Whether you’re an honourable Northerner, an impish bookworm, a scheming bordello owner, or an inbred monster that everyone hates, chances are you’ve at least thought about what it would be like to have the Iron Throne all to yourself. Or at the very least, maybe you’ve always wanted one for your smart phone. I am definitely guilty of both.So when I saw someone post their own Iron Throne picture on Imgur a while ago, I liked it so much that I knew that I needed to build one of my own. And when my office gave me a new Apple Mouse, I was actually more excited about the foam from the box it came in than the mouse itself!
The only question was what to call it: The Iron Phone, or the iThrone? I decided on the latter.
One of the things that I wanted to do to make my iThrone unique was to have holes for the power cord and headphones (which connect through the bottom for my iPhone 5), so that I could have it sit on my desk at work while still allowing me charge it and to listen to music.
I also wanted to do this on the cheap, and I was able to find almost all the materials I needed at my local Dollar Store!
Foam – leftover from Apple Mouse delivery packaging
108 plastic sword drink picks – $1.00/36 at dollar store
Black plastic zip ties – $1.00/60 at dollar store
Paint brush – $1.25 at dollar store
Silver Metallic Paint – $1.50 at the dollar store
Hot Glue Gun – $7.00 at dollar store
Glue sticks – $1.50 at dollar store
Exacto knife/modelling knife – $2.00 at dollar store
Spray Paint – $7.00 at hardware store
Step 1 – Draw out frame with a pen
Use a pen, ideally a felt-tip or gel pen, to draw the basic square shape of your throne. You want a square frame for the base, with the arms and the front at least 1cm wide. The backing should be as wide as the base, but you can always trim down the back of either arm to curve back to match the backing if (like me) you have limited foam available.
Step 2 – Cut out basic shape
Using your knife, cut out the basic shape by cutting along the lines you drew in the previous step. If you have a longer exacto knife, make fewer back and forth strokes as you cut. If you have a shorter-bladed modelling knife, keep you strokes as slow and straight as possible. The reason for this is because, depending on the density of the foam, the slightest variation in the angle of your blade can produce uneven, ridged cuts in the foam. For some, this may be beneficial if you are planning on leaving a lot of your foam visible, as it can provide a varied texture that COULD resemble parts of swords. On the other side of the density spectrum, attempting to cut it too quickly can cause the foam to tear, making it look rough and not at all like metal.
Step 3 – Cut out front of seat
Cut out the front part of the seat to create the shape of a chair. Using a pen, section off a portion of the front part of the base approximately half the height of the arms. It should be just thick enough to hold the phone in place while still being noticeably lower than the arms of the base.
Step 4 – Trim down and round out edges
Using the same slow, straight cuts as in the previous steps, trim down the corners and edges of the base and backing. Cut down the backing to form the shape of the chair, as seen in the photo. If your backing is not as wide as the base, you can trim the backs of the arms to line up with it.
For the base, start at one corner and work your way across one of the sides, getting slightly deeper as you near the centre, and then shallower as you reach the other corner. The result should be a curve on either side with the fronts of the arms being wider than the rest. The centre of the curve should also be deeper at the top of the arms than at the bottom. Repeat the same for the front of the base, giving it a bit more of a curve than the sides. This will give the shape of the base a more imposing, organic feel instead of a blocky, square one.
Step 5 – Cut holes for headphones and power cord
The hole for the power cord is done fairly simply by cutting a hole through the base at the centre and behind the front of the seat. Depending on what kind of device is going to be sitting on your throne, be sure that the hole is large enough so at least one end of the power cord will fit through it. Then carve out a small channel in the bottom from the hole all the way to the back of the base. Line up the backing with the base and carve out a hole in the bottom so that the two match up. The channel does not have to be very deep or wide, it simply needs to provide enough room to fit the power cord for your device.
For the headphones, measure out approximately where the headphone jack will line up with the base. Because of the shape and design of most devices which have their headphone jack at the bottom, it will not be snug in the corner of the base, but slightly away from the sides. It also does not need to be nearly as large as the hole for the power cord, as most headphones are much smaller.
If you are going to be placing the throne on your desk, you will want to cut a channel similar to that of the power cord, but through the front so that your headphones can connect that way instead of having to wrap around the back. I also wanted to be able to plug in my external input cord from my stereo, however, so I cut a channel to the back as well.
Step 6 – Glue the backing and base together
Using your hot glue gun, glue the backing to the base of the throne. You should use a fair bit of glue here as you want to ensure that these two pieces stay firmly together. Be careful though, as you do not want to use so much glue that it will leak out the sides when you press the pieces together.
