How to Make a 1940’s Style Captain America Shield: Part 1

Some of you may know that I am busy working on a 1940’s style Captain America costume for the Avengers movie premiere on May 4th.   We will be appearing at the Warren IMax Theater.  I will be accompanied by Bucky Barnes (my son), Thor, Tony Stark, Black Widow, Wasp, and Loki.  I used to make costumes for conventions and for events hosted by JediOKC, a local Star Wars collector’s club that raises money for MDA and other charities.

Cap has always been my favorite superhero. He’s down to earth, is true blue and never blinks in the face of danger. I own several of the classic issues and many of the new ones (but quit after they killed off Steve Rogers but then “brought him back“). That was, as my kids say, “all kinds of wrong.” But enough about my love for Cappy. On to the shield.

I first purchased a sheet of aluminum about 1/16″ thick. Any thicker and someone without a shop couldn’t really bend it. I was still nervous about doing this part, so I gave it to a friend, Michael Allen who then worked his magic. I created a template using a piece of poster board. He then cut out the shield and bent it using a table and some careful skill. This is by far the hardest part of the job, but to get a great bend, find someone who has auto body experience if you don’t have any yourself.

Next, since the welding didn’t work because the metal I purchased was not true aluminum and even a welding inspector had a tough job,  I decided to attach the handle and the clips that will hold the leather forearm strap with 3M “extreme” mounting tape.

I then sprayed primer on the front, let it set up, sanded with #3 sand paper and then masked off the top at 6″ from the outside top corner on both sides and painted the blue strip at the top. I waited for that to dry completely before masking off the stripes. The middle stripe is dead center from either side with the bottom point as a reference. Each stripe is 3″ wide with the center stripe being white and then alternating red and white out from that stripe. The stars are a stencil I made with poster board.  I simply printed out one star, cut it out, then cut a poster board to the shape of the top of the shield, traced the stars on it, then cut them out with a box knife.  I have 13 stars, representing the original 13 colonies.

Click on over to the blog tomorrow and I will show you how I made the back of the shield look cool. I will have a leather strap that fastens with a button and hook and I will wrap the handle in leather.

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