Item Rep Construction


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Item Rep Construction

Padded Weapons

Several methods for the construction of padded weapons are detailed, but they are not the only good methods of constructing weapons, just the most common and proven methods. Experimenting with new techniques and materials is encouraged, but all weapons must meet all the weapon standards, and pass a safety inspection.

Weapon Standards

All weapons must meet all weapon standards to be considered safe to use in combat. All weapons must be checked for safety and standards by a weapons marshal before being allowed into the game.


All weapon reps must meet strict size requirements. See the main weapon section for all the information about weapon size requirements.


You cannot make your weapons any color you wish. Weapon reps must meet the color requirements listed in the main weapon section.


All weapons made for melee combat must have a rigid core.

CPVC pipe, PVC pipe, and bamboo are suitable core materials for weapons made using the PVC core construction techniques. Because of the inherent weight and ‘whip’ in these core types they are not recommended, but they are suitable for some weapon applications. These types of core materials should have a minimum diameter of 3/4” and a maximum diameter of 1”.

Tubing or rods made from graphite, fiberglass, carbon fiber, or Kevlar are recommended core materials and are suitable for both types of core construction techniques detailed later in this section. This general group of core materials will be referred to as ‘fiberglass core’ materials throughout the rest of this section. These types of core materials should have a minimum diameter of1/2”, and a maximum diameter of 1”.

Wood other than bamboo should never be used as a core material.

Metal should never be used as the sole core material in a sword, and the only time when metal is suitable is using aluminum tubing inside or outside PVC or CPVC to reduce the ‘whip’ of a two handed weapon.

It is very important that the core material used is strong enough to stand up to combat without breaking or bending appreciably. Also, the core material should be chosen so that a weapon has minimum ‘whip’ when swung. When a weapon is swung in a normal fashion, a weapon’s tip should not bend more than two or three inches from the line of the main shaft of the weapon.

All core materials should be padded with tape at the ends to help keep the core from wearing away at the padding.


Padding a weapon properly is vital for safety during combat. A weapon should have a minimum of 3/4” thick closed cell foam on all potential striking surfaces. Non-striking surfaces must be padded by at least 3/8” thick closed cell foam.

Foam must be picked so that it is not too hard or stiff. Foam camping mats are a good source of closed cell foam suitable to be used on fiberglass core weapons using a ‘sandwich’ construction method. Round pipe insulation that is 5/8” thick is a suitable foam material for both PVC type core and fiberglass core weapons.

Open celled foam, otherwise known as "pillow" foam, is not an acceptable padding alone. Open cell foam should be added on top of closed cell foam in areas such as the thrusting tip, or in ‘head’ areas of weapons like axes and maces.

All melee weapons should have a thrusting tip made of open cell foam. The thrusting tip should be between 2 and 3 inches long, and should be able to compress harmlessly and expand quickly and without assistance. The diameter of the thrusting tip must be at least that of the weapon. All thrusting tips should have at least 1/2” of closed cell foam between the end of the core material and the start of the thrusting tip. All thrusting tips should be secured to the blade of the sword with duct tape.

Weapon Guards

A guard on a weapon must be padded so that accidental hits with the guard should cause no injury to an opponent. Weapon guards should have sufficient inside padding so that when an opponent strikes a weapon guard, the users hand will not be injured. The guard should be stiff enough, or pliable enough so that it will not bend in such a fashion that it traps or damages the users hand. Weapon guards must be free of sharp edges.

General Standards

Weapons should not have too much heft or weigh too much. Massive weapons can cause injuries. As this is a subjective standard, large or hefty weapons must be approved before being used in the game. Weapon makers are encouraged to make their weapons as light as possible while still meeting all other standards.

  • Duct tape, lightweight cloth, or some other safe, flexible material, must cover all foam on a weapon.

Fiberglass Core Weapons

Weapons built around a fiberglass core are the lightest, safest, and best-looking types of LARP weapons. The most common construction method for this type of weapon core is the "sandwich" method, detailed below. The same construction techniques used for PVC cores may be applied to fiberglass cores, with the foam tubing sized appropriately for the smaller core diameter.

