View Full Version : Prop Weapon Making Tutorial

11-03-2002, 07:52 PM
Hey everyone. At every con I have been to as Inuyasha, the most common question people ask me is "how did you make that sword?" I carry around a huge transformed Tessaiga. Well, I wrote up a big pictoral tutorial on how to make your own prop weapon, in the hopes that someone here may find it useful. You can find it at the following address:


Please, if you have any use for this, let me know if it is helpful and if there is anything that can be added to it to make it even more useful to others!


ryuichi fangirl
11-03-2002, 07:56 PM
Hey, that's so cool...actually a friend was asking me about prop weapons yeserday, so this does help (cause I have no idea how to make them myself). Great timing!

11-03-2002, 08:00 PM
This technique works well for both large and small projects. A friend of mine made Kohaku's hand-scythe the same way, and it came out AWESOME, and it was very lightweight also. Another friend made Sango's 6' boomerang pretty much the same way, with a few modifications. I'm sure if not for a complete weapon, it would work great for parts that are complex or not common shapes.

ryuichi fangirl
11-03-2002, 08:06 PM
Neat. My buddie is actualy thinking of going as Inu-yasha^_^, so I've been thinking of going as Sesshoumaru....so we wanted to make a halfwal decent looking Tetsaiga...we may actually pull it off now ! We're both kinda slow so I know it's not gonna be a good as yours is but, hey we all gotta start somwhere, right?

11-03-2002, 08:20 PM
WOW. That is an awesome tutorial. And the final result looks amazing! *bookmarks*

I need to make a sword for an upcoming costume, so I'll be sure to give your method a try.

11-03-2002, 08:22 PM
lol and I've been thinking for the past few days, I should ask Melchior what that automotive coating stuff was called, because your finishing method is different than the one I know. XD I want it for something else, though I do want to do Inuyasha, so it'll be super nice to have a little guide to how to go at the Tetsusaiga. (Though, don't know, maybe I'll do the untransformed one, just cause...)

11-03-2002, 08:25 PM
This is great, I'm getting materials for Kiros' katals and Marth's sword this weekend so this will provide a bit more help. I also have my who is majoring in carpentry giving me pointers so I thik I can pull this off ^^

Space Invader
11-03-2002, 10:31 PM
Great! I'm busy making my friend Heath and Inu-Yasha costume for Ushicon in Feb (40 buttonholes i nthe sleeves! I'm gonna die), and I want to make him the Tessaiga. Wheee, I'll give your method a shot, it came out looking great. I'll have to raid Heath's power tools though, since the closest thing I have to a power sander is a wimpy dremel tool. This method would work great for my Hikaru sword as well *sword is 4 1/2 feet long...*

Miaka No Baka
11-03-2002, 11:03 PM
how heavy is the sword that you finished? I'm guessing that foam stuff you used is pretty light but after adding the bondo etc it probably weighed it down some. also is that foam stuff sturdy enough to be the handle alone? Let's say your sword handle is weird as in not a stick handle wrapped with cording but would the foam handle the weight and pressure if you were to hold it by just the foam? An example of a sword like that is sora's keyblade from kingdom hearts.

Miaka no Baka

11-03-2002, 11:13 PM
Originally posted by Miaka No Baka
how heavy is the sword that you finished? I'm guessing that foam stuff you used is pretty light but after adding the bondo etc it probably weighed it down some. also is that foam stuff sturdy enough to be the handle alone? Let's say your sword handle is weird as in not a stick handle wrapped with cording but would the foam handle the weight and pressure if you were to hold it by just the foam? An example of a sword like that is sora's keyblade from kingdom hearts.

