Yurg. These things gave me nothing but trouble.
I took a day long break from making the armour to take a whack at making Youko's sword. As it's one of the relics of Kei and proves her right to the throne, I thought it would be an important prop to include. I had found a tutorial some time ago on how to make prop swords out of cardboard, a dowel rod, and aluminium waterproofing tape, and I had been dying to try it ever since. I hit the hardware store and bought all the supplies and came home to give it a go.
I used foamcore to make the 'meat' of the blade. Let me now take the time to express how much I have come to despise and loathe foamcore. The stuff is a nightmare to cut. If you use scissors on it, it damages and crushes the foam. I don't have a craft knife or exact-o blade, so I had to use scissors to score the posterboard outer shell first, then I had to score the foam middle several times over, and only then could I finally cut through the bottom layer of posterboard and get the bloody thing cut out. Ugh. It was horrible.
I finally did manage to get the pieces cut out. I then spent the next two days applying, removing, cursing, and reapplying the aluminium tape. The stuff does NOT want to cooperate. No matter what you do, there always seem to be wrinkles and creases in the bloody stuff. The more layers you add, the worse it gets. I ended up ripping off my first few attempts and starting over. It didn't help that I had damaged the foamcore by trying to insert the dowel rod down the centre, so the tape wanted to show every minor warp that had occurred because of it. I finally ended up ripping off all the aluminium tape, covering the foamcore with a layer of painter's masking tape (layering on several strips over the damaged section to make it level again), and then trying again with the aluminium tape. It still fails. I became so frustrated with it that I set it aside and attempted to make a sword out of craft foam, thinking that I had had such success with it before, it couldn't possibly fail me now! I made the blade shape in craft foam, covered it in layers of masking tape, and put on the aluminium tape. It was definitely smoother, and yet somehow not as good as the cardboard blade. -sigh- It just looks...squishy. So, I'm going to go with the cardboard sword and finish up the hilt. I started to draw out the pattern for the crossguard on foamcore, and I bought some paperclay to make the raised designs, but I'm so tired of working on this beast that I haven't touched it since.