Discover the intricate art of crafting medieval armor with this comprehensive guide. From selecting the right materials to mastering ancient techniques, learn how to create authentic and durable suits of armor that transport you back in time. Unleash your inner blacksmith and embark on an exhilarating journey into the world of medieval craftsmanship.

1. Common Materials Used in Medieval Armor

The Quest for the Perfect Metal

When it comes to crafting medieval armor, choosing the right materials is crucial. Back in the day, armorers were on a quest to find the perfect metal that would provide both strength and flexibility. One of the most commonly used metals was iron, which was readily available and relatively easy to work with. However, iron had its drawbacks – it was prone to rusting and lacked the durability needed for battle.

To overcome these challenges, armorers turned to steel. Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, which gives it superior strength and resistance to corrosion. By carefully controlling the amount of carbon in the steel, armorers could create different grades of steel with varying properties. High-carbon steel provided excellent hardness and edge retention, making it ideal for weapons like swords and axes. On the other hand, low-carbon steel offered greater flexibility and impact resistance, making it perfect for armor plates.

Common Materials for Medieval Armor:

  • Iron: Prone to rusting but easily available
  • Steel: An alloy of iron and carbon; provides strength and resistance to corrosion
  • High-Carbon Steel: Offers hardness and edge retention; used for weapons
  • Low-Carbon Steel: Provides flexibility and impact resistance; used for armor plates

In addition to iron and steel, other materials such as leather, cloth, and even bone were sometimes incorporated into medieval armor. Leather was often used for straps or padding inside the armor to provide comfort and reduce chafing. Cloth was used as a lining material to absorb sweat and prevent direct contact between the wearer’s skin and metal plates. And yes, you heard it right – some armorers even experimented with bone as a material for armor, although its effectiveness in battle is still up for debate.

So, the next time you find yourself donning a suit of medieval armor (because who doesn’t?), take a moment to appreciate the craftsmanship and ingenuity that went into selecting the perfect materials. After all, your safety on the battlefield depends on it!

2. Shaping and Forming Metal Plates for Medieval Armor

Shaping Techniques

Metal plates used in medieval armor were typically made from iron or steel, and shaping them required skilled craftsmanship. One common technique was hammering the metal over a wooden form or anvil to create the desired shape. This process involved heating the metal until it was malleable enough to be shaped with hammers and other tools. Another technique involved using specialized molds or dies to shape the metal plates. These molds were often made of stone or cast iron and had intricate designs carved into them.

Hammers and Anvils

To shape the metal plates, blacksmiths used various types of hammers, such as cross-peen hammers for stretching the metal and planishing hammers for smoothing out any imperfections. Anvils played a crucial role in providing a solid surface for shaping the armor pieces. They were typically made of hardened steel and had various shapes and contours to accommodate different parts of the armor.

Molds and Dies

Using molds or dies allowed for more precise shaping of the metal plates. These molds were often made specifically for each type of armor component, such as breastplates, gauntlets, or greaves. The metal would be heated until it reached its plastic state, then placed onto the mold and hammered into shape using specialized tools called swages or dishing stakes.

Overall, shaping metal plates for medieval armor required a combination of heat, forceful hammering, and skilled manipulation techniques to achieve the desired form.

3. Techniques for Joining Metal Pieces in Medieval Armor


One common technique used to join metal pieces in medieval armor was riveting. Rivets were small metal pins with a head on one end that were inserted through holes drilled in the overlapping edges of the armor pieces. The protruding end of the rivet was then hammered or peened to create a second head, effectively securing the plates together. This method provided a strong and durable connection that could withstand the rigors of battle.

Types of Rivets

There were different types of rivets used depending on the specific application and location in the armor. Flat-headed rivets were commonly used for attaching large plates, such as breastplates or backplates, while round-headed rivets were more suitable for smaller components like gauntlets or greaves. Additionally, countersunk rivets were used when a flush surface was desired.

Rivet Holes and Spacing

Creating evenly spaced and aligned holes for the rivets was crucial to ensure proper alignment and structural integrity. Armorers would use specialized tools like punches or drills to make these holes. The spacing between rivet holes varied depending on the type of armor piece and its intended function. For example, areas requiring greater flexibility, such as joints or articulations, would have closer hole spacing to allow for better movement.

By employing effective riveting techniques, medieval armorers were able to securely join metal pieces together, creating protective suits that could withstand the demands of combat.

