Basic Side Handled Shield

Basic Side Handled Shield

Have you ever had need to make something more interesting than your average run-of-the-mill shield? Then it’s a good thing you’re here! With this instructable you too can design, make and use your own side guard shield.

([DISCLAIMER] This piece of armour is (at position of the original creator) intended for decorative and/or ornamental use. I am not responsible for any injury or harm you may sustain or inflict while in the process of making or wearing this item.)

Let’s make a shield!

Task 1: Materials

Basic Side Handled Shield

For this shield you need to make sure you have the following items:


  • Wood – I honestly have no idea what I used, I just pulled some wood from an old headboard that seemed like the right size.
  • Metal – You don’t have to have a rim of metal but it is far cooler if you do.
  • Nuts & Bolts or Rivets – You can choose either to secure the metal and fabric to the wood.
  • Leather or Fabric – Either will work or you can use a similar fabric.
  • Washers – Optional.
  • Epoxy – It helps a lot.
  • Handle – To hold the shield of course. I just chose an awesome looking drawer one.
  • Belt – Also for the handle.
  • Varnish and Paint – Optional.
  • Screws – About the same size as the handle placers.


  • Disc Cutter or Dremel – To cut out the metal.
  • Hammer – To knock a few things into place.
  • Drill – With various bits.
  • Grinder or Files – I’d recommend a grinder.
  • Sandpaper – A few descending grits.
  • Marker – I’d say a heavy colour but any works.
  • Scissors or Scalpels – For any excess fabric.

Safety Stuff:

  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Dust Mask

Task 2: Making The Shape

Basic Side Handled Shield
Basic Side Handled Shield
Basic Side Handled Shield

First, you want to design the shield.

You need to ask yourself what will it look like? How will it be balanced? Now’s the time to put that thinking cap on and storm some brains with ideas.

I’ll just make the stock design and then you can experiment with some of the things you can come up with.

Grab your wood and draw the shape of your design on it and then start cutting it out. You can just cut on the go like I did but still have a clear idea of what you want. Then sand the edges smooth and bevel the underside with files or sandpaper.

Task 3: Adding The Back

Basic Side Handled Shield
Basic Side Handled Shield
Basic Side Handled Shield

Get the material that you chose (leather is the best but I didn’t have any so I had to make do with felt) and trace around the shield with your marker before cutting it out. Note that you could cut in excess of 2cm off the edge as then you can bend the fabric to meet the metal if you wanted.

Take the epoxy and outline the fabric and then place it on the wood, clamp it down and come back to it in a few hours’ time. Once the epoxy is set you can either trim the excess edges off or bend it over and epoxy it again but this time onto the sides.

If you want then you can dye, stain or paint the fabric but I was fairly happy with mine so I didn’t bother.

Task 4: Attaching The Metal

Basic Side Handled Shield
Basic Side Handled Shield
Basic Side Handled Shield
Basic Side Handled Shield
Basic Side Handled Shield
Basic Side Handled Shield
Basic Side Handled Shield

[///SAFETY/// Wear your goggles and gloves as well as respiratory protection. Employ safe cutting skills and approach this step with caution.]

Measure everything! If you want the rim completely covered in metal then you need to measure the sides, how far it is in and where it ends for a new piece.

To completely cover the edge you need to get through three processes:

1. Face

First, draw the edge onto your metal with your marker then move the edge inwards about 1.5-2cm and draw again. Using the disc cutter, cut the shape out before epoxying it onto the wood. Sand, glue, clamp, wait.

2. Sides

Do the same process but this time measure the width of the sides and simply cut out a strip of metal and bend it into the curve of the shield before epoxying it on.

3. Back

Same as the face but the measurement from the edge inwards is reduced by half-ish.


That’s how I did it anyways.

If you want you can just accumulate all the measurements into one metal strip and bend them in angles to fit the shield and then epoxy.

Task 5: Handles

Basic Side Handled Shield
Basic Side Handled Shield
Basic Side Handled Shield
Basic Side Handled Shield
Basic Side Handled Shield
Basic Side Handled Shield
Basic Side Handled Shield
Basic Side Handled Shield

You can *grasp* this step quite easily…

Quite simply, use the drill and nails to secure the handle in a horizontal position from the top.

With the belt though, you need to trial-by-fire it and check when it’s the right size for your arm, just under the elbow (for me). Make holes through the belt, drill the screws in and cut off the excess.


[{NOTE} Use washers for the belt. I guarantee that the screw alone will dig into the belt and break it at least once.]

Task 6: Reinforcement

Basic Side Handled Shield
Basic Side Handled Shield

Just in case grab the drill and either reinforce the metal rim or the fabric underneath.

Go through all materials and secure with a bolt before ending off with a washer and a nut. If you can’t fit the bolt all the way through then pick up your mighty hammer and smite it until it lays firm in the shield. Aside from that you’re pretty much finished. Good job.

Task 7: Adding Detail

Basic Side Handled Shield

So, it’s called ‘basic’ for a reason. I want YOU (yes, you) to customize it! Yeah, go nuts! Add emblems, colour, ageing, outlines, borders and whatever else you can think of.

Personally, I wanted to sand all of it down because the previous finish made it seem too ‘factory manufactured’ and I wanted it to be rustic for your enjoyment. You’re welcome.

Then that’s it. You’re finished!

Task 8: Finished!

Use your shield to battle giants and dragons alike, and the best part is you made it all yourself! Enjoy your new shield!

weapons-and-armor – Basic Side Handled Shield, in category: costumes

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