Why make a disco ball helmet?  Because it's awesome.  Nuff said. 

I've seen disco ball helmets before, but they didn't satisfy the perfectionist in me.  No haphazardly glued plastic mirror pieces here, this is the real deal.  If you would like to make a proper disco ball helmet, read on. 

• Note: This disco ball helmet uses real glass, as it is intended as a costume piece (to be paired with a disco backpack, coming soon!).  If you want it to be functional, acrylic mirror would be safer and lighter weight (though not as shiny and reflective).

Step 1: Supplies

You will need:

Mirror tiles: I used mirror tiles that come backed with fabric.  This makes the whole process MUCH faster.  You can purchase it from Kit Kraft.  I had quite a bit left over, I probably used one half to two thirds of it.  They also sell mirror tile by the row, but it's still more cost effective to buy the sheet.

Contact cement: I just barely made it through with one bottle.  I would recommend getting two.

Helmet:  I spent a lot of time choosing what kind of helmet I wanted.  I settled on this vintage Bell motorcycle style because of it's spherical shape and clean lines.  Real bell helmets of this style are quite expensive, but you can find cheap knock offs on ebay.  Search for "vintage open face motorcycle helmet" to find a helmet similar to the one used here.

Glass cutter (not pictured): For cutting the tiles to shape along the edges of the helmet.  Easy to get at a hardware store.

Metal Saw (not pictured):  Most of the vintage style helmets have snaps for a visor which need to be removed.  There may be another way to remove them, but I happened to have a jeweler's saw handy which did the trick.

Step 2: Prep Mirrors and Helmet

Cut your mirror tile fabric into strips.  I alternated between a knife and scissors to do this. 

If your helmet has snaps for a visor, you will need to remove them.  I did this with a jeweler's saw, however you might be able to pry them off, or remove some other way if you don't have a jeweler's saw lying around.  Better yet, find a helmet without snaps.

Step 3: Start Gluing Tiles

Apply Glue: First, apply contact glue to a few of your mirror strips, then in a few inch band around the widest circumference of your helmet as shown hatched in red.  The mirror strips will take longer to dry because of the porous fabric.  Wait until both are dry to place your tiles.  Upon contact of the two surfaces, there is not much ability to reposition.  If you want to play with how your tiles will look, do so before applying glue.

Align Your First Row: They key to making your helmet look awesome is to make sure that your first row of mirror tiles are well placed.  I wanted the tiles to lay flat against the rim of the helmet in front, and used this as a guideline for the angle of the first row of tiles.  If I started with them against the front rim and continued this line straight back, it follows the largest circumference of the helmet and ends about an inch up from the back rim of the helmet. 

Glue Mirrors in Back: As the angle of the first row left an inch in back and I wanted things to be exact, I started by gluing two small rows of mirror in back to serve as a guideline for when I placed my first row. 

Place Your First Row: Now that you have the rim in front and mirrors in back as guides, carefully place the first row of tiles around the entire helmet, taking care both sides are symmetrical.  All the tiles will be based on this row, so this is the most important part!

Step 4: Continue Gluing Tiles

Continue gluing tiles in circular rows based on your central row of tiles. 

In order to make the rows fit neatly, my technique was to lay down half a row or so, and then carefully hover another row of tiles around the other side for length, cut to size, and place.  If when measuring the second strip there is a significant gap (you can't quite fit that extra square), stretch the tiles as much as possible when placing the second strip to distribute the space evenly.  This is one of the advantages of having tiles backed in fabric, as it was relatively easy to make the rows fit without any large gaps.

Step 5: Finishing the Top

As you continue working your way up, the strips of tiles will get harder and harder to fit.  At a certain point I needed to cut the tiles apart most of the way with an knife before placing them on the helmet. 

When I got to the very top, because it was not a perfect circle, I placed the tiles as shown. 

Step 6: Finishing the Bottom

Finishing the bottom is the most time consuming part.  If you are not a perfectionist, you can continue adding rows like on the top, fit as many squares as possible before reaching the rim, and call it a day.  However this leaves an imperfect edge, and I wanted a clean edge. 