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4. Tools and Equipment Required for Making Medieval Armor

Metalworking Tools

To create medieval armor, various metalworking tools are essential. These include hammers, anvils, tongs, and chisels. Hammers are used to shape the metal while anvils provide a sturdy surface for hammering. Tongs help in holding and manipulating hot pieces of metal, while chisels are used for cutting and shaping.

Heat Sources

Heat sources such as forges and furnaces are crucial for working with metal in armor making. Forges provide the necessary heat to soften the metal, allowing it to be shaped more easily. Furnaces are used for melting metals like iron or steel to create cast components.

Cutting and Shaping Tools

In addition to chisels, other cutting and shaping tools play a vital role in crafting medieval armor. These include hacksaws, files, drills, punches, and rasps. Hacksaws are used to cut through metal plates or bars while files help in smoothing rough edges. Drills aid in creating holes for rivets or lacing points, while punches and rasps assist in adding decorative elements.

List of Tools:

  • Hammers
  • Anvils
  • Tongs
  • Chisels
  • Forges
  • Furnaces
  • Hacksaws
  • Files
  • Drills
  • Punches
  • Rasps


The specific tools required may vary depending on the complexity of the armor being made and the techniques employed by the armor maker.

5. Time Taken to Craft a Full Suit of Medieval Armor

The time taken to craft a full suit of medieval armor depends on various factors, including the skill level of the armor maker, the complexity of the design, and the availability of resources. On average, it could take several months to years for an experienced armorer to complete a high-quality suit of armor.

The process begins with designing and planning, which can take a considerable amount of time as it involves creating templates and measurements specific to the wearer. Once the design is finalized, metal sheets are cut and shaped according to these templates. Each piece is then meticulously hammered, heated, and formed into its desired shape.

Joining these individual pieces together requires careful fitting and riveting or welding them in place. This step demands precision as any gaps or weak joints could compromise the strength and protection provided by the armor. After assembly, additional decorative elements such as engravings or etchings may be added.

Finally, padding and lining are incorporated for comfort and impact protection. The entire suit is then polished or treated with protective coatings to prevent rusting or corrosion.


The time frame mentioned above is a general estimate and can vary significantly depending on factors such as complexity, customization requirements, available resources, and production methods employed during that particular era.

6. Regional Variations in Design and Construction of Medieval Armor


During the medieval period, armor design and construction varied greatly across different regions, reflecting the cultural, technological, and artistic influences of each area. These regional variations resulted in distinct styles and features that characterized the armor produced in specific locations.

1. Italian Armor

In Italy, armorers were renowned for their skill in creating highly decorative and elegant suits of armor. Italian armor often featured intricate engravings or etchings, showcasing the craftsmanship of the artisans. The use of fluted surfaces was also common in Italian armor, adding both aesthetic appeal and structural strength.

2. German Armor

German armor was known for its practicality and effectiveness in battle. It prioritized protection over ornamentation, featuring sturdy plate construction with overlapping joints to provide maximum defense against blows from weapons such as swords or axes. German armor also incorporated articulated limbs to allow for greater mobility on the battlefield.

3. French Armor

French armor was characterized by its emphasis on style and elegance. It often showcased elaborate designs with richly embossed patterns and ornate detailing. French knights favored full suits of plate armor that provided comprehensive protection while maintaining a sense of gracefulness.


The regional variations in design and construction of medieval armor highlight the diverse approaches taken by different cultures during this time period. Whether it was the decorative flair of Italian armor or the practicality of German armor, each region contributed unique elements to the evolution of medieval armory.

7. Different Styles of Armor for Different Types of Soldiers or Knights

The Role-Based Armoury

In medieval times, armor was tailored to suit the specific needs and roles of different soldiers or knights. The requirements of various combatants led to the development of distinct styles of armor that catered to their individual functions on the battlefield.

1. Infantry Armor

Infantry soldiers required armor that offered flexibility and ease of movement while providing adequate protection. Their armor typically consisted of chainmail hauberks, padded jackets, and metal helmets. This combination allowed them to maneuver swiftly and effectively engage in close combat.

2. Cavalry Armor

Cavalry knights relied on heavy plate armor to withstand the impact of charges and protect them during mounted combat. Their suits of armor included full plate harnesses with reinforced breastplates, gauntlets, greaves, and a distinctive closed helm with visor for added facial protection.

