How to Paint Foam Board Swords

Written by anthony diaz de la vega
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How to Paint Foam Board Swords
Foam board swords ensure play sword fights are fun as well as safe. (Toby Burrows/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Foam board swords are most commonly made for use in live action role-playing, an activity in which individuals stage mock battles with soft foam weapons. Painting a foam board sword allows you to add realistic details or stylistic flourishes. Foam board corrodes when exposed to dyes like lacquers or shellacs; however, it is excellent at holding onto acrylic paint. The outer layer of foam board is also sensitive to moisture, so you will also need to apply a clear coat to protect the paint and board from wetness.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Newspaper
  • Low-grit sandpaper
  • Paper plate
  • Acrylic paint (silver and brown)
  • Sponge paintbrush (medium)

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  1. 1

    Wipe the foam board sword with a clean, dry rag to remove any dirt or moisture from the surface. Lay four or five full newspaper pages on a table, and place the sword on the newspaper.

  2. 2

    Pour a small amount of the silver acrylic paint (about the size of a sand dollar) onto a paper plate. Stir the paint around using the sponge paintbrush to thoroughly mix it.

  3. 3

    Apply a coat of silver paint to one side of the sword, then let the paint set in a cool, dry place for one hour or until it is dry to the touch. Flip the sword over, apply a coat of paint and allow to dry for another hour. Repeat this process with brown paint for the handle, allowing one hour for the paint to dry between sides. Set the sword in a cool, dry area with ample ventilation, and allow the foam board to dry for 24 hours.

  4. 4

    Move the newspaper and sword outside and lay them on the ground. Hold the can of acrylic clear coat spray 8 to 12 inches away from the sword. Spray a thin coat, let dry for 20 minutes, then flip over and spray the other side. Repeat twice more for three coats of clear paint, then let the sword dry for 24 hours before wielding it.

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