View Full Version : how to make big shiney swords?

02-12-2003, 07:38 PM
any tips on making big swords that are relatively light, and still look shiny like metal? I've never made a sword before, but I sure would like to learn. if this has been discussed before, I appologize! <:)

02-12-2003, 08:19 PM
basically you can sand wood down to a thin plank (or really any other material for that matter) the trick is the paint. Dutch boy makes metallic paint, and I know for a fact you can buy chrome spray paint as well...i have some in my basement. ;)

02-12-2003, 08:21 PM
does it really end up being super metallic though?

02-12-2003, 08:48 PM
Squall (Aaron), who ran the Final Fantasy Ball at AWA in character is the one who gave me the advice. He used wood sanded down to a thin blade-like shape, and then used the dutch boy paint. I think the results are FABULOUS...here's one pic, and for more, go to finalfantasyball.com ...I apologize if the quality isn't the best, but for some reason, most of their links lead to broken images. x_x


02-12-2003, 09:21 PM
so how do you cut the wood to begin with before sanding? can I use a hand saw? or do I have to have something complicated?

Thanks so much!!

02-12-2003, 09:26 PM
A jigsaw that can cut plywood and the like is prefered because of it's brilliant speed and cutting presion...it works like a charm!!! The only thing that you have to do with a jigsaw is hang on to it....it has a tendency to wanna "slip" from your grip....so becareful!!

02-12-2003, 09:28 PM
If you want a realistic metallic look then use chrome tape. I know they carry some at Michael's but it isn't very sticky. You might want to check around your local hobby shops since they carry better quality ones. I don't like metallic paint since it ends up too dull, but maybe that's just me.

02-12-2003, 09:43 PM
yeah, that's what I was afraid of, it being a bit dull. in this particular case I don't mind if it's a little dull, but I guess for curiosity sake I was wondering how one would go about making it really really shiny!

this chrome tape you're talking about,... is it small like an inch wide tape? would the seams show?

as to a jigsaw, oy... I have no "tools"! I guess I'll have to find someone local to me who can help me out (ie, who has a jigsaw?)

02-12-2003, 09:52 PM
Chrome tape is really shiny. You can see your reflection off it.

They have different sizes. You can buy them in large sheets (2' x 3') or rolls.

02-12-2003, 10:26 PM
HRM! that sounds pretty cool! I'll go check it out once it stops POURING outside. XP

02-17-2003, 12:55 PM
ok, so I looked at Lowes (hardware) and Michael's. I found plenty of large sheet metal that could be possibly used (maybe a bit too heavy though!) but the only metal TAPE I found was about 4 inches wide at best.

are there other places I could look?

02-17-2003, 06:07 PM
hmmmm... this thread may help me! i just watched angel sanctuary and my new like dream cosplay is now setsuna mudo (in the alexiel form)! so im gonna try making the wings and the seven-bladed sword of the holy spirit. thatd be cool, ha? hey does any1 hav pics of some1 who has cosplayed this b4? well, thats my babble ^_^;;

02-17-2003, 06:22 PM
One warning about metal tape, it acts a little like aluminum foil, that is if you hit it against something, the mark will show, and if you slip it in a scabbard it will probably wrinkle/rip.

As for Alexiel's sword, it's not metallic, it's clear (think of a glass sword).

02-17-2003, 06:42 PM
aimee: Try your local hobby shop (like where they sell model planes).

Eva 01
02-17-2003, 08:17 PM
Yuo could try to make the wooden blade then cover it in aluminum, and then cover it with car body filler, Well I'm trying to make a keyblade like this and when I'm done I'll post pics.

02-17-2003, 09:05 PM
thanks again guys,...

car body filler, what exactly is that? is it clear? (and hard?)

02-18-2003, 11:50 AM
i think u can use some plywoods to make a good sword and about the shiny color...hmm... why dont u try to use some wat do u call that some sort of paste like cement that is put in the wood to make it smooth?? and then paint or spray paint it with silver metallic paints...do multiple coatings and paint it evenly to look good :bouncer:

Space Invader
02-21-2003, 10:56 PM
For my Hikaru sword I'm using fiberglass. After I have it sanded all nice and smooth, I'm going to spray paint it silver. All the little details are going to be made out of Celluclay with a layer of Paperclay over them for smoothness.

Paint is the best thing I can think of - you can always put a gloss over it. That helps some. Foil and the like wrinkles and tears too easily, and sheet metal will be *REALLY* heavy. Go for paint - I would rather have a slightly dull blade than one that's really heavy or one that has rips and wrinkles in it ^_^;;.

