How to make a knights helmet for kids

The dreaded “dress up day” letter came home from school, with one weeks notice.  This term’s theme has been Medieval or Knights, Princesses & Dragons for the purposes of dress up day.

Fortunately, Fred has a knights costume of sorts (from a visit to the Evesham Medieval event a couple of years ago) consisting of a knightly tabard (100% finest polyester like back in the day), a wooden sword & a shield.  Which meant, all I had to make was a knights helmet. (Of course, she actually wanted to go dressed as a dragon, but time & resources were limited at this point, so the easiest option was the only way to go!)

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Here’s how I made it.  Photo’s are limited, as there’s only so many ways to make cutting out old amazon packaging interesting, I thought I’d try doodles instead!

Materials:

Cardboard – not too thick.  I used some old Amazon packaging.  Keep in mind it’s got to be easy to bend to a dome shape but also robust enough to last longer than 10 minutes.

Paper fasteners – remember those long brass tack like things you used to poke through paper, then split the legs to hold paper in place? (You can get them from Wilko’s for £1 a box)

Silver craft / acrylic paint for that all important metallic finish

Scissors, paint brush, bradawl (or a fine sharp pokey stick for making small holes), a ruler (metal ones are ideal) & a tape measure or bit of yarn

How to make a knights helmet

  1. I’ve purposely not included measurements as we, including children are all blessed with different sized heads (some much larger than others.)   Take a measuring tape or piece of yarn and place around your child’s head roughly were the helmet will sit.  Add 1 cm, note the final measurement, this is the length of cardboard you will need to cut.

    Measure around the head, roughly where the helmet will sit

  2. For the height of the card board, allow 1.5 – 2cm for the band that sits on the head, then the rest will make up the dome.  About 20 cms max for total height is a good start, you can always cut it down later.
  3. Mark out the brim in pencil on the card, and draw regular lines where you are going to cut from the top of the brim to the edge of the card.  It should look something like this:

    Draw lines where the brim will start, and where the cut points will be

  4. Cut down the vertical lines but don’t cut beyond the brim. I’m going to call these newly cut bits “slices” from now.
  5. Now you’re read to start shaping.  Depending on how thick the card was you used, will effect how easy you find this stage!  I used reasonable thick walled card, so it took a bit of effort.  Start with the vertical slices first.  I found it easiest to create a number of bends with a ruler going up the slice (so place the length of the ruler parallel to the brim, and bend along the length).  Try to do this evenly.
  6. Now you’re going to shape the brim.  This time the bends will run vertically, across the brim, so line the length of the  ruler parallel to the cut card and again, create bends against the ruler)
  7. You should now be starting to see the helmet beginning to take shape – now for the fiddly bit!  Punch 2 holes with whatever pointed implement of choice, slightly off centre (one to the left, one to the right) near the top of each “slice” of the helmet and one on the brim where you are going to attach the two sides of the helmet. 
  8. Bend card round to it’s final size and push a paper fastener through the hole in the brim and through to the other side to connect the two sides.  Starting from the left side, push a paper fastener through the left hole of the second slice, through to the right hole of the first slice.  Repeat this for every slice, so the next one attaches to the previous one all the way round.  You should have 2 paper fasteners in each slice.
  9. Bend the paper fastners safely so your child is not going to gouge some other kid with them (I folded one around each slice, so it was hidden by the slice above, leave just one to worry about.
  10. Use some fabric tape or even just sellotape to stick down the fasteners on the inside of the helmet.
  11. Next, we’re going to make the visor.  Measure half way around the circumference  of the helmet, this will the length you need to cut the card to.   Depth wise, I did about 20 cm which in retrospect was probably a little large.  I’d say, test and measure!
  12. I created a grid in the centre of the visor and marked out where I wanted to cut.  See the next diagram for the basic grill shape
  13. I cut out the dark areas, and curved the outside corners of the visor to give a more rounded finish.  I also punched a whole for the paper fasteners on the left and right side where I wanted to attach the visor to the helmet.
  14.  Attach with paper fasteners to the helmet, for placement only.  You’ll need to remove the visor again to paint it.  Almost finished!
  15. Are you still with me? Good, this is the fun part!  Paint  all the helmet and visor, reattach the visor and place fabric tape over the flattened parts of the paper fasteners inside the helmet.  Allow to dry thoroughly before placing on your child’s head!  I also added some skull tape to the visor, as Fred does like her embellishments

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