Basic Cosplay Sword


Well there are a lot of swords out there but be specific this tutorial will be making a Claymore, also known as Scottish Broad Sword. More info found here.

As per usual have your reference ready, we'll be making Finn's demonblood sword from Adventure Time today. I know its a  little more decorated but the basic concept is about the same :3 Have as many reference from every angle possible however claymores tend to be more or less symmetrical (this makes it hard cause errors are more obvious).

and begin.

What you'll need:
Not everything is shown in the image
  1. Foam board
  2. Wood stick - this will be the base for the sword and the structural support. You can get wooden dowels at Art Friend in a variety of sizes at varying prices but the basic sword size piece can actually be bought at Daiso for SGD 2 
  3. Newspaper and PVA  - this will prime the foam for painting.
  4. Leather strips or Fabric strips - for the hilt / handle of the sword depending on the design. Fabric strips just use some scraps from the SGD2 per meter cloths you cut up for your  coses. And leather strip can be bought buy are pricey. China town has them for SGD 10 - SGD 15 per strip depending on width.
  5. EVA foam -  we wont be needing much for this tutorial it is more to make the butt off the sword
  6. Craft foam - for any curve parts of the sword. The demon blood sword has these paws on the guard that are quite rounded, so the craft foam will be used there. Most designs most likely won't need craft foam.
  7. Pen knife or scissors - but seriously you'll need a pen knife with a good blade. If you cut the long strips with scissors there is a chance you snap the foam board. Also we are cutting angles, so if you want some nice neat angled cuts. Get a penknife. Had no penknife at the time of the image. 
  8. Spray paints - This sword will be using Anchor Flat Black and Anchor Anti-Rust Primer (<-- its a reddish coppery colour)
  9. Hot glue gun / Contact glue -  I prefer hot glue cause I'm rather impatient but  contact glue holds stronger. Hot glue gun will be needed to fill in the gaps though. Contact glue in image to show you want it looks like.
  10. Masking Tape
  11. Ruler - preferably a long metal one. Less chance of you cutting yourself or the blade running off track as you cut
  12. Pencil/marker 
  13. Optional but not preferably kitty assistant - note some of them like to scratch foam boards like this guy who crawled in while I was taking a picture OTL
Hmm that looks like a lot of stuff ~o.o~ Anyway start:

1) Make sure you have enough space to hold the sword two handed. Claymores are normally handled with two hands. Leave a space of 5 cm from the start of the hilt before you start marking out where your hands should go and add an extra 5 cm to mark where the guard will go.

This is roughly the amount of space I need for two hands to hold comfortably with leeway . Also marked out are the areas for the butt of the sword and the start of the guard.
Measure out how much space you will need for the guard and mark out where it should be.

2) Align the mark for the end of the guard with the edge of the foam board, leave some space on the sides of the rod, and trace over the rod. Mark out on the inner part of the rod outline about 0.2 cm away from the edge cause when we trace an object it is actually a lil larger then the object. By marking out the 0.2cm difference from both the long edges, we can have a tighter fit.

From that guide, you can start drawing out the core for your sword. Now the core is important, cause it makes your sword stronger less likely to break as you swing it about. Also prevents it from being floppy.

Note: the core should be thinner then your actual sword width, else you won't have space to close the ends of the other bits later.

My guard is ridiculously huge, so that's why there is more of the the wood sticking out of the board. I marked out where a sword with a regular guard would go and where mine lies. Colour of lines are weird cause I had to change them in photoshop, lines be too light in photo and I was worried you couldn't see them.
3) Cut out the core and slip it on to the rod. It should fit nicely, if not adjust. Then glue it down.

As you can see my rough cutting, this is why you need a nice clean blade. Anyway the core with the base for my guard glued down and it is swingable at this time, but it will be extremely flat so lets move on to the other bits. 

