With the recent popularity of fantasy films it’s no surprise there has been renewed interest in swords and sorcery among children of all ages.
Get the kids off the iPad and into the workshop with these fun projects to make their own pretend medieval weapons.
Use leftover items
The material costs are low, especially if you have a tiedown strap lying around plus leftover primer and paint, as the swords and shield are made from discarded tree branches and offcuts of plywood.
To keep it real, you can quite easily make these weapons without power tools, using a boot knife to whittle away the bark and a hand plane to shape the sword blades.
A coping saw will cut the ply easily while a bit and brace will handle the drilling duties.
TIP It’s best to use an auger bit to bore the holes for the cross-guards unless the branch is in very good condition, as a spade bit is more likely to split or splinter the timber.
Put safety first
Designing the weapons, finding the branches and painting the shield are all tasks that kids can do with a minimum of supervision, but as soon as sharp cutting tools are involved, an adult must take charge.
Be particularly mindful that your young helpers are wearing goggles or safety glasses, and give them earmuffs if they are nearby while you’re using noisy power tools.
Even if they are made from timber, swords and axes can still cause nasty injuries, so it’s best if the weapons don’t see actual combat.
The best use for them is as a majestic display on the wall, but they can be taken down and used for authenticity when children are playing dress-ups.
Mounting the weapons
This armoury features a shield, a two-handed sword and an arming sword or one-handed sword.
Mount the weapons so they can be easily removed but with the fasteners kept out of sight.
CHOOSE A BACKING BOARD large enough to show off your weapons. We used laminated hardwood that had been salvaged from
a discarded tabletop.
MARK THE POSITIONS of the weapons then wind in square screw hooks at balance points such as the hilt and near the end of the blade.
DRILL MATCHING HOLES using a 3mm twist bit at an angle into the balance points on the weapons then hook them onto the square hooks.
TIP Hang the shield directly on its straps.
Use this template to build the shield. This template uses a 50mm grid.