How to Make a Medieval Flail -
For a costume or Ornament only
This is a complete tutorial with lots of pictures and a video that will show you how to make an ornamental medieval flail. A flail is a kind of mace with either a string or chain attaching the ball to the handle. This kind of weapon was often used in the middle ages very effectively because it could be swung up and over a foes shield.
This is a nice little project that should take you about 2 hours to complete and it is perfect to go along with a party or halloween costume. If you are looking to buy a flail I have a selection of them at the bottom of this page.
Here are the materials needed to make this flail.
- broomstick (15 inches long)
- masking tape
- Paint and brush
- sheets of printer paper
- string and or plastic chain (18 inches long)
An important note about the safety of this flail: Safety is the most important thing you should think about when making and using this flail. The string and or plastic chain should be very strongly secured to both the handle and the ball of the flail. You absolutely have to make sure the mace ball will not fly off if you swing this flail. And you must never use this flail against another person. The sharp points can be dangerous to peoples eyes, and this includes your own eyes. It would be very easy to swing this flail and hit yourself in the face. This is an ornamental flail to be used only as a costume accessory.
Step 1: Wrap some newspaper in a ball but don't make it too tight. The tighter it is the heavier it is and a heavy mace ball is dangerous. Crunch it up loosely then wrap some masking tape around it.
Step 2: Wrap your string around the mace ball. Wrap it in different spots and at least 4 times. With a varied wrap like this the ball will not come off the string. Tie a knot after each wrap.
If you are using plastic chain put each wrap of the string through the link as shown. every wrap should go through the chain. This is for strength and for safety.
If you are not using a chain then create a hoop with these string lengths. This way you can run another series of strings through it and attach them to the handle of the flail.
Now complete the shape and size of the ball head by taping it completely over. Don't be scarce with the tape. The more tape you use the stronger it will be. Make it as reasonably smooth as you can and shape it as much like a ball as you can. You will be painting this surface so the smoother the better.
Now lets make the pointy cones that will attach to the mace ball. Using your tape as a template draw 6 circles on a sheet of paper. Now cut these circles out and form them into cones as shown in the upper left of the picture.
How to Make the Cones to attach to the flail head:
Take your circle, fold it in half then form a cone by pulling the ends up.
Now tape the cones to the head of the flail. Use a nice random pattern and tape them down nice and secure so they don't come off. do not fill them with newspaper. We do not want them to be overly strong. It is better that the collapse or get crushed rather than cause damage or injury to someone.
This picture shows the ball head of the flail in its complete configuration. It is ready for painting. But first lets do the handle.
Now drill a hole in the end of the flail handle as shown. (Through the side at around 1/2 inch from the end. This is for strength and safety. Pass the string through it several times and with each pass put it through the chain. If you are not using a chain then just make each pass into a loop. Then you tie several lengths of string to this loop and about 15 to 18 inches further along you tie all the strings to the loop in the mace ball.
To give your flail a little bit of something extra you might want to make some smaller cones and attach them to the ends of the flail handle. This is a nice touch that makes it look really medieval. Secure them down well with tape.
Now we are complete and all we need to do is paint it.
Here is the completed flail. I used a simple black and silver color scheme. I first painted it all black then I used masking tape to mask off some of it and I painted the spiked areas at the top and bottom of the handle silver. I say you should paint it any way you want. And if you have some artistic talent then a dragon would be the perfect accent to paint on the handle.
Looking to Buy a Medieval Flail?
Amazon.com has a wide variety of them
Medieval Spiked Flail This ancient weapon was once used by foot soldiers as a deadly weapon. After the 16th Century, flails were used only as historical decoration. Each fine replica is hand crafted from top quality materials. The 1 lb spiked steel ball is supported by a studded chain attached to a 15 1/2" rivited hardwood handle. Also available in a double ball.
Authentic Medieval Flail...33 inches