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Friday, September 20, 2013

Adventures in Crafting: Minecraft Diamond Pickax and Sword

Remember my first minecraft projects? Well they don't end there yet. I am still finishing the creeper but in between I also made a Zombie. There's a sneak peek at the end of this post but for Halloween I will reveal the whole project!

The boys had been harassing me for a Minecraft  sword and  pickax. The iron ones that are sold in store were not going to cut it. They wanted DIAMOND swords.

I used two types of brushes: paint and foam. The foam one I use to apply the adhesive. Whenever Michaels has a 25 for $1.00 sale I always stock up on those babies. They are usually $.50 each! The foam sheets are $.99 each. The teal one was 10 cents cheaper.

The acrylic paints can pretty much be found on sale. That’s why I have different brands like Americana, Craft Smart and Martha Stewart. I only by Martha stuff when they are on sale or I have a coupon. The cutting knife can be just about anything. You can use a detail knife, a box cutter etc. Just make sure the blade is long enough to cut through the foam board.

For adhesive I used Mod Podge. I believe that’s usually like $6.99 but I used one of those 50% coupons.
Trimmers can be found around the $10.00-$20.00 range. They are a great investment. I have had mine for like 10 years! Everything needs a paper trimmer.

The straight edge is very important. As you can see my straight edge is a plastic ruler. It is not so straight anymore. I managed to nick it many times with the detail knife. My foam cutting didn't come out all that. That’s what I get for using a $.25 ruler. Luckily the foam squares cover my imperfect foam board. Invest in a metal ruler. I know I will.

I have seen swords made out of paper and foam boards but I wanted to make sure they didn't cut themselves with foam poster board. I decided to make it out of foam sheets to cover the rough edges of cut foam board.

First I used vanishing grid poster board to make stencils. I happened to have vanishing grid poster board on hand but I would recommend NON-vanishing grid poster board.  I used these images(SWORD / PICKAX)  as a guide.  I imagine you can simply print out the many templates that exist. But I like things done the hard way. 

As you can tell I made a normal size sword (1” squares) for my 8 year old and a mini size (1/2 “squares) for my 3 year old. If the smaller sword looks a bit longer to you that’s because …it is. I didn't want his sword to look like a dagger so I extended the dimensions a bit.

Then I traced the stencils onto the foam poster board. Now the cutting of the poster board will require some elbow grease. So if you have a strong man handy, I recommend you use him! This was my least favorite part of the project.

It took me a whole lot of trial and error to find the best way to cut foam into squares, only to realize that I didn't even have to cut the foam into little squares in the first place!

So here are the two ways to cut foam. Well one is a cutting method, the other is the illusion cut method.
First, use the paper trimmer to make 1” squared grids. Then using the detail/exacto knife cut over the grid lines. The cuts will be straight without the need a straight edge. When I tried cutting the foam using a straight edge I was getting funny looking corners. The foam would stretch and the squares started looking more like rhombuses.

While marking the lines on the foam board I realized that I didn't even need to cut out each individual square. I only realized it after I had cut like over 200 squares! I cut both blue and teal foam but in reality you only really need one color because you’ll need to paint it anyways to get the correct colors on your swords and pickax.

To glue on the foam sheet to the foam boards I used a foam brush and mod podge. I found it to be better than regular Elmer’s glue. It secures much faster. But you can really use whatever you have on hand. You’ll just need a little more patience and retouching.

After all the foam has been applied on each side, it is then time to paint. As you can tell I had started painted the squares before I was finished gluing all of them. DO NOT DO THAT! I mean you can do what you want but it won’t be a good idea. I was testing different mixtures of the acrylic paints to get the colors as close as possible. An I didn't want the paint to go to waste so I painted a few squares.  These are the colors and mixes I decided to go with:

Ocean Breeze is by Craft Smart. It is also the same exact color as the teal foam.

Calypso Blue and Bittersweet Chocolate are by Americana.

If you haven't guessed the second is Ocean Breeze and Calypso Blue mixed.

I ended up also using Pool by Martha Stewart (not pictured) for the pickaxes.

I also mixed calypso blue with black to paint the edges of the sword.

Grab your flat brushes and paint!

The mini sword and pickax are just the most adorable things! They go great with my adorable three year old.

Now that they have their diamond swords and pickax, they can go mining at night and take care of those mobs...especially those zombies!



  1. Oh wow, you are so crafty! These look awesome. I am sure you will have a great party with this theme in Feb.


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