How to make a cardboard knight costume

Written by caroline adams
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How to make a cardboard knight costume
Creating a knight costume requires a little imagination, a hot glue gun and some cardboard! (purple knight galloping image by Karen Hadley from

The thought of the knights conjures up visions of shining armour, decorated shields and flashing swords. The basic costume is built around sweat pants and sweat shirt. The design Includes body armour, and a shield and sword. A design for a "helmet" complete with a large feather is also included. This costume requires no sewing. Since it is made out of cardboard and items found around the home, it is a very inexpensive yet impressive knight costume.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Black or grey sweatshirt
  • Black or grey sweatpants
  • Black boots or shoes
  • Measuring tape
  • Heavy cardboard, poster board or foam core board, 5-6 large pieces
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Craft knife
  • Silver aerosol spray paint
  • Acrylic paints
  • Craft paint brushes
  • Aluminium foil
  • White or craft glue
  • Scissors
  • Black elastic ribbon, 10cm/3 inches wide, 2 yards
  • 8 small metal washers
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Pop rivet kit
  • Black ribbon, 2 yards
  • Silver duct tape
  • 5 litre ice cream bucket
  • Fine grade sandpaper
  • Soft cloth
  • Silver aerosol paint appropriate for plastic
  • Misc. silver buttons and "gems" (optional)
  • Large feather plume

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  1. 1

    Measure the width of the knight's chest with a measuring tape. Measure the length from the collar bone to just below the waist. Record these measurements. These measurements will be used to create the chest and back armour.

  2. 2

    Place the cardboard on flat surface. Draw a rectangle with a pencil and ruler using the chest measurements. Taper the bottom lines to create a shieldlike shape. Cut with a craft knife. Trace and cut two more shields out of the cardboard; one for the knight's back armour and one for a hand-held shield.

  3. 3

    Spray paint both sides of the three shields with silver aerosol paint. Allow to dry.

  4. 4

    Design your knight's insignia. Draw the same design on all three shields with a pencil or marker. Paint design with acrylic paints. Add dimension by gluing aluminium foil in sections of the design with white or craft glue. Crinkle aluminium foil for more texture before gluing to shields.

  5. 5

    Determine where the chest and back armour should hang from the knight's shoulders when worn. Measure the length of black elastic ribbon needed to attach the chest and back shields with a measuring tape. Cut two pieces of black elastic ribbon.

  6. 6

    Measure the width of the chest shield. Divide number in half and then, half again. Mark these points on the front of the chest shield with a pencil. Repeat process on the front of the back shield. This will be where the black elastic will be attached to hold the chest and back shield together so it can be worn over the shoulders by the knight.

  7. 7

    Hot glue a metal washer on the right-side of the chest and back shields where the black elastic ribbon will be attached. Allow to cool and dry. Line up black elastic with the washers from the wrong-side. Attach black elastic ribbon to cardboard with a pop rivet. Repeat this process until the chest and back shields are connected with black elastic ribbon which has been pop riveted into place.

  8. 8

    Cut 4 pieces of black ribbon 10 inches long. Attach one piece of ribbon to the sides of the chest and back shields so that they can be tied together when worn. Place ties just under the knight's armpits or near the waist. Hot glue a metal washer where the ribbon will be attached to the shields. When hot glue is cool and dry, pop rivet ribbon into place.

  9. 9

    Finish hand held shield by hot gluing a small metal rivet in the centre of the shield on the right-side. Fold elastic ribbon into a loop and hot glue the ends together. Allow to cool and dry. Pop rivet the black elastic ribbon loop to the wrong side of the shield.

  10. 10

    Draw a sword shape on the cardboard. Cut with craft knife. Trace two more sword shapes and glue all three sword shapes together with white or craft glue. Allow to dry.

  11. 11

    Paint sword with silver aerosol spray paint. allow to dry. Wrap handle with silver duct tape.

  1. 1

    Remove handle from 5 gallon ice cream bucket. Sketch out shape of helmet on sides of bucket. Allow opening for ears. Sand any rough edges with a fine grade of sandpaper. Wipe with a soft cloth to remove any sandpaper dust from the plastic before painting.

  2. 2

    Spray paint outside of bucket with silver aerosol paint made specifically for painting plastic. Two coats of paint may be needed to achieve desired colour and texture. Allow to dry.

  3. 3

    Apply silver painted buttons and "jewels" as desired to decorate helmet. Add la arge feather plume.

Tips and warnings

  • Customise your knight's costume by adding chains, metal crosses, etc. Add a simple black cape or for real drama, a piece of fake fur attached to the straps of the chest and back shield. This can be done simply with some well hidden safety pins.
  • Supervise any children that might be working on this knight costume project as hot glue guns, craft knives and aerosol cans are being used.

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