Link’s Hylian Shield is one of the most recognizable objects in Legend of Zelda. You can recreate the prop with a variety of materials from craft foam to cardboard to worbla. DeviantArt user Shayna Polomchak used worbla along with insulation foam in her build of Link’s shield and documented the process with a step by step tutorial. Here’s how she got started:
1. First, you’ll need to draw out your full sized pattern. I like to use multiple references when making patterns. I used a shield that we bought for a Dark Link cosplay and the concept art for the shield in Twilight Princess from the Hyrule Historia. The Dark Link shield was used for size and the concept art was used for the details. To make your pattern perfectly symmetrical, draw only one side by hand, and then fold over down the middle and transfer what you drew over to the other side.
2. Next, take your insulation foam and use your pattern to draw the shape of the shield onto it. Then, take your carving knife (I use an adjustable exacto craft knife) and cut the shape out.
3. At this point, you will need to carve the round edges onto your shield. You can draw guidelines on your foam if you would like to, but I just kind of eyeballed mine. Just take your knife and cut off small amounts of the edges until you have your curve the way you like it. As you can see, my shield has curved edges but the center is still mostly flat. Thats how I wanted my shield to be, but if you want your entire shield to be curved, you will either need thicker foam, or you’ll need to double up another layer of foam on top of your first. One layer of 2 inch foam just isn’t enough to cut a curve through the whole thing and still look nice. Once you have your curve cut, you can sand it down smooth, though this isn’t necessary because your curve will likely be covered up later anyway.
4. The next step is to cover your foam in worbla. This will add durability and give it a nice surface. Cut out enough to cover the back of your shield and another piece to cover the front. Cut a little more than you think you’ll need to avoid any mistakes and make sure you have enough on the top layer to account for the curves. Now set your shield face up on the bottom layer of worbla and heat the top layer of worbla over the foam. The worbla will stretch a little, but be extra careful not to let it stretch too much, because it could easily rip in the process. Press the worbla down on the foam to seal it and work slow to make sure the curve doesn’t end up with creases all over it. try to keep it nice and smooth, but if you end up with some seams and creases along the edge, it isn’t that big of a deal. As long as the center is smooth you’ll be ok.
View the entire tutorial and supply list at DeviantArt.