Introduction: Cardboard/Fiberglass Halo 3 Inspired Master Chief Costume

Picture of Cardboard/Fiberglass Halo 3 Inspired Master Chief Costume

I made a complete Halo 3 Master Chief Halloween costume for my Son out of cardboard and fiberglass. I started with the helmet. Here are the steps I followed. A small action figure and images found on the internet were used as patterns. The proportions and details may not meet the scrutiny of many 'super fans' but I'm sure my ten year old will like it just fine.

He has two Spartan weapons, a Sniper Rifle and an M6G Magnum

I have only detailed the build of the helmet here.

October 27th 2009 - I have just added pictures of the new helmet, chest plate, should shields and shotgun I built to modify the Master Chief costume from last year into a Halo Scout for this year.

Step 1:

Picture of

I used thinner corrugated cardboard for the helmet. A bucket was made which was used as a base to build from. I measured from the top of my Son's head to the base of his skull where it meets the neck. I cut a 7" tall piece of cardboard and wrapped it around his head to get the right size and taped it to make an oval tube.

The first photo shows how I traced the outline on another piece and then drew about a 1" larger outline. I made sure both halves of the oval lid were symmetrical. I 'tabbed' the oval as seen in the second photo to fit inside the tube.

The last photo shows the flat piece hot glued to make the 'bucket'. Center lines drawn for reference.

Step 2: Adding the Brim

Picture of Adding the Brim

The brim was fashioned very similar to the bucket lid by drawing the pattern and tabbing the inside. I was very careful during the whole build to make sure all pieces were symmetrical. The brim was glued to the bucket at a slight upward angle as shown.

Any time the cardboard needs to go around a bend, make sure to cut the cardboard so the corrugation ribs run perpendicular to the direcition of the bend. You can see this in the bucket in the first picture. The corrugation lines go up and down and the bend goes around. To make a smooth bend, you need to break down the corrugation. Do this by grabbing each end of the cardboard and running it back and forth along the edge of the table. See the last picture.

The second picture shows supports added to give the brim depth. The third is me tracing the outline to make the top of the brim and the fourth picture is one half of the brim completed.

Step 3: Rear Details Coming Together

Picture of Rear Details Coming Together

A paper template was made of the rear detail arc that will act as a rib support. It was transferred to cardboard and glued to the back. Once the 1" vertical section was glued to it I cut the top of the bucket off. The last three pictures show the progression of simply glueing pieces together. I used the low-temp hot glue so it was pretty easy to butt the edges together and smooth out the glue without burning my fingers too bad.

Most of the original bucket will be cut away once there is enought support from the multiple layers of detail.

Step 4: Face Opening and Chin

Picture of Face Opening and Chin

The general size and shape of the face opening was drawn and cut out. A couple of arc ribs were added and then the chin and jaw coverings were added. I later determined that the chin was not the right shape so it was cut off and another one was added - as we will see shortly.

Step 5: Helmet Top Primary Build

Picture of Helmet Top Primary Build

The basic shape of the top of the helmet was cut into three ribs that I glued to the top. The center flat section of cut and glued to hold the ribs in place.

The back deck was installed and then a pattern of the shape of the notches in the top flat section was made. Pieces of cardboard were cut and bent along the sharp top angle and glued to the top.

Step 6: Helmet Top Decking

Picture of Helmet Top Decking

The decking for the top of the helmet was shaped by breaking down the corrugation in both directions and then bending it into a bowl shape.

The decking was installed in several different pieces, each butted up and glued against the other.

The final picture shows some of the interior ribs that were added to hold the shape of the top.

Step 7: Modifications

Picture of Modifications

At this point the helmet ended up being a bit too small. I had to cut the lid off and the chin off to extend them. I glued some pieces to the inside to make things larger and then filled in the braced areas. This made some of the proportions off but we can fix that too.

Step 8: Chin and Cheeks

Picture of Chin and Cheeks

After I cut off the old chin, I fashioned some ribs and supports for the new chin. The cheek was also filled in and temporary pipes were added. It will be replaced with a different style once things are painted up.

Step 9: Chin Detail

Picture of Chin Detail

Here's a couple of shot of the detail that was added to the nose area and chin.

Step 10: Light Pods and Side Detail

Picture of Light Pods and Side Detail

The light pod and side detail was added.

