As many of my followers know, my kids and I enjoy playing Minecraft, a 3-D building adventure game. With all the cool replicas one can buy for WAY too much, I thought I’d be creative and ‘craft’ my kids some swag for Christmas. Here’s how to make some diamond swords.
What you’ll need: (what I made-do with, anyway)
- 8-10 inches of 1” diameter wood dowel (for the handle)
- One 2ftx8ft piece of blue foam board (4” thick blue stuff)
- At least one new black sharpie permanent marker
- Handsaw, holesaw, drill, Measuring tape, square, long flat-edge or level
- Minecraft sword printout, enlarged
- Glue (I used a tube of silicon in a caulking gun)
- LOTS of time (three evenings after work?)
I enlarged a printout to fill an 8.5×11 sheet of paper, and figured I would scale it to the desired size, which I got from a little short-sword replica I have. They ended up being 16” wide by 20” tall + grip. I must warn you, the squares on the printout are NOT square. This completely threw me off, and I’d recommend just using multiple sheets of paper for scaling, and trace the pattern.
My goal was to make 3 swords, but a sheet would make 5 or more with this method. Using my measurements, I started marking the outline of my first sword, which I traced for the other two. I should note that you can buy these things for $40 a piece, but I’m too thrifty for such nonsense.
I started at the base, working my way out to the edges from the center to form the hand guard. Then I worked my way up the sides of the blade, marking the points of my squares, and drawing lines at 45 degree angles on each side until they all met. Most all my cutting was done with a hand saw I use for trimming branches and such.
Cut, Replicate, Decorate:
I traced and replicated the pattern, then made pommels the size of the squares comprising the blade. (About 4”x4”) This foam board was left over from filling in a window, and had writing on it. I found it was easily removed with sandpaper.
I experimented with several different ways of coloring the foam. Sharpie, kids paint, cheap marker, ink pad, & lastly those industrial markers for cow ear-tags. The cow markers were strong, toxic, and literally ATE the foam. The sharpie seemed to work best with diagonal lines, but took forever. I wish I had more time so I could color them more completely, but I figured the kids can do this if they like, as I was pressed.
Next, I had to devise the handle. I initially started with 12” dowels, planning to embed them as deep into the foam as possible, but alas, my hole-saw wouldn’t go that deep, and had to scale back for a one-handed grip. Since my dowels were 1” in diameter, I got the same size hole-saw. In retrospect, I would have gotten one slightly smaller, as the fit wasn’t tight. Be extra careful to drill straight. An angled hole will put the grip at an angle and look unprofessional Also, I used a smaller, regular bit to draw out the core, but I imagine a cork opener would work well, too.
Glue & Assemble:
Again, I experimented with glues using the heap of scrap foam I made. (As a bi-product, you get snow-sized dust that statically clings to EVERYTHING.) I tried gorilla glue, Elmer’s, tacky glue. None were given much of a chance of success, as there was too much room in the hole, keeping the dowel from being in contact on all sides.
I opted for a caulking gun loaded with silicon (the only thing I had on hand that would cure below freezing). I found the long tube excellent for getting down in the hole well, and the silicon was able to take up the extra space. I wedged a little piece of foam along side the dowel, to keep it still and firm. After curing for 24 hours, there was no wiggle/play/slop in the handle.
In the end, if I went and bought all the materials, I could make them for about $5-$6 each. Hopefully they’ll last beyond Christmas morning! As a side-note, my son has been requesting a softer night light, so I’ve constructed a Minecraft-inspired redstone lamp as well, but didn’t have the time to document it all the way. It was a one-night project costing $3.50 for the red LED lights. It should be a ‘crafty Christmas’…
Hope you enjoyed the post, here are more pictures, and SSSSHHHH, don’t tell the kids!!!