Easy History Craft – Make a Roman Shield from a Cardboard Box
Let’s do a history craft today and make our own Roman Shield! This Roman Shield craft is a super fun and easy educational craft where you can make your own and works well for kids of all ages at home or in the classroom. You could even make this DIY Roman Shield as part of a costume or dress up for a festival.
Roman Shield History for Kids
In Ancient Rome, shields were very important to the Roman military. A shield would protect Roman soldiers in battle and allow for them to form interesting protective formations:
- Roman soldiers would form something called the testudo, or “tortoise”, formation with their shields.
- The first row of Roman soldiers would bring their shields in front of the bodies while the back rows would lift their shields above their head.
- The formation looked similar to a tortoise’s shell, hence the name “tortoise.” The formation protected Romans from enemy arrows and allowed for a secure way for them to move across the battlefield.
Legionary Roman Shield
There were two types of shields in the Roman army, the one we’re making in this craft is the Legionary Roman shield. Legionary shield’s were used by soldiers who were Roman citizens. Learn more about this at the end of this article!
Easy Roman Shield Craft for Kids
- This history craft is good for kids in kindergarten or older, and for adults too!
- Making a Roman Shield craft teaches motor skills, creativity, pretend play, and history.
- Kid’s will have fun making this history craft and have tons of fun using their very own Roman Shield in pretend play.
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Supplies Needed to Make a Roman Shield Craft
- Medium sized cardboard box
- Red paint
- Yellow paint
- Scrap fabric or string
- Tape or glue
- Disposable cup
- Tinfoil or aluminum foil
Instructions to Make your roman shield
Gather your materials and then take your medium cardboard box and cut out one of the larger rectangles out of it.
On the front of the cardboard rectangle, paint it red and let the red paint dry.
Take the disposable cup and cut it downwards, but not all the way. Leave about ½ in uncut.
- Cut along the diameter of your cup to get the bottom ½ in of it.
- Attach the bottom of your cup to the shield with tape or glue.
- Cover the attached cup with tinfoil and secure the tinfoil onto the cup and shield.
This mimics the boss on the front of the shield, which protected a Roman soldier’s hands during battle.
With the yellow paint, paint two lines on the sides of the shield.
Along the top and bottom edges of your shield, paint a yellow line. This is the trim on your shield.
Paint alternating leaf shapes coming off of the two lines you painted earlier. This is the laurel wreath symbol painted on some Roman shields as a symbol of victory.
Let your paint dry.
On the unpainted side of your shield, take your fabric or string and attach it to the shield using staples, tape, or glue. Make sure that it is wide enough to fit your arm, but tight enough so it doesn’t fall off your arm.
Ta-da! Now you have your very own Roman shield!
Easy Cardboard Shield Craft
A super easy shield craft made from a card board box. Use this craft to help kids learn about Ancient Rome, practice motor skills, and use pretend play!
- medium sized cardboard box, red paint, yellow paint, scrap fabric or string, scissors, tape/glue, disposable cup, tinfoil.
- cardboard box
- Cut one large rectangular side of the cardboard box out.
- Paint the front red and let it dry
- Cut a disposable cup so only the bottom 1in is left
- Attach to middle of front, make sure the opening is facing the shield.
- Cover cup with tinfoil and tape or glue it to shield
- Paint two curved lines with yellow paint on either side of the cup.
- Paint alternating leaf shapes on the sides of both lines with yellow paint.
- Paint the top and bottom edges with yellow paint.
- Let paint dry.
- On opposite side of the shield, tape of glue scrap fabric to the middle. Make sure that it is loose enough to fit your arm but tight enough to not fall off.
- Ta-da! Now you have your very own Roman shield!
FINISHED Cardboard box roman shield Craft
This craft can be used as display, costume or accessory, or it can be used during pretend play. The Roman Shield craft is a great way for kids to engage in pretend play while also learning!
My EXPERIENCE with this craft
When I had first set out to make this craft I wanted to make an Ancient Greek hoplite shield, but I realized that I had no paper plates. Not wanting to give up, I searched through all my supplies and found the same box I had used to make the Byzantine King or Queen Crown Craft. It was perfect, I could use the box to make a different type of a shield, the Roman type! I did a few Google Scholar searches, as I do not have very many books on Ancient Rome, and found out about Roman Legionary and Auxiliary shields. As I stated at the beginning, the Legionary part of the army were Roman Citizens. As such, all their shields were similar red and yellow with minor design changes. Non-citizens were the Auxiliary army. The Auxiliary army would provide unique fighting styles and strategies to the Roman Army as they were usually from the border lands and territories of Rome. As a result, Auxiliary shields were often indicators of where a specific union was from.
Tips for Making This Roman Shield Craft
- Making this craft was relatively easy for me, though I did have some trouble. Cutting the cardboard box was pretty difficult. It resulted in some of the edges looking a little rough.
- I didn’t have any glue for this craft either, so I ended up using some packing tape. Which worked pretty well, but I do think that glue would be a better option.
- When you’re making this craft, I would also recommend choosing scrap fabric instead of the string. String will still work, but scrap fabric will give you a bigger grip and a more secure hold on the shield. If you don’t have any scrap fabric you can make some from old or worn out clothes. If that doesn’t work, a thicker piece of ribbon should do fine as well.
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How did your history craft turn out? What are you using your homemade Roman shield for? Please tell us in the comments below!