DIY lacquered doukake

Hello Bachido!!

I was wondering if anyone had any tips on building a lacquered doukake? I have Kyle’s instruction for a cloth one, but I want to make one that has a very specific image. I’ve never worked with lacquer so I’m not exactly sure on how to build this, I was thinking in something similar to this.

  1. Build a base out of paper like in Kyle’s book
  2. Print a super high res picture of what I want
  3. Apply picture on base
  4. Apply lacquer (???)

Does wood lacquer work or is it a specific kind? How many coats, etc.

Much obliged!

It seems like your plan should work. The only advice I can think of is maybe practice lacquering different types of paper first so you have a good idea of what kind of textures you will achieve. Also be aware that the color of the image may darken some as it absorbs the lacquer. Lacquer fuses into each layer under it so just slowly build up a series of thin coats.

Actually, I’m just about to lacquer my antique doukake/ebiokake that came with my shamisen. They are made of old dried out leather and the leather is leaving ugly scuff marks on my dou so I’m hoping lacquer will preserve it while keeping that rustic look it has. I’m just using an ordinary can of brush-on lacquer I bought at the hardware store. We’ll see how it turns out.

P. S. if a really shiny finish is what you’re after you should check a local auto parts store. They should have a good selection of lacquer clear coat, sand paper, and polishing compound. Sand the lacquer smooth in between each coat with some fine sand paper and finish it off with some polishing paste.

Supposedly some samurai made suits of armor from lacquered paper, so it should be more than sufficient to protect your dou

Cool! Hopefully that’s going to work. I’ll document my work and hopefully can post a detailed DIY on the forums! :slight_smile:

I’ll try doing it before I leave for California on Sunday, but I don’t think I’ll have the time.

in Kyle’s book he mentioned Elmer’s Glue I think. When I made my doukake I used some common glue like Elmer’s was supposed to be, but I think you need some kind of glue that does not require air to dry because I had to remove all the plastic wrap for it to dry. I also had the problem that when it dried it shriveled together a bit, causing folds. This might have been due to the fact that it wouldn’t dry with the plastic wrap.

I used one of my heavy metal cloth posters or whatever you call them and cut out a piece that I liked, but it’s not lacquered and after a while it will be colored by the arm. So I say go for lacquered. I guess you could lacquer the cloth though.

I’m not that handy so maybe I just suck at making paper doukakes. I cursed a lot and decided that I’ll buy the next one :stuck_out_tongue:

Hmm, I had not considered the air drying aspect. I might go with some papier maché instead, that only requires the water molecules to evaporate to properly solidify. I had built some shoulder pads for a cosplay that way and it worked like a charm and I could build 4-5 layers thick of the stuff and it’s pretty solid. Might go ahead and try that tonight after my practice/jam with Jacinthe.

The only issue I had with that is it was difficult to make a nice uniform surface.

Now to go find some lacquer… would be fun to have the doukake before shamicamp but I leave for Cali this coming Sunday so… eesh.

I don’t have the details but if someone is at the camp selling doukakes I would buy one. Then you don’t have to pay shipping. Should you succeed in making your own you would have two doukakes and can choose depending on the occasion.

At least in Sweden I had to look around a bit to find the metal thingies that you can put in the holes for the leather strap. I also had to look around quite a bit for a leather strap that looked nice. All in all if you buy these things in special stores it easily goes up in the range of buying the whole thing new if you also include the time spent on it. But you seem to enjoy making things yourself if you cosplay, so then disregard all these boring money details :slight_smile:

Well, I don’t particularly care for my current doukake, it’s just a generic black leather one. Kinda bland, which is why I’ve been looking at making one (also in-line for making my own shamisen after the camp). But that might just be an issue with me, I tend to like funky looks.

Yeah we have an American chain here in Canada called Tandy Leather, so finding some of those things isn’t difficult, just frikin expensive due to the exchange rate and lack of demand. If I do manage to make one before the camp, I doubt I’ll have the eyelets (those metal thingies ;] ) but I might be able to find some in San Jose whilst I’m there. I think for now I wouldn’t even make the holes for leather lace since I don’t even have one on my current doukake.

But you seem to enjoy making things yourself if you cosplay

HAHA!! YES! I work as a NetDev Engineer for cloud tech, I love what I do but it’s pretty abstract so I love building stuff with my hands and don’t mind investing in it. It’s also bores people a bit less if I talk about stuff that they can actually see and touch.

Hi guys! I made a couple of doukake a few years ago - here is the old thread where we discussed it at length. I was posting as I was making it, so it might be useful to you! Trying to tie a neo today!

Oh, by the way guys, the metal thingies for the holes are called grommets, and you can buy them in sewing stores … or, I bet, on Amazon or ebay.

For future reference, you can sand paper mache! And if your paper is having trouble sanding (ripping a bunch), this means you didn’t make the paper wet enough during the process but you can still add a flour to your glue/water/paper mixture and that should allow the outer layer to sand well.