Making your own Samurai armour kit is a great project for Halloween, or anytime of year if you have kids (or grown up ones!) who would enjoy such a challenge. Building a Samurai armour kit involves using inexpensive materials available at your local stores and can be done in only a couple of days if you work on it steadily. The end result is a sturdy dress-up kit that is perfect to be worn at parties, in community plays, or just for fun around the house.
Cut two sleeves from an Asian-print fabric that measure from wrist to mid-upper arm and sew them to a short sleeved retail/uniform shirt using a sewing machine or hand stitches. This can be a simple polo shirt, but will look better with a rounded collar if you are able to find one. Use a black short sleeved shirt to contrast with the faux long sleeves and the armour if possible.
Spray a piece of foam-core or cardboard with green or gold paint. Try to find a paint with a hammered metal finish for a more authentic look, otherwise go with a metallic forest green or shimmering gold. Allow to dry and then add a second coat. Allow this to dry, and then draw your chest piece onto the board using a dark marker.
Cut out your chest piece, which should look like an armour vest, with seven lines that will be the slats in your armour. Drill multiple holes into each slat, and then cut each slat out. You can drill as many holes as you'd like, but ideally there should be 3-5 holes in each slat. Layer them on top of each other, with the top on the bottom, and the seven slats descending downward until the bottom piece is on top.
Weave the black rope through the slats to make a randomised pattern through all the holes. A nylon clothesline works well for this. Weave through until all holes are connected, and the armour can still lay flat enough to wear. Draw two side pieces on another piece of foam-core or cardboard and repeat the process of cutting, drilling and weaving, just as you did with the front piece.
Connect the pieces together with the backside facing upward, using strong duct tape and either another rope or black ribbon. The final shape should resemble a vest - able to slip over someone's arms and head comfortably. Make shoulder straps by cutting out two thick strips of poster board or leather, attaching them to the chest and side/back pieces with rope, string or tape. Cut the remaining leather into small triangle pieces to hang down in front of the chest and sides of the main armour. Bind them together with rope and your armour is complete. Throw in a toy sword or helmet for added detail, and wear with black trousers and shoes.
The weaving of the slats is extremely time consuming, so sit in a comfortable spot and bring some company or a good movie with you. Make sure your cardboard or foam core is sturdy enough to handle being bent, pulled, drilled and shaped. You can also staple the Asian fabric to the short sleeves if you are not good at sewing.
Tips and warnings
- The weaving of the slats is extremely time consuming, so sit in a comfortable spot and bring some company or a good movie with you.
- Make sure your cardboard or foam core is sturdy enough to handle being bent, pulled, drilled and shaped.
- You can also staple the Asian fabric to the short sleeves if you are not good at sewing.
Things you need
- Old retail uniform shirt (hostess, waiter, department store, etc.)
- Large piece of foam-core or cardboard
- Large roll of duct tape
- Green or gold spray paint
- Asian print fabric (large square)
- 20-inch by 12-inch rectangle of leather scrap
- Thin black rope
- Sturdy black ribbon
- Sewing machine
- Standard Drill
- Stapler (optional)