Link's Master Sword Tutorial

'Nuther picture tutorial for y'all. This time I'm making Link's Master Sword (which I believe will appear in Twilight Princess, but thus far has only appeared in the screencaps for the latest Super Smash Bros game.) Regardless of where it's from, it's the next project on my list, and here's a picture of it:

Like most wide-bladed props I've made, this one starts with my taking a thick sheet of balsawood and marking off the shape of the sword. (For a stronger blade, you may prefer to use basswood or plywood, but those will be a lot harder to shape --I prefer balsawood because I can eschew power tools and carve it to shape with a craft knife)

As you can see, I'm using said craft knife to cut bevels into the side edges of the sword blade...

I go all around until I have achieved the desired shape of the sword, with a neat outer-edge bevel on both sides. This is probably the hardest and most dangerous part of the process as it involves a lot of whittling. (Just watch your fingers, is all I'll say. And you might want to do this over a garbage can so the wooden chips don't get all over the floor...)

Okay, next step in the process, get some .030 or .040 sheet styrene (which is a little thicker than the stuff I normally use, but is still easily cuttable and is great for things like blades, as it's a little more sturdy), and cut it out in such a way that it covers the flat part of the blade. Like so:

Here's a wide-angle view:

Next step, get some transparent .020 sheet styrene, (if you can't fine the transparent stuff, the opaque stuff will do, although cutting the styrene into the correct shape is going to be a little more challenging) and hotglue it over one of the bevelled edges at the side.

Cover the entire bevelled area and then trim away the excess styrene from the sides and any which pokes out over the flat area of the blade. Turn the sword over and do the same with the bevels on the other side.

Now, with that done, hotglue the styrene edges together very carefully at the sides, making sure the edges aren't warped. You may have to trim some of the styrene from the edges to get them to line up correctly. (If you practice making enough edges, you should get the hang of how to do it so that said edges are neat and not covered with glue globules or dirt....)_

Here's what the blade should look like once all of it's surfaces have been covered with styrene.

I would recommend hotgluing 2 layers of styrene on over the wooden blade for extra stability (especially if you use balsawood. You'll need all the stability you can get.)

The next step is to attach the handle. This I did by marking off the part of the handle where I planned to have the hilt meet the blade:

Then I took two butter knives and hotglued them to both sides of the blade as shown. (Yes, I said butter knives. Don't use your Mom's butter knives for this. She'll kill you. Go to a thrift store instead and look around in the kitchen utensil area for a pair of crappy, scratched-up butter knives. It doesn't matter what style decoration they have on them- no one's going to see them.)

Next step, take a 12" length of 1" PVC pipe and fit it over the knives like so:

Once you're sure the pipe will fit, take it off, dribble copious amounts of hotglue over the knives and then push the pipe back on. Voila. Instant handle.

Well, not quite, as you have to hotglue a strip of styrene several times around the base of the blade to hold the knives in place.

It was heavy experimenting time at this point. I carved away some of the blade and started building the hilt with strips of plastic. Since I suck at trying to explain things verbally, I'll just show you what I did:

As you can see, I was kind of building a box-like structure at this point. I was also trying to cover the knife as best I could. (Since I only had one real good reference picture to work from, it was hard getting a feel for the lines of the object and where the shapes were in relation to each other. I realized at this point I was only going to get confused if I worked on the center of the hilt any longer so I started working on the rest of the hilt.

Next step is to create the rest of the hilt (which I find hard to describe in words, so I'll just show you how I make it and hope I can make myself understood well enough for you to follow...)

Step one: make a long notched triangle thing out of 6mm craft foam:

Hotglue another triangle piece under it. Then curve both pieces and hotglue a sheet of styrene to one side of it. Hold the piece curled in place until it dries, then carve off any excess styrene which may stick out over the foam. Then repeat the process with the other side of the piece so that, when you are finished, you have a curled piece like this, consisting of two layers of foam in the middle and styrene on the top and bottom:

The piece SHOULD hold its curled shape.