In order to fill in the gaps, I marked the mirror with a sharpie, and used a glass cutter and large pliers to cut the squares to shape.  Ideally one should use a proper breaker as the pliers I had sometimes shattered the glass, but it was what I had on hand. 

Cutting such small squares is difficult.  Have patience.  You will get better at it by the end of the helmet!  And be sure to reuse pieces.  Often the discarded half of one piece was a perfect fit for another empty space on the helmet. 

Step 7: Finished!

To finish, clean off any surface glue with a razor blade and acetone.

Pair with some shiny clothing (like my awesome Betabrand hoodie), and you're ready to rock!
I agree with the other commentators that in hoping that you don't kill anyone. If I had put this much effort into an instructable and had provided more than one 'danger' warning and then had people who obviously didn't read the text criticizing me, I would be sorely tempted to grab the straps and swing the helmet around like a sparkly mace until I hit someone upside the head! <br> <br>This is actually a perfect instructable. The pictures are clear and illustrative. The text is well written. The project itself is unusual, but not so arcane as to be of interest to only 5 people. It is appropriate for both genders and most ages. It is within the ability and budget of most readers. Even bacon could not improve this!
Thanks PACW! Eating bacon while wearing a disco ball helmet is always encouraged :)
Hi all, just remember that this is a COSTUME piece. It would be dumb to use anything with glass on it for protection against concrete. And even an acrylic version would be distracting for drivers, albeit awesome. Party on people!
Thank you for the step by step directions! I got the suggested 2nd bottle of contact cement which worked out well and was able to use the remaining adhesive and glass to spruce up my outfit :) <br><br>I used an old motorcycle helmet that i had collecting dust. It comes with a flip visor which i left on too haha.
<p>Nice! Great pants too, I love the style with the gathered bottom, perfect for mirrors.</p>
<p>Thanks, although I was more hoping to have pants closely like yours, more fitting.. so it would look more structured. As of now, it loooks like MC hammer pants haha. I'm a guy btw. </p>
<p>I am needing to make 2 of these for our costumes. Will one sheet of mirrors do 2 Helmets?</p>
<p>I've had good luck with one sheet for two helmets, so long as you don't have too many mess-ups with cutting the strips. It's a little tight for two helmets, but it works.</p>
<p>I can't remember how much I used exactly, but I think one sheet is enough for two. If not, it's pretty close, and you could supplement with some cheaper loose tiles for the edges and top.</p>
I love this
<p>I've made a couple more of these for sale and learned a few things.<br><br>1. Getting the right color helmet matters somewhat. The first time I made my piece, I ordered the helmet too quickly before reading the tutorial, and didn't realize parts of the helmet are exposed near the top. So it's good to get a grey helmet. (I painted my first black one with a metallic paint.) It's GREAT to get one of those sparkle silver colors.<br>2. There are different kinds of contact cement, including a non-flammable one in pint-sized cans that are both affordable and not stinky.</p><p>3. And on the contact cement note -- in all of my helmets, they take a *little* more time to dry than the tutorial led me to believe. When you're three rows up, you can still move the first row around a little bit, and so on.</p><p>4. If you don't have a saw for those rivets, you're screwed. Maybe a power drill. I had neither and used a chisel. It took me an hour per rivet.</p><p>5. On the rivet note, you can saw off the head of the rivet, and then put a small coat of glue around the part that's still in the helmet. In this way, you can keep the chin straps attached to your helmet. On my first attempt, I had my friend remove the rivets, and he pulled out the shaft completely, taking the chin straps along with it.</p>
I love yours. Its so unique
<p>Made this for my birthday party, and everyone pretty much flipped out. People have been telling me nonstop they can't believe I made this and that I should be selling them. The tutorial was a breeze to follow and I'm so happy with the (mostly) finished product.</p>
<p>This turned out great! Thanks so much for sharing your photos :)</p>
