Remaining SAO notes

On May 25, 2014, in Sword Art Online, by Toast

This is a long purely test post with some remaining rambling about Kirito builds.  Try not to fall asleep.


The shoulder strap and chest piece:

AKA how the swords free hung from my back. This was my biggest pet peeve with most of the Kirito cosplay I had seen. Either there was no sword sheaths or they were connected to belts which had nothing to do with the chest strap (and were inaccurate). I also saw a few which had connected it to the chest strap but the chest strap had come out to be thick belts and/or armour instead of just another fabric piece like it is on the character.

As a result I set out to find a solution to all of these pet peeves. If I hadn’t succeeded I likely won’t have even cared to wear this cosplay.

Thankfully, all my work wasn’t wasted. But enough yammering.

Chest piece creation:

The base of the chest strap was a loop attached to a loose piece of strap, which buckled into the rest allowing for easy removal of the piece.

This base was covered in the same fabric that I made my Kirito jacket out of, and the same (self-made) bias tape was used to cover the edges. This was made to fit very tightly to my body over the jacket. It had three purposes;

–          Look damn sexy

–          Hold the jacket in the correct (open) position

–          Hold the swords and their sheathes

I have a wonderful photo of myself in the bathroom modeling just this piece on my facebook page.

The chest armour was constructed from foam and worbla and pressed to my chest so that it molded right onto my body. This really is the wonderful part of thermoplastics, everything can mold right to you. The piece had two levels, inside the worbla I put two pieces of foam together to create the lower surrounding edge on the piece. The circles were thin strips of worbla wrapped around a cup, then were squished onto the main piece. This was gessoed, sanded, rub n’ buffed, buffed and covered in future. It was then applied to the chest strap to hide the buckle.


Attaching the swords:

In retrospect, this should have been done earlier. Since you are reading this, if you plan to follow my methodology for this, please don’t make my mistakes. Hindsight is 20/20 on this one, but my design worked out in the end.

My mistake is simple, my sheathes were completed when I decided to go about this task. Big no-no, this should have been a part of the design process. Aside from that, all is well aside from using contact cement instead of super glue to attach some Velcro, which is a fixable error. Side note: It has now been re-attached with super glue and is 100% solid.

I added Velcro to each case to get them to stick together in the correct position on my back. This made them into a single object to deal with hanging, though they would still come apart so they were easier to store and it was still possible to cosplay pre-dual wield Kirito if I so pleased. Before doing this check, re-check, re-re check, re-re-r… you get the point, your references to make sure you have the correct case set up and the correct case on top. Once you’ve done that, apply Velcro to their cross over area on the correct faces.

With the cases connected I held my chest strap piece up to them and sketched out where the chest piece would hit them, one case would slide on, the other would have a Velcro strap that could be done up and un-done around the chest strap. The Elucidator has the Velcro strap and the Dark Repulser has the slip on ring.

The slip on ring was made from the same backpack material. I cut two holes in my foamboard case and slid the piece through. As I like to worry I applied two layers of worbla to this area and some of the surrounding area on the case to make sure this area wouldn’t tear. Even though my foamboard sword was a massive 0.8lbs, I wasn’t willing to take any failure chances.

Why this isn’t ideal: The strap rubs against the sword since it is inside the case, possibly ruining the paint. You’ve also had to make a later modification and have possibly weakened the sheath.

How to be better than me: Attach the strap to the case in a different manner (worbla added on the external part of the case as part of the build that holds the strap for example). If you must snake it inside, cover it in felt or fleece and make sure it is flush or close to flush with the rest of the case,.

The Velcro ring was two pieces of Velcro sew together. Like the strap it snaked through the case. I placed the “soft” side of the Velcro inside the case but I still panicked every time I had to pull the elucidator out of the case fearing damage to the paint job. I don’t need to detail why this isn’t ideal, it’s obvious. Thankfully unlike the foamboard the worbla case doesn’t have a big concern about a loss of strength or stability from such a small cut. However just to be sure I applied an extra layer of worbla to this area.

