How to Make Cardboard Samurai Armor

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The Samurai were a warrior class of people in Japan that developed around the 9th century AD. These warriors followed a code of loyalty to their masters and wore special armor as protection in their conflicts. Individual pieces of the armor were made of slats of lightweight bamboo lashed together with ties. The slatted armor allowed its wearer to be more flexible in hand-to-hand combat. You can recreate Samurai armor out of cardboard to wear as a costume for Halloween.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • 3 large cardboard sheets
  • Pencil
  • Box cutter
  • Yarn

Body Armor

  • Measure the width and length of your chest with a measuring tape. Lay one large sheet of cardboard on a work surface. Draw a rectangle on the surface of the cardboard equal to your measurements. Cut the rectangle out using a box cutter.

  • Draw a "U"-shape centered along the top edge of the rectangle to create a neck hole. Draw an inward curving line on the top right and left corners of the rectangle to create arm holes. Cut along the curved lines and discard the removed pieces. This will be your chest piece.

  • Lay a second large cardboard sheet on your work surface. Lay the cutout chest piece on top of the second cardboard sheet. Trace around the chest piece with a pencil. Cut out the traced outline from the cardboard. This will be the back piece.

  • Draw horizontal lines across the length of the chest and back pieces. Space the lines four inches apart. Cut along these lines to separate the pieces into slats. Punch one hole in each corner of each slat.

  • Lay out the slats from the chest piece in their original order before they were cut. Tie the individual slats of the chest piece together. Thread lengths of yarn through the corresponding top and bottom holes. Tie the yarn ends in a knot at the backside of the slats. Repeat this until the slats of the chest piece are tied together. Repeat this process with the back piece.

  • Punch two holes in the top of both shoulder slats on both the chest and back pieces. Lay the back piece, right-side down, on the work surface. Lay the chest piece, right-side up on top of the back piece. Thread one 6- to 8-inch length of yarn through the corresponding shoulder holes of both pieces. Tie the ends of each length of yarn together in a knot.

  • Measure the distance between your underarm and the top of your waist. Measure the width of your side. Lay a third cardboard slat on a work surface, and cut out two rectangles equal to your measurements.

  • Cut both rectangles into 4-inch slats. Lay out the slats in the original order, keeping the slats from each rectangle separate. Punch one hole in each corner of each slat. Tie the slats in the first rectangle together with lengths of yarn. Repeat the tying process with the second rectangle. These will be your side guards

  • Punch one hole on each side of the top slat in each side guard. Punch holes in the sides of the slats on the chest and back pieces that fall near your underarms. Place one side guard between the left sides of the chest and guard pieces. Thread a piece of yarn through the corresponding side holes in the back piece and side guard. Tie the yarn in a knot. Thread a second piece of yarn through the corresponding side holes in the chest pieces and side guard. Tie the yarn ends in a knot. Repeat this process to attach the second side guard to the right side of the body armor.

Arm Guards

  • Measure the length from your shoulders to your elbow and add 2 inches. Measure the width of your upper arm and add 2 inches. Trace two rectangles equal to these measurements on the remaining cardboard. Cut out the rectangles.

  • Cut the top corners off of each rectangle to round the top of the arm guards. Punch one hole on either side of each rectangle, three inches above the bottom edge. Punch one hole on either side of the rectangles, two to three inches above the first holes.

  • Thread one end of a 10-inch piece of yarn through the back of one of the bottom holes of one of the arm guards. Tie an overhand knot in the end of the yarn. Place the arm guard against the outside of your upper arm. Wrap the yarn behind your arm and thread the loose end through the back of the bottom open hole. Pull the yarn until it is snug against your arm. Tie a knot in the yarn's end on the outside of the cardboard. Continue this process with a second piece of yarn, working through the top holes. Repeat this step with the second arm guard. Cut off the excess tails of yarn.

Thigh Guards

  • Measure the length and width of your thighs. Trace rectangles equal to your measurements on the remaining cardboard. Cut out the rectangles with a box cutter.

  • Punch two holes in each lengthwise side of each rectangle. Position the holes three to four inches inward from the top and bottom edges. Cut four pieces of yarn, each 18 inches long.

  • Thread one end of the first piece of yarn through one bottom hole on a thigh guard and knot the end. Thread one end of a second piece of yarn through one top hole on the same shin guard. Tie a knot in this end of the thread. Hold the thigh guard up to the front of your thigh. Wrap the bottom piece of yarn around the back of your thigh. Thread the loose yarn end through the open bottom hole. Pull the yarn snug around your thigh and tie the end in a knot. Repeat this step with the top piece of yarn to finish the first thigh guard. Tie the two remaining pieces of yarn to the backside of the second thigh guard in this same manner.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add color to your armor by spraying its outer surface with spray paint.

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References

  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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