3. Archers’ Armor

Archers required lighter armor that did not impede their mobility or hinder their ability to draw a bowstring. They typically wore padded garments combined with hardened leather armguards, bracers, and helmets for minimal protection without sacrificing agility.

The Importance of Adaptability

The diverse styles of armor allowed soldiers to adapt to different roles on the battlefield based on their equipment. This flexibility ensured that each type of soldier could fulfill their specific duties effectively while remaining protected from enemy attacks.

8. Measurements and Fittings for Custom Medieval Armor

Precision in Measurement

The creation of custom medieval armor required precise measurements to ensure a perfect fit for the wearer. Armorers employed various techniques and tools to obtain accurate measurements that would guarantee optimal comfort, mobility, and protection.

1. Body Casting

One method used by armorers was body casting, where a plaster or wax mold was made of the wearer’s body. This mold served as a template for crafting the armor, capturing the unique contours and proportions of the individual. Body casting allowed for an incredibly precise fit, especially for complex pieces like breastplates.

2. Measurements with a Gorget

Another technique involved using a gorget, a metal collar worn around the neck, to measure the circumference of various body parts. By wrapping the gorget around different areas such as the chest, waist, and limbs, armorers could determine the appropriate dimensions for each piece of armor.

Fittings were crucial to ensure that custom-made medieval armor provided maximum protection without restricting movement or causing discomfort. Armorers employed several fitting techniques to achieve this balance.

1. Articulated Joints

Armor fittings often incorporated articulated joints that allowed for flexibility and ease of movement. These joints utilized rivets or hinges to connect different sections of plate armor while maintaining mobility in key areas such as elbows and knees.

2. Padding and Strapping

To enhance comfort and provide additional impact protection, padding was added between the wearer’s body and the metal plates. Leather straps were also used to secure various pieces together firmly without impeding movement.


The meticulous process of measurements and fittings ensured that custom medieval armor was tailored precisely to each individual warrior’s physique. This attention to detail resulted in armor that not only provided exceptional protection but also allowed for freedom of movement on the battlefield.

9. Ensuring Strength and Protection in Medieval Armor

The Quest for Durability

In order to provide effective protection on the battlefield, medieval armor needed to be strong and durable. Armorers employed various techniques and materials to ensure that the armor could withstand the rigors of combat.

1. Steel as the Primary Material

The use of steel was integral to creating robust suits of armor. It offered a balance between strength and weight, providing excellent protection while allowing for mobility. Armorers carefully selected high-quality steel and employed skilled blacksmithing techniques to forge the metal into plates or chainmail rings.

2. Laminar Construction

Laminar construction involved layering multiple sheets of metal together to create a stronger composite structure. This technique, commonly used in plate armor, increased resilience against impacts by distributing forces across multiple layers.

Certain areas of medieval armor were more susceptible to attacks and required additional reinforcement to ensure maximum protection.

1. Reinforced Joints

Joints such as elbows and knees were prone to vulnerability due to their flexibility requirements. To strengthen these areas, armorers added extra layers of metal or incorporated specialized joint plates that provided enhanced defense without sacrificing mobility.

2. Strategic Overlapping

Armor pieces were often designed with overlapping edges or flanges, which served as an additional layer of defense against potential weak points in the armor’s construction. These overlapping sections minimized gaps through which weapons could penetrate.


The meticulous craftsmanship employed in constructing medieval armor ensured its strength and durability on the battlefield. By utilizing high-quality materials, employing laminar construction techniques, and reinforcing vulnerable areas, armorers created suits that provided reliable protection for knights and soldiers during combat.

10. Decorative Elements in Medieval Armor: Engravings or Etchings

Functional Artistry

Medieval armor was not only a means of protection but also an expression of artistic and cultural identity. Decorative elements, such as engravings or etchings, were commonly incorporated into armor to showcase the owner’s status, heraldry, or personal taste.

1. Heraldic Symbols

Heraldry played a significant role in medieval society, and armor provided an ideal canvas for displaying these symbols. Knights often adorned their armor with engravings or etchings depicting their family crest, coat of arms, or other heraldic devices. These symbols served as a visual representation of the knight’s lineage and allegiance.

2. Intricate Patterns and Motifs

Armorers showcased their artistic skills by incorporating intricate patterns and motifs into the surface of the armor. These designs ranged from geometric shapes to elaborate floral or scrollwork patterns. Engravings or etchings added depth and texture to the metal surfaces while enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal of the armor.

