Crafting a Shield

28 Mar , 2014,
Crimson
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With Diablo being one of our favorite series, we were really excited about trying our hands at building something related to the new Crusader class. So when Vaeflare, who also featured our Demon Hunters awhile back put up some incredible visuals by Hungarian digital painter István Dányi, we were sold.

István Dányi's crusader, which was featured on the Blizzard site, became the inspiration for our shield project.

István Dányi’s awesome crusader art, which was featured on the Blizzard site.

This amazing piece, titled ‘Crusader – Unbreakable Warrior’ and the shield that the righteous knight toted soon became the inspiration for Crimson’s Crusader shield, which he lugged to the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls launch on Tuesday.

What you’ll need:

1. A large sheet of PP board (also known as corrugated plastic board)

2. EVA foam rolls

3. Leather belts (for strapping)

4. Drawing implements e.g. markers and tracing paper.

5. Cutting tools (usually a box cutter and sharp nosed scissors) and contact glue

 

Step 1:

Make sure you’ve got a good idea for the shape and design of your shield. First, draw the base shape on a piece of tracing paper, followed by any possible adornments on the shield onto a separate piece. You will need these templates for later.

Replicate the base shape of the shield on a piece of PP board. Cut it out using a box cutter.

Make sure you’re cutting it along, rather than against the grain.

Locate the middle of the shield shape, and crease it in half down the middle. This ensure that your shield is capable of bending and conforming to shape later on.

Finally, cut slits into the PP board approximate to where you intend to mount the shield straps. Make sure you cut three pairs of slits!

The PP board base, after folding and with slits cut from the base form.

The PP board base, after folding and with slits cut from the base form.

Most cosplayers don’t often realize that you don’t just have a pair of straps affixing the shield to your forearm, but also an additional strap that functions as a handle, so you can hold onto your shield firmly and to keep it in place while fighting. It’s incredibly important, especially if you want your shield to be stage ready!

Step 2:

Now, it’s time to incorporate the straps into your shield. Thread the leather belts (Daiso belts are okay) through the slits.

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Make sure the belts loop through the shield like so. The buckle of the belt should be on the lower of the two slits.

Make sure to give it enough allowance so the strap can fit snugly around your forearm. Be sure to leave enough space for any bracers or gauntlets that you might also be wearing with the prop.

Here's how it looks like on the side that's going to be the back of your shield.

Here’s how it looks like on the side that’s going to be the back of your shield.

Trim off any excess lengths from the belts after.

Step 3:

Cut out a large enough piece of foam to cover the front of the shield.

Apply about 1-inch (approx. 2 cm) of contact glue all along the edges of the PP board, and also on the foam cutout.

With the PP board held slightly bent along the middle crease to create an arch, start pasting the foam down. Once the glue is dried, the shield will retain a slightly curved shape.

The thickness of the EVA foam and it's inherent rate of curving will help your shield retain it's shape once it's properly glued on. How cool is that?

The thickness of the EVA foam and it’s inherent tensity will help your shield retain it’s shape once it’s properly glued on. How cool is that?

Cut out any adornments and filigree you may have intended to add to your shield design, and paste them on using contact glue. We also added paper fasteners to create ‘rivets.

We'll normally also duplicate the artwork onto the shield base, so we have handy guides for where to paste individual pieces.

We’ll normally also duplicate the artwork onto the shield base, so we have handy guides for where to paste individual pieces.

Start creating shapes out of foam and pasting them on. You can vary the thickness of the EVA foam you use to create differentiation and add variety to your design.

 

Step 4:

When all the elements of the shield are pasted down, it’s time to prime and paint!

Three coats of PVA should be sufficient.  If you'd like to find out more about priming armor and props, check out this tutorial.

Waiting for glue and paint to dry is always the most boring part. XD
If you’d like to find out more about priming armor and props, check out this tutorial.

We usually coat our props with three layers of PVA. If you expect your shield to see a lot of stage use, consider using five.

And done! A lot of prop-making’s really about the finish and the paintwork. ^^;;

Finally, give it a nice, shiny coat of paint and weathering, and you’re done!

What do you think of our shield tutorial? Be sure to leave us a comment here or on Facebook!