Materials and Tools

  1. Fiberglass core material. .505" diameter for one handed reps. .610" diameter for two handed reps.
  2. 1/2" and 3/8" thick closed cell foam. The most common source of these types of foam is foam camping mats available from Wal-Mart or camping supply shops.
  3. Open cell cushion foam. You will need at least a 3" x 3" cube. This stuff can be bought very cheaply at most fabric stores and comes in a variety of colors.
  4. 3M type 77 spray adhesive
  5. Duct tape (silver for metal, brown for wood, etc.)
  6. Electrical tape
  7. A saw for the core material
  8. A sharp knife of some sort

1-H Sword Construction

  1. Plan out the weapon by sketching it out on a piece of paper. Work out the overall shape of the weapon, the length of the blade, the length of the grip, the shape of the cross guard, etc.
  2. Cut the core material 4 inches shorter than the total length of the sword.
  3. Cover both ends of the core with short pieces of duct tape or electrical tape. This prevents the edges of the core ends from wearing down the blade foam and tip foam and dramatically shortening the lifespan of the weapon.
  4. Cut 2 strips of the 1/2" thick foam intended for the striking edges of the sword. They should be the length of the intended blade minus 2”, and at least ¾” inch wide.
  5. Tape the striking edge foam strips to the core material, using short pieces of electrical tape or duct tape. Leave 1/2” of space between the tip end of the core, and the tip end of the foam strips. Fill that space with a piece of closed cell foam, and tape it into place.
  6. Cut 2 strips of the 3/8" thick foam intended for the sides of the sword. They should be the same length as the striking edge foam, and at least 1¼” inch wide.
  7. Glue on the side pieces using the spray adhesive. Spray on a good coat of adhesive to both surfaces, and let the glue sit for about 20 seconds to become tacky, before placing the sidepieces onto the blade.
  8. Center and straighten the sidepieces, then weigh them down or clamp them down. This can be tricky, and some builders use long pieces of wood clamped to the sword to ensure an even and consistent blade. This is important to ensuring the adhesive forms a good bond to the foam and the core.
  9. Let the glue dry overnight for the strongest bond.
  10. After the glue is dry, this is the point that some builders carve the edges of their blade into a more ‘realistic’ cross section.
  11. For the thrusting tip, cut a piece of open cell foam that matches the cross section of the blade, and is 3” long.
  12. Tape the thrusting tip onto the blade using a piece of duct tape around the circumference of the tip.
  13. Use another piece of tape to compress the tip down to 2” long, and then cover up any exposed foam on the thrusting tip with duct tape, making the tip into a secure package.
  14. Take a pin or something similar and poke a bunch of holes in the sides and top of the tip. This is so that air can flow in and out.
  15. Compress the tip and see how it decompresses. If it is very slow or does not decompress all the way then add more pinholes.
  16. Make a cloth sheath to fit over the blade. The sheath should be made from a lightweight, durable cloth such as light cotton, or nylon. The sheath should fit snugly on the blade. Once on the blade, secure the sheath to the end of the blade or to the core with tape.
  17. If desired, make a cross guard for the sword. One method is to cut two strips of blade foam in a pattern and then tape or glue them to the core at the base of the blade. Another method is to cut an oval or other shape from foam that is long enough to curve around the area for the handle. Cut two holes for the core material to slide through, and slide it onto the core. Secure it into place with tape or glue, and cover with colored tape if desired.
  18. Pad the butt end of the weapon with foam, and secure it with tape.
  19. Grips and grip materials for weapons are extremely varied. Some people prefer leather wrap, others like tennis racket wrap, etc. One common practice is to tape or glue a handle length piece of core material onto the handle, to build up the size of the grip, and then wrap it with their preferred grip material.
  20. Finish the sword by checking it for safety and making sure it meets all weapon standards.

PVC Core Weapons

PVC core weapons are the oldest type of LARP weapon, and tend to be heavy, and ugly. However, they are easier to make than most fiberglass core weapons, and are also much faster to make.

Materials and Tools

All of the materials listed here can be found at most hardware stores unless otherwise specified.

  1. 3/4" diameter PVC or CPVC pipe.
  2. 5/8" thick pipe insulation of a proper diameter to fit the pipe. This is the green or beige stuff that comes split up along one side and is often has a self-adhesive strip in that split.
  3. Open cell cushion foam. You will need at least a 3" x 3" cube. This stuff can be bought very cheaply at most fabric stores and comes in a variety of colors.
  4. Duct tape (silver for metal, brown for wood, etc.)
  5. Electrical tape (for the grip. If you are planning on using another grip material, you can omit this)
  6. A saw for the PVC pipe
  7. A sharp knife of some sort
  8. Sandpaper

