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Gift Idea: Armor Project by Skill Tree

Gift Idea: Armor Project by Skill Tree

Kit Canidae, founder of Skill Tree, made and designed an Armor leather breastplate cuirass. Follow his instructions and download the FREE pattern to get started!


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  1. Plan
  2. Wrap your torso in saran wrap and duct tape it. This will be your molding for the armor piece. After that, use a dry-erase marker to add lines on the shoulders, sides, and a straight line down the center to keep everything symmetrical.
  3. Measure for the armhole cutouts, your neckline, and side marks.
  4. Connect all your markings and start drawing in your armor design. Keep drawing and erasing until you are happy with the look of it.
  5. Label everything. Show where the stitching will be, what panels will lie where, and label each panel so you know where it goes.
  6. Using an exacto knife, cut out each piece of the armor. You will be left with a cutout of each separate panel. These pieces will be your template.
  7. Because we want each piece of the armor to be symmetrical, choose what side of the duct tape cutout you like the best and trace it onto a piece of card stock folded in half. This will get you a symmetrical card stock cutout. *Side note: Any area of the panels that will need to attach to another panel, make sure you leave about 3/4 of an inch of room to connect the two pieces.
  8. Use your exacto knife again to cut out your card stock pieces. *Optional: Use craft foam to trace the card stock cutouts onto. This craft foam will replicate the same thickness of leather. Then use paper round head fasteners to attach all the pieces of craft foam. Then try on your armor to make sure everything fits right.
  9. Get your leather out. Using masking tape, tape your foam armor pieces to the leather.
  10. Use an exacto knife to score all the way around the leather. Then go over it with a razor knife to completely cut out the leather.
  11. Using a new piece of leather and a strap cutter, cut 1 3/4” straps.
  12. Punch scales pattern into the leather straps with a pointed end punch. You’ll need about 5-6 straps. If you want, bevel the edge of each scale strap.
  13. Lay your finished scale straps on the armor where they go. Cut off the excess.
  14. Go back to the armor leather cutouts, bevel each edge, and slick them down.
  15. Slick the leather down and use a wing divider to add about a 1” inch border to all the armor pieces.
  16. Use a border stamp around the border to make it really pop out.
  17. Use a wing divider to make markings of where a rivet must be placed.
  18. Then punch out those holes with a hole punch.
  19. To make sure all the pieces line up. Take the top armor piece you punched holes in and lay it on top of the other part of the leather. Using an Awl, punch through those holes to make holes in the underneath piece of armor as well.
  20. Use those paper clips again to attach all the leather armor pieces in place. This will make it easier for you to attach all the pieces together.
  21. Once you are done with that and the armor fits well, we need to use a sponge and wet down all the leather.
  22. Use your dye and dye each piece of the leather.
  23. Find a piece of leather that you can sew each layer of the scale straps to. Lay the bottommost layer down first, and sew right across the top.
  24. Lay the scales under the leather abs area and start using rivets to lock everything into place.
  25. Cut off all excess leather scale straps
  26. Repeat the same process for the back armor plate.
  27. You can stain the back of the leather back if you would like.
  28. Once all pieces are locked in, antique the leather using eco-fly.
  29. Use steel wool to rub in highlight points to the leather.
  30. The last step is adding straps to the armor. You can also add buckles to help adjust the straps of the armor.


Skill Tree

"Here at Skill Tree, I will dive into whatever ignites our community of Skill Monkeys' interests. Want to learn how to make armor? Let's level up that skill! Ever want to know how to throw a knife? We can level that up too! I cover leathercraft, forging, and woodworking, as well as style, cool mental tricks, and general life tips/hacks. Really, if it's interesting, awesome, or just plain useful, there is a branch of our tree for that." - Kit Canidae


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