Again, we have another step which will be easiest if you have transparent styrene. Place a sheet of styrene over the side of the piece and trace a line down the middle like so:

Bend a ridge into the styrene, then hotglue the sheet over the curled piece. When it cools, carve away the excess (so basically, what you are trying to do it create a bevelled edge for the curled piece):

With bevelled edges glued to both sides of the curled piece (and the surface neatly trimmed and free of glue globs or strings, ) now comes the time to attach the curled piece to the grooved flange that you made before. First thing you do, is cut out a length of medium-gauge wire and embed it into the curled piece:

Then you stick the wire into the flange and guide it close to the curled piece. Put hotglue on both connecting edges and then connect them.

Make sure the pieces line up exactly parallel to each other...

There's another little piece which goes under the curled piece. Create the shape using 2 pieces of 6mm craft foam glued together...

Hotglue the piece to the rest of the hilt, and then cover every surface of it with styrene (you should know how to do this by now...)

You now have made 1/2 of the hilt. Hotglue a wire into the edge with the notch:

Set the hiltpiece into it's position on the sword, right at the part of the handle where the hilt meets the blade. Wind the wire around the PVC handle several times and then dribble hotglue over it to hold it in place. Repeat to create the other hiltpiece:

When wrapping the wire around the PVC, make sure you don't go higher than about an inch (you'll see why later.) I hope what I've shown makes sense so far.

With most of the hilt built, it's time to work on the center of the handle. Seeing as how I only had one tiny-res picture of the sword to go by, I had to use my imagination a tiny bit at this point. It appeared as though there were a diamond shape in the center of the handle, so I made that first...

(To make a diamond shape, you have to fold a square of styrene in half, cut out wedges of styrene at the points perpendicular to the fold and then, overlapping the edges of the wedges slightly, hotglue them together. (If you can't figure it out by my description, I suggest you get a square of tagboard and start folding it, cutting wedges into it and taping edges together until you come up with a way to create a raised diamond shape. I'm no genius. If I could figure out a way to do it through sheer experimentation, YOU certainly can...)

The next step in the process was to create a lozenge-y shape which I hotglued over what remained visible of the knife handles...

You can see here how the diamond shape should be set into the rest of the hilt... (You may have to carve away parts of the hilt which lie under it to get it to fit.)

After making the raised diamond/lozenge-y ornament, I hotglued a layer of craft foam over the rest of the center handle to conceal any more imperfections which remained. (Then I hotglued styrene sheeting over the craft foam.)

The next step: create the raised swirled decoration on the center handle and blade using hotglue. (This is a tricky process as it takes a steady hand to get hotglue to flow where you want it to. You might want to practice your hotgluing skillz on a scrap piece of styrene first...)

Remember that heated versa-tool I used for styrene engraving a few projects back? Well, it comes in pretty handy for engraving the etched parts of the tri-force design on the sword blade. (Just remember to do your etching in a well-ventilated area, as styrene fumes are NASTY.)

Now comes the part with the half sphere. (Again, I had to use my imagination a tiny bit for this section.) I created the half sphere by taking a 5" plastic Christmas ornament and sawing it in half. I then cut a hole in the top of it like so:

I had to make sure the hole was large enough to cover the exposed wire wound around the part of the handle where the hilt connects to it. I hotglued the sphere down over it, covered the exposed end with styrene sheeting, then wound a strip of craft foam and styrene sheeting around the sphere. I then and started decorating it with hot glue, like so:

I put a coupling above the half-sphere. (I glued a strip of craft foam over the handle and then covered it with styrene. I then added a couple of strips of craft foam and styrene over it to give it raised edges...)

The last thing to do was the pommel of the sword. I started by making a cone out of craft foam and styrene...

Then I made another conelike shape and inverted it as shown:

I decorated the top and bottom edges of the second cone with hotglue (but was too lazy to take any pictures of the finished pommel at this time. You'll see it later when I paint the sword...) Anyway, when all was said and done constructionwise, I had this:

(I regret I didn't get any pictures of the painting process after the initial first spray coat:)

And here's the finished sword...

Click here to see a full picture.

To make the purple of the hilt, I mixed silver, dark blue and dark red testor's enamel. (It's a tough combination to get right.) I painted the blade of the sword using short horizontal strokes with a thick brush to simulate a polished metal surface.

Here's a detailed closeup of the paint job. Note the handle. You could wrap colored vinyl tape around it to achieve that effect (I just wrapped a strip of styrene plastic around it and painted it with enamel. I like to do things the hard way, I guess...) Questions? Comments? Leave 'em below or e-mail me at
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Thank you.