Step 7 – Place bent zip ties on seat and arms
Preparing and gluing the zip ties was probably the most challenging part of the project as they are rather stiff and take a fair bit of effort to bend. You may have to bend them beyond the needed shape and hold them in place for a few seconds in order to ensure they keep their form.
Cut off the ends of the zip ties so that you only have the pointy ends. If there is anyone around you at the time, show them the newly cut zip tie and say “Stick ’em with the pointy end.” Do not skip this part of the step, or G.R.R.M will murder one of your favorite characters.
Measure out approximately how many you will need for each arm and how long they need to be to reach from the inside of the arms, over the top, and then to the bottom of the base. When cutting your zip ties down to size, keep in mind that they should not all be the same length, and that if a number of them reach out further than the bottom of the base (from which you just bend outwards so that the throne can sit evenly), it will give the throne a much more realistic look.
Repeat this for the front of the seat. I also found it beneficial to leave some of the ties much longer, and bend them so that they would reach across the entire base and up the backing. This will help reinforce the backing and make it a little more rigid and sturdy.
When gluing, hold the zip ties at either end while you apply the hot glue and then attach to the base quickly. You don’t have to worry too much about getting everything perfectly aligned, as it should look like the swords have been haphazardly melted together. You can even overlap some to give more depth to the chair.
Step 8 – Add swords to back and sides
This was the most fun part but also the most time-consuming. Start with the pointy swords of the very top by using two rows of swords that alternate (i.e. so that they are not in parallel). Cut or snap the swords at the hilt so that they are as long as possible. Cut a tiny hole into the top of the backing and glue into the place with your hot glue. Again, it is actually better if the swords are not evenly spaced or balanced, so if you’re like me and feel that everything needs to be perfectly symmetrical, you will have to fight your instincts on this.
Using the hilts of the swords you snapped off, glue them blade downwards across the front of the two rows of blades. Then, using some hilts with a bit of blade left on them, place them also blade downwards behind and in between the two rows. You will start to see the iconic “spiny” shape of the throne come together. You can also start to place some of the hilts on the arms and front of the base.
Next, starting at the top of the backing, glue some full swords blade downwards so that their hilts just barely rise above the edge of the foam backing. This will help hide the backing when it’s fully painted and assembled. Work your way down from here, adding more swords slightly lower than the hilts of the previous layer. Start at either side of the base and working your way towards the middle, overlapping the previously layer and pointing the swords somewhat unevenly towards the middle of the base. As you get lower, allow some full swords to pierce into the foam of the base, as this will help strengthen the structure of your throne so that the backing will be able to support the weight of your phone if your foam isn’t particularly stiff. Cut off the blades from the other hilts as you get closer to the bottom so that they fit with ease and so that you will have lots of blades to put other places. Repeat this process for the back.
Using the full swords, blades, and hilts you have remaining, add more to the front of the backing, the sides of the arms, the front of the seat, and the sides of the backing. Also add more upward pointed blades to the top of the backing in any empty space you can find to give it an even more monstrous appearance. I used literally every single plastic sword I had (over a hundred), which is why this part is so time-consuming.
Step 9 – Spray paint black
Give your throne a base coat using black spray paint. Ideally, usually a black matte finish as opposed to a glossy finish. Remember that the swords should look old and tarnished, not shiny and sparkly.
Be sure to spray paint your throne outdoors or in an area with lots of ventilation. Avoid holding the spray can too closely to the throne, as this will cause the paint be applied to thick and obscure the finer details of the swords. Also be sure to spray it from multiple angles in order to get all the nooks and crannies and hidden spots caused by the hundreds of swords you have glued into place.
Note: wait for the spray paint to dry before moving on to the next step!
Step 10 – Dry brush with silver paint
To get the beaten up, old metallic look extremely easily, you can use a technique called dry-brushing. Dry-brushing is a relatively simple painting technique that allows you to highlight parts of the object without using painfully small brushes to paint impossibly small areas.
To do this, get some silver paint on your brush, then using a piece of scrap paper, brush most of the paint off of it until only a tiny bit remains on the bristles. Then, quickly and lightly brush across the surface of your throne. Do not press too hard and make sure that you have already removed almost all the paint from your brush, or it will look too thick and shiny. If done correctly, the silver paint will only end up on the raised edges of the swords/throne, while the deeper recesses remain black. You can do several coats of this until you have achieved the textured look of tarnished, aged steel that you desire.
Conclusion – In the Game of Phones…
…You either win, or you just buy a new iPhone.
(I was trying to think up a better pun than this, but this was the best I had)