Each time I measure and make a piece for one side I use it as a pattern for the other side.

Step 11: Brim Details

Picture of Brim Details

An additional layer of cardboard was put onto the top and underneath the brim to add the details.

Step 12: Rear and Neck Detail

Picture of Rear and Neck Detail

Final details were added to the rear of the helmet and in the neck area.

Now I'm onto building the body armor.

Step 13: Fiberglass and Bondo

Picture of Fiberglass and Bondo

I added a skim coat of bondo over the some of the cardboard to smooth out any major rough areas. After sanding the bondo fiberglass matting was cut to fit the detail and applied. I was c areful to wear a good quality respirator as recommended on the directions of the resin. I also wore latex surgical gloves.

When the fiberglass was cured I sanded it down and added several layers more of bondo, sanding each one in between.

Step 14: Painting

Picture of Painting

Once the bondo was fully cured I sprayed a coat of primer and then the color coat.

After letting the final coat of paint cure for a full 24 hours I weathered the helmet by spraying a small area with dark grey automobile primer and immediately wiping most of it off. Once this was dry, I dry brushed sliver paint to make the helmet look worn from years of battle.

Step 15: Face Shield

Picture of Face Shield

A lot of the Master Chief costume builders use a gold motorcycle visor. I didn't want to spend the money for one so I used a bowl and cut a visor from it, since it had the correct convex shape.

I fashioned a frame to attach the shield to out of cardboard and will hot glue to shield to the frame.

A few coats of gold paint to the inside gives it the look I wanted. I still need to add another layer to get the correct two layer style of the shield. Small slits will be cut into the shield where the two layers meet so my Son will be able to see.


crazycraftpro88 (author)2017-02-17

How long did this take?

I think it was about 120 or more hours when all was said and done. I think it would take less now that I know what I'm doing :)

Blu dude 2004 (author)2016-12-04

hey so this might be a weird thing too ask but.....comic con is coming up and i mest up my cosplay for a Spartan and now it's I have too ask....can I take the suit of your hands....I really need it

rickgyver (author)Blu dude 20042016-12-04

I'm sorry about your bad luck with your spartan suit. I would doubt this would fit anyone but my son when he was nine years old, plus he wants to keep it forever.

DoctorWhoIsHere (author)2016-10-17

You could also use two sheets of clear folder divider, either yellow or orange or yellow and orange.

Engineer Finley (author)2016-03-09

can you also show us how to make the chest ?


Engineer Finley (author)2016-01-14

can't wait until comic con

thanks for the costume

Engineer Finley (author)2016-01-14

can't wait until comic con

thanks for the costume

TineyH (author)2015-10-11

why did u cut off the old chin ?

rickgyver (author)TineyH2015-10-11

It was too short and my son's 'real' chin stuck out. Since this was 'build-on-the-fly' we had to make adjustments along the way.

LoK2 (author)2015-10-10

the link to your full build is missing. the link wont work.

Fluffeh999 (author)2015-10-05

Hey, could you substitute the fiber glass with paper miche?

rickgyver (author)Fluffeh9992015-10-09

Sure, but it won't be as sturdy so you would have to be careful.

Cookid102 (author)2015-07-27

How much would you sell that costume?my gmail is

rickgyver (author)Cookid1022015-07-30

This is too near and dear to my son for me to sell. Plus it was custom made and would probably not fit anyone else correctly.

BritniH (author)rickgyver2015-08-03

Hi! I am wanting to start this project for my son, but I need to know what pattern you used on pepekura.

rickgyver (author)BritniH2015-08-03

I didn't use a pattern. I referenced a couple of pictures from the internet and also the small plastic figure and just started cutting the cardboard. It was built on the fly, so to speak.

nrich2 (author)2013-10-10

Rick!!! You néed to email me so I can show you our master chief outfit! It's all with LEDs and your son would just love it!

nrich2 how mutch for your costume led?

FyreHawk18 (author)2014-11-28

Are u gonna add instructions for the rest of the suit?

dark blade (author)2014-10-29

i love makes me so happy!I have the same action figure that you used to make the suit!

Bwilson Props (author)2013-07-28

this has come in so handy!!!
it's also the armour i wanted too! :D

rickgyver (author)Bwilson Props2013-07-29

I'm glad to hear it. How about some pictures our your armor?

