Cardboard Arsenal

Cardboard Arsenal

Sometimes you need to make something and budget is a big factor (let’s face it, budget it always a factor). As anyone who makes anything knows there’s two basic costs when it comes to creating something from scratch: Materials and Time.

The Time costs are a whole other subject, but when it comes to Materials, this is something you just can’t get around. To make anything you have to make it out of something, and that something will probably cost you money. This will form the core costs of any project.

When I was a child I used to make things (many, many things) out of cardboard and sellotape – those of you in the UK will be familiar with the Blue Peter builds – using “stuff” from around the house to make things. I’m pretty sure all/most kids do this from time to time, for me, it was constant. I always made stuff and cardboard was my medium of choice.

So for this build, It was really nice to go back to that.

I was asked to make a “Nuke” and a large “Rocket Launcher” prop. I originally intended to use wood for the base of these, but after I did the costings I realised it would cost over 70% of the budget I had been given. That means I would need to (somehow) make them for the equivalent of about 20p a day (exaggeration, but not much).

Instead (after talking to the customer), I used cardboard as the base material. Fortunately some friends had just given me some massssive cardboard boxes, which was really good timing!



These stand around 3ft (1m) tall each.


The caps on the rocket launcher hinge open to reveal the rockets inside (made from disposable plastic cups).

These are both entirely made from cardboard¬†(except for the hinges on the launcher caps (3D printed) and the “rockets” you can see inside (disposable plastic cups). They are both painted with rattle can and acrylics as a base. The labels and stickers are a combination of my designs and some I found on the internet. Both were then painted with a coat of XTC-3D from Smooth on, which is a viscous resin, so they’re plastic coated, essentially, then weathered using oils and acrylics.


This is the same technique I used for Boba Fett’s backpack and Gauntlets.

gauntles1 jetpack1

So remember – A huge part of making props is the finishing. If you know your materials you can adapt to the deficiencies and enhance the good parts.

Have Fun!