How to be better than me: Same as above, pre-plan, make it flush. If you are using Worbla you may chose to place it with-in the initial “sealing”, allowing it to stick out. Sew the two pieces together and place the inside the piece with the foam, having small slits for them to exit the piece. This would make the fixing very strong and permanent inside the piece, however I would suggest double layering the worbla in this area on the outside just to be sure everything will hold.

This system was easy to take on and off, was accurate and was very comfortable. I wasn’t in pain after wandering around with the sword for 8 hours at the convention, considering my Haseo cosplay it was something I was more than thankful for.

Other notes:

I don’t feel the need to detail my shoe and arm armour. They were done with worbla just like the chest armour, the little bump details were done with screws which I had cut the bases off of. These details are likely suppose to be rivets, but I liked how the screws looked. The arm armour stuck on with Velcro, the shoe armour just used elastics as the boots I wore are boots I rather like for real life things (when armoured shoes might not go over so well).

The jacket was sewn by me, the wig was styled by me and the bias tape used was handmade as I didn’t find any with the colour I liked. The was my most comfortable cosplay to date. It was fun to take pictures with people in it as I could give them a sword to hold (or to threaten me with).

I have two future projects that I aim to finish this year, some Tera online armour and Toan from Dark Cloud (giant glowing sword FTW). Will try to post notes/ect on these as I go. May eventually put up a post about how my Shadowy Death was built.

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Blah blah blah <excuses>.  I moved, took a few courses… and now I’m back in gear for 6 months.  I’ll yammer about last year then go get my butt going on this year’s projects.  My cat also passed away, which took away a lot of time from my life (you can see him trying to “help” with my sheaths a bit later on).

For my SAO project I tried two different techniques for making my sheathes.  The Dark Repulser, made from foamboard, received a foamboard sheath and the Elucidator, made from wood, received a worbla sheath.

This post will discuss how both cases were made and I’ll make another post for the final Kirito details, including how I got the sheathes to free hang from my back.


This photo again, getting sick of seeing it yet?

Worbla case:

This case was spawned from an over whelming need to use the four rolls of worbla I had purchased in some sort of way (currently it is over a year since I purchased the worbla for this project, I still own 2.5 sheets but it will be put to good use shortly).  At this point I was also sick of dealing with wood as a result of my issues with filing the Elucidator.


The pieces were cut, and I went about sealing the foam in inside the worbla.  It was at the point I started to worry about how strong and secure it would be, just the foam seemed a bit wiggly.  As a result I switched out using foam in the sides in favour of balsa wood.  This meant that the sides were stronger and would stand well, this helped to make the case rather strong.  For those not familiar with thermo plastics for cosplay sealing/base covering is simply sealing a core material (normally foam) inside of the thermo plastic.

Once the base covering is completed I connected one side piece to each face piece.  The face pieces were kept flat on the floor to insure their shape.  To make sure that the sides were squared to one another I placed a square doweling against each connection I made.

Each side was then fabric lined and the two sides were connected, for this part I inserted the sword inside the piece to make sure the pieces correctly lined up.  The end was then closed off and the top was shaped properly.


The case was then covered in my new cosplay bff, spackling.  This stuff can be applied to anything to smooth it out.  It turns from pink to white when it is dry.  I covered the case in this then sanded it with a mouse sander with a low grit on my deck.  Make sure to wear a mask and clothing you hate when you do this, you will be covered in dust.


After this it was covered in gesso, sanded again up to a 220 grit then painted with black paint.  The black paint for this was slightly lighter than the sword, it was a lower quality (cheaper) paint made by Amsterdam.

Once the paint was dry the case was covered in a matte varnish.  I used stick on foamies to create the top details, covered them in rub n’ buff, buffed them and sealed them with future floor wax to keep their shine.

Foamboard case:

This case was spawned from a dislike of my worbla case at the time (it was half done) and an excess of foamboard from the Dark Repulser.  Of the two this case was much faster to put together.

