What you’ll need:
- 5mm thick EVA foam
- Cosplay EVA foam clay
- Painters tape
- Primer – Creature Cast Rubber or Plasti Dip- Plasti dip can come in spray or paint can
- Acrylic paint – Highly recommend Plaid FX paint
- Colors needed
- Metallic silver
- Colors needed
- ½ inch thick wooden dowel – length: as long as you want to make the sword, I did my 3 feet since that goes from floor to my waist and I wanted the sword long
- Dremel rotary tool
- Heat gun
- 150 grit sandpaper
- Regular printer paper
- Exacto knife
- Safety goggles
- Face mask—preferably one with a filter
- Clean, open, and well-ventilated work area
Print out a reference picture—for mine I printed out Giyu’s katana from the anime Demon Slayer
Grab your printer paper and draw and measure out separate patterns. One for the blade, another for the hilt, and then one for the handle. After that is done cut them out.
(make sure you measure these patterns out for the size and length that you want your sword to be. On mine, I measured 3 feet for the blade 2 inches long and 3 inches wide for the hilt, and 1 foot and 3 inches for the handle)
Now, grab your 5mm foam (it will come in a long roll so roll it out on a large flat surface and put some heavy objects onto it so it doesn’t roll back up.) trace your blade and handle patterns onto the foam with a seeable marker. You don’t have to worry about the markings because they’ll just be painted over later. Also, don’t worry about the hilt pattern, you’ll get to that in a moment.
After you trace one side, flip it over and trace it again so you have two halves. Just do it with enough space from each other so one half doesn’t end up shorter or longer than the other.
Once they’re traced, cut them out with your Exacto knife. But be careful also I suggest cutting at a slanted angle, so your cuts have a smooth edge afterward. If they come out a little jagged, don’t worry, this can be sanded down later. Label each side front and back so you know how to glue them together and insert the wooden dowel later as well.
Now that you have the two sides of the blade, and the two sides of the handle, sand the sides with sandpaper—150 grit, then if the sides are still rough, use your Dremel—make sure you have the sanding drum attached(it’s the brown drum with sandpaper on it.) Use your Dremel to smooth down the sides enough so they are nice and even. But make sure you don’t sand one side too much that you can no longer match up your pieces.
Once they’re sanded and smooth, take that same sand drum on your Dremel and create a smooth indent right down the middle of both pieces of the blade, and the handle. This indent will be used so you can insert the wooden dowel—with contact cement, of course, to be able to support the sword so it doesn’t move around when you use it.
As soon as you insert the dowel onto the first side of the sword glue the other half of the pieces onto the first half. (The second blade piece and handle.) Just be careful to place them as evenly as possibly else wise it will turn out crooked. Pieces glued together with contact cement will not move an inch once together.
After the pieces are together and you have the fully shaped sword, now it’s time to work on the hilt. Take the pattern you made earlier—it should be in the shape of a diamond. Then get out your cosplay clay and stick it to the part where the handle and the blade meets. Mold it to the shape you made with your pattern and let it dry, so it stays connected to your sword.
Once it’s dry—it usually takes at least twenty-four hours to dry. But once it’s dry, you’ll want to take your primer and put it on the entire sword front and back. (If you have Plasti dip be sure to spray a decent amount of feet away—at least five, else you’ll get bubbles on the foam.) (If you use Creature cast rubber be sure to paint with even strokes all the way down.) With either form of primer be sure to wear a safety mask because of the fumes. Also, once you apply one coat, be sure to let each coat dry before applying the next one. (It might take at least three coats to cover your sword completely.)
Now that your sword is completely primed, it’s time to get out your paints. I recommend starting with the silver paint for the sword. Before you start painting though, make sure you tape the top of the hilt with painters tape, so you don’t get silver paint onto the hilt.
As you start to paint the blade, to get that sword-like look, paint quick, upward strokes all the way down the sword. This will give the effect of looking like metal. Once one side has dried, do this on the other side. It will take at least two to three coats. Unless you are going for the look of having the lower half lighter than the top. Then the lower only requires two while the top will need three.
Once you have the blade completely painted, tape off the bottom of the hilt and start painting the handle with white paint. Use the same technique used for the blade Then carefully paint eight diamonds all the way down the handle with blue paint. (Unless you rather wrap the handle to look like leather then skip this step.
Finally, uncover your hilt and tape off the top of the handle and the bottom of the blade. Paint the top and bottom of the hilt black and the sides all around, red.
Once it’s dry you have a fully usable sword prop! Congrats!