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How to Make 300 Spartan Greaves (Leg-guards) out of Cardboard and Paper Mache

Spartan 300 Greave


This is a nice little project that should take you only about four hours to complete. Although that doesn't include the overnight time to let the paper mache dry. If you want to start out with an easier and faster project you might want to try the Spartan Vambraces (link below) or the Spartan Spear. The vambraces come out great and they are pretty durable. I use paper mache to make these Greaves and it is pretty easy to do but if you wan to do this project faster and easier you can always just do the cardboard and then paint them. They won't look quite as nice, or be as durable, but they will be pretty good. Note: At the bottom of this page I have a video tutorial for this project


I also have some other 300 Spartan equipment projects which currently include a helmet and a spear. I will also be making a shield and the chest plate. The projects are here: Make a Spartan Helmet - Make a Spartan Spear - Make Spartan 300 Vambraces (ArmGuards) - Make a Spartan Chest Piece


materials needed

Here are the materials I used to make this project. A lot of this stuff is very flexible. This is simply the way I show you how to do this. You can improvise a lot of this. For example, if you don't want to do the paper mache you can just make the greaves out of cardboard or posterboard paint them up and you are done. But, the paper mache ones definitely look better and are more durable.








Materials For this Project:

  • The Templates for the patterns. I have them here for you to download: PDF or Microsoft Word . The PDF is a faster download.
  • 4 Cereal Boxes or 2 sheets of posterboard
  • 2 Cups of Flour, 2 Cups of Water and 1 teaspoon of salt (To make the paper mache)
  • 1 newspaper cut into strips that are 2 inches wide and around 1 foot in lengths
  • Mixing bowl for the paper mache
  • 1 2 liter bottle of soda, empty or full doesn't matter
  • Gold Spray Paint 9 Your choice of color - gold looks the best
  • Black brush on acrylic paint
  • 12 feet of wire, this goes around the whole edge of the greaves, looks really neat 6 feet per greave
  • Masking Tape
  • Scissors
  • Some type of adhesive, either white glue or a hot glue gun (Glue gun is better)


The template

Print up the six page packet for this project. Cut out and tape together pieces 1, 2, and 3. And do this twice so you have two of them. You can either use cereal box cardboard or poster board. The picture at left shows one greave that is done with cereal box cardboard and cut out. The white sheet is a single piece of poster board with two greaves drawn on it.

Notice how of the two greaves one goes one way and one goes the other way. They are a left and a right. You use the same template you just flip it over.



Wrap the templates in a bottle

Wrap each template in a 2 liter bottle as shown. Make the part where your ankles go a bit narrower than the rest. You can gently bend and shape the cardboard. And once the paper mache is applied you can shape it some more.







Applly the paper mache

Mix up the paper mache. This is simply 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of ordinary salt. Mix until nice and smooth. Dip strips of newspaper in it and apply it to the greave. Do at least three layers thick and alternate the direction of the layers for strength.

As the cardboard gets soaked it will be easy to continue to mold it into a nice shape. You can use a sponge to gently smooth out the surface so it looks metallic. Set it aside to dry overnight.




Trim with scissors

Once it is dry you can trim it with scissors. If you are unhappy with the shape you can always mix up some more paper mache and add more layers. And don't hesitate to trim it real good. You can make the greave smaller if it is too large for your leg.

Cut out the parts of the template numbered 4, 5, and 6. Transfer these to cardboard and cut out the cardboard shapes. Make two of them. This is shown in the picture near the scissors. This is the ornament that goes on the front of the greaves.




Glue Ornament to Greave

Glue the square part numbered 6 to part number 4 then glue that assembly to the greave. You can use regular glue but a hot glue gun works best.








Glue wire to greave

This picture shows the cardboard ornament glued to the greave. Now you glue the wire all the way around the edge of the greave. Use a glue gun if possible. Regular glue will work but it is rather difficult. You have to glue it and tape it down so it holds until the glue sets. Super glue can be used but can get very messy because of the detail of this work.






Add the Straps

Puncture four holes in the greave as shown and add shoelaces or string as straps that you tie together once it is on your leg.








Detail painting

Paint the whole greave gold. And to get some real good detail that makes it look bronze you should wash in black to all the cracks around the ornament. You apply black paint with a brush and while it is still wet you wipe it with a paper towel. This gives it a very nice bronze look.








The Completed 300 Spartan Greave

Here is the completed Greave. Notice the black color in the lines and cracks? This black washing technique really makes it look good.













The Video Tutorial for this Project


I have Other 300 Spartan Projects

Spartan Spear

Make a Spartan Spear like the movie 300
This is a fast and easy project that just takes a little bit of cardboard and a broomstick. Make the Spartan Spear




A Spartan Helmet Make a Spartan Helmet
Make this helmet out of paper mache and cardboard. Complete instructions and video, along with a download of the template The Spartan Helmet






Spartan VambracesMake 300 Spartan Vambraces (armguards)

A tutorial on how to make paper mache and cardboard vambraces that fit well and look good. Just like the ones in the movie 300. Make 300 Spartan Vambraces


300 Diorama

300 Diorama - Battle of Thermopylae

I am currently working on a three foot long diorama of the battle of the Spartans inspired by the 300 movie. It is wired for sound and lighting ( A night battle scene will be great) - I have also made it into a tutorial so you can see how I make this big diorama and you can learn how to make your own great looking dioramas. 300 Diorama


Interested in Medieval Armor and Helmets?

A Costume Spartan Helmet Spartan Helmet Gold Only Costume Accessory






Spartan Shield

King Leonidas 300 Spartan Greek Replica Shield Pro New This is the Poly Resin 300 Replica Shield. The shield features a handle and arm band and a battle worn appearance.