02-22-2003, 07:11 PM
I've heard a lot about Celluclay, and I've used Paperclay before, I'm guessing that you can get Celluclay at art stores or Michael's, etc...?

I'm just trying to research all sorts of methods I suppose! I'm so curious!

So are you cutting a sheet of fiberglass with a saw, or are you having to cast it in some way?

02-22-2003, 08:42 PM
wee! ::takes notes for her Beatrix sword::

02-23-2003, 06:31 PM
Yes, I think you need to look in the Hobby stores that sell model airplanes. They have metal paint that is MEANT to make plastic and wood look like metal. Most people in those stores can tell you about what works best for the material you are using.

I suggest MDF instead of Plywood....I think it is more flexiable, and not as prone to chipping....plus it just looks nicer.

Hope I helped...OH!
Remember to prime it first, it takes less coats and gives it a more finished look.

02-23-2003, 07:18 PM
MDF, what's that? I appreciate all the help, wow, you guys!

02-23-2003, 08:08 PM
Oh, lemme get in on this thread. Currently my boyfriend is kinda stumped on making Dante's sword, Alastor. We don't want it to be heavy and break in half or anything, and the thing is DETAILED AS ALL GET-OUT!


That's a really bad picture. There's skulls on the top and the whole thing is huge and insane.

We're trying to find out about a bunch of different methods. But we don't know enough about any one thing to do it. I suggested he go to his school (he goes to the Art Institute) and ask someone there, cause they have a whole industrial-type part of their school. I'm sure someone there would know something.

I'm fine with hands on things, and while I havn't made any swords yet, I will be soon. But their small enough to be made out of plywood and such (of course if I could find something smoother than that, that would be great) and I just bought a jigsaw for when I need to start working on some things.

But damn, Alastor is so complicated, we don't know where to begin. If he doesn't get it done, it's ok. I bought the actual Ebony and Ivory model guns (which we still need to detail and paint >.<) but he really wants the damned sword *laugh*

If anyone has any ideas, they are greatly appriciated!

02-23-2003, 08:28 PM
doh! that image doesnt seem to work for me for some reason, G!

02-23-2003, 08:49 PM
Poop, here try this.

02-23-2003, 09:45 PM
well, the sculpting might be difficult (the dragon) but to me the hardest part would be that really THICK bevel in the middle! if you wanted it totally accurate, you'd have to have a relatively thick peice of wood (or whatever you decided to use) and then sand it/cut it down.
wow... yeah I see how you mean it might end up being really heavy. has anyone done a dante sword you liked yet? (maybe we could ask them)

02-24-2003, 06:33 AM
MDF is a type of pressed wood. It is like plywood but better, if you go to a lumber or home improvement store they will show you were it is.

They use it all the time on Trading Spaces and Changing Rooms.

Hope this helps!

02-24-2003, 11:10 AM
sounds perfect! looks like I'm getting marginally close to starting working on this!

02-24-2003, 02:36 PM
i agree with using the MDF... it sands up really nice and you can easily do just about any paint effect on it...
(Changing Rooms Rocks!)

02-25-2003, 11:24 AM
ok well sinece were talking swords here ill post my lil prob and my tentative solution

im making a thin sword *umi's from mkr* what im thinking of doing is using a thin dowel then shaping fiberglass over it to make the appropriate shape is that good bad no opinion?

also i do know that in ne hardware store (including sears) they do have metallic spraypaint

02-25-2003, 01:15 PM
I've made a couple swords and I tend to prefer pine. Plywood, due to its layers, would require a lot more coating to make it smooth. With the pine I just carved it to the right shape, sanded it smooth and used layers of gesso to eliminate any woodgrain. Then I painted with metallic spraypaint and coated with gloss. If you want to see how it turned out, here's some pics:


The only bad thing about pine is that because it's so soft, it's easy to dent or nick while you're working on it...so you have to be a bit careful.

02-25-2003, 01:29 PM
That is a simply lovely shinken. *__*
It definitely looks real.

A few questions, though, did you carve the whole thing out of the same block of wood (hilt included)? And what kind of tools did you use to get such precise incisions?

Moreover my next sword project has a hole in the blade... would that seriously lower the integrity of the piece?

02-25-2003, 01:30 PM
*worships Sarcasm-hime's swordmaking prowess*

dear god what i would give to have those skills

02-25-2003, 10:25 PM
I made a Tessauiga by chipping into a big styrofoam block, covering it with 5 rolls of duct tape, making a smooth cover out of stretchy fabric and sliding it on, and glueing in a dpwel and some fur.

People were looking at me funny when I was sawing into the foam. Lol.

