DIY | Making a cosplay shield

Epoxy cosplay schild

How do you make your own beautiful shield that you often see on TV or at cosplay conferences? You can make one out of metal but that is very heavy and not easy for most people. But did you know that most weapons, shields, armour and helmets can be made much cheaper and easier from everyday materials?

Whether you opt for a Captain America shield or for one made by medieval knights, the concept remains the same. To make it as easy as possible for you, we have listed some tips and tricks for you. We're going for the most realistic result possible!

Besides shields, you can also make weapons such as guns, lances, swords and spears. Or would you rather make costumes or helmets? It's all possible! Many of these projects work in much the same way with a single variation here and there.

1. Preparations and dimensions

One of the most important steps in making a cosplay shield is preparation. Before you start, think carefully about what your shield should look like and how big it should be. To get a good idea of the size, we recommend cutting a piece of cardboard to size so that you have a better idea of the actual size.

Do you have an idea of what your shield should look like? Then make a sketch of the design. From this sketch, you can estimate which and how many materials you will need. Always make sure you have enough materials, as there is nothing more annoying than running out and running out of time. We will come back to this later.

After you have determined which materials you need, you can order the necessary materials. You can easily order many of the raw materials, such as epoxy resin and the pigments, online. You may also need to go to the hardware store for wood, handles, etc. Do you have questions about which materials to order and how much to order? Our customer service will be happy to give you advice and tips on the right products and quantities!

2. Building the frame of your shield

When making a shield, it is very important to consider how you are going to make the shield into a sturdy whole. In many cases, a wooden frame will suffice. The appearance of the frame will vary depending on the design. Remember that triangles are often very sturdy, so make sure you build the frame that way. You can also cut a plywood board into the right shape and build on this with hobby foam.

There is also a difference in the application of the shield. Are you going to use the shield purely decoratively or for an application where sturdiness is important? As you can imagine, a decorative shield does not need to be as sturdy. Take this into account in terms of the sturdiness of your frame.

3. Covering your coat of arms

Once you have figured out the frame and made a separate sketch of this, it is time to think about how you are going to cover this frame. In this example, we assume you will use hobby foam to form the shield. There are also other options such as Styrofoam, PU foam, cardboard or even papier-mâché. Contact our customer service team if you want to know more about this.

If you want to make a sturdy yet lightweight shield, glass fibre is very common. This material, which is also used for boat repairs, is very sturdy and mouldable. You can also use it to cover Styrofoam very well.

Covering with epoxy

To make sure the glass fabric stays in the right shape, use epoxy resin. This resin consists of 2 components. Mixed together, the epoxy hardens into a strong plastic. Glass fabric can be divided into square weave and twill fabrics. Square weave is ideal on flat shapes, while twill fabrics are easy to fold over curved shapes. Attach the foam, cardboard or papier-mâché to the frame. Create the shapes you want and finish. Next, it's time to clad the shield. Coating the shield with epoxy follows these steps:

  • Clean and dust the shield.
  • Mix the epoxy resin with the corresponding hardener for 3 minutes. Make sure you weigh the resin and hardener accurately to get a good end result. Pour the epoxy into a clean mixing cup and stir well again.
  • Apply the epoxy to the shield.
  • Place a glass fabric of your choice in the wet resin.
  • Apply more epoxy with a brush or roller (the glass fabric should become completely transparent).
  • If white spots appear, rewet them. Shiny spots have just too much resin. You can easily distribute the resin with a laminating spatula.
  • Re-roll the laminate with a vent roller. This is how you remove air bubbles from the laminate (this is an important part of the process).

Apply several coats in this way until you reach the right strength of the shield. You can easily finish the shield with DD Paint, various industrial lacquers or acrylic lacquers. By varnishing your shield, you can give it a certain shine.

It is also possible to finish the shield with Polyester. However, we do not recommend this to beginners. Polyester has a very strong smell. Because of this, unlike epoxy, you cannot work indoors. Moreover, with polyester you have to work with a mask on, where with epoxy, safety goggles and nitrile gloves are sufficient. Polyester is also not compatible with Styrofoam and many other foams, because the Styrofoam dissolves in the polyester resin.

Conclusion

You now have the basics for making your own cosplay shield! You will now steal the show at every conference and people will ask you how you managed to make such a realistic shield. We hope you enjoy making your own cosplay costume in advance! If you have any questions or want additional tips, please contact our customer service team by phone, chat, email or WhatsApp!

This beautiful shield was created by Maniaworks Cosplay. For more cosplay photos, take a look at his Instagram.

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Do it yourself jobs with epoxy (DIY), polyester and PU foam!

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