To achieve these decorative elements on medieval armor, armorers utilized various techniques that required precision and expertise.

1. Chasing and Repoussé

The techniques of chasing and repoussé involved hammering or pressing metal from both sides to create raised relief designs on the surface. Armorers used specialized tools to meticulously shape the metal while adding depth and texture to the engraved or etched patterns.

2. Acid Etching

Acid etching was another method employed to create intricate designs on armor surfaces. The metal was coated with a protective layer of wax or varnish, and the desired design was carefully etched into this protective layer. Acid was then applied to remove the exposed metal, leaving behind the engraved pattern.


The decorative elements in medieval armor not only showcased the artistic skills of armorers but also served as a visual representation of the wearer’s identity and status. Through techniques such as chasing, repoussé, and acid etching, armorers transformed functional pieces of armor into works of art that captivated both onlookers and wearers alike.

11. Padding and Lining Inside Medieval Armor for Comfort and Impact Protection

The Importance of Padding

Medieval armor was not worn directly against the body; instead, it was accompanied by various layers of padding or lining that provided comfort, absorbed impact, and prevented chafing or bruising during prolonged use.

1. Gambeson

The gambeson was a padded garment typically made of quilted fabric or layers of wool or linen. It offered cushioning between the body and the rigid plates of armor while also providing insulation. The gambeson helped distribute the force of impacts across a larger surface area, reducing potential injuries.

2. Padded Coifs and Collars

To protect vulnerable areas like the neck and head from direct contact with metal surfaces, padded coifs (hoods) and collars were worn underneath helmets or gorgets. These padded accessories added an extra layer of cushioning while preventing discomfort caused by friction or pressure points.

In addition to comfort, padding inside medieval armor played a crucial role in absorbing impacts from weapons during combat.

1. Maille Voiders

Maille voiders, also known as arming points, were padded strips worn beneath chainmail sleeves to prevent the mail rings from digging into the skin or causing bruising. These strips absorbed much of the impact from blows while allowing for ease of movement.

2. Padded Gauntlets and Sabatons

To protect the hands and feet, padded gloves and socks were worn underneath metal gauntlets and sabatons. The padding acted as a shock absorber, reducing the force of impacts while providing additional comfort during combat.


The inclusion of padding and lining inside medieval armor was essential for both comfort and impact protection. By wearing gambesons, padded coifs, maille voiders, and other cushioning accessories, knights and soldiers could withstand the rigors of battle while minimizing discomfort and potential injuries.

12. Maintenance and Repairs of Suits of Medieval Armor

Preserving Armor’s Longevity

Maintaining suits of medieval armor was crucial to ensure their longevity on the battlefield. Regular maintenance and timely repairs were necessary to keep armor in optimal condition and extend its lifespan.

1. Cleaning and Polishing

Armor required regular cleaning to remove dirt, sweat, or debris that could cause corrosion or damage over time. Armorers used specialized techniques such as oiling or waxing to protect against rust formation. Polishing was also performed to maintain a shiny appearance while preventing tarnish.

2. Rust Removal

If rust did develop on the surface of armor due to exposure to moisture or neglect, it needed to be promptly removed to prevent further deterioration. Armorers employed various methods such as sanding or using mild acids like vinegar or lemon juice to safely remove rust without damaging the metal.

Armor endured significant wear and tear during battles, making timely repairs essential to maintain its integrity and effectiveness.

1. Patching or Replacing Damaged Plates

If a plate of armor became dented, cracked, or otherwise damaged, armorers would either patch the affected area with additional metal or replace the entire plate. This ensured that the armor maintained its structural integrity and continued to provide adequate protection.

2. Repairing Straps and Buckles

Straps and buckles were crucial for securing different pieces of armor together. If any of these fastenings became loose or damaged, they needed immediate repair to prevent the armor from shifting during combat, compromising both comfort and protection.


Maintaining and repairing suits of medieval armor was a labor-intensive process that required careful attention to detail. By regularly cleaning, polishing, removing rust, and promptly repairing any damages, knights and soldiers could ensure that their armor remained in optimal condition throughout their military service.