02-25-2003, 10:33 PM
Sarcasm-hime, that is a GORGEOUS sword. WOW. *Drool*

02-26-2003, 02:26 PM
The blade was one piece of wood. The handle was a round dowel, which I attached to the handle by creating a square joint (the handle went inside part of the blade wood) and gluing it with woodglue. It was then reinforced with a bit of plasterstrip.

The curves on the handle were partially carved and then built up with papier-mache. The pommel was paperclay. All the details on the blade and handle were paperclay carved with a Dremel. The thin swooshy bits off the crossguard were ABS plastic heat-formed and glued to the sword. The handguard is also plastic, with cord and leather detailing covered in gold enamel. This sword took me a LONG time.

As for a hole in the blade, it depends on how big the hole is, how thick and how wide the sword is. The hole should not be more than 50% of the width of the blade.

02-27-2003, 02:16 AM
so would you say that paperclay is relatively durable? I've used it for some minor props before, but nothing as intensive as this! sounds great to me!

02-27-2003, 03:18 AM
I wouldn't use Paperclay for something that needs to stand up to punishment, or for pieces that need to be thin and delicate, but on a sturdy backing (like wood) it pretty much bonds with the wood and is fairly strong. This was a decorative sword, mind you. For a functional sword I would have had to cast the whole thing out of resin or something....

Just to clarify--the core of the pommel and the crossguards were actually pulp papier-maché covered with Paperclay. I didn't want to take the chance that the Paperclay wouldn't be strong enough, so I used the pulp maché underneath with a layer of Paperclay on top for smoothness. Bags of pulp are available at many craft stores and are very handy for building up armor and stuff. It dries hard and very lightweight.

02-27-2003, 04:02 AM
First off, OMG that sword is too cool *__*

Ok, now I am full of questions.
1) what is gesso?
2)what is abs plastic?
3) what did you use to glue the paperclay to the pulp mache stuff?
4) can I take your brain with all of your awesome prop-making knowlege and eat it and gain your power?

02-27-2003, 09:22 AM
> can I take your brain with all of your awesome prop-making knowlege and eat it and gain your power?

Sadly that only works in Clamp mangas. Otherwise I'd fight you for it. ;)

02-27-2003, 05:44 PM
ROFL! Ano...I like my brain, it's useful to me.... ^_^

1. Gesso is a thick white liquid that artists use to prime their painting surfaces before painting. By using many layers and sanding between each, you can get a very smooth surface. You can get it at any art supply store.

2. ABS plastic (also known as styrene) is a type of thermoplastic, plastic that can be shaped when you heat it up. www. houseofplastics.com is the place where I got mine. It can be shaped by putting it in the oven or using a heat gun (available at hardware stores).

3. I didn't need any glue--you just put a bit of water on the surface where you're applying paperclay, and it sticks. It works best on a porous surface (like wood or wood-fiber derivatives, such as papier-maché). I wouldn't try to stick paperclay to plastic or metal, unless you made the paperclay piece first and then glued it using epoxy or something.

02-27-2003, 06:23 PM
Thanks muchly! There's actually a plastic supplier somewhere here in Philly that my boyfriend apparently gets school discounts at (he goes to the Art Intstitute of Philly) so I've been meaning to check that place out.

As you can tell, I know nothing about art, as I can barely draw stick figures, so your explainations were quite helpful. Thank you!

02-27-2003, 07:26 PM
Also, a cheap substitute for gesso is actually Elmer's glue! I was looking at gesso at the art store and a little dismayed at the price (it was not cheap) and the woman in line behind me said that she uses diluted white glue for her paper mache products. It works! I did armor with it and it takes paint wonderfully.

02-27-2003, 10:38 PM
double thanks from me too!

I'm curious, in your use of ABS, did you have any fume problems? I mean like, could you use your oven for baking cookies afterwards, cause you know, cookies always take priority over cosplay. (another reason why my Naga costume won't be seeing the light of day soon. FAT FAT... XP`~~~~)

anyway. heh. :)

Leona Almasy
02-27-2003, 11:15 PM
Any suggestions for making D's sword from VHD:Bloodlust? The hilt seems like it would be the trickiest part, especially with those little skulls that are attached to it.

02-28-2003, 03:17 AM
Aluminum tape from hardware stores is very durable and has VERY sticky backing (and I used it on swords WITH scabbards), but it only comes about 2" wide, as far as I know. A seam will show, somewhat.

02-28-2003, 10:43 AM
yeah, that's what I found when I was at the store! I'm wondering what people use who do larger swords like example, that time kitty was dressed as Squall and had a large reflective sword! I didn't see a seam there!

