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How to Make a Katana (Samurai Sword)
Out of Cardboard


You can make a very nice, and very durable Katana out of cardboard. You just have to know some basic techniques and understand the properties of cardboard. In this tutorial I take you through all the steps necessary and explain the process fully. Note that I also have a youtube video tutorial that shows how I made this cardboard katana


A real katana and a cardboard katana
The completed Katana next to a real one.

We mimic the Japanese Sword Makers when making this Katana in a couple of ways. First, the most important thing about a katana is that it uses two different types of steel and it is the combination of these two types of steel that gives the katana its remarkable strength yet flexibility. We do the same by using two different orientations of cardboard. Second, it takes time to make a real Katana and it will take us three days to make this cardboard sword! Yup, if you want to do it right you are going to have to take three days to do it. Now this doesn't mean three days of straight work. It's only one or two hours of work but you have to let the glue dry overnight at two different stages. That's why it takes three days.

Before we start making this katana lets take a look at some cardboard. It is an important part of the process and you need to understand it.

Corrugated cardboard

Corrugated cardboard, which is what most boxes are made out are composed of two sheets of brown paper with a wavy layer of paper inside. It forms a kind of a sandwich. Now these corrugations, as you can see in the picture at left all run in one direction. When choosing your cardboard for your Katana make sure you note the direction of the corrugations.

You are probably going to need two large boxes for this. One box with the corrugations going one way and one with the corrugations going the other way.

So, to make this Katana, and to make it strong you are going to need five pieces of cardboard. Cut them four inches wide and thirty inches long. But notice the picture. Three of the pieces have the corrugations running the long way and two of them have the corrugations running the short way. This is very important and it is what will make the Katana very strong.

Five pieces with two different orientations


Materials Needed for this project

  • 5 sheets of cardboard as shown above (4 inches by 30 inches)
  • A Bottle of Wood Glue
  • A Paintbrush to brush on the glue and spread it evenly (important)
  • A saw to cut out the Katana Shape, A band saw is perfect, A jigsaw works good, You can also use a coping saw or if you have to you can use a utility knife. Be careful when cutting, wear safety glasses and safety gloves if recommended.
  • Sandpaper, a couple of sheets of medium grit (optional)

Suggested Materials to Decorate and finish the Katana

  • Paints - You can simply paint your Katana any way you want and it will be done. But to make it look better I have some recommended methods I will show you.
  • Aluminum foil
  • A roll of clear packing tape
  • Black electrical tape
  • Blue Electrical tape
  • Red Electrical tape
  • Glue stick or white glue

NextLet's Continue with the Tutorial and Make this Cardboard Katana

Two Wooden Bokkens

2 Natural Bokens Wood Practice Swords, Wooden Daitos Training Katana These 40 inch natural traditional daito are ideal practice swords to safely practice your sword skills while protecting your self and partners. Constructed from hardwood and includes two piece handguard. Please note that these practice items can still cause serious injury or death if not used properly. Two piece hand guards may vary in color.


Pair of black practice bokens

2 Black Bokens Wood Practice Swords, Wooden Daitos Training Katana





Black Boken Wood Practice Sword, Wooden Daito Training Katana