John Skiles Skinner's portfolio

Purse shoulder armor

I've long wanted an over-one-shoulder bag just big enough that I can carry a single book. A purse, in essence. And as long as I'm wearing a strap over a shoulder, it seems to me that there should be an armored shoulderpad on there.

Starting materials

I found a bag made of delightfully tacky textured vinyl. It's new, but it's like a bag that a 1970s home movie camera would have come in. Perfect!

For the shoulder pad itself, I want a compound curve that fits the shoulder well. It wasn't easy to find. I tried a lot of different curved objects before I settled on this...twist of metal with velcro on it. I don't know exactly what it is. I got it while shopping with Wesley at an army surplus store.


I used a chop saw and a bench grinder to cut away metal until it looked like something I'd want to wear

Spray painted it a dull black. I found that a certain anti-rust paint looked best.

Joining the metal plate to the bag

I experimented with sewing a canvas pad to put under the armor plate. I was shocked how using a sewing machine reminded me of programming a computer. Here you can see I have run into a problem with nested loops.

I ended up using plastic to form the pad that will go between me and the metal armor. I cut up the plastic cover on a notebook.

Wearing the finished product

I boled on some spikes; you can get spikes werever punks shop!

I read on wikipedia that such armor is called a Spaulder or maybe a Pauldron. I'm probably just going to call it a spike purse.

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