Many of you are used to being appalled, by now, at the fact that I permit my children to make and play with toy weapons.
Witness the PVC pipe sword.
Well, here we go again, because I have to tell you that this time I not only made the weapon FOR my kids, but I also made it for six of their friends!
Why, yes, I DID find it perfectly acceptable to make wooden swords for children. Yes, they played with them. Yes, they pretended to fight with them. Yes, the swords have pointy parts. Yes, some of the kids skinned their knuckles.
Yes, they all had a fabulous time.
If you, too, want to skirt the line between Bad Mom/Awesome Mom, as well, here’s how to make your own Minecraft sword out of scrap wood. Thanks to Minecraft’s blocky design scheme, it’s actually not that hard!
You will need:
scrap wood. You can cut these swords out of cardboard, but honestly, I found it easier to find scrap wood that’s wide enough than I did cardboard–I used up all my excess cardboard on the Creeper pinata! The wood should be pretty thin, since you’ll be cutting it with a scroll saw. It also has to be wide enough accommodate the sword’s cross-guard, which leaves out pallet wood, dang it. Last summer, I tore out the closet in the kids’ bedroom in order to make room for, you know, their actual beds, and I found that the paneling boards that had been used to make the closet walls were perfect for this. Score for getting some unwieldy wood scraps out of the garage!
scroll saw or jigsaw. I loooooooove my jigsaw and use it all the freaking time. If you don’t want to invest in one, however, shout out to your Facebook friends–I guarantee that someone you know has a scroll saw or jigsaw that you can borrow.
drill. Specifically, you need a drill with a bit that’s wider than your jigsaw blade.
acrylic paint. A lot of the fun of this project, for the kids, was painting their own swords. They fell right to it when the party started, and returned to it in between each of the Minecraft party games.
1. Make your Minecraft sword template. After a lot of futzing, I decided that the perfect length for a kid-sized Minecraft sword is about 18″. I found a Minecraft sword coloring page online and enlarged it to the correct size, but you can also hand-draw a perfectly correct template, yourself, if you’ve got a ruler and a little time to count squares.
2. Trace the template onto the wood. I made nine of these little monsters, so I puzzle pieced them in so that I could fit them all onto this single piece of wood. Since I was going to cut them out with a jigsaw, anyway, it was fine.
3. Begin to cut the angles. Because these swords have no curves but instead lots of angles, cutting them out is a little different from your typical jigsaw work. Basically, you want to cut into one side of every angle, all the way to the vertex–
–and then cut in the other side, meeting up at the vertex.
3. Drill and cut the final angles. There’s an extra trick for cutting out those last tricky angles: you drill them!
Drill a hole at one corner of the most interior part; you can then insert the jigsaw’s blade into that hole and use it as the starting point to cut away both lines leading from that hole. With that entire block gone, the less interior angles are able to be cut away, as well.
Depending on the wood that you use, you may want to sand the edges a bit, or you may find that you don’t need to. You also may want to prime the wood if you’re planning to paint it, although we didn’t prime these particular swords.
At the Minecraft party, I set up the swords, acrylic paints, plenty of brushes, and PLENTY of cups of water for rinsing brushes right onto our driveway, and just let the kids go. Frankly, I think that this was everyone’s favorite party activity. They liked it more than painting and playing in the giant cardboard box fort. They liked it more the the Spawn egg hunt. They liked it more than Zombie Tag. They liked it more than the Creeper pinata!
And did they notice that I was sneaking real-world engineering, art, and gross motor play into their virtual video game world?
No, they didn’t. And don’t YOU tell them!