4) Measure out the width of the sword blade and divide that width in half. Mine was roughly 5 cm or 6 cm. This is the width for the slanted panels of the sword. Cut out 4 rectangles with on of the short ends slanted. The short ends should measure to the width you just measured and the long ends to the length of the blade to the start of the slant of the tip of the sword.

you'll need 4 of these
Cutting tip is to have the metal ruler on the inner side of the piece you are cutting, so if you cut a lil off the piece isn't damaged.

Cut an angle on the long side of the foam pieces that will be facing out.

6)  Glue down the inner parts of the long panels to the center of the dowel. This means that each panel should take up half of your sword.

The blade begins!
Glue down the outer ends together to create the blade's edge. Use masking tape after that to keep it down and smooth the edge.
A 'V' kinda shape should be happening
You'll notice a gap on the centre of the blade now. Just fill in with hot glue and use the excess foam board to wipe away the excess glue and smoothen the filling. Else, just masking tape over it.

Fill that gap in with glue and smoothen but removing the excess with scrap pieces of foam.

7) Now to prepared the tip. You will need 4 oblique triangular pieces, with the longest side of the triangle measuring from the tip of the sword to the top of the inner side of the panel. The shortest side will follow the slant of the previously cut panels and the last side of the triangle will follow the slant of the core.

Attach these pieces into place glue them down following the same process in step 6.

8) Now we are ready for the butt of your sword. Just cut a rectangular strip out of Eva foam about 3 cm - 4 cm in height and wrap it around the bottom of you wooden rod. Next cut out a circle of Eva foam and stick it to bottom of the butt.

Finish off your guard here. Mine was specific for this sword so I won't be showing how I did it.

Nearly done. You can see the craft foam joining up the guard pieces and crating a smooth curve 
9)  By now your sword should looking complete but in need of a paint job. But before we can go wild with colour skills remember, foam usually gets bitten by spray paint. So to prepare for that, get your PVA glue and newspaper and start layering. This will be very much like the newspaper job in the spear head tutorial.

Make sure there are no air bubbles in the newspaper. A tip to avoid it is to coat the area with glue, lay over the paper and go over the paper again with glue.
Don't forget to cover the butt of the sword with some glue or acrylic paint (if you don't want use newspaper there like me) so that the spray paint won't bite into it. Leave to dry.

10) Now its ready to be painted. Spray over the flat black paint first so that the uneveness of colour caused by the newspaper is cover and you will have a clean base to spray on the main colour. After it has dried, spray on the main colour/s of the sword.

Hide all that uneven newspaper

After the paint dries, grab some acrylic paint and a brush to weather it and add more details so it doesn't photograph as flat.

11) Wrap the hilt with the leather or fabric strips and glue down the strips. Now, you should be done :D

With the weathering done in the previous step and the details and shadows enhanced with paint the sword photographs much better


It's lightweight and awesome to hold. Swings great as well. Ocean looking awesome as Ice King.


  1. Wow, such a great tutorial! I'm going to be cosplaying Fionna in October and I've been looking for a good tutorial that'll work for her sword for ages! Your Finn sword looks awesome!

    Do you have any tips for making the sword slightly thicker? Fionna's crystal sword is such a chubby one! I've been thinking about using a children's play foam bat or something similar as the base for that extra thickness.

    1. Hi, thanks for liking our tutorial. :D

      Anyway thicker dowels are actually available to be a core. I recall baseball bats being quite thick, so I wouldn't recommend it. You could also use a regular dowel and then add a cone, like a party hat, on the grip to thicken up the handle.

      If you mean the blade, all you have to do is draw out the shape on the foam board to be thicker. Though this sword is made of a different material, it is of the same technique as you can see the pieces that make up the blade are cut in their appropriate shapes before gluing like so .

      Hope that answers your question :) If not feel free to ask more. :D

  2. great tutorial!!! i was wonder though, how did you make the hilt? im going to be Finn for Halloween, and i was going to make this exact sword.

    1. Hi sorry for the late reply,

      I hope this helps. If not feel free to ask questions. :)

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