How-to: DIY Cardboard Shield from Recycled Cardboard

a couple of completed cardboard shields
a couple of completed cardboard shields, ready to defend the castle

1. Source some cardboard. The shields themselves should be made from sturdy cardboard, ideally corrugated or similar. The band in the back should be made from thin, bendy cardboard.

We obtained the cardboard used to make our shields (as well as our big box castle!) from the food pantry where we volunteer, and used old cardboard record album covers for the bands. If you don’t have a handy source for obtaining cardboard, check out Freecycle or your local recycling center.

2. Cut out the shields. Fortunately, shields have a very simple form–for inspiration, do a Google Image search and choose your favorite type. If you’re just making one or two shields, you can freehand your shield’s shape directly onto the cardboard, but if you’re making enough shields to supply a birthday party full of little knights, you may want to draw and cut out a template to trace.

Cut out the shields using a box knife.

DIY cardboard shield from upcycled cardboard (1 of 1)3. Add a band to the back. Cut a rectangle out of the thin, bendy cardboard that’s approximately 2″ wide and 1.5 times the width of the shield. Staple it to the back of the shield, and your knight will have something to hold onto!

4. Paint and decorate. To turn shield decorating into a party activity, I set out the finished cardboard shields and a large set of tempera paint, BioColor paint, and paintbrushes. As kids arrived, they were invited to paint their shield, have my partner make them a balloon sword, help paint the giant cardboard castle, or just play. Every kid opted to paint a shield first thing.

Fortunately, the morning was warm and sunny, so as the kids finished their shields, I set them to dry on the grass, and it didn’t take long for their owners to recollect them and add them into their play.

To make this an even more eco-friendly project, opt for DIY cardboard swords as well as shields–although you can’t whack a kid across the head with a cardboard sword quite like you can with a balloon sword, it will make for far fewer little balloon pieces to pick up and throw away afterwards.

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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