First off, thanks for checking out my tutorial! I'm always open to suggestions and discussion about my process, so please feel free to comment below. Also feel free to comment if you have questions regarding the process, since it's likely my explanations won't make sense to everybody. I make a lot of references to different parts of the helm in the tutorial, so look for captions in the pictures to help understand what I'm referencing.

This tutorial will be one of several I plan to post on making foam armor. This will focus specifically on the helm, and the rest will come as I am able to complete those projects.

Let's begin with some basic information about the materials and processes we're going to use in this tutorial. The primary material I used was EVA foam (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate). This is a polyethylene and vinyl acetate copolymer that is commonly found as anti-fatigue floor padding in hardware stores, and also craft foam in craft stores. Great things about this material are that it is relatively easy to mold and shape, and it's pretty forgiving if you make mistakes. You can use an oven or a heat gun to efficiently mold the stuff into whatever shapes you want. Cutting it requires a very sharp blade, like a new hobby knife, box cutter or, better yet, a hot knife. It's easy to leave cutting marks on the edges of the foam, but those can be either incorporated into the design or even sanded off with a Dremel tool.

To make something like this, you need a simple mold that will give you all of the curvatures you need. Throughout the project, I used a large, thick cardboard tube that was close to the major diameter of my head. Either way, the cardboard tube served as a mold for just about all of the thick foam components I thermoformed, and I would highly recommend it for getting geometrically attractive results. This technique produced a rather circular helm, but the helm can be squished into more of an oval-shape later on if you want. In the following step, I will cover all of the materials you will need to build a helm similar to mine.

Step 1: Materials and Tools


- 1 4-pack of 2' x 2' EVA foam floor padding. By far the cheapest I've found is at Harbor Freight, about $15 per pack when not on sale. Should be around .5" thick, with a textured side and a non-textured side (we just need the non-textured side)

- 2 11 x 17 sheets of black 3mm craft foam. I found these as "Foamies" brand at Joann Fabrics

- Silver Leaf, Antique Gold and Spanish Copper Rub'n Buff. It's a metallic wax that give the metal look to the final part. (I used patina underneath the silver to brighten the final look, but that may not be necessary)

- Acrylic floor polish. I used Pledge Floor Care Tile and Vinyl Floor finish. This stuff helps to improve the look of the finish and helps protect it.

- Acrylic paint. I used Palmer acrylic, but I imagine any acrylic paint will do. You will need Black, and a mixture of red, orange and brown.

-Mod Podge gloss waterbase sealer and Delta Ceramcoat All-Purpose Sealer. I found both of these at Michael's, and only needed small 2 to 4-ounce bottles. Any water-based sealer should work, even Elmer's glue, but that will need to be thinned out with a little water to hide brush strokes.

- Several sheets of printer paper

- Pair of sheep horns (I found mine for around $10 on amazon, but unfortunately they didn't match very well)

- Some small pieces of leather or fake leather



- Hot glue gun and a lot of glue sticks

- Sharp knife (hobby knife, hot knife (basically soldering iron with hobby knife attachment), or box cutter)

- Oven or heat gun (oven recommended, nicer to have both)

- Thick, rigid cardboard tube, and hacksaw for cutting it

- Scotch tape

- Measuring tape, ruler

- Cutting board

- Permanent Marker and Pencil

- Paint brushes

- Mixing containers (just for water-based paints)

Nice to have:

- Rotary cutting tool (like a pizza cutter, but really really sharp and designed to cut fabric. This would have made my life much easier if I had it earlier during the project)

- Clear acrylic ruler

- Dremel

- "L" bracket (metal or rigid plastic) used to assist with drawing line around cardboard tube to cut off circular piece of even thickness

- Miter saw (negates the "L" bracket and hacksaw entirely, and cuts cardboard tube like nobody's business)