<p>You are a disco genius! I'm going to attempt this and send these to friends as gifts. I'm also in love with that hoodie and see that the site still sells them and I need one. Without sounding like a creep..can you tell me what your measurements are and what size you ordered? I find that I'm always inbetween the sizes of sizing charts. Based on their chart - I could be a small or medium.</p>
KitKraft, mirror sheet, &frac12;&quot; tiles, 576 sq. inches, $63.95+shipping (for me, $0.00, I live next door), cost works out to: $0.11 per sq inch (which is not a bad deal for mirror glass tiles of this size, though you have to spend $64 to get it, usually plus shipping). eBay from a place called Blue River Mosaic in Florida somewhere, 1000 &frac12;&quot; tiles for $22 including shipping, works out to just under $.09 per sq. inch... Though you don't get the tiles in nice sheets. Difference is only 2 cents per sq. inch, but if you don't need the four sq. feet of tile being sold by KitKraft and don't mind having to do the assembly yourself, eBay may be a better deal for some. That's all. Have ordered mine and am going to be following this Instructable closely as I make it!
Yep, there are probably cheaper options out there. Thanks for the info. I found that the fabric backing was key for making neat rows, but you could totally do it tile by tile with a little more patience. Good luck - I'm sure it's going to turn out awesome!
<p>Hello! I'm interested in making this happen! How many sheets or mirror tile did you buy for your helmet?</p>
<p>1 is plenty.</p>
<p>Hey there! Love this. Any chance I could persuade (ok, beg) you to create one of these for me if I source the helmet (paid gig of course)? You can track me down on facebook under the name nathan ackley</p><p>thanks! </p>
<p>Natalina -</p><p>EXCELLENT work!<br><br>I have made several versions of a full body Disco Ball Halloween costume, and your work here, inspired me to make an ACTUAL full body Disco Ball this past Halloween. Check it:<br><br></p><p><a href="http://www.deeptrouble.com/2015/01/12/halloween-2014/" rel="nofollow">http://www.deeptrouble.com/2015/01/12/halloween-20...</a><br><br>THANKS! &amp; I give you props in the post.</p>
<p>Oh nice! Thanks for the shout out! I'd love it if you could post some of your photos here, it's always fun to see what an ible has inspired :)</p><p>Party on!</p>
<p>tada. Check the YouTube video too:<br><br>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5rA4kNrIjw&amp;list=UUIZTOYNMH0ATcEUlOlEcIoQ</p>
<p>Great instructable. I'm thinking I'll get a kid's plastic army helmet and make it into a disco ball hat to use as a prop for my one-man band. When I play a disco song, I can shine a flashlight at my head and spin around.</p>
<p>That would be epic!</p>
<p>i've got to go to a party later in the year with two people getting married that are bikers, i might wear this to the evening dance, great design.</p>
<p>hi there,</p><p>I've made a bit of a schoolboy error with my disco ball helmet and bought quite big mirrored tiles, it doesn't look too bad up to now but there's some gaps, is there anything you would advise to use - was considering some kind of grouting? </p><p>Thanks!</p>
<p>Depends on how much work you feel like doing. For a really perfect looking finish I would suggest cutting the tiles as I did to finish the edges, at least for the largest gaps. I'm not sure about grout, depending on the size of the gaps it could look more conspicuous to use grout than doing nothing, I actually wondered about doing that with mine but noticed that real disco balls don't fill in their gaps, so I left them (my helmet is silver underneath though, so it is not very noticeable). Sorry I can't give you a more precise answer, good luck!</p>
<p>LIKE, it must have taken a lot of delicate time.</p>
It looks like you centered each row on the front face of the helmet and made the rows alternate by a half-tile as you placed each new row on top. Is this so? Or was there some other factor which produced this apparent symmetry?
Yes you are correct. I aimed to stagger them evenly in the front. Because the helmet is spherical and not a cylinder the effect isn't maintained on the sides and back, but at least it gives a nice effect in the front.
I love bling bling!
