How to make the perfect mediaeval helmet from paper

Written by ann johnson
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How to make the perfect mediaeval helmet from paper
Make your own mediaeval helmet out of papier-mache. (armatura image by gianna from

Some of the earliest documented uses of papier mache include helmets crafted during China's Han Dynasty, from 202 B.C. through A.D. 220. When crafting a medieval helmet out of paper, use the papier mache technique to create a sturdy replica. There's a wide variety of mediaeval helmet designs from which to choose, so settle on your preferred design before beginning because you'll need a photograph of the artefact as a crafting guide. Find these online or at the library, in illustrated books about mediaeval history.

Things you need

  • Oval balloon
  • Newspaper
  • Bowl of liquid starch
  • Felt-tip pen
  • Sharp hobby knife
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard
  • Tape
  • Silver acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush

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  1. 1

    Inflate an oval balloon to form the crown of the helmet. Select a balloon that is larger than your head.

  2. 2

    Tear newspapers into strips, about 5 cm by 15 cm (2 inches by 6 inches). You'll need enough newspaper strips to cover the balloon three times.

  3. 3

    Dip a newspaper strip into a bowl of liquid starch and remove any excess liquid. Apply the strip to the balloon and smooth it down.

  4. 4

    Add more newspaper strips, in a crisscross pattern, until the entire balloon is covered. Allow the strips to dry.

  5. 5

    Add two more layers, allowing each layer to dry completely before adding another. Pour more starch into the bowl as needed. Allow the final layer to dry thoroughly.

  6. 6

    Outline the areas of the papier-mached balloon, using a felt-tip pen, that you need to cut away in order to replicate the helmet you are making. This will vary, depending on the helmet style.

  7. 7

    Cut along the drawn lines with a sharp hobby knife, removing unwanted sections of the balloon. Use the tip of the knife to pop the balloon, if it is still inflated.

  8. 8

    Cut pieces of cardboard that you need to add to the helmet to replicate the mediaeval model. Tape each piece into place.

  9. 9

    Tear more newspaper into strips and cover the entire helmet with two more coats of papier mache, allowing the first layer to dry before adding the second. These two layers cover up the added cardboard and pieces of paper, creating a smoother surface.

  10. 10

    Paint the finished helmet with silver acrylic paint after the papier mache dries thoroughly.

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