Captain America’s Shield – Card and Foam Build

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The14thDr

Sr Member
Cap’s shield is yet another iconic prop that I really want to add to my collection. I actually made a replica out of cardboard several years ago, but the results were not-so-great.:p Which is why I wanted to give this another shot.

I'm going to be using cardboard for the majority of this build because I wanted to achieve this on a non-existent budget and IMO cardboard is such an underrated material when it comes to prop building. It’s cheap, it’s versatile and if done properly, can be made to look just as good as other materials. It has been my material of choice for years and has yet to fail me (“if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”)

First of all, this thread was a huge help when it came to researching this build, as well as this Instructable which I will be basing some of my shield around (in particular the awesome templates!) I believe that the original prop was 30” in diameter, but I decided to make my shield slightly smaller so that it would look more proportionate to my body when I’m holding it.

The first step after downloading the templates was to cut out the 20 wedges that will form the basis of the shield:
cap-shield-1.jpg


After gently curving the cardboard, I assembled the main shield shape using plenty of duct tape. Unfortunately the wedges formed a sharp point at the centre of the shield rather than having a gentle curve like the original props. To fix this I had to push the point inwards until the shield had the correct concave depth (I can cut out the centre and cover the hole at a later date.)
I then taped the shield down onto a flat surface and gave it two coats of diluted PVA glue to stiffen the cardboard and hopefully help it to maintain an even shape around the edges.
cap-shield-2.jpg


I then coated the whole thing (inside and out – including around the edges) in paper mache to cover the gaps between each wedge, smooth out the overall shape and really seal everything together as one solid shape.
cap-shield-3.jpg


Finally, I “skinned” the shield with foam – both to plug the giant hole in the centre and to recreate the look of the etched lines between each concentric ring. I then did the same for the inside of the shield.
cap-shield-4.jpg
 

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The14thDr

Sr Member
Thanks! It doesn’t look too bad so far... there are some areas that aren’t perfectly curved but if these still show up after I paint the shield, I may need to get creative with some weathering to disguise it. ;)
 

The14thDr

Sr Member
With the basic shape of my shield completed, I can start preparing it for painting!

First of all, I sealed the foam with several coats of diluted PVA glue (I used a ratio of roughly 1 part water to 1 part glue and this really seemed to harden the foam as well as give a smoother surface for painting.) Then, I mixed some air-dry clay with a little water to form a “slip” which I could use to fill in the gaps between each pieces of foam on the rings. Once this had dried, I sanded the filler until it was smooth and flush with the rest of the shield.

The final step was to use my engraving pen to route out a slightly thicker, more uniform channel between the rings before giving the whole thing an undercoat of white acrylic paint, followed by a coat of silver for that bare vibranium look. :D
cap-shield-5.jpg
 

The14thDr

Sr Member
Finally, it’s time to paint my shield!

For the star, I used the template from the Instructable mentioned in my first post and cut the 5 segments out of cereal box card. I attached these to the shield using PVA glue and painted them silver. I then painted the centre circle with metallic blue acrylic paint, followed by metallic red for the coloured rings. Unfortunately this came out looking more pink than red, so I had to give it a topcoat of cherry red.
cap-shield-6.jpg

(I also tried to follow the curve of the shield when painting so that the brush strokes would give a similar effect to the spun metal on the original props but this doesn't really show up unless you look extremely closely.)
 

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The14thDr

Sr Member
All of the pieces for the brackets were cut out of craft foam, with the corner pieces glued to a layer of cereal box card for extra strength when supporting the straps.
cap-shield-7.jpg

I then glued the brackets to the inside of my shield and painted them silver to match.

For the straps, I bought a sheet of brown craft foam and cut out 12 pieces of various lengths. Using a technique I learned from a fellow cosplayer, I scrunched up some tin foil and pressed it into the foam before running over the top with an iron to give it a much more realistic leather texture. Neat, right?
For the 4 metal loops I used a wire coat hanger, trimmed and bent to the correct shapes, and used them to assemble the foam pieces. To complete the effect, I sewed a basic running stitch around the edges of each strap.
cap-shield-8.jpg


Finally, I attached the straps to my shield using plenty of hot glue so hopefully they shouldn’t be falling off anytime soon! (y)
cap-shield-9.JPG
 

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