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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Duct Tape Short Sword or Dagger Tutorial

So you say that you’re studying the Middle Ages and the boys have become obsessed with Medieval weaponry and will talk of nothing else. Maybe they would enjoy a little hands-on project.

I have no doubt they’ll want to figure out accurate blade shapes and the like…this could turn into a full-fledged research project.


Years ago, back when David was about 5 or 6, I made him a whole kit out of duct tape and cardboard, including a sword and a shield. Years later his younger brother had me making shurikens from duct tape and cardboard. Most recently, I made a force pike to go with his Halloween costume! Duct tape weapons seem to be ever present in our household.

This tutorial will show you a basic technique for creating duct tape weapons. I encourage you to consider this a springboard and experiment, using what you have on hand. Duct tape works especially well for things like this because it stretches and tears easily to allow you to fit unique forms. I have never been disappointed by our duct tape creations.

For a dagger or short sword, you will need:


  • Scissors
  • a pen, pencil, or marker
  • duct tape---I used “chrome” for the blade and regular for the handle and hand guard, because I happened to have both. You can use whatever color you like.
  • an empty cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels---for a short sword or even longer sword, you’ll need 2 or 3.
  • a piece of cardboard---I used a flap from a box

Important Note: Whenever possible, tear the duct tape, don’t cut it. It will gum up your scissors real good and doesn’t cut well, anyway. You can tear it easily both lengthwise and widthwise.

Here’s how to do it.

  1. Using the end of your cardboard tube, draw a circle on your piece of cardboard, allowing about an 1/8-1/4” allowance all the way around (the hole needs to eventually go over the tube, so it can’t be exactly the same size---cardboard doesn’t stretch folks. Ask me how I know ;0). If you mess up, it’s ok. This will be covered up when you are done, so draw away until you are happy with it.012
  2. The cardboard piece will be a “hand guard” at the bottom of your blade. It can be as big or as small as you like, I freehanded this one and actually modified it somewhat when I cut it out.007
  3. Poke a hole in the center with your scissor point and then cut from the center to the circle in several places around the circle.009
  4. Bend down the bits in the middle along your circle.011
  5. Push the tube through the hole. 016
  6. Position it about where you want tube. If you want to make a short sword, you can stuff the end of the long side of the tube into another tube. Add yet another for a longer sword.017
  7. Use a few small pieces of duct tape to anchor the guard in place.
  8. Start covering the guard with duct tape. You want to cover every part of it. Use small pieces, and don’t be afraid to tear it in places and stretch it to get a smooth finish. That last pic is the underneath, which I could have gotten a bit smoother…but, you know what? They probably won’t care. ;0) 019020022023
  9. Tear off a couple of longer strips of duct tape (long enough to go completely around the tube. Wrap the first one around the tube, just under the hand guard, covering the folded down bits, and stretching it a bit to get it smooth. Mess up? In most cases duct tape is pretty forgiving, you can try removing it and do it again (the Chrome type is less forgiving than the regular type). 025
  10. Continue to cover the rest of the handle the same way, slightly overlapping each strip. I left the bottom open, (did not cover the end), but you could cover that over with a short piece before applying the strip around the bottom. 026
  11. Flatten the un-taped part of the tube.027
  12. Cut the un-taped end of the tube to form your point. You can cut along the sides as well, just make it whatever you want the finished shape to be. Keep in mind that when you flat the tube, it will be wider than it started out, so trim the width accordingly. I decided to make this one fatter.028
  13. Start covering the point with narrow strips of duct tape (I used Chrome.), overlapping, and tearing the tape at right angles, stretching to get it smooth.030
  14. Once the curved parts are covered, you can tear off strips of the duct tape to wrap around the remainder of the tube.032
  15. Finished!033


Now to decide which of the boys gets this one. ;0)

Updated to add an Important note: Safety always comes first. Please be sure that your kiddos exercise caution, and stay away from especially vulnerable areas like the face when using play weapons. It is possible to injure someone with any toy, homemade or not.

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Cloak Tutorial

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  1. Hi! Following you from Mollys Home Team! I can tell I am going to be addicted to all the fun tutorials on your blog! :) It's nice to "meet" you! Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season so far!

  2. Thank you so much for this tutorial! We ran off and did this RIGHT AWAY and blogged about it, too. In our excitement we forgot the guard, but I am sure that we will make plenty more and perfect our own techniques as we go along. Blessings to you!

  3. Thanks a bunch, Happy Elf Mom! The rest of y'all can see her post here:

  4. Hi there, Swinging on Small Hinges! Looking forward to getting to know you better.

  5. This is right up our alley! Thanks for the tutorial! :)


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