How to make your own samurai armour

Updated February 21, 2017

The samurai were fierce Japanese warriors who fought for the emperor and other nobility. They followed a strict code called bushido, meaning "the way of the warrior." They rode into battle wearing a suit of armour called a Kikou, hand made by highly skilled craftsmen. Today, you can purchase replica samurai armour for both display and costume purposes. However, it costs a great deal, so if you want samurai armour on a budget, you might try making your own as a fun and challenging project.

Look closely at samurai armour and study its construction. The armour consists of overlapping plates of leather-covered steel, held together with silk and leather binding.

Draw the shape of the chest piece onto the foam board/cardboard. Cut this shape out and spray in the colour of your choice. Now draw horizontal lines across the chest piece and cut along them to create six or seven panels.

Make a minimum of six or seven holes in each panel ready to thread the rope through. Add more holes if you wish--the more binding, the better the armour will look. Weave the rope through the holes to hold the separate pieces together.

Repeat Steps 2 and 3 to create the back piece. Two side pieces will hold the chest and back plates together. Make the side pieces in the same way as in Steps 2 and 3; simply adjust the size. Add more holes to the chest and back pieces and weave the rope through to attach the side pieces

Cut two small pieces from the foam/cardboard to serve as shoulder straps. Attach to the body of the armour with more holes and more weaving as in Step 3. You should now have a vest shape of overlapping pieces, all held snugly together with binding.

Cut out two more pieces to cover the top half of the arm. Attach these to the shoulder straps with more binding. Finally, take the leather and cut it in half, place holes and weave it together to create two forearm pieces. The whole item should easily lift on and off over the head.


Samurai warriors would wear very colourful, padded clothing under the armour. You can create it very easily and will really make the armour look complete.

Things You'll Need

  • Foam-core poster board or regular cardboard
  • 1/2-inch (1.27-cm) nylon rope
  • Duct tape
  • Spray paint
  • Scrap leather
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About the Author

Based in England, Tami Mason writes for and various other websites. Mason has worked as a proofreader and copy editor since 2007 and is a trained interior designer who also specializes in art history, art and crafts.