The pieces were cut and glued together using hot glue.  Just like the worbla case they were felt/fleece lined to protect the paint job on my sword.  I had some issues with shaping the top portions and ended up having to sneek in some extra foamboard to make them fit the pommel on the Dark Repulser.



I covered the exposed foamboard texture on the sides of the case in paper clay and used this to cover up any small dents that had occurred during the building process.

There was no gesso applied to this case and only a bit of light sanding on the paper clay areas.  It was then painted with a lighter paint that the Elucidator’s case, covered first in Future floor wax to give it a hard coating then in matte varnish by liquitex.  Sticky foam was applied to the top to, covered in rub n’ buff, buffed, then sealed with future just like it was on the other case.


Which method to I prefer?

Both have their strengths; the foamboard case went together much faster, was much lighter and didn’t require much sanding beyond the paper clay I used to cover up the texture of the board’s siding, where as the worbla case was much stronger and I had few fears about my beloved Elucidator being protected inside it.  The worbla case took much longer and also cost about ten times as much to make (the foamboard case cost me maybe $3 to put together) it also took a lot of sanding work to be happy with.  The foamboard case was much weaker, could take damage (and did take a bit over 2 con days, a lot of rough handling and 6 months on my couch exposed to house guests).  The extent of this damage was a small bit of the clay covering on the foamboard peeling up, which was easily repaired.

If you have a wooden sword which is well sharpened and you don’t want to risk damage to, and have the money for worbla or wonderflex (either will work), go with a worbla or wood case (not discussed here, as I avoided building one).  If you have a wooden sword that you are not so deeply in love with, or isn’t very sharpened then a foamboard sheath will work for you, they go well with a foamboard sword and are very cheap.  Paint included the foamboard sword and sheath cost me maybe $15, but I’m likely over estimating.

My next post will deal with how I hung the sheaths from my back without the use of belts, strings or anything but the chest strap and other remaining details on this cosplay.

Toast signing off  o7

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It’s been a while since I’ve written anything for here.  Life is busy, life is time consuming.  Enough whining from me.

To build on my last post here’s my build notes for my Elucidator.  This is mostly me ranting about the struggles on building my first wooden sword so you can skip some of my stupidity and/or experimentation phases.


All of the completed swords and sheaths


1069945_10151474332356755_1575842208_nThe Elucidator started as a ½ inch board of poplar.  It was cut to the sizes as specified in my first sword art online post.

Once the basic shape was cut I went to work on shaping the edges.  At first I was doing this with rough files but was unhappy with the speed and the results.  I set this project aside for a while and tended to my commission of Homura’s bow.  Once I returned to the Elucidator I had since purchased myself a Dremel 4000, which came with a small planer attachment.  This was likely the tool that saved my project and kept me doing it in wood.  Using the Dremel’s planer I shaped the edges of the main part of the sword (the straight part) and finished the curved areas by hand with my files.  This same thing could be accomplished with a hand plane which can be easily obtained at most hardware stores.


The base cut of the Elucidator


The sword after shaping and with one of the top pieces

The raised detail areas were cut from ¼ inch ply wood, shaped with a file, then glued on using wood glue to each side of the ½” poplar sword.  The handle was a 1 inch dowel cut to size then attached using both a dowel screw (a screw with two sets of threading, one in each direction) and wood glue.  The handle details were done out of a small amount of worbla and some paper clay.


All of the above was a fair amount of work, but the most work likely went into the paint job.  I spent hours sanding this sword out on my balcony.  I wasn’t happy until it was silky smooth.

After the final bit of building the blade was sanded to 220 grit, then had several coats of gesso applied and some paper clay applied to small nicks that had occurred in the wood during the building process.  The gesso was sanding to 1000 grit.  Two coats of black paint were applied with a brush to the entire sword.  I used Liquitex heavy body black paint, this paint is a bit expensive but it worth every penny.  It was a much darker black that my three other black paints used in this project and it went on well and sanded well.  This paint was sanding to 2000 grit, until I was able to see my fingers in it.  The reflective surface of the sword doesn’t show up well in photos but it is my favorite part of this sword.