Bwilson Props (author)rickgyver2013-11-25

right here, my WIP Carter

Bwilson Props (author)rickgyver2013-07-31

i've only managed to complete my weapons at the moment.
An MA5C Assault Rifle
A BR55 Battle Rifle

nrich2 (author)2013-10-10

A company called:
Has plenty of master chief outfits with LEDs all over! We love all of you so much for loving master chief. Check us out and email us with ideas, comments, and enjoy!

insanebear41 (author)2013-08-18

Dude thank you so much

graphixcrafter (author)2013-07-17

I'm using a fiberglassing resin kit that cost AU.$ 30.00

graphixcrafter (author)2013-07-16

What brand of bondo did you use?

graphixcrafter (author)2013-07-08

Amazing Halo armor! Great work! May I ask you how much it cost to make the whole suit? I'm planning to make my own Halo 4 suit for Halloween.

rickgyver (author)graphixcrafter2013-07-08

It cost me about $150 USD for bondo, hot glue, paint, fiberglass, LEDs and misc. electrical supplies. The cardboard was from old boxes.

graphixcrafter (author)2013-07-08

Amazing Halo armor! Great work! May I ask you how much it cost to make the whole suit? I'm planning to make my own Halo 4 suit for Halloween.

lordcooler (author)2013-02-15

i made a helmet using this design and it looked good

Pjnave123 (author)2013-01-18

I'm 09 years old how much do you want for one of those master cheif suits in black.

csbrocket3 (author)2012-10-29

Nice instrutable!! :) Where do u get the fiber glass?

kschuster (author)2012-10-09

If you take commissions at all, id love if you made me a helmet. Give me a price :)

nerdcentral (author)2012-10-06

Nice! all i want is the helmet so its a great instructable for that. this is pretty much the best cardboard armour instructable iv found cause all i have is cardboard thx a ton

joshua.g.wood (author)2012-10-03

me too plz

joshua.g.wood (author)2012-10-01

ill post the helmant when it is done

MannyMTZ (author)2012-09-13

If i gave you the material would you make it for me? and if you can how much money do you want?

sparten 117 (author)2012-09-04

hay i made the helment and just wont to no how do you make the chest pice

black hole (author)2012-06-16

It'd be cool to try to make N.O.V.A. 2 armor with this method. I would if I wasn't dirt poor.

koolkat6657 (author)2012-06-06

hi I’m in the process of making my own costume but having some trouble with codpiece, legs and arms. as fiberglass is relatively expensive I'm using paper mache to cover it. I've currently finished the helmet, chestplate and lower left arm piece. i'd also like to know how to make the halo scout helmet, chest plate, shotgun and should shields.

rickgyver (author)koolkat66572012-06-07

For the cod piece I just used a strip of cardboard to wrap around my son's waist. Then I added another one that went from the front, down through his crotch, and up the back. That gave me the basic sizing. The then added details. He wore a military style web belt and the cod piece had two velcro loops fastened to it, one on either side, that we tucked under the web belt and back up to attach to the other end to hold it in place. The web belt also had two loops of 1" wide web strapping that had plastic pinch-slide clips. They dangled down under the cod piece sides to hold the leg armor up.

The Chest plate was also pretty simple. I made a flat cardboard piece that was the correct shape and size, then added detail by cutting and folding cardboard to give it the 3-d shape. The shoulder shields were done the same way.

The scout helmet was built about the same way I made master chief's helmet. The gold face shield was a piece of a plastic laundry detergent bottle that I spray painted gold. There was a slit that I cut near the top so my son could see out of. You can kind of see in the pictures.

The shotgun was fashioned from a plastic toy m-16. I hacked it apart and used a length of 1" electrical conduit for the barrel. It was all hot-glued together and then I layered cardboard details on top.

Sorry I don't have any pictures of the scout or shotgun build.

Good luck.

koolkat6657 (author)rickgyver2012-06-08

THANKS for the tips!

koolkat6657 (author)2012-06-06

both of these costumes are so cool. FULLY AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!

AustinL97 (author)2012-04-16

This is sooo sooo awesome.

billyjoeface (author)2012-04-01

You do know Halo will never be forgotten right?

CostumeLord (author)2012-03-21

That is sick costume!

dm.199 (author)CostumeLord2012-03-27

u r so right

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