1-H Sword Construction

  1. Plan out the weapon by sketching it out on a piece of paper. Work out the overall shape of the weapon, the length of the blade, the length of the grip, the shape of the cross guard, etc.
  2. Cut the piping 4 inches shorter than the total length of the weapon.
  3. Sand the sawed edges somewhat smooth with sandpaper.
  4. Cover both ends of the core with short pieces of duct tape. This prevents the edges of the pipe ends from cutting into the blade and tip foam and dramatically shortening the lifespan of the weapon.
  5. To make the foam fit very snug on the core, take 2 or 3 strips of duct tape, crumple them slightly and wrap them around the core at different spots under where the blade will be. This is mainly to prevent the foam from rattling against the core. For longer weapons, more strips should be added in this manner.
  6. The PVC core with duct tape applied at the ends for safety, and along the pipe for a snug fit.
  7. At the hilt end of the weapon, mark where the start of the cross guard will be (if there is going to be one).
  8. Slide the pipe insulation over the core until the PVC core is exposed at the hilt end up to the cross guard mark. Use duct tape to secure the pipe insulation to the core at the hilt end.
  9. Cut the pipe insulation 1" above the tip end of the PVC core and fill the end with a piece of pipe insulation. This plug should fit snugly.
  10. Cap the tip end with a piece of duct tape.
  11. Create the cross guard from a piece of pipe foam, or some other type of foam. Make sure to include a hole in the center of the guard so it will fit on the PVC pipe.
  12. Slide the cross guard up the hilt until it meets the blade foam. Secure the guard in place with duct tape.
  13. The end of the hilt, or pommel, must be padded with foam, and covered with duct tape.
  14. Small weights may be added to the pommel, but they must be very well secured, and heavily padded with foam.
  15. For the thrusting tip cut a 3" by 3" cube from the open-cell foam.
  16. Place the cube on the tip and tape it in place onto the blade with a strip of tape around the circumference, compressing the foam to the diameter of blade.
  17. Take a 15" strip of tape and place the center of it onto the end of the foam cube. Compress the foam down to form a 2" thrusting tip and adjust the tape against the blade so that the pressure is equal on both sides.
  18. Take another 15" strip of tape and do the same thing, except this time, do not compress the foam any further. Make sure there is no foam showing on the thrusting tip and that the thrusting tip is fairly uniform in shape.
  19. Take a pin or something similar and poke a bunch of holes in the sides and top of the tip. This is so that air can flow in and out.
  20. Compress the tip and see how it decompresses. If it is very slow or does not decompress all the way then add more pinholes.
  21. Cover the blade with long strips of duct tape laid down lengthwise on the blade. Overlap the edges of the tape 1/8" - 1/2".
  22. It should take 4 long pieces of tape to cover the blade. Make sure that no foam shows.
  23. At the hilt end of the blade you should overlap the tape onto the bare PVC core a few inches and then wrap a piece of tape around the core.
  24. Pad the end of the weapon with foam, and secure it with tape.
  25. Use the electrical tape or another grip material and put a spiral wrap around the hilt to form the grip of the sword.
  26. Finish the weapon by checking it for safety and adding any detailing you may wish.

Construction Tips

  • Make sure when applying duct tape that it goes onto the surface smoothly without forming wrinkles and without the tape sticking to itself.
  • Try to use the least amount of tape possible while still keeping things safe and properly made.
  • The thrusting tip is the hardest part of the sword to do, and is the most likely part to make a weapons marshal not allow the weapon into game. It can take several tries to get a tip made well when starting out, and if you are having a lot of trouble it is advisable to seek out someone with experience and have them demonstrate their building techniques.

Other Types of Weapons

One handed hafted

Use the same construction procedures as for the PVC one-handed sword, leaving out the cross guard and adding on the appropriate head. Avoid heads that are too large or make the weapon unwieldy. A few layers of pipe insulation cut in half and taped on top of each other onto the shaft makes a suitable axe. A layer or two of open cell foam wrapped around the shaft makes for a decent mace. All hafted weapon heads must be covered in either tape or cloth, and any open cell foam heads should have pinholes put in them to compress and decompress properly.

Two-handed weapons

Any PVC two-handed weapon that is over 47" should have some sort of reinforcing core inside the PVC to minimize whip. One way to do this is with an aluminum pipe of appropriate diameter to fit snugly inside or outside the PVC and extend roughly 3/4 of the way up the core. Another way is to do the same thing except with bamboo. In any case, PVC two-handed weapons tend to be heavy, unwieldy, and possess too much whip. Because of this it is suggested any two handed weapon be made using fiberglass tubing as the sole core material.