The Elucidator and the Dark Repulser’s case being painted

After this the sword was taped with yellow painters tape (delicate) and I applied rub n’ buff to the edges with a soft cloth, it was also carefully applied to the pommel areas that required it.  I buffed the rub n’ buff areas with a cloth twice.

The entire sword was seal with two coats of future, which was applied with a foam brush.

The top circle was cut from a wooden piece intended for dolls I found at a sewing store I frequent (Dressew for any other Vancouverites), which was cut into four, sanded, covered in rub n’ buff, buffed and glued on with contact cement.


3D printed decals


3D printed decals covered in rub n’ buff


The end pieces on the sword were 3D printed for me by a local pop-up shop (I provided them the model).  This alone was an interesting experience, getting to play around with the 3D printer to get a set of perfect models.  Since the piece was so thin a single piece of tape made the different between the machine printing a good copy of the cross and a bad copy of the cross.  I covered these in rub n’ buff, sealed them and used contact cement to add them to the end of the blade.

Edit: I’ve had a few people comment on my use of the 3D printer for the decals on the sword.   There are many other option for making these, the one I would suggest after the 3D printer option it to create one piece in fimo, wood, tagboard or bristol board and to use it to make a resin mold then cast two copies.  However any material would work including; fimo, air-dry clays, thermoplastics, wood, bristol board/tag board, foam, acrylic… anything that is smooth, thin, paint-able and glue-able.

1044833_10151474332246755_2038470092_n 970615_10151474332251755_1781837677_n

I then swung the sword around a bit, much to the displeasure of my other half.

When you build your first wooden sword this is simply something you have to do, it’s fun to have the weight in your hand.  Do avoid jabbing yourself, anyone around you or any pets.  Also try not to break the blade in the process.

Always feel free to shoot me a note at my facebook page if you need some more help or details.

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With the 2013 con season over it is time to post some tutorials/builds of my 2013 work.  This will work through both of Kirito’s swords and sword cases; each was built in a different manner with different materials because I wanted to play around with materials this year.  It’ll also discuss how the swords were mounted and a bit to do with the few pieces of armour Kirito has.

First off, The Dark Repulser (The green sword for those that aren’t into Sword Art Online)



This is foam board and a square 1” wooden dowel for a handle, the same dowel I used for Homura’s bow.


Cut the basic shape from foam board, you’ll want two of each piece, I use a straight edge  and foam board cutter  from Logan (foamwerks).  These simply made the cuts easier and faster, this process is perfectly possible with a ruler and an exacto knife.

Once the base is cut the edges need to be cut to a 45 degree angle.  I suggest doing this afterwards so that you can watch the angle closely and make any needed adjustments as you create it.  With the foam board cutter this can be simply done by setting the cutter to 45 degrees and running it along the sides.  Take time on this, you want as clean of a cut as possible so you have less retouching and clean up to do later.

In my case my foam board was smaller than my sword, so the top bit is a different piece.

Please excuse the cat, he seems to believe that he can help with cosplay props.



At this point you are going to cut channels for doweling.   You’ll want ¼” doweling.  Place it upon the foam board piece on the backside and trace it, then check that you have right around a ¼” apart set of lines.  You are going to very carefully cut into the foam board, but not far enough to pierce the entire piece.  Peel out the foam and you’ll be left with the above featured picture.  I used a screw driver with a flat head to dig out the foam surface, be careful not to damage the front covering or it will show on your final sword.  Do this to both pieces such that the channel lines up exactly on the two sword pieces.

For the top a ¼” aluminum rod was used in place of doweling, as this will connect into the handle.  The detail pieces also contain small bits of doweling.


Glue the doweling into the first piece, and then glue the second on so that it perfectly lines up with the first.  You may have some small touch ups to do with cutting at this point, any errors you made in cutting the angles will be fixed shortly.

Once everything is placed correctly you can either do angle fixing or detailing.  I did my detailing first, then my patching/fixing.

