How To Make Armor

Knight in full armor

Armor protects the wearer from harm caused by sharp knives, swords or sabers heading in their direction. There are several types of armor including leather, chain mail and metal plated armor. The type of armor you need depends upon your purpose, whether you are reenacting a particular historical period of you just need a costume. You can make armor by following these steps.

  1. Gather materials.
    • Heavy-duty leather, metal plates or metal rings
    • Tool for working your preferred medium
    • Pattern
    • Tape measure
  2. Decide what type of armor to make. Choose between the most common options of leather, chain mail from metal rings or metal plated armor. Again, if you are trying to capture a particular historical period you should do some homework to determine which armor style was prevalent during that period.
  3. Locate a pattern and materials. After step one you will know which material and style of armor you want to create. The best way to proceed is to find a pattern. Contact your local craft store for recommended vendors available in your area who offer leather hides or the metal components you need. The same vendor will most often have some pattern options as well.
  4. Take measurements. When armor was first popular, knights spent a great deal of money to outfit themselves with a set of armor that fit like second skin. The weight and maneuverability of armor is fundamental to its use. Take accurate measurements of your full body including height, shoulders, chest, arms, waist, hips, thighs and calves. Measurements should include the circumference of each area as well as length for the most accurate fit.
  5. Prepare the materials and tools. Each type of material will need some type of preparation. Leather must be cut then treated for optimum strength and flexibility while metal plating will require shaping to help it form to your body. After you assemble your materials and tools, follow your pattern guidelines to prepare the materials.
  6. Assemble the armor. Metal plate armor is usually shaped then joined together with rivets or hinges while chain mail is a solid series of metal rings assembled by starting with the shoulders, down the torso and then back to the sleeves. Leather also requires some shaping and then should be connected with lacing. Follow the pattern instructions to assemble your chosen armor.
  7. Test the armor for fit. Throughout the assembly try the armor on to be sure that your measurements were accurate and the pieces fit. Remember that even though the pieces fit before they were assembled, you could have trouble putting on the armor later if some of your joints are too tight or too firm.
  8. Complete the look then head out to your event. Depending upon the historical look you are going for, you may need a lance or a sword to complete your look. Add the accessory you need then go join the party; your armor is ready to wear.

Creating armor was once the prize skill of blacksmiths and leather workers. Today you can make your own armor if you take the time to find the right pattern and materials to suit your goals. Good luck making your armor; it just might save your life some day.


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