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How to Make an Indian Breast Plate

Updated April 17, 2017

Native American breastplates were originally worn as protection while hunting or during battle. In the desert climate of the American Southwest, they were often worn over a bare chest in the hot summers and over a shirt in the cooler winters. The original breast plates were made with bone and tied together with sinew strips usually taken from a deer or buffalo, and were often created by a tribal "specialist." You can make your own "costume" breastplate from ordinary materials.

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  1. Cut 50 of the straws in half. Cut the additional 50 straws into four equal pieces. Sponge a little dark acrylic paint at one end of each straw to give them the appearance of bone.

  2. Loop the yarn through a straw and place a bead on the outer end. Loop another piece of yarn through the same straw piece and a second straw piece, again placing a bead on the outer end. Continue until you have a strip of 25 straw halves. Start a second strip for the other 25 straw halves. These are the two outer strips.

  3. Use the above method to string together the quarter-length straw pieces to form two longer strips. These will be the inner strips of the breastplate.

  4. Tie the two long narrow strips together then tie a short, wide strip on each end.

  5. Add feathers or frayed string to the bottom of the breastplate. Tie a longer string to the top of the breastplate and tie the whole piece loosely around the neck.

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Things You'll Need

  • 100 plastic drinking straws
  • Acrylic paint
  • 100 large beads
  • String or yarn
  • Feathers or frayed string for decoration

About the Author

Mitchell Clark

Mitchell Clark has been writing since 2005, with articles published by various websites focusing on Libertarian political issues, current events, sports and other interests. He also hosts two blog talk-radio programs. A graduate of Beacon University, Clark holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts degree in theology.

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