Miaka no Baka

Tessaiga is pretty heavy - probably about 6-8 lbs if i had to wager a guess. For smaller weapons, you can get away with the handle being by itself, but I wouldnt recommend doing it for something of Tessaiga's size. For that keyblade though, you could probably trace out the square part, and then drill a hole through it and into the sword blade, then use a dowel in the middle as a handle, while the rest of it (the square part itself) was shaped and sanded. That MIGHT work. Of course, if you kept a pretty small blade (the keyblade doesnt have a whole lot of surface area in the blade as I recall, so it'd be way lighter) then you might not have a problem using foam for the handle, as long as you coated it all adequately. The main reason Tessaiga is so heavy is that it's a really wide blade, and it flares out at the top, so it's not only weighty but top heavy as well. I dont think you'd have as much of a problem.

Miaka No Baka
11-03-2002, 11:51 PM
ok cool I'll have to try it out ^_^; I'm probably gonna make my boyfriend a sora costume and he wants the lionheart keyblade so I might be able to work that from the foam ^_^; It's just that the keyblade has an odd handle more of a loop the hand is placed through ^_^; Thanks for the tips I had no idea that this stuff could work good! ^_^

Miaka no Baka

Syaoran fan
11-04-2002, 04:58 PM
Is there any other type of puty or clay that dries the same but might be easier to work with?:confused:

11-04-2002, 05:51 PM

Excellent tutorial!! One to keep in the favorites section. ^^

11-04-2002, 07:17 PM
just wondering about how much it costed....
~Chibi Kitty

11-04-2002, 08:38 PM
Originally posted by Syaoran fan
Is there any other type of puty or clay that dries the same but might be easier to work with?:confused:

Perhaps. I havent seen it yet. The only concern with this though is that it wouldnt be as durable if you used something like model magic or something like that. Bondo is a pain at first, but once it dries it is very durable.

just wondering about how much it costed....
~Chibi Kitty

Lets see.. Each can of bondo was about $9. I used three cans. Foam I got for free (i had some spare) but a 4x8 foot sheet of it is about $20 (yea, kind of expensive, but if you make alot of props it is worth it). Dowel for the handle was like $2.99. Filler putty, maybe $5. Sandpaper would be $3-4 for a pack of it. Cording for the handle wasnt that expensive, maybe $7-10 for 10 yards. So lets see, assuming you'd buy everything, around...

$70 most.... less depending on how large of a weapon you want. Although if you have some of this foam laying around it's much cheaper ^^.

11-04-2002, 09:02 PM
Cool. Very cool. <snags info & pics>

11-04-2002, 09:09 PM
very nice tutorial! -gives Melchior a gold star and a cookie- when i was goning to cosplay yuna i didnt know how i was gonna make a staff cause would be really heavy to carry around but this sweet foam stuff wont be ^^

11-04-2002, 11:27 PM
Oh YEAH, I forgot to mention those nagging SAFETY issues.

How do you safely sand that large quantity of Bondo, which IS fiberglass? DO you use a HEPA filter mask, and how do you deal with the dangerous fiberglass-dust product of the sanding (like, keep it from being blown all over, tracked into the house, breathed in, etc.?) Obviously just sweeping it up is insufficient. Do you wet it down? Do you have a HEPA vacuum?

11-05-2002, 12:11 AM
I use a filter mask (not sure if it is the HEPA one, I use the dust masks that you can purchase near the bondo, the white fiber ones, if that is what they are) as well as an apron, and do my work in a well-ventilated area (re: outside). This takes care of most of my problems, although yea I have tons of dust all over me when I'm done. And of course, I make sure to brush off the piece with a soft bristled brush alot.

I may not be adequately protecting myself from this, hmm.. Thanks for bringing it up to me. And always use safety glasses! :skidude:

Spooky Brew
11-05-2002, 12:16 AM
Very cool! I'm going as Inu Yasha as well and had no clue how to make the Tetsusaiga!

L to the 3rd
11-05-2002, 01:25 AM
very interesting techinque

11-06-2002, 09:45 PM
First off, excellent tutorial for beginners!

But as someone who has been a student of Collision Repair Technology for the last 2 years and works with this stuff daily, let me add a few tips to cut down on weight and cost.

