Tuesday, September 2, 2014

DIY Duct Tape Lightsabers

As a Star Wars fan and geek, I passed my love for these movies to my children at an early age.  As soon as my son could grasp a lightsaber, I was pulling my Darth Vader helmet out of storage and teaching my son the ways of the Force.  Pulling the old toys out from the attic has given me that rush back to when I was a kid, building bases with my younger brother and pretending that our backyard was Endor.

As a taller child, I was pegged at Chewbacca to my friend's Han. It was only fair since he had the Han Solo blaster that everyone wanted. My crossbow was just two sticks tied together with string but it worked. With good old ingenuity and our imaginations, anything was possible.

When my son was five, the Clone Wars series was just being revealed to the younger generations through cartoons and pajamas.  When it came to the toys that I knew and loved, the lightsabers that used to hum when you would twirl them seemed like an unnecessary expense, especially when our lightsaber battles would end in telescoping parts getting destroyed and tears...by me.

As an artist and generally crafty guy, I figured that I could make my own alternative pretty cheaply and I created something that was virtually indestructible out of the greatest of material, duct tape. Thus was born, the DIY Duct Tape Lightsaber.

Materials needed:

2 Cardboard paper towel rolls
Duct tape - Your choice in color for blade. Black and silver for handles (or whatever you decide)
Packing paper or newspaper for stuffing, heavy cardboard for interior support


1) Bend one paper towel roll slightly at the end so that you can slide one roll over the other. Tape it into place at the desired length. If your child is bigger, you can use more paper towel rolls. Just be advised, the longer it gets, the more unstable it becomes.

2) Fill the inside with packing paper or newspaper making sure it is compact. For more stability, place a corrugated cardboard strip in the center that runs the length of the tube and pack on either side with newspaper.

3)  Tape both ends with the color you will use for the blade, closing the tube. Then, start wrapping the duct tape around the paper towel roll, making sure to overlap by at least one quarter the width of the tape and going over the ends to essentially seal them.

4) On the handle end, wrap the handle in your color, I chose black, in the same way only go one quarter the total length, this will be the handle. You can use your child's hand size as a judge. , or whatever color you decide

5)  Using the silver duct tape or other accent color, add details for handle by tearing smaller rectangles or squares and staggering the pattern letting some of the black (or other color) you put down first show through.

With all the options in duct tape colors these days, you can customize your own to your liking. My girls each wanted pink and purple lightsabers and the duct tape possibilities now are endless.

You can customize yours to your child's size by pushing the two cardboard rolls closer together or make a double ended lightsaber like Darth Maul by adding a third! If you are having a birthday party, these are cheap and easy projects to do which are virtually indestructible. When they do get stepped on or the dog takes an interest in them, just make another one!

Want to see more #HesCrafty projects by dads like me? Check out my Facebook page for more duct tape crafts and posts about dad related stuff!

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