STEP ONE: Measuring and cutting the Shield
Measure out the body of the shield on a piece of cardboard keeping in mind that you need to subtract 1-2 inches to compensate for the foam that will cover the shield later.
As seen above, the first step in creating a bread tray shield is to measure out its size on cardboard, and then cut it out. In this how-to we will be making a large shield, and the cardboard has been measured out at 16” radius. When the foam is attached on the outside, the shield will have a 17” diameter making it a large shield.
Below is what a bread tray should look like once it is cut out. We suggest using an electric saw.
Next, you want to take your freshly cut out bread trays, and lay them out over your cardboard shield representation. While laying out your bread trays, remember to allow 2-3 inches overlap between tray sheets so that they can be fastened together with zip ties later. At this point, it is important to cover all of the cardboard with bread trays and to find a way for them to all overlap with adjacent trays. Once all the trays have been laid out, and the entire shield is covered, using a marker, draw an outline on the bread tray around the edge of the cardboard. Also mark where the bread trays overlap so the shield can be reconstructed after the individual pieces are cut. Here is an example:
Once the pieces are cut and reorganized, it should look something like the picture on the right.
STEP TWO: Joining the pieces.
Take two pieces and while they are properly lined up, begin joining them together with zip ties. This process can be seen below.
Once the two pieces are together, we will begin attaching the third piece to the first two as seen below.
On average you will not need as many zip ties as shown, but the more you use the stronger the shield will be. Remember to also pull all of the ties as tight as possible. Now that all the pieces are connected, check the shield to make sure that no one piece can wiggle or move. If any loose pieces are found, that piece should be further secured to its surrounding pieces with more zip ties until it becomes immobile.
STEP THREE: Taping the edges and cutting the ties
Now that the shield’s base structure is complete, it is time to tape the sides. You may have noticed that the sides of the shield are pointy and sharp, and to make the shield safe, these edges will need to be taped. Take a standard roll of duct tape and place tape over the sides of the shield, being sure to fold them over. Continue doing this until the outside of the shield is completely covered by 3 layers of tape. These multiple layers will insure that the sharp edges do not cut through the duct tape or the foam. If an edge is considerably sharp, it may be necessary to sand it down with sand paper.
It is also at this point that you can cut the remaining ends of the zip ties found on the shield. Be sure to cut the ties so that they are not sharp as this may pose a hazard during combat. It is also possible in some situations to weave the extra length of zip tie into the shield if it is long enough.
STEP FOUR: Attaching the Handle, Padding and Strap.
| Now you want to determine and mark where you want to put the handle on the shield, keeping in mind that it should be kept at least 3 inches away from the edge of the shield (because of the foam padding applied in future steps). The handle can be placed either on an angle or straight across the shield, depending on what you find more comfortable.
Now anchor the handle on to the shield with zip ties so that the handle is unable to move while supporting the full weight of the shield. This can be seen in the pictures below.
Next, while holding the handle, mark where the strap should go, and attach a belt or strap to the shield with zip ties. (You can see where to attach the strap in relation to the arm above)
Then attach some foam to the strap and or shield with zip ties and duct tape so that the bread tray doesn’t hurt your arm under pressure.
STEP FIVE: Applying the Face
Now it is time to attach the front of the shield, and depending on what you have planned, this step will vary greatly. In this example we have planned to use the cardboard we cut out earlier. First, line the cardboard up with the body of the bread tray structure and anchor it in place with a piece of tape on the sides. Now that the cardboard is secure, using long strips of duct tape side by side, we have covered the entire front of the shield and successfully anchored the cardboard securely to the shield. This can be seen in the photo below.
However, with big shields it is suggested that the cardboard also be secured in the center of the shield with either a zip tie or a piece of string tied tightly. To do this, puncture two holes (at least an inch apart) in the face of the shield and then feed either end of a tie through these holes and through the bread tray. Then tighten this tie on the other side and this should pull the center of the cardboard tight to the bread tray. After this is complete, cover up the tie and the holes on the front of the shield with tape. (The ends of the zip tie, or the knot on the string should be on the back of the shield)
In the event that you choose leather, cloth or some other material to cover the face of your shield, it is suggested that you secure it tightly to the bread tray with string or more zip ties along the edge of the shield that will be covered with foam.
STEP SIX: Attaching the Foam
In order to attach the foam, you will need to cut open the pipe foam (which is really easy if you buy the precut pipe foam). Then, slide the foam onto the shield. You must cover all edges of the shield.
Once the foam is sitting on the shield you will want to attach it with duct tape, or string. Attaching the foam with duct tape should only be done if the front of the shield is also covered in duct tape. All of the foam should be covered in one layer of tape so that it doesn’t tear or come off in chunks during combat.
If you are covering the front of the shield with leather or some other material, this step becomes a little tricky. You will want to skip the step about taping the foam to the shield, and instead, just cover all the foam in a thin layer of tape. Then, you will want to drill or cut holes along the inside edge of the foam (while it is being held tight to the shield) at about every 2-3 inches. Then with string, you want to thread it in and out of the holes, going around the foam each time so that you pull it snugly to the shield. If you run out of string, just tie another piece on, and when you have gone completely around the shield, tie the two ends together. Now, if everything was done properly, the foam should now be covered in tape, and held to the shield without getting any tape on the face of the shield. This method results with a better finished product, and is clearly seen above even though the front of the shield is tan duct tape.
STEP SEVEN: Testing the Shield
It is important after all the hard work is done, that the shield be tested and inspected. The shield should be free of any hazards, such as sharp edges or insecure pieces. In addition to a visual inspection, the shield should be tested once in combat before being used at the game.
At the start of every event there are also inspections where a staff member will check the shield for hazards. If the shield is deemed safe, a staff member will issue an item card to represent the presence of the item in-game. In addition, the shield should be taken to inspection again, at least every other month where it will receive an updated tag. At anytime during the game, Seventh Kingdom staff members also reserve the right to prohibit a shield from reentering combat should it be found unsafe. It will be reinspected after it is properly fixed at which time it may be used again.