First off, Bondo is not fibreglass - there are 2 main types of bondo. The first is a plastic filler which has the consistency of toothpaste and is applied just like the fibreglass filler. However, all you need is a dust mask because when you sand it, all it produces is dust. This is the bondo used for most repair applications on cars.

The second type of filler is the fibreglass filler, affectionately nicknamed "Kitty Hair." It's stronger, but is alot harder to work with and you need to wear full protection in the form of a HEPA mask, gloves, and long-sleeved shirt and pants, as you are dealing with fibreglass dust when you sand it.

A tip I've learned to make the weapon just as strong and good looking but without all the extra weight and cost.

First off, you CAN sand the styrafoam down to be smooth, but you must do it by hand. The edges don't have to be perfect, but after you cut out the basic shape you must sand it down to get rid of the whole unevenness that comes at that step. You don't need to buy a whole sheet; most hardware stores sell them in quarter sheets (4ft x 2ft) for 5 dollars.

Instead of using the fibreglass filler, use fibreglass mat and cloth. You can get these at the hardware store.

Cut the fibreglass mat and cloth into squares about 6 inches big. Mix up the fibreglasss resin in a paint tray liner according to the directions. Take your first peice of MAT, and place it in the resin, coating it front and back. When you take it out, drag it along the edge of the tray to remove any excess resin.

Then place it on the styrafoam. Push it down and make sure there are no air bubbles. Repeat this process until one side of the entire blade is covered, with an overhang of about an inch. Wrap that inch around to the other side. This way, when you cover the back half of the blade the same way, you now have double thickness on the edges, where most bumping will occur! :)

Once the front and back have dried, repeat the entire process with the fibreglass cloth. The cloth isn't as rough as the mat, and will make for a nice smooth finish once it dries.

Then once it dries, just sand it down and take it from that point in the tutorial. This saves alot on weight, and you won't need to do as much sanding, because the styrafoam was very close to the final shape before you put the fibreglass on it.

11-06-2002, 10:36 PM
Ah, useful to know, thanks...

Spooky Brew
11-06-2002, 11:14 PM
Yay! Go Kusanagi! You just made it into my price range! *cheap*

11-06-2002, 11:28 PM
Wow. That is, like, awesome.

11-07-2002, 07:07 PM
Eek thats expensive *Im cheap!* But awsome job with the tutorial. I have bookmarked it. Mad props for taking the time to explain it, you have helped a ton of people, myself incuded! Thanks!

Mei Lan Chang
11-07-2002, 11:24 PM
That is an excellent excellent tutorial Melchior! -bookmarks-

11-07-2002, 11:42 PM
Thanks Mei Lin ;) Glad you could help.

Hey last year we went as the Eva children in plugsuits, and I wanted to have a Spear of Longinus, but alas, it wasnt done in time by the guy who said he'd make it for me. Any ideas on how one could be made that was sturdy but not too heavy, and looked good? I was thinking a seven-foot spear =)

Miaka No Baka
11-08-2002, 01:06 AM
pvc piping could do the trick. I dunno what the spear looks like exactly, but if you get a good thickness it'll be sturdier and they probably have it in such long lengths at the hardware store, and plus you could make it collapsable for travel purposes

Miaka no Baka

10-29-2003, 11:31 PM
Awesome Job...I think I now know how I'm going to make the Dragon Slayer for my Black Swordsman (Berserk) Costume! Thanks for sharing!

11-05-2003, 04:46 PM
I myself use wood for weapon props and stuff. The only bad thing is that it can be nearve racking to work with,and the outcome is usually pretty heavy. The tommy gun I made for my FFVII Rufus costume ended up kinda lame, but I myself think that my replica of Beyong the Grave's Cerberus (Gungrvae) came out pretty good. If I ever take any pictures of it ill try to post 'em here

11-05-2003, 05:09 PM
I would love to see that site again..*kicks it* It refuses to work *sigh*