How to Build Samurai Armor

Written by joanne robitaille
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How to Build Samurai Armor
Samurai armour is much more flexible than European armour. (samurai image by Felipe Passolas from

Japanese samurai armour has a very distinctive look that is recognisable the world over. To make truly authentic samurai armour would require advanced metalworking skills and knowledge of the proper techniques used to create the armour. Foam core poster board is an ideal material alternative when creating your own armour because it's sturdy and easy to cut. The main consideration will be to make sure that all of your measurements are accurate since the armour won't have any give when you wear it.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Marker
  • Foam core poster board
  • Ruler
  • Utility knife
  • Scissors
  • Black ribbon
  • Electric drill
  • Spray paint
  • Leather
  • Duct tape

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  1. 1

    Spray paint the poster board with your chosen colour on one side. This allows you to customise your colour choice and to give the armour a shinier finish than would be possible by leaving the poster board unpainted.

  2. 2

    Measure the length and width of your torso for the chest and back plates. Draw the outline of the armour's chest plate onto the unpainted side of the poster board, similar to a tank top. Divide the chest plate into approximately eight vertical slats, with the top and bottom slats thicker than the rest. Repeat this process to make the back plate.

  3. 3

    Mark the location of the holes that you will use to weave the slats together. Each slat needs six rows of three holes, evenly spaced. Drill out the holes with an electric drill. Use a utility knife to cut everything out.

  4. 4

    Weave the chest and back plates together. Use a single piece of ribbon for each row of holes, extending all the way up the armour. The slats need to overlap slightly, with the top edge of the lower slat over the bottom of the upper slat.

  5. 5

    Measure the width of your side and draw side plates with a scooped top to that size. Divide the sides into the same number of slats as the chest plate. Drill holes for weaving. Cut the side plates out and weave them together. Attach them to the chest and back plates.

  6. 6

    Measure from the top of the chest plate, over your shoulder, to the top of the back plate. Draw and cut out two shoulder straps using those measurements. Perforate it into three sections so that it bends. Drill holes for weaving to reinforce it and attach them to the plates.

  7. 7

    Measure yourself from shoulder to elbow. Cut a piece of poster board to size, perforating it into three sections so that it's able to move. Drill a series of holes along the centre line and weave the nylon rope through. Drill two holes at the top to attach it to the shoulder straps.

  8. 8

    Cut three blunt-topped triangular skirt pieces for the front and sides of your armour. Perforate them into sections so they bend and attach them to the chest plate and sides.

  9. 9

    Cut a piece of leather to size to use as cuffs. Spray paint the cuffs to match the armour. Drill holes, then wind ribbon through to close them.

Tips and warnings

  • Reinforce the joints with duct tape from the inside.

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