I'm probably just going to go with paint anyway, because I'd like to detail a few things (with paint) but still! I'm a curious bunny!

02-28-2003, 01:34 PM
Originally posted by Karisu-sama
but it only comes about 2" wide, as far as I know. A seam will show, somewhat.

They have larger sizes. I know they have large rolls and sheets (approx. 2 x 3 feet).

02-28-2003, 01:44 PM
enishi, what store are you getting it from? I went to lowes and michaels and they either didn't know what I meant, or couldn't find it. I believe you that it exists, but I can't find it! X(

02-28-2003, 01:47 PM
I found mine at Michael's and I know some hobby shops (check the yellow pages) sell them. If you *really* want some I can snail mail some to you.

02-28-2003, 01:59 PM
ok well i figured out how to make the guard on my sword but i was wondering if you guys would think its ok to put plaster of paris ontop of papier-mache

i would think that the plaster would make it smooth but i not sure if it would crack or not any suggestions?

02-28-2003, 02:15 PM
enishi- do you mean places like hobby lobby?? (thanks a ton btw..!)

that depends on how hard your papier mache is! if its sturdy and isn't going to bend, then I think that would be ok. (some other people may be able to give you better advice)

in my experience, I made a caveman club out of wire framework and did plaster of paris over it. the problem I had was that because my wire wasn't SUPER sturdy, if you hit the club on anything slightly, th eplaster would crack.

I hope that helps you some!

02-28-2003, 02:31 PM
I've never been to Hobby Lobby, but places that have model airplanes and cars -- that type of thing. Look under 'hobby' in the yellow pages and you should find some places. Call them up and ask to see if they carry it. :)

02-28-2003, 02:44 PM
so, just so I understand you right... :) you're talking about a think metal tape that is adhesive on one side, and about 2 to 3 feet wide, and comes in rolls several feet long right? (like long enough to make a sword?)

02-28-2003, 02:52 PM
Metalic tape is the devil.

It crinkles up like nobody's business. I swear, if you just look at it funny while you're putting it on, it fold and crinkles and makes your life a living hell. The adheasive on the back is so strong that once that happens, it's stuck like that forever. >.< I used it for the edges of Seifer's gunblade, and it was just a crinkly mess.

02-28-2003, 04:45 PM
I've never tried the Elmer's glue thing, but I've used white glue on collage before and found that it would get tacky again when I painted on it. Plus I'm dubious about how well white glue will sand. But then again, I've never tried it.

Plaster of Paris should work over papier-maché if the base is strong and won't move at all, but it can get heavy real fast.

As for plastic fumes, I prefer to work with a heat gun for the most part (more control), and I tend to work with the windows open. If you don't get the plastic too hot, though, you don't have to worry about fumes too much. You shouldn't heat it any more than 250 degrees. But if you use the oven for plastic a lot, then you probably would want to get a cheap toaster oven or something just for plastic work.

I'm not familiar with what D's sword looks like....

02-28-2003, 05:07 PM
thank :) im not too concerned with weight the whole thing so far ie blade and handle are pretty lightweight and im not planning on putting too much plaster over it, just enuff to make a clean smooth surface

but man this whole layers thing is annoying me *sits and waits for her paper mache to dry*

02-28-2003, 05:13 PM
G- considering that, I think I'd rather go with something sturdier then, for peace of mind sake,... like paint!

Sarcasm hime- I"m assuming you can get heat guns at hardware stores right? so you're using a heat gun exclusively? or an oven AND heat gun?

03-02-2003, 07:17 PM
Yeah, heat guns are in the paint section at hardware stores (they're used to strip paint). I've used the oven occasionally, but I prefer the heat gun as I find I have more control. If I ever get around to building a vacuumforming machine, of course, then I'll have to use the oven.

Basically the oven is good for evenly heating up large pieces, but if you want to heat only one part (or re-heat only one area) then the gun is better.

If the papier-mache is being built on a base that won't melt or anything, you can always throw it in the oven on low heat. That's what I do when my Paperclay's taking forever to dry...^_^ Just make sure the heat's low and keep an eye on it.

03-02-2003, 07:55 PM
you're a life saver! I've done some research in vacuumforming, but I don't think I'm ready to jump into that pool yet, you know?

again, thanks every body for all the tips on different materials!

03-08-2003, 03:29 PM
Hey everyone i need a bit of help, I'm making 2 different sets of weapons, One is Alexander anderson's (Hellsing) Swords, the other, as shown on my Icon is Ward Zaback's Harpoon, any ideas on how to make them?