To make a two handed hafted weapon such as a spear, great axe, giant club, etc., pad the entire shaft of the weapon except for two handholds. The head of the weapon should be constructed in the same manner as for a one handed hafted weapon. The only limitation on the distance between the handholds is that the shaft of the weapon must be padded for a full 24” below the head or tip of the weapon.


To make a staff, use the same basic technique as for a two-handed weapon, except there cannot be any handholds. Both ends must have a full thrusting tip.

Thrown Weapons

A thrown weapon such as a throwing dagger, hand-axe, rock, etc. must be completely made from a soft material such as open cell foam, and covered in one layer of light cloth or duct tape. Larger thrown weapons, such as javelins, are not allowed in NEWLARP.


Bows must be constructed out of foam. Bows do not have to have a core material, but if they do, they must be as fully padded as for any melee weapon.


No flails or any other weapon that has flexible striking sections of any type are allowed in NEWLARP. This includes nunchaku, whips, any type of weapon involving a chain, etc. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Shield Construction

Many shield designs are possible. Some examples include round, triangle, teardrop, oval, heater, and rectangle. Other designs are possible, but the surface area of a shield must not exceed 452 square inches, and the longest dimension may not exceed 30 inches. These size limitations include the foam padding that must be included on the edges of all shields. Unusual shield designs will be approved individually, and may be rejected even if they fall within the size limitations.


  1. 1/4” thick plywood
  2. 5/8” pipe insulation
  3. 1/8” clothesline rope
  4. Duct tape
  5. Power drill
  6. Round-headed bolts and nuts
  7. Forearm strap
  8. Handle
  9. Paint

Construction Instructions

  1. Plan out the shield. Figure out the shape and dimensions, and plan out where to put the forearm strap and handle.
  2. Cut the plywood to a size slightly small than the planned shield size to take into account the pipe insulation that will go along the edges of the shield.
  3. Drill holes around the edge of the shield, 3” apart and 1” from the edge of the shield.
  4. Drill holes for the forearm strap and the handle.
  5. Assemble the handle and forearm strap, leaving enough room in the strap to slide your arm through with bulky clothing or armor.
  6. Paint the shield with a base coat. When that is dry, paint on any heraldic devices you wish to have.
  7. The back of the shield need not be painted.
  8. Split the pipe insulation along its length. Cover the pipe insulation with duct tape, overlapping the split edges to cover the inside edge of the pipe insulation with tape.
  9. Wrap the foam along the edge of the plywood, threading the rope through the holes you drilled and around the pipe insulation in a spiral pattern.
  10. Be sure that all the wood edges are covered by the pipe insulation, and secure the rope with a sturdy knot.

Armor Construction

In NEWLARP there are 6 basic types of armor. Clothing, leather armor, studded leather armor, chain mail, scale armor, and plate armor.

There are so many different ways to make armor, most of them being fairly complex, that we will not attempt to cover them in this book. Refer to the resources section in this section for some web pages with information on making your own armor.

The only rule on armor construction is that it must be safe. Any armor that is judged unsafe by a marshal cannot be used. Special attention should be given to eliminating sharp or protruding edges, joints that can pinch or cut the wearer, or any other unsafe feature.

Packet Construction

Small throwable packets are used to represent many types of spells, attacks and thrown effects in NEWLARP.

Packet Colors

Red - Effect attacks Red with colored tail - Arrow Yellow - Alchemy attacks All other colors - Spell attacks

Construction Instructions

The most accepted method of construction is to take a square of lightweight cloth, 6 to 7 inches on each side. Put three or four tablespoons of birdseed (the small round kind with NO SUNFLOWER SEEDS) in the middle of the cloth. Gather the corners together, forming a comet-shape. Secure the tail with tape (electric tape works best), string or thread. Do not secure the tails with rubberbands because most rubberbands degrade quickly when exposed to moisture and tend to break easier with alot of use. The resulting packet should be roughly 1.5"-2" in diameter. The tail may then be trimmed, but if you do trim it, do not cover the resulting tail with tape as that makes it too hard to be safe. Players are advised to mark his or her spell packets with their name or some other identifying mark.


The Do It Yourself Guide to LARP

Trollbane Fantasy Creations

The Arador Armour Library

TherionArms Resource Links Page

Tandy Leather Company Direct

Into The Wind

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