In this project the basic idea was to make a high quality Wakanda shield that’s as easy as possible to build. Of course, everyone has a differing level of skill and different needs. So in this epic wakanda shield build, I build from steel. But you can make this out of any material you like. All the templates are available for FREE at the bottom of the page.
How to make a Wakanda shield
In the project I build the Wakanda shield from 1.5mm steel with my brand new R-Tech Mig welder. I have zero welding skills at this point, I’m learning. So if I can do it the chances are that you can too. If you want to learn welding like me this could be a fun project for you too. If you don’t want to weld though you can still build the shield by using a very strong Polymer sealant. I have tested with the brand Fixall (high tack version, although there is an extreme version) and as long at the parts are flat and not bent the bond is incredibly strong. A Polymer sealant is also fully over-paintable.
When the polymer is dry you should be able to cut it away from hard materials with a craft knife, on soft materials you will have to clean as you go.
Epic Wakanda Shield Build
90% of the work in this shield is cutting out the parts to give it the Captain America Wakanda look. With steel this is possible by hand, but would be incredibly tedious. So below you will find DXF files that can be used in laser or plasma CNC cutting machines. Now the chances are, like me, you dont have plasma or laser CNC but there are ways around it. The first and most obvious is to find a local metal worker with a machine, this is what I did and the 1.5mm steel plate was supplied and cut for £60. You can also Google ‘plasma cutting service near me’.
Another way to get things cut are at a local maker space, or on the internet. These days you can find metal cutting services online that cut and post to you if you Google the phrase ‘plasma’ or ‘laser cutting online’. Some online metal suppliers also offer a metal cutting service. Laser cutting will of course open up the possibility of cutting other materials like wood, acrylic e.t.c.
Cut it yourself
For those who want to cut the shield out themselves via a template you can also find the full size PDF. To print them off at home I used ‘Adobe reader’ , made sure it was set to print at ‘full size’ and printed with the ‘Poster’ setting. This resulted in multiple A4 sized prints that could be stuck together. This might work well if you make the shield from wood, cardboard or EVA foam.
Tips and tricks for metal Wakanda shield
To weld the layers of metal together I used ‘plug welding’, initially I made the holes for the weld plugs too small, they need to be a minimum of 7mm. I suggest watching a few videos on plug welding first, like I didn’t. For a couple of the details a plug is too big, so I cut 3mm slots and this seems to work fine. Experiment with some matching scrap metal first to get the power and your technique right, like I didn’t.
I also use strong magnets to hold some of the details on while I weld. This works fine but not in close proximity to the weld, it goes a bit funny. Attach the magnet and weld as far away as possible until it’s fixed, them remove the magnet and carry on.
Wakanda shield handles
The one thing not in the DXF file is the handles and there are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly I hadn’t decided on the final shape and I wanted to hold the shield against my arm to check clearances. And secondly, I wasn’t sure that the 1.5mm plate would be strong enough to stand up to the abuse I was going to give it. In the end I did cut them out of 1.5mm steel and you will know by now if that worked or not. They are an easy shape to cut with an angle grinder, but If anyone wants to send me a DXF version of the handles to scale, I will make them available on here.
Painting the Wakanda shield
Some parts of the shield are silver and some are black. To get the silver parts any protective coating on your sheet steel will have to be sanded away, but ONLY on the parts that need it. I did this with a flap wheel sander. As it turned out a standard grit version and polishing flap wheel worked well. I then used an automotive matt black primer and matt clear lacquer to seal the paintwork. As an option you can then add distress to the shield by scuffing the shield to make it look like it’s seen action. Just dont forget to add more matt lacquer so it doesn’t rust.
I also added 3mm EVA foam to make the rear of the shield look nice and be comfortable to hold. This and the leather strap details were then weathered in with a thin acrylic paint wash. I didn’t show this as I’m not very good at it.
Fixing the handles and arm strap
The front handle as per design gives plenty or room for a large hand, it also give plenty of space between the back of the shield and hand. This keeps the hand away from the front of the shield so you can strike things, but you could possibly change the design of the handle to make it more movie accurate if you wanted to. For my purposes of smashing stuff, it was just about right. The metal for the rear arm strap can be slid backwards or forwards for a good fit. Again I have long arms so for me this was further towards the rear. A nice tight fit with the leather strap is important here, otherwise it can be uncomfortable for action use.
Templates and DXF files
As promised here is the DXF file for the Wakanda shield. You can also find a 1:1 scale PDF here of the Wakanda shield, and a picture of the parts so you can use it as a key below. The optional handles are here.
The above project is aimed at adults for education and entertainment purposes only, not to replicate. Anyone doing so takes full responsibility for their own actions.