Have also discovered that using the contact cement is actually critical: I tried using hot glue for a few pieces at first and man, what a mess: the pieces wouldn't lay down completely flat, and though they looked smooth enough at first glance, they were actually buckled slightly and were never going to give me that &quot;disco ball&quot; feeling of nice, uniform, curved sparkle. Plus the glue got on the front of some of the pieces and, well, let's say that contact cement will allow the glass to set right up against your surface with a strong, thin, flexible, durable bond&mdash; all of those are really important and I had no idea. Gha! What a disaster the final thing would have been had I been foolish enough to go on with the hot glue! Contact cement is the ONLY way to do this. I should listen better.
Yep, although I love hot glue, it doesn't last, especially on a smooth surface. I've made other disco things using hot glue, and even with the added bond of fabric to fabric, several of the pieces have fallen off. But the disco helmet is solid to the this day. Just make sure you use lots of ventilation, contact cement is nasty stuff in that respect. Props to the hardware store that helped me pick it out as my adhesive of choice for this project. <br /> <br />I'd love to see your helmet when you're finished!
Oh, you will. You will see it. I promise!
wow!! Disco ball now a helmet..
Awesome idea! I wonder how this would look for a <a href="http://www.shipmts.com/shipmts/Careers/tabid/82/language/en-CA/Default.aspx" rel="nofollow">truck driver costume. These jobs in Ontario</a> seem to require strange clothing so I think it'll work! Thanks again.
As a daily rider I think that this is a great idea. <br><br>Been riding since 1983 and logged over 90,000 miles. 30,000 miles in the last three years.<br><br>Almost every ride, I get either turned into (by someone turning left in front of me, or pulling out in front of me) or cut off by drivers who do not &quot;See me&quot;. Most do not even look. Some drivers are watching and seeing me.....some.<br><br>Only through defensive skills learned in training and weekly practice, do I make it safely to work and home again. <br><br>Too many times you read about a driver telling the Police &quot;I never saw them.&quot; when standing over the wreckage.<br><br>If this helps a driver see a motorcyclist then it is fine by me. <br><br>Yes, I know there are bad motorcyclists who do stupid things....I am not one of them. Please do not lump every motorcyclist in to this one group.<br><br>I ride to live.<br><br>Ride Safe!<br><br>
Been riding motorcycles since 1964. Seen almost every crazy thing on the road. Recently added 60 LED strip of lights to my brake lights. Lights up the sky! Also a totally chrome color helmet to better see me. My wife says I stand out much better. Maybe those texting , phoning, morons will take notice! Ride safe.
I don't mean this to be snarky, but why are motorcyclists so dramatic now? I spent my youth on motorcycles and we were never this dramatic.
Back in the day we didn't have as many people using phones to get distracted while driving. Take a day and watch other drivers...I guarantee you will see a few looking down in their lap. I used to be one of those people until I almost had a wreck because of it.
Lose a few friends to careless drivers.
One word: awesome!
I want my helmet to have the glass visor so I need the snaps. Will it be a problem if I keep them in place? What can I do?
You should be able to work around the snaps, just leave some space around them. I can't remember how far the snaps extruded however, so you might need to test it first to see if you can actually snap it down with the additional height added by the mirrors.
Thanks Natalina! And how big was that bottle of Weldwood Contact Cement? Was that the 1.8 oz bottle?
For 15 years I've attended Burning Man as &quot;Mirrorman&quot; which has been an evolving suit of mirrors, especially the sheeting from Kit Kraft. But I never had a good, effective head cover, but next iteration I will thanks to your posting on how to make a disco helmet. I have a pretty effective mask, which will work perfect with the helmet. Too late for 2012 - so in 2013... <br> <br>My mirror suit philosophy developed out of a desire to have portable art but be part of everyone else's art, and a myriad of lights and lasers at night and the really fun daytime effects with the sun. It really works nice and I have thus become a reflection of everyone and thing around me... <br> <br>My camp there is Earth Guardians but I've often dreamt of a clan throughout the City of mirror women and men. That would be something...

About This Instructable


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Bio: I'm a designer at Instructables. I have a degree in fashion design and like to sew, get crafty, and attempt to use power tools.
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