In honor of May the Fourth this year, we decided to do our own twist on the classic DIY lightsaber. There are lots of plans out there, but they often require a lot of machinery or are too simple. We wanted to provide a quick but attractive lightsaber that wouldn’t require much in the way of machinery or hardware.
Happy crafting and May the Force be with you!
- Finishing & Tools
Step 1 – Prep Tubing:
Ensure you have the tubing cut to your specific lengths. We created a Darth Maul style lightsaber that required a hilt of 2 ft and two blades at 36″ each. For the more traditional lightsaber we used a hilt of about a foot and one 36″ blade. We ended up having to use our saws to cut as we purchased rather thick material. But if you purchase the thinner golf tube material you should be able to cut with an X-Acto knife or scalpel. If you opt for the thicker tube, a handsaw will work.
Step 2 – Base Coat:
Once you have your tubes cut, decide what type of base layer you want for the hilt whether it be black tape or silver tape. We chose black as we had an abundance.
Apply the first layer of duct tape. You can apply verticals strips, horizontal strips, or even try a diagonal approach (although this takes more precision). We found that the vertical method leaves you with the least amount of ripples and uses the least amount of tape.
Step 3 – Details:
Next, decide your accent layers based on in movie lightsabers or just go your own route. We started with the intention of modeling ours after the movies, but the creative bug took us in a new direction. Here is a pattern from another DIY we found if you are interested, although you should make sure it is printed to the accurate size of your tubing
We used a variety of gold and silver duct tape strips to provide variation in depth, and add a more realistic 3D feel. You can cut the tap into smaller strips and apply, although make sure it has a smooth edge as that can drastically affect the appearance.
To take it one step further, you can apply washers, foam, and other gadgets to the side with super glue to make a more advance light saber. The foam pads listed above have a sticky back. So we flipped them over and traced our designs on the back, cut them out with scissors, and applied.
Step 4 – Prep Blade:
Scrub down the tube that you are using for your blade with a Brillo pad or the scrubby side of a kitchen sponge. This will leave an almost frosted look that helps reflect the light down the blade.
Step 5 – Finish blade:
Wrap a 6″ wide piece of foam around the base of the blade so it will securely fit inside the hilt. Then use a little bit of tape to wrap the foam that will be more visible when the blade is inside the hilt.
Take a small piece of reflective material, aluminum foil or plastic shim stock work. Tape this piece of material over the open end of the blade with the reflective surface facing the base of the blade. This will reflect light back down into the tube and help make it glow brighter.
Step 6 – Finish Light Source:
This is where you determine the color of your blade. There are two ways to do this. We taped some transparent plastic shim stock to the front of the flashlight. The other option is to use some marker and color the lens of the flashlight. Either way, once you are done, slot the flashlight into the base of the hilt so the power button is showing. Then tape the flashlight in place!
Congratulations, your DIY lightsaber is ready!
Adam and Evan each built a DIY lightsaber for this. Evan modeled his loosely on Mace Windu’s saber. Adam decided to make things overly complicated and was inspired by Darth Maul”s double bladed lightsaber.
The Maul saber wound up being 84″ long, so it was challenging to get a good picture of it. Also, because there were two flashlights hidden inside the hilt facing out, the buttons to turn them off were inaccessible. To fix this, Adam taped the flashlights to the bottom of each blade. Then each blade slotted into the two sides of the hilt.
We’re very pleased with how they turned out! They do look better in with the lights off.
The Wookie Roared
As we were working on this project, the news broke that Peter Mayhew, the man who famously played Chewbacca had died at age 74.