Join Date: May 2006
Zabuza Sword Tutorial
First of all, my sword is not complete yet. But I do know the steps to complete it. So this one is for all the bad Zabuza cosplayers out there with horrible looking swords.
Pink housing foam (Choose your own thickness)
80-grit and 200-grit sandpaper
Something to rough cut the foam with (Hot-knives work very well)
One bottle Gresso Canvas Primer
One foam Paint brush
Bondo (Enough to cover the whole sword, so the big can)
1" round PVC piping (5' or so, no less)
3 PVC piping connectors (2" long x 1"round fit)
1 PVC piping end-cap (1" round fit)
PVC primer and cement
Your Choice of spray paint color finishes
First off, pink housing foam is the best material to use (Unless you find something better, I haven't yet). Buy Either a 2" thick or 3/4" thick piece of it from your local Home Depot, or Lowes if you're lucky. The sheet is going to be way too big, that's ok. You'll only need a piece about 5' long and 12" wide. Have fun with the rest of it. To rough cut the sword, cut out a piece of foam slightly larger than the width (12") and slightly longer then the length (~5'). Sand until it is basically rectangular in shape. Leave some overhang for mistakes, you will make them.
On this block, draw a line 2(two) inches in from the edge, extending towards wich ever end is going to be the tip of your sword. If you have an old record, use this to sketch out the curve at the end of the sword. The blade part tapers (sp?) off, so you wont make the full round of the record. Go about 1/8 or a little more around the record when tracing and then extend your line to the edge of the block. The actual sword does this too, so no worries about accuracy . Repeat on reverse side of block. Then draw a line down the side edge of the block, so you will have a guide for the blade edge.
After you are satisfied with your lines being straight and the end looking like the curve you want it to be, rough cut the blade with a hot-knife. These can be found at any local craft store. I've never been into one that didn't have them. They cost around $10. Not to bad for what it'll do. After you've rough cut (and it doesn't have to be perfect, that's what sandpaper is for) the blade edge and curve, use the 80-grit sandpaper to finish the edge. Be careful not to take too much off, you can't put it back on later. The hole in the sword (towards the top) is about 7-8" round. Use a compass or something to mark out the circle where you think it should go, and cut it out. As for the chunk that is taken out of the bottom of the blade, it's about the same size. Only it is just half a circle instead of a full one. Also, use the 80-grit to sand down both sides of the foam block. This will remove the shiny plastic coating and ready it for prepping. After you've used your 80-grit, move onto the 200-grit paper. Sand until smooth.
For the side pieces (the 1/4 spheres) you can use a 6" round styrofoam ball and cut it to a 1/4 sphere. The guard, simply cut it bigger than the area around the blade and the side pieces by over 1/4". Then sand it down until it is 1/4" away from the blade and side pieces all the way round. Glue together with super glue. The sides should be in the middle of the total width of the sword (including the blade).
Onto the Primer: Use your brush and apply a generous coat to each side and edge. Remember to get the blade also. After it dries once, apply a second coat to the entire sword. This will serve to seal the foam so it doesn't melt when painted or have any other problems. It also helps build a layer that can take more abuse then just the foam. Wait a day to let it all thuroughly dry.
While you wait for that to fully dry, let's move onto the handle. Your PVC pipe will be cut into 4 pieces, the longest of which will end up inside your sword as far as it will go. Cut 3 pieces the same length (about 1' or so long). Then, use your PVC primer on the ends of the pipe. Next, use the PVC cement on the ends (once the primer dries) and very, VERY, VERY quickly shove the ends into the connectors. I am not kidding when I say that cement dries in seconds.Oce you have the three pieces assembled, remember to use your end cap on one of the ends, use the rest of the pipe, make that about 2' long, and attach that to the other end. Here's where it can get messy: You have to shove or twist the PVC pipe into your blade. I would suggest making an edge on the pipes end to help the proccess move smoother. Once it is in to the point where you first connector is touching your guard, you're good to go.
Bondo: Is pretty easy to work with, though it dries rather quickly. So only use small batches when working with it. Otherwise you'll end up with a huge ball of rock hard useless-ness. Coat the entire blade, side pieces and guard included, in bondo. Try to get it as even as possible to avoid excess sanding. Once it dires, which should only take about an hour at the most, sand this down with the 200-grit sand paper.
You now have a Zabuza cosplay sword that will not only not suck and look retarded, but it will take a beating too. But not like steel or any real metal. Beware trying to mock fight with this. Bondo is strong, but will break. Paint your sword any color you choose (I suggest using a beaten steel spray paint finish for the sowrd itself and a lighter silver for the blade's edge). Spray the connectors brown, and wrap blue cloth or leather around the sunken parts of the handle for grip.
Hope that helped. And if you want, I will think about commissions once I'm done my own. So you can see the finished glory, lol.
Thank you, and good day.