Round Shield

Introduction: Round Shield

A nice way to add to a costume is a shield, this project only takes about 1-2 days so its great as a weekend project!

Ok so I know there will be some of you who will say this isnt really historically correct, however this ible will show you how to make a sweet looking and fairly functional "replica". For its size youll be surprised how sturdy and lightweight it is, only 2.8kg!

There was a different ible promised to any followers, but this just came together perfectly. I bought a small stainless steel bowl thinking I would use it someday for a shield boss, then out of the blue a friend offers a load of plywood perfect for some shields and my dad was about to throw out some sheets, so all I needed was some nails, washers and woodglue!

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Step 1: Tools & Materials




Drillbit (size of your nails / rivets)



Metalworking stake (you can use a large chisel or another hammer with a benchvice)

Tape measure



Weights (dumbbell discs)

Box / crate

Sander + sandpaper

Safety gear (dustmask / goggles)


Plane / rasp


Gauge measure

A friend (a family member could suffice)


Plywood (mine is 6mm)

Fabric (old bedsheet)

Woodglue (get at least 750gr, I used 500gr for the fabric layers alone)

Stainless steel bowl with a rim (or a real shield boss)

Box of nails (use big ones if you want to make rivets)

Box of washers (same inner diameter as nails)

Simple plank (I used a pine plank from a pallet)

Scrap piece of wood (the radius of your to be shield + about 5cm in length)

Small nail



Leather strap (long enough to make a loop from your shoulder to your hip diagonally)




Step 2: Getting Started

To start out figure out what size shield you want, this ible will follow the same design as mine, 80 cm wide, a grip with shield boss in the center and 2 reinforcement bars.

First you'll want to get the size of your bowl(shieldboss), the easiest way is to place the bowl on a piece of paper and trace the rim. Fold the paper in half and measure the fold, subtract a few cm(about 4) to accommodate the boss rim. Devide this measurement by 2.

Take your scrap piece of wood, place a mark a few cm from one edge, take your previous measurement (the shieldboss) and add this to make another mark. Place the last mark at 40 cm from the first one(or whatever you want your shield radius to be)

Get your pencil and measure its thickness using a gauge measure, drill the second and third mark with a drillbit the size of your pencil.

Now take a small nail and nail the scrap piece onto your plywood at the first mark, place your pencil in the outer hole and use it to draw a circle! Next use the inner hole to draw out the boss circle.

Step 3: Cutting Pt1

Alright take your plywood to your sawing table and cut out the big circle. Take a big drillbit and drill a hole in the center(there should be a small hole from the nail). Now you can use your jigsaw to cut out the small circle. This hole, together with the boss gives your hand room to hold the shield.

Step 4: Gluing Pt1

Sooooo this can get kinda messy, so lay out some old newspapers to keep everything glue free, you might want to wear gloves. Lay out your freshly cut shield and dump on about half a jar of glue, spread this around using your hands. Keep pouring on glue and spreading it untill the entire piece is covered with a pretty thick layer.

When the entire piece is covered take your fabric and ask your friend to help stretch it and lay it over the shield. Make sure to place it while under tension and pull down on fabric around the edges so that there are no wrinkles in the fabric. When you have it all laid out place it on a box and add some weights in the center to put the fabric under pressure.

Step 5: Cutting Pt2

While the first layer of fabric is drying, lets start making the handle. If your plank (like mine) is to wide to hold comfortably mark out a width of about 5cm (or whatever handles well for you). The handle will be shaped more like your hand later on so a little bit to big isn't a problem.

Take your tape measure to measure the width of your hand and add a few cm (to allow you to wear padded gloves / gauntlets). Get your plank, make a mark the length of your shield size -5cm(so for me its about 75cm). Then mark the center and the width of your hand (plus the glove allowance) centered on the plank (picture 5).

Next place some marks about 1.5cm from both edges(picture 6), this will be the width of the handle / reinforcement bars at the tips. Take a straightedge and draw a line from the corners on the ends to the handle mark.

Cut out the handle with your jigsaw and clean up the edges. The remainder of the plank can now be used to create some reinforcement bars. Draw out 2 bars at about 2 cm width and 55cm length and cut these out.

Now the rough handle shape can be draw out, cut and cleaned. By the time this is done the first layer of fabric should be dry enough to put on the second layer!

Step 6: Gluing Pt2

This step is pretty much the same as the previous glueing step, except that it will take more glue because the first layer will soak up some glue.

Start out by removing the weights and dump on some glue, spread it around and keep adding untill theres a nice thick layer. Get your friend to help you once again and place the taut fabric onto the shield. Once its placed pull the edges down again and place some weights in the center hole.

Step 7: Making the Boss

My stainless steel bowl annoyingly had some rubber coating on the bottom, so I just threw it on a fire and burned the rubber off.

Ok take the piece of paper with the tracing and fold it three times so you get eight segments. Place the bowl on top and centerpunch at each fold in the paper(pictures 4 and 5).

Next select a drillbit that is the same size as your nails (to be rivets) and drill each of the marks. Sand the boss and go on to the next step!

Step 8: Shaping and Drilling *with Optional Shoulder Strap*

This step ensures that the handle will be comfortable to hold and there is the option to add a shoulderstrap!