- Microfiber cloth
Can you send a link or photo of the heat gun? What about a hair dryer? I have a heat gun for heat embossing, will that work?
<p>So what is the shape of the quarter panel that you used for the dome? I've been trying to figure it out all day and I've use so many sheets of paper trying to get it right before using my craft foam/eva foam... :/</p>
Super helpful!! I've been making iron man parts out of random materials for sometime and getting frustrated with weird unexpected &quot;off-material/brand&quot; problems. This saved me from all that!
My project was a success because of your post and I wanted to let you know that. :) Keep posting, I would like to see what you can come up with. I recommend a wagon and horse prop or maybe a building prop so we can learn how to make scenes. The more reusable, the better. I spray painted mine and let the fumes wear off on a nice day then I sealed it. It was dry within the next 2 hours (roughly) and then I put a clear sealant on top of my metallic paint to make it resemble the looks of metal even more.
Awesome! I'm really happy to hear that. I dropped the ball on getting a lot of these projects done when I moved from college to a full-time job, but hopefully I'll be able to get some more instructables posted some time in the near future. Thanks for taking the time to let me know; it's encouraging to hear that my work has inspired others.
I wanted to say thank you for posting this-- I've made my own armor with it! &lt;3 <br>http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/571/dsc0750j.jpg/
Sweet job. I have made a pretty nice papier mache helm, but I think I am going to try an EVA foam one to see how those results go. I am hoping the foam will create a little smoother to work with initially.
Where did you get the horns? I was planning to make a sinister viking type helmet with similar horns but have no idea where to find them.
very nice!
Fantastic instructable!
i used to wear a helmet like that, but then i took an arrow to the knee!
Not the heel, Mr. Achiles?
.........KRII LUN AUS!
EVA foam is easily one of the best costume making materials!
Did anyone figure out where to get the card board peice he found in the trash?
It is a sonotube. You can get one at any home improvement place. It is used as a form for concrete poured-in-place pillars.
Dude, this is sweet. I am totally going to make one or two of these.<br><br><br>FUS RO DAH!
Is this airsoft proof
Just wanted to add my two cents when working with Mod Podge :3 <br> <br>I make gryphon costumes for kicks and the beaks are made in a similar way as your helm. I apply Mod Podge full strength over the papier mache beak forms and smooth it with my hands. Once your base coat is on thick enough to even out most of the bumps you can smooth it down even further by waiting until your most recent layer of podge is tacky and going over it with wet fingertips. In my experience I find glue takes too many coats and since Mod Podge is a sealer in itself don't prime my base forms with anything else first. <br> <br>I'll be trying this with EVA foam shortly; I've always wanted a warcraft Paladin's tier 2 armor despite never actually having played one :P Thanks for the ideas!
No problem! Thanks for the input, I'm always happy to learn new ways of doing things
Oh wow, this is great! I can't wait to see your body armor tutorial, I have a set that I want to make that I think your technique looks PERFECT for! I've little experience with prop armor, so I'm always excited when I see something promising. :)
Thank you! The body armor itself is still in the works, so the instructable is going to be a while, but so far I've used the same basic steps to make the armor with only a few additional techniques. So it may be easier to get started with some experience working with the foam in the helm project
I'll definitely give it a shot! I'd really like to do Lavitz's armor, from Legend of Dragoon; this stuff, if you're unfamiliar with it: http://media.photobucket.com/image/lavitz/waterworld119/LavitzModel.jpg<br><br> Does it look like a reasonable, simple set to start with? I don't want to start too complex and end up getting frustrated.
The scale looks reasonable and I think the armor itself doesn't look too intricate. It probably will be a good project to begin with, but if I were you I'd start with some smaller pieces of the set and work your way up. If you're like me, you'll waste a fair amount of foam before you get it to look right, but planning and designing patterns to cut out is probably the best thing you can do to reduce your consumption of foam and speed up the building process. Good luck! Hopefully I'll have enough time to finish my set of armor and can post another instructable in a reasonable amount of time. Until then, here are a couple of cool inspiring videos that might give you more ideas and techniques to work with:<br><br>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vb6CXGortrQ&amp;feature=results_main&amp;playnext=1&amp;list=PL412F405522C66539<br><br>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_S0zGnNVtxk
hardware stores sell thick cardboard tubes that are used for cement forms.
I haven't had luck finding them at hardware stores in my area, but that's good to know! Thanks for posting
this is really cool. great instructable.
You've shared some great techniques here. Thank you!

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm an aerospace design engineer with a degree in plastics engineering, and interested in doing cool stuff. I love building things and problem solving ... More »
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