more detail and were cut out of 1/16" basswood (painted silver)
D:Shield base pieces - This is the base of the shield. Everything glues on top of this. It is made up of three pieces laminated together cut out of 1/8" basswood (painted blue)
E:Bird pieces and basic sass - These parts make up the bird and the other general sass pieces on the shield cut out of 1/8" basswood (painted silver and red)
F:Red Buttons - These are the "jewels" on the shield cut out of 1/8" basswood (painted red)
G:Black Buttons - These are the three buttons at the edge of the shield cut out of 1/8" basswood (painted silver)
Update: I added a few PDF's since many don't have access to CAD. The files are "printed" on pages that are 24"x18"