Take your handle plank, a rasp / plane and start shaping the handle. To make the shield a bit lighter and better looking bevel and then round the edges, I also tapered the thickness a bit.

When all the shaping is done sand the entire thing and repeat these steps for the two reinforcement bars(pictures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8).

Mark and drill a hole 1cm from the edge in all the parts(picture 9). Now you have the option to add a shoulder strap ,you could always add one later in another fashion. To add the shoulder strap I chose to create a couple of slots in the reinforcement bars to fasten a leather belt to. Start out by taking the reinforcement bar and mark a line 1cm from the holes. Now measure the width of the belt and use this measurement to add another line(picture 12).

Measure the thickness of the belt and saw the lines to this measurement in depth, chisel out the wood and check the depth by placing the belt in the hole (pictures 13, 14 and 15). Cut out the corners to let the belt move more freely. Mark and drill another hole 1cm from the edge of the slot you just made, do this to all the ends of the reinforcement bars. Now mark the center of your reinforcement bars, devide the remaining space and place another mark so each reinforcement bar has 7 holes.

For the handle mark the center of the plank lengthwise and widthwise. Take the paper with the traced bowl on it, fold it and cut out a small piece from the center. Place the paper on the handle with the hole over the center mark and line up the fold lines with the center lines on the handle (pictures 19, 20 and 21). Use your pencil to push through both sides of the paper at the trace / fold intersection(picture 22). These marks wont be the correct position, but now you can line up the shieldboss between these two marks and mark where the holes need to go (picture 23).

Devide the space between the outer and inner holes of the handle by 3 and place 2 more marks, giving your handle a total of 8 holes.

Step 9: Gluing Pt3

Alright so as I am writing this I noticed that I didn't take enough pictures of the laying out of the parts but bear with me.

First off, place your handle in the center and use a ruler to get in centered both lengthwise and widthwise, if your design checks out you should have about 2.5cm left at the top and bottom of the handle. When you have the handle plank centered secure it with some clamps, place a piece of scrap wood underneath the shield and drill through the outer holes in the handle plank.

Now you can secure it by placing some nails through the holes, so take off the clamps and drill the marks next to the handle. Next lay out the reinforcement bars spaced equally, clamp these on and drill the outer holes (again with a piece of wood underneath, this prevents the fabric from ripping).

First you need to cut open the fabric in the center, to get even cuts place your shieldboss on your shield and secure it with some nails. Mark all the holes from the shieldboss onto your shield (pictures 5 and 6). Now you can cut, starting from the center, out towards each of these marks (pictures 7, 8 and 9). Glue each of these triangles onto the inside of the shield (pictures 10 and 11).

Take off all the pieces and add a bunch of glue to the handle plank, put some nails through the outer holes and push it onto the shield. The nails will help the plank to stay in place, now flip everything over, place it on some newspapers and place weights over the handle. You (like me) might need to remove some of the glue from the inside of the handle (picture 13). Repeat this process for the reinforcement bars after the handle is given enough time to dry. After that drill all the holes from the handle and the reinforcement bars into the shield(remember to place a scrap piece of wood underneath).

Time to trim the fabric that still hangs from the edge! Take your scissors and cut the fabric to length, about 2 cm, so there is a small gap between the fabric and the handle plank (picture 20). Do this all the way around and glue the fabric onto the wood.

Step 10: Riveting

Now its time to put everything together! Take your boltcutters and cut the head off some nails. Push a nail through one of the outer holes and have about 1.5 - 2mm sticking out the back, mark the nail at 1.5 - 2mm and cut it (pictures 1, 2 and 3).

Take a washer and add it to the nail at the front side of your shield (the side with the fabric). Place everything on your anvil(ish object) and rivet the nail (pictures 4, 5, and 6). Flip it over, add another washer and rivet the other side (pictures 7 and 8). Repeat this process for all but the center ones that will fasten the shieldboss(picture 9).

Take a piece of nail push it through one of the holes for the shieldboss, add a washer and rivet the top (pictures 10, 11, 12 and 13). Mark the height at 1.5 - 2mm on the other side and remove the nail and washer. Cut the nail and repeat this process for all the shieldboss holes (picture 13). The ones that go through the handle are a bit longer ofcourse.

Now for the final step! Take an old hammer secure it in a benchvice (unless you have a metalworking stake) (picture 14) . Put one of the rivets through the shieldboss and the shield (picture 15), flip it over and place it on the "stake" so that the rivet rests on the stake (picture 16). Put a washer over the rivet and hammer it down (picture 17), do this for all the rivets. Flip the whole thing over and place it on your anvil, use the old hammer together with another one to hammer out any marks left by the previous step (picture 18).

Take your shield, put a strap through the slots and join the shieldwall to win your battles!!

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6 Discussions

If you want to make it a bit more authentic, you can add a rawhide rim. This was left out mostly because of bugetary constraints. A nice coat of paint couldn't hurt either^^


5 years ago

BURN THE BOWL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Great project. If you want to make it look even better i think you could add thumb tacks to the rim looking like rivets and the leather design. Also bravo you made a circle I can't make it without making an oval.


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Pretty easy to make a circle if you have a stick and a pencil;) and go with upholstery nails instead of thumbtacks. Thanks for the comment!