How to make armour shoulder pads

Updated February 21, 2017

Costume armour, such as the ubiquitous shoulder pad seen in many different designs, can be crafted in a variety of ways. Some costumiers adapt complex metal armour making techniques to make their armour look as realistic as possible. This method produces the best visual results but it can be extremely expensive and the resulting garment can turn out to be pretty heavy. It is also difficult to replicate some of the more fantastical armour designs using this method. Hence, many costumiers opt for lightweight and easy materials that can be painted to look like a real armour.

Draw out your shoulder pad armour design on a sheet of paper using a pencil so that you have a few reference images. Determine the dimensions of the shoulder pad and write them down.

Make a basic form for your armour, using a foam block. Carve the block into the shape of the shoulder pad, using a craft knife. You can also make a form out of wood, papier mache or even a pre-made rounded form, like a bowl.

Press a piece of muslin fabric over the form and trace the shape of the form onto the muslin using a marker. This will make a flat pattern version of your shoulder armour. Cut along the drawn lines.

Place the muslin pattern piece onto a sheet of Wonderflex. Transfer the pattern to the Wonderflex, then cut along the traced line. You should have a piece of Wonderflex that is identical to the pattern.

Boil a large pot of water on the stove. Once the water has boiled, pour it into a large bucket.

Place the Wonderflex piece into the water for 1 minute. Remove the Wonderflex from the bucket and dry it off with a towel.

Place the piece of Wonderflex over your armour form and press it down, moulding it to the shape of the form. Leave the Wonderflex on the form to cool, once you are satisfied with the shape.

Repeat steps 4 to 7 if you need thicker shoulder armour. Hot Wonderflex bonds together easily. You can also add other design pieces to the armour, such as cutout shapes or raised trim.

Smooth out the surface of the shoulder pad with a coat of gesso. Let the gesso dry, then sand it down to remove the surface texture. This will also help the paint adhere.

Paint the armour in the desired style, using acrylic paint. Once the paint has dried finish the piece with a spray coat of clear gloss or matt sealer.


You can also make armour shoulder pads using other materials, such as papier mache, leather and fibreglass.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Foam block
  • Craft knife
  • Muslin fabric
  • Scissors
  • Wonderflex
  • Cooking pot
  • Stove
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Towel
  • Gesso
  • Sandpaper
  • Paintbrushes
  • Acrylic paint
  • Spray sealer
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About the Author

A writer with a Bachelor of Science in English and secondary education, but also an interest in all things beautiful, Melissa J. Bell has handed out beauty and fashion advice since she could talk -- and for the last six years, write for online publications like Daily Glow and SheBudgets.