Recycled Plastic Bottles into Sun Tzu Armor

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Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu

How time flies! We’re already well into the new school year with online learning and missing projects like the infamous history project from last year! Though there was a lot of research and writing, who can pass up dressing up? especially for a costume crazy family like ours!

This time around the project was on Sun Tzu, author of the Art of War. It was especially challenging since we couldn’t just freely hunt around for materials with the city on lock-down from COVID-19. What do we have to work with? Cardboard, paper, recycled plastic bottles… Cardboard and paper were going to take a lot of glue, paint, and time to get the look we want (totally possible) but we really wanted something fast, easy and inexpensive.

recycled plastic bottles

Recycled plastic bottles it is!

Unfortunately we can’t just paint plastic with craft paint without preparing them… the paint won’t stick. From my printmaking days, I know that gesso (pronounced ‘jesso’) works great over pretty much anything… plus I had some left over from another project. We made it work with what we had on hand. Just tested a few to make sure it doesn’t crack or scratch off… added a few coats and yay! It’s good!

Now to try some color… We almost always have some gold on hand too! Score! Added a couple coats of that as well… changing brush direction each time to get a more even cover. Trick was figuring out how many soda bottles we needed and how we would arrange it all.

Sun Tzu lived 544 – 496 B.C.E. during the Zhou dynasty. We wanted to be a little more historically accurate so we looked up armor for that period for inspiration. It’s not perfect, but closer than the really beefed up Hollywood-style armor and much fewer plates!

Even working from home, we were running out of time so the fast and easy thing to do was to reuse an old shirt and pull out the trusty glue gun! Just some quick dabs here and there or the plastic will melt… oops, well it looks beaten up from the war! Haha!

If it was my project, I would have punched holes in the corners and stitched it… but I was only playing a supporting production role here!

We also needed some temporary facial hair courtesy of jewelry wire and yarn. Then we reused the Jedi costume from the karate demo a few years back and borrowed brother’s sword. Not bad for things from around the house! For a bonus we also submitted it for the Earth Day assignment in science for using recycled items!

 

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