10 Easy Steps to Make a PD Shield by Gerard McNeal
10 Easy Steps to Make a PD Shield
1. Cut out the PE shield blank with a jigsaw. This will be the final shape of your shield, but slightly smaller as you will later cover the edges with MC foam. If you use 1/4″ MC foam to skin the shield as recommended in the materials doc, your shield will grow 1/4″ on every side. So to make a 30 inch roundshield, cut out a 29.5″ blank.
2. Cut out your 1/2″ plywood core with a jigsaw. Darkon rules allow for no more than 6″ from core to edge, so make sure your core is no more than 4-5″ from the edge of your plank, definately no more than 5.5″!
3. Place the smooth side of the PE plank down and place your wood core where it will be sitting in the plank, on the rough side. Mark the outline of your core on the foam.
4. Rout out the area for the core with your router set to 1/2″ deep (to match the core). Stay inside the lines.
5. Mark and drill the strap holes for your T-Nuts or bolts. Attach your hardware, make sure on the correct side. You can try your shield straps on for fitting and placement, but remove them before you proceed. Only the hardware now.
6. Gorilla glue your core into the plank. Use heavy weights to hold the core down while it dries, as it will push the core out of the foam as it expands. You want to end up with a core set flush with the foam. Let this dry for at least 2 hours or until hard. Sand/ dremel off any glue that spreads out the seam.
7. Skin the entire shield blank with MC foam. This includes the front, back (with round holes cut to allow the strap bolts through) and outside edge(s). Cover your hardware with painters’ tape or masking tape to avoid mucking it up with PD or paint later.
8. Complete any 3D artwork. This is the only step of the process that requires creativity and artistry. Scuplting and attaching designs, dremeling or woodburning wood grain, etc…You are only limited by your time and ability. Make sure all edges are fully glues down with DAP. anything peeling up now will be a problem later. Allow 3-4 days or more for DAP to cure before moving on. Cured DAP turns very dark and gets almost brittle when exposed to air.
9. Cover the shield in Plastidip. Start by spraying a first coat, using an entire can for a 30″ round. Let the spray cure for at least 4 hours. Then brush on the PD, using about 2 cans for a 30″ round. Apply many coats by brush, even more at seams. No less than 3 brush coats on flat surface, 5-8 on seams. Recoat when it is dry to the touch, the brush on does not have a long curing time between coats. Many thin coats are best. Finally, spray the entire shield with a final coat of spray, again using a full can for a 30″ roundshield. Let it sit for a day.
10. Allow at least 24 hours and then spray primer it grey. Then paint your shield with acrylic paints and seal/ top coat it. Follow dry times on your primer, usually it is only 30 minutes or an hour. Attach your straps.
Materials For Making a Plasti-Dip Darkon Shield
This is assuming from scratch and full PD design on both front and back. Expect to pay between $50 and $100 depending on what you already have lying around.
1/2″ smooth plywood. I like birch, it’s cheap and way harder than pine. A 2′ x 2′ plank is about $7.00
Straps and Hardware:
1/4″ T-nuts mounted from the reverse side of your straps, and 1″ long 1/4″ round head bolts are great, Use a flat and lock washer on each bolt. Best thing for straps is thick (8-9 ounce+) leather.
Foam (with Foam Factory codes):
One shield blank made from either PE2-2Q 2.2LB Polyethylene or PE2-1-50H-WH 2.2LB Polyethylene. The first is 2″ thick. The second is 1.5″ thick. Your shield will be the shape and size of this piece, plus 1/4 inch on each edge, front and back.
MC Foam for the “skin”. MC2-0-25F 1/4″ Minicel Foam. You can use thicker. If you want to try thinner, good luck! Quarter inch is perfect…very durable, easy to cut with a razor. I use white cause its easier to see marks on, but black/ charcoal MC foam is a little tougher. You need enough of this to cover the front, back, and edge of your shield.
Craft MC foam for art design. This can be thin, or very thick MC foam (sculpted bosses can start out as 1 or even 1.5 inch thick.
Adhesives, Paints and Supplies:
DAP original contact cement.
Spray Plasti-dip 11 oz can. 1 can for a buckler or small round, 2 cans for a 30″ round.
Brush on Plasti-dip 14.5 oz container, can for a buckler or small round, 2 cans for a 30″ round.
Gorilla Glue, a small 2 oz bottle is plenty.
Paint: 1 can acrylic GREY spray primer, acrylic artist paints, brushes. Liquitex Basics and Reeves are worth the money. Cheaper artist acrylics like americana and Folk Art will work.
Sealant: Through The Roof brand elastomeric clear sealant by Sashco, if you want a tough and thick seal. However, I am now using Patricia Nimock’s Clear Acrylic Sealer Matte, available at any craft store. It is awesome.
Foam paint brushes for PD application. Ziplock baggies or other means to seal your brush in a vacuum between coats, or else you go thru many many brushes. PD dries very quickly. Buy good foam brushes, avoid the cheap Walmart brushes. Michaels has 5 cent sales on these periodically, stock up!
Marking pen/ sharpie
Router with straight bit set to 1/2″ depth to mill out the wood core area in the PE plank.
Drill for your strap bolt holes.
Jigsaw or other reciprocating saw to cut your wood core and PE plank. A turkey cutter works!
Metal yard stick or Square to mark and cut foam.
Dremel Tool…incredibly useful, most bits have some use. You can sculpt anything in MC with a little practice.
Woodburner..has it’s uses. Again, play with the bits.
Hole punches for leather, or gasket punches, make quick and perfect round pieces for bolts/ gems n your shield.