How to Make Medieval Helmets From Cardboard

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Many children (and even adults) want to have a medieval helmet to play with and wear, perhaps as a Halloween costume, at some point in their lives. The helmet makes playing seem more realistic, and adds more style and fun to pretending. A medieval helmet can easily be made from cardboard and papier-mache. Children can work alongside with an adult to create this authentic-looking helmet. This project will take about a week to complete, because each application of papier-mache must dry before the next coat is applied.

Things You'll Need

  • Masking tape
  • Cardboard cereal boxes
  • Balloon
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Scissors
  • Newspaper
  • Helmet template (see Resources)

Download and print the helmet templates. Cut the templates out and trace the templates over the backside of a cereal box. Use the two largest sides of the cereal box only. Do not place the template over any folds in the box. If you do not have enough space for all the pieces, then use additional boxes. Cut the shapes from the cardboard with the scissors.

Tape the two faceplate pieces together. Tape the neck band piece across the back of your head to the face plate. Tape the neck guard below the neck band so that it covers your neck. Adjust the circumference of the helmet to match your head size, or the head size of the person who will wear the helmet if it is not you.

Blow up the balloon just large enough to fit inside the helmet. The balloon will make the top of the helmet. Tape the balloon into place.

Create some papier-mache by mixing 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of water and 1 tbsp. of salt. Cut the newspaper into 1- to 2-inch wide strips. Dip the paper strips into the papier-mache solution and then lay over the entire helmet. Place an extra layer of paper over the top of the helmet where there is no cardboard. Apply three to five layers of papier-mache, allowing the paper to dry out overnight between each coat. Store the papier-mache solution in an airtight container and it will not dry out.

Pop the balloon after the last coat of papier-mache has dried. The helmet is complete, and can now be decorated as you wish. It is still important to take great care when wearing the helmet, because papier-mache is a delicate material.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use acrylic paints or spray paint to decorate the helmet and give it an authentic metal appearance.
  • Do not use the helmet when it is raining.

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