My detailing was done out of craft foam, worbla and extra craft foam.  There is foam with an adhesive backing on it that is perfect for work like this.  The handle was connected by drilling a hole into the square doweling, after sanding it to soften the edges, then attached to the sword with glue in both the hole and on the base of the sword.


The edges now all need to be seal and fixed.  I used paper clay to do this however it would also be possible to do this with bondo (I believe) or spackling.  Use whichever material you would like to use for patching, the application is all very much the same.

Smooth the patching material over the edges and fill in any spots that were cut funny and any places on the face of the sword that require touch up.  Sand the patching to create a smooth edge; I suggest getting to the range of at least 220 on sanding if not 400.

Once you are satisfied with your patching apply gesso to the entire sword, including the foam board face.  Apply 3-6 layers then sand the entire sword to 400.  I’m a fan of wet sanding, but it isn’t mandatory.

The paints I used were Folkart Plaid metallic aquamarine for the main part of the sword, emerald green for the details and a custom mixed teal for the handle.

Just the aquamarine paint & the Elucidator’s case in paint prep stage.


The gems are resin cast out of a custom made mold.  To do this a base gem was first created with fimo, baked, used to create a mold out of Easy Mold (handy silicone mold maker) then cast out of polyester resin.  The backing of the gems is painted with the aquamarine colour.

The final detailing on the handle is some strips of styrene and a very thin strip of the adhesive foam, coloured in aquamarine paint.

The entire sword is seal and finished with Future by Pledge, a great high gloss hard coat for cosplay props (and floors, apparently).

I was happy with this sword, it was light, it looked good and was fast and easy to make.  If you don’t want to put the love and attention into a wooden sword and I would absolutely recommend this technique.


And as required, a photo of my finished cosplay taken by BD MacDonald



My other 2013 con photos are posted on my facebook.  Some nice photos of my Haseo cosplay with a new prop, his scythe Shadowy Death.

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Sword Art Online

On November 13, 2012, in Sword Art Online, by Toast

Next project is under way.

After Haseo I wanted to go back to making props wanted to experiment with working in wood.  Back during my Haseo costume I made an attempt at the guns out of plywood.  These did not look very good, bits of chipping and a texture I found hard to remove.  I was so unhappy with these I didn’t include them in the costume and will be re-attempting then in wood (and/or maybe resin) once I become more comfortable with working in wood.

My previous props had either been styrene or cardboard (See my cardboard scythe).

I have begun to work on Sword Art Online main character, Kirito.

The Elucidator:

This sword will be built with one piece of 1/2″ poplar for the main body, one piece of 1/4″ poplar for the pomel details and a 1 inch dowel for the handle.

Here is my pommel design for it, adjust the size of the blade area until it fits your sword properly then print

Main measurements are as follows:

Total sword w/o handle: 86 cm (33.86 inches)

Blade width: 5.8 cm (2.28 inches)

Dowel handle (expected): 21 cm (8.27 inches)

Other important measurements:

Bottom tip is 10 cm (3.94 inches) from the point that is starts angling in.  These angles are 165 degrees.

The expansion towards the pommel begins at 73 cm (28.74 inches) (the point at which my pommel begin in the above sketch).

Angled area on blade: 0.9cm (.35 inches) of each side  (0.9 angled, 4cm flat, 0.9 angled)

Other Materials:


This sword can also be created using these measurements using cardboard like in my cardboard scythe tutorial or the common online cardboard sword tutorial techniques.  This will turn out best if the item is covered in either bondo and sanded or layers of gesso are used as a final primer.

Expanding Foam:

Although it isn’t ideal for a sword with such a large large surface expanding foam could also be used to carve this sword to the same specifications I have provided here.

I’ll post updates as I get to work on this sword, I just wanted to get some info about this project out there as I see many people interested in building this sword.

More frequent updates will be posted over at my facebook.  I’m waiting for a rain free day to land on a day I have free so that I can get to work, but no luck so far.  Vancouver winters mean rain for months on end! :(

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