How to build medieval armor helmets

Written by joe capristo
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How to build medieval armor helmets
Medieval armour helmets were a combination of plates and cone shapes. (Teuton armoured knight or infantry image by starush from Fotolia.com)

Create costume and prop versions of Medieval armour helmets at home. Fifteenth century armour helmets were made from heavy steel plates bent and joined together, giving the helmets less rounded, angular shapes. You can reproduce the various polygon and cone shapes of Medieval armour helmets with lightweight materials for costume use. Use heavy grade cardboard and other craft materials to produce your own authentic looking helmet for any project or costume occasion.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Picture or drawing of a Medieval helmet
  • Large box or sheet of heavy grade cardboard
  • Duct tape
  • Spray paint (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Box cutter or hobby knife
  • Two large paper brads

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut out a large rectangular piece of cardboard that is as wide as the height of your head from crown to shoulder to crown. It should be long enough to bend around your entire head into a comfortably fitting tube. Seal the ends of the rectangle together into a tube with duct tape.

  2. 2

    Cut a rectangular hole in the wide cardboard pipe you've made for your head that is large enough for your face. Cover the entire pipe shape with duct tape, inside and out. This will provide durability to the helmet base you've created and keep it from moisture damage that can occur with sweating.

  3. 3

    Cut out a cardboard circle about three inches larger than the diameter of the helmet base. Cut a line from the edge of the circle to the centre point and curl the circle into a cymbal shape that fits the top of your helmet base. Seal the shape and cover it entirely with duct tape.

  4. 4

    Attach the cymbal-shaped top to the helmet base temporarily with small pieces of tape. Try it on to make sure it is a correct and comfortable fit. Make any necessary changes before attaching the pieces together permanently. Trim and adjust as necessary; when you are satisfied connect the two pieces permanently with long strips of duct tape, inside and out.

  5. 5

    Punch a hole on each side of the helmet for the large paper brads. This is where you will hinge the front of the mask. The holes should be at approximately eye level and even with your ears.

  6. 6

    Create the front of the mask out of a cymbal shape and a rectangle. The cymbal should be large enough to cover the face hole in the helmet leaving only the eyes open. The rectangle should be thin enough to attach the cymbal shape to and long enough to reach the brad holes in the sides of the mask. Cover both shapes entirely with duct tape before attaching them together.

  7. 7

    Cut out two circles, each with a 2-inch diameter. Push the paper brads through the centre of each 2-inch disk and cover the shape with duct tape, leaving the prongs of the brad sticking out. Secure the mask front to the helmet base using the cardboard-backed brads. Apply a piece of duct tape inside the helmet to the bent brad prongs to hold them permanently to the base.

  8. 8

    Paint your helmet gold or silver to show royalty, or leave it the duct tape colour of steel. Add horns or wings to your helmet with additional cardboard shapes if you wish. You can paint your mask black or red for evil.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't skimp on the duct tape. The more you use the sturdier the helmet prop will be.
  • Knights used coloured paint, animal hair, feathers, fabric and other decorations on their helmets. Look at pictures of helmets to get some ideas of your own.
  • Consider designing your own helmet shape by copying the design from a real medieval helmet. Look for the sheets of steel that form the shapes and cut your cardboard pieces to match.
  • This helmet is a costume prop and will not protect you from anything. Do not attempt to use this helmet for safety.

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