To get started with how to work with Friendly Plastic, please see my tutorial on Plastic Armor, as it covers the basics of how to create items with the plastic pellets. This item in particular is the hilt to the Sword of Light, which I used for my Gourry Gabriev costume at A-Kon.

Step 1: Basic shape


To create the overall form of my sword hilt, I first made the general shape of the pommel and crossguard out of air-dry clay. While still moist, I connected the two parts with a cardboard tube, forming the basic shape of a sword hilt. I then allowed the clay to dry completely. At this point, I heated plastic and applied it to the shape formed by the clay and cardboard tube. The initial coating of plastic had the same ‘scaled’ appearance as the armor, but using a heat gun, it is easy to smooth that out.

Step 2: Embedding gems


For this sword, I needed a total of 6 gems – four in the pommel, and two in the crossguard. To do this, I simply used a heat gun to soften sections of the plastic, then pushed the gems gently into the soft area, forming dimples in the plastic where the gem rested comfortably. The gems were not permanently stuck in these areas, which was important, so that I could remove them for painting.

Step 3: Detail grooves


Another detail that I was able to put into the sword was a set of grooves cut into the pommel of the hilt. To do this, I took a wire coathanger, cut a length of wire from it, then bent the wire near the tip. After heating a section of plastic, I would press the bend (not the end) of the wire into the plastic, allowing me to drag a groove.


It’s important not to drag with the end of the wire, as that can catch on the plastic, pulling the surface out of shape. It’s not terribly dangerous – after all, you can always go back and re-shape the plastic later by heating it again. The lost time is the really painful part.

Step 4: Painting


At this point, I removed the gems, then painted the hilt. The overall color went on first, then I hand-brushed the various other colors on for the extremely dark grooves, the light sections of the pommel, and so on. In the end, I mixed 4 custom shades of gray to get the best coloration I could. Like the armor, I added several coats of Satin Acrylic Sealent to the hilt, to prevent paint chips.

Step 5: Final assembly


After the paint was dry, I used “Jewel Glue” (found at most craft stores and Wal-Mart) to glue the gems in their places, then wrapped the hilt with dark gray ribbon. To create the end caps for the ribbon, I cut apart a plastic soda bottle, painted strips from it, then hot glued them in place.