Medieval Brigandine, Nice and Easy




About: Wow! Such science! Very lab! So research! Many awesome!

Do you want to make yourself a nice brigandine, in a very easy way?

What a silly question! Who wouldn't you want one?!

Let's start, for less than 60€ you can make yourself one!

Quick list of materials:

  • Sheets of 1mm thick steel (I bought 2 sheet of 50x60cm for ~30€)

  • Strip leather (actually any kind of leather would work, but I wanted a "rough" finish, bought 1 large piece for 20€)
  • Rapid rivets (a lot of them, I ended up buying 1K of them for 10€)

(Disclaimer: The following armor is suitable for LARP, cosplay or light combat ;) )

Step 1: Cut the Steel Plates

First get a sheet of 1mm thick steel. I've chosen normal steel, and not inox, for two reasons: (1) it is way easier to cut and hole, (2) it costs way less. The down-cost is that you'll have to check every now and then for rust.

Now trace your plates, with side 5cm. Use a metal snip to cut them (if it's too hard to you, you can use an angle grinder).

Finally with a drill press make four holes on each plate.

Just for safety, sand all the edges!

Remember to always wear gloves; if you also use non-inox steel, this is even more important for avoiding early rust.

For my project I've used 232 square plates (plust 24 half square).

It will take some time, put some nice music while you work!

Step 2: Arranging the Plates

Cut the leather, and start aligning the plates, starting from the top.

Better if you try on the leather shape first, check that it is able to cover all of your torso! (Mine was 60cm large btw).

I've used the tile spacers for nicely arranging the plates, and I've momentarily attached them to the leather with general purpose glue.

(To get a quick estimate of how many I would end up I first cut a dozen pieces in cardboard, to get a quick idea)

Step 3: Rivets, Rivets, Rivets

Time to rivet! This also will take some time. Carry on!

I've used a hollow punch ( for making the holes, and a setter for... well, setting them xD (

In the end attach two leather stripes for the shoulder, and adjust the height. The leather stripe doesn't need to sustain much weight, since most of it will be spread on the torso.

Step 4: Almost Done!

Make two small leather belts and attach them to the torso, when you put on the brigandine you have only to adjust them!



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    8 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Historic brigandines had overlapping plates so that an arrow point or blade tip wouldn't just slide through the gaps this design leaves. Looks great for costume armor though!

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago


    An easy fix for reenactment purposes wold be doing exactly what he did, but using no tile spacer -just make each plate touch the one to its left and right, and have the plates be slightly rectangular (a centimeter or two higher than wider) so the small bit that's over square size overlaps the plate right under it from the inside of the coat - that way from the outside it'll overlap the plate above it, as to deflect blows coming fom beneath (what you want if you are a horseback-fighting knight). Or do it the other way around (overlap the plate above it from the inside, so it'll overlap teh plate under it from the outside) for having a footman's coat (those were meant to deflect blows coming from above).

    Be warned it will be much less flexible than one with space betwen the plates. For a costume piece, one with spaces as this one is far more comfortable.


    2 years ago

    Next time you do an instructable could you make a matterial list and show patterns when used, even if it's a shetch of the shape. You leave a lot of questions unanswered: What kind of leather did you use? How did you work out how many plates you would need? How did you punch the various holes? What was your approximate cost of matterials? Etc

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks for the feedback! I'll add the answers to the 'ible ;)


    Reply 2 years ago

    These ones (, nickel and small ;) More than 1k of them, actually xD


    2 years ago

    That looks really good!