A red shield with three badgers.

How to make a cardboard shield

Even the bravest of knights needs a shield for protection. 

This easy step-by-step guide will show you how to make your own medieval shield. Choose your colours, pick an animal or fearsome beast as your charge, and you'll be ready for adventure.   

You will need:

  • 2 A3 sheets of thick cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Duct tape
  • Masking tape
  • Glue
  • A ruler
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paint brush

Drawing the outline of the shield.

1. Draw and cut out your shield

Draw the outline of your shield on a piece of the thick card, and cut it out.

  • Ask an adult to help you with the scissors!  

Putting masking tape on the shield to map out the ordinary.

2. Plan your background

Use masking tape to map out how you will paint your shield.

You can choose a plain background or add in shapes. Some of the most popular shapes (called 'ordinaries') are the bend, pale and chevron.

Painting the background of the shield red.

3. Paint the shield

Now you can paint your shield using the acrylic paint.

Using the masking tape means you will have neat edges between the different colours.

Painting the charge, a badger.

4. Add a charge

You can include a charge - stars or flowers, animals like lions, or fabulous beasts like manticores (the 'man-tiger'). 
You can download one of our designs from the heraldry activity pack below. Print it out, cut it out neatly and paint it, then stick it on to your shield.

Or, if you are feeling creative, make up your own design!  

Heraldry charge download pack

Heraldry activity pack

Download our selection of fabulous beasts and animal charges to cut out and colour in at home. You can even design your own heraldry coat of arms.

Download PDF
Taping two arm straps on to the back of the shield.

5. Make arm straps

After the paint and glue have dried, take a strip of cardboard about 20cm x 7cm, and tape one end to the back of the shield. Bend it so it makes a loop which you can put your arm through, then tape the other end down. You can wrap more tape around the handle to make it stronger.

Repeat this so you have two arm straps which you can use to keep hold of your shield.

The finished shield beside a cardboard sword.

6. Prepare for an adventure

Your shield is now complete! Share your designs with us on Facebook or Twitter.

You never know which foes you might meet on an adventure. We've made a simple guide for how to make a Norman-style sword to protect yourself too.

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