There have been many times where I have found myself in front of a Skeleton drawing an Arrow towards me. With nowhere to hide in the moment I often had to simply keep running and hope to dodge the Arrow or take the damage.

Sometimes dodging just isn’t the easiest option, but luckily there is a way to block incoming attacks from hostile Mobs and other Players.

Crafting a Shield can greatly help keep you alive, but it can also protect your armor from ‘wear and tear’.

Minecraft Shield Recipe

  • 6 Wooden Planks (any)
  • 1 Iron Ingot

Crafting a Shield is relatively easy and I would suggest most players to craft a Shield before actually crafting a full set of Armor. Craft it alongside your first Iron Sword if you are able to.

Shield craft

How to Use a Shield

Once you have your Shield you can equip it like you would any other Item, by placing it into your Toolbar. Though, the best way to use a Shield is by placing it in your Off-hand so that you can still use your other Tools and Weapons freely.

This allows you to have the Shield always at the ready if you need it while still continuing to play normally.

To use the Shield when being attacked depends on the version you play.

In Java Edition you have to hold your ‘Use’ button aka the right-click button by default. In Bedrock Edition you have to Sneak for the Shield to activate.


Regardless of version, when using the Shield you will walk at the same speed as if you were sneaking.

The Shield will block most damage that comes at the Player from the front. When the Shield is hit its durability will go down, while the Player remains unharmed. The stronger the attacks the more the durability wears off.

Knock back effects will still affect the Player and knock them back, but the distance will be greatly reduced.

There is a handful of types of damage that a Shield cannot defend the player against:

  • Splash effects from Potions
  • Enderdragon’s breath
  • Guardian and Elder Guardian attacks
  • TNT that the defender lit
  • TNT that was activated by Redstone
  • Arrows with the Piercing Enchantment
  • Fall Damage
  • Axe attacks

Axe Attacks on Shields

Axe attacks are somewhat of a category of their own. Certain Mobs, such as Vindicators and Piglin Brutes, wield Axes instead of Swords for Weapons.

When they attack a Player that blocks their Axe attack with a Shield, they actually are able to disable the Shield for 5 seconds, sort of like a stun. When they succeed at stunning the Player they will immediately go for a second hit.

This means that when fighting in a Raid a Shield may not be the best Tool when doing close Combat with Vindicators.

Decorating a Shield

A special feature that the Shield has is that it can be decorated. The Shield is roughly a similar size as the Player and in its normal state it looks like a flat wooden board.

This is where Banners come into play. Banners are known in Minecraft for being fun and customizable, allowing you to bring quite a lot of color and creativity into the game.

To decorate a Shield you need to first have a Banner.

Banners can be made using Sticks and Wool with the color of your choice. If you want your Banner to be a bit more intricate using patterns I suggest making a regular White Banner.

To put patterns on a Banner you will need a Loom, which can be made with 2 Wooden Plank blocks and 2 String.


Feel free to play around with the patterns and designs, layering them onto one another, because whatever design you make you can place on your Shield.

Do you have a clan in a PVP server? Put their colors on your Shield to represent them! To put a Banner on a Shield you just have to combine them in your Inventory or on the Crafting Table.

Shield banner

Keep in mind that when your Shield’s durability runs out it will break and the Banner you made will be destroyed with it. If you wish to keep your Shield and the Banner on it, make sure to fix it in an Anvil.

Just like when you’re repairing Enchanted Bows, an Anvil will both bring back the durability of your Shield, but it will also keep the Banner at the expense of Experience Levels.