13. Techniques to Add Flexibility and Mobility to Parts of Medieval Armor

The Challenge of Mobility

Medieval armor needed to strike a delicate balance between providing adequate protection while allowing for flexibility and mobility on the battlefield. Armorers employed various techniques to achieve this balance by incorporating flexible elements into

14. Design Features of Helmets and Visors During the Middle Ages


During the Middle Ages, helmets played a crucial role in protecting knights and soldiers on the battlefield. They were designed with several features to ensure maximum protection while allowing for visibility and comfort. One common design feature was the incorporation of a nasal guard, a piece of metal that extended down from the helmet to protect the nose. This feature not only provided additional protection but also helped to stabilize the helmet on the wearer’s head. Additionally, many helmets had cheek guards that protected the sides of the face without obstructing vision.

Types of Helmets

There were various types of helmets used during this period, each with its own unique design features. One popular type was the great helm, also known as a bucket helm, which completely covered the head and had a narrow slit for vision. Another type was the bascinet, which covered both the head and neck and often had an attached visor for added protection. The sallet was another commonly used helmet, featuring a distinctive pointed shape that protected both the head and neck.

Some helmets also incorporated decorative elements such as crests or plumes to distinguish knights on the battlefield or during tournaments.


Visors were an essential part of medieval helmets as they provided protection for the face while allowing for visibility during combat. They were typically made from metal and could be raised or lowered depending on whether full face protection was needed or if better visibility was required.

Visors often had small eye slits or perforations to allow knights to see their surroundings without compromising safety. Some visors even featured intricate designs or patterns carved into them, showcasing craftsmanship and individuality.

Overall, both helmets and visors during the Middle Ages were designed with functionality in mind, balancing protection with visibility and comfort for the wearer.

15. Famous Historical Figures Known for Wearing Elaborate Suits of Medieval Armor

King Richard I of England

King Richard I, also known as Richard the Lionheart, was a renowned medieval figure who was known for his bravery and military prowess. He often wore an elaborate suit of armor that showcased his status and power on the battlefield. His armor featured intricate engravings and decorative elements such as lion motifs, symbolizing his nickname.

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc, a French heroine during the Hundred Years’ War, is another famous historical figure associated with medieval armor. Despite being a peasant girl, Joan donned armor to lead the French army to several victories against the English. Her suit of armor was simple yet effective, providing her with protection and enhancing her presence as a military leader.

Emperor Maximilian I

Emperor Maximilian I of the Holy Roman Empire was known for his love of tournaments and jousting. He commissioned numerous suits of elaborate armor that reflected his wealth and power. His armors were often adorned with intricate designs, including etchings depicting scenes from mythology or heraldic symbols representing his family lineage.

These historical figures not only wore impressive suits of medieval armor but also became iconic symbols of their time, showcasing the importance and significance of armor in medieval society.

In conclusion, crafting medieval armor is a fascinating and rewarding endeavor. By following the steps mentioned in this guide, you can create your own authentic armor that reflects the grandeur of the medieval era. However, if you prefer a hassle-free option or need assistance with your project, we invite you to explore our wide range of high-quality armor products. Feel free to get in touch with us for any queries or further guidance – we’re here to help you on your journey to becoming a true knight!

medieval clothing layers

How is medieval armor made?

Body armor in the past was commonly made of either a short-sleeved mail shirt, which consisted of interlocking iron rings, or a garment made of overlapping scales made from iron, bronze, or horn. Shields were typically oval or round in shape and constructed from lightweight yet durable wood covered with leather. The edges of the shields were reinforced with metallic mountings.

Is it legal to wear medieval armor?

In most cases, yes. The consequences of wearing body armor while committing a crime can vary depending on the state. It may result in a more severe sentence for the crime or be considered a separate offense. Additionally, some states have laws that prohibit felons from wearing body armor.

how to make larp armor 1

How did medieval armor not rust?

The idea that knights needed to be lifted onto their horses with a crane due to the weight of their armor is false. However, if a knight fell off his horse during battle, he would require assistance to get back up. After battles, the knight’s armor would be cleaned using a mixture of sand and urine to prevent rusting.

How do blacksmiths make armor?

Blacksmiths employ universal methods to create armor. The creation of armor consists of four main stages, which involve heating, hammering, shaping, and joining.

How heavy was a full set of medieval armor?

The weight of a full set of field armor, including the helmet, typically falls within the range of 45 to 55 lbs (20 to 25 kg).

How heavy was a knights armor?

A suit of plate armor made from well-tempered steel typically weighs between 15-25 kg (33-55 lb). Despite the weight, the wearer is still able to maintain a high level of agility, being able to jump, run, and move freely due to the even distribution of the armor’s weight across the body.