Shield construction methods

I have been researching the way larp shields are made and I have seen a few ways it is done.
the wooden core method seems to be best for strength but risky for the rules while a pure foam build seems like it would be a very flimsy shield.
does anybody have experience in this and which would be best for a buckler size shield?

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Have you handled a pure foam shield (which are almost always laminated with fabric and multiple sheets of foam, not just one piece)? Every one I’ve met has been pretty damn sturdy - not rigid, but sturdy.

I have not made shields myself, but I know people who have. My answer will always be, unless you really have fallen in love with the idea of making larp weaponry - just buy one. It will save you time, money and frustration.


As mentioned, the foam only shields, while a little bendy, are sturdier than they appear. Possibly due to all the latex etc on the outside.

For a buckler, I’d definately go for a foam build.

And I strongly reccomend that you unless you are very familiar with what you want to make, and have extensive time/money/patience, that you do not make your first or indeed fifth larp weapon.

At the very least, buy a professionally made one on site, ask detailed questions about its construction, then try to copy it.


I have been to larp before and handled several weapons, I just love spending time and learning to make custom gear. I always thought most sheilds had some kind of core because the ones I have used in the past always seemed very solid.

Depending on the size, you often laminate several layers of foam, often on a curve. That adds a great deal of strength. Adding denser foams can also help add strength to the shield too.


Right-o, misunderstood, sorry (we’ve had several keen newbies recently)

I’d say that maybe 30 to 40% of the shields I’ve seen at PD events have a core… and often that’s a wooden backing with several layers of foam padding on the front.

Tehancocks had good ideas :slight_smile:


i too am currently making several shields, with a wooden former and atleast 6mm of foam on the front, there are several videos online, i watched them and picked which points would apply to empire’s rules and safety, just be careful because even as ive made them im surprised just how heavy and strong they’re.

I’ve got a laminated foam layers shield and it’s been absolutely fine even when pushed and wacked quite heavily.

Like you say the safety rules on shields do say that they recommend full-foam construction and that that it’s possible that rigid shields might be removed in the future. So I’d just keep that in mind.