Halloween 2006: Captain America Part 2

When last we left our patriotic costume, we had just finished drawing all the details onto the front of the shield and then went to bed.

Next on the list of things to do was the handles.

I decided to take the anime bag I tote around everywhere with me and butcher it. The seams were coming done along the side of the bag and I could actually see the through into the inside at some parts. I will buy a new bag at the next convention. In the meantime, I had plans for this one.

The shoulder strap is really what was needed. I took it off and guestimated using the marks on the shield I had made about how long the hand strap needed to be. I needed a hand strap and an arm strap. Once I had the lengths I needed, I had to somehow cut the strap up. Since its a nylon strap, the best way to handle this was to literally melt it. If cut with a regular blade, the nylon would simply fray to excess and that was absolutely not what i wanted. Fortunately, I happen to own a soldering iron. Once heated up, the iron melted right through the nylon easily.

I left a little extra length on the first strap so that I could fold a bit over to make it double thick on the sides where I needed to secure the strap to the shield. While I was at it, I also made a couple holes to make things easier later on.

Once the hand strap was done, the arm strap was next. Now it didn’t make much of a difference what my hand was holding, but I didn’t want my arm resting directly on the nylon. Its a rough material and wouldn’t be kind on the inside of my arm if I was going to be holding it for a long period of time. The shoulder strap from the bag happened to have a rubber shoulder pad, so I slid that along the strip of strapping and repeated the same process I had done on the first strap.

Securing the straps was my next task. After a long discussion with my dad, he suggested to actually rivet the straps to the shield and then loaned me the riveter and some rivets. We also made some quick and dirty washers to put on the other side of the strap so that the rivet would catch on something on the inside of the shield. I’ll explain how the rivets work shortly.

For each point I needed to rivet, I had to drill a hole the size of the rivet through the shield. A hole also had to be present on the strap, which I had already taken care of while soldering them. Next came the actual riveting. I made a quick and dirty diagram to try and explain how the riveting works.


The head of the rivet goes on the outside of the shield with the post facing away. The rivet itself goes through the shield, strap and washer. The riveter grabs onto the post and pulls. As it pulls the post, the ball on the end of it applies enough pressure to the end of the rivet that it expands the diameter of the end. Once the rivet has taken as much compression on the end as it can take, the post breaks off and leaves the head of the rivet nearly flush with the surface. Below is a picture of the rivet before being attached.

Here we have the washer and strap on the other side of the shield.

And here are the finished rivets on the outside of the shield.

Mighty handles of justice.

Next time: painting, sewing and yoga!

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