How to make a Spartan shield out of wood

Written by tom jones | 13/05/2017
How to make a Spartan shield out of wood
A wooden Spartan shield is a great way to add authenticity to any costume. (Getty Creative)

Many years ago, all Spartan warriors would carry a large metal shield called a "hoplon" with them into battle. This weapon was considered to be the most important piece of equipment that a soldier would be issued because it not only protected him in times of battle, but it also served as shelter from the sun. Building your own Spartan shield out of wood is easy to do and makes any costume look complete and authentic.

Sketch out your design on plywood. Typical Spartan shields were round and about 90 cm (3 feet) wide. If this project is being made for someone smaller, then make the radius of the circle about the length of the carrier's forearm.

Cut out the design with the jigsaw and sand down all rough edges with the sand paper. When done, be sure to wipe away all dust left behind, so the paint will adhere properly.

Fasten two forearm loops to the backside of the shield using ribbon and the screws. The best way to position the loops is to place the first one about 10 cm (4 inches) away from the edge and the other in the exact centre. The carrier's forearm should be able to fit snugly inside the first loop. The centre loop needs to be smaller so it will fit tightly around an open hand.

Paint the front of the shield. Spartan shields were usually coated with a layer of bronze or leather and had Greek letters on them.


Be sure not to drill too far through the backside of the shield. If the screw comes through the front of the shield, it could cause serious injuries.

Things you need

  • Jigsaw
  • Plywood
  • Sandpaper
  • 13 mm (1/2-inch) screws
  • Heavy duty ribbon
  • Paint

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