Introduction: Galaxy Sloth Custom Helmet

Picture of Galaxy Sloth Custom Helmet

Two days ago, I made the Galaxy Sloth Skateboard. I rode it around a bit, wiped out a few times, and showed off to my friends - not necessarily in that order. I was having a great time and feeling like a total boss, until one of my friends said something like "if only your safety gear was as dope as your skateboard".

I realized immediately that what my life was missing was a matching Galaxy Sloth Helmet, and that it wouldn't take too long to make. Unlike my last Instructable, the techniques I use in this tutorial assume that you haven't got a fancy pants laser cutter, meaning that you can apply these simple steps to get a neat aesthetic at a fraction of the cost!

Step 1: Bill of Materials

Picture of Bill of Materials

Materials

  • Helmet
  • Spray paint
    • pink
    • purple
    • blue
    • white
  • Clear Coat
  • Vinyl (OR pinstripe tape)
  • Masking Tape

Tools

  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Sharpie
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Utility Knife

Safety

  • Respirator

Step 2: Remove Foam Lining From Helmet.

Picture of Remove Foam Lining From Helmet.

Spray paint melts foam. Do yourself a favor and completely remove the meltable element from your project before you start working on it.

I did this by alternating between poking the foam out from the holes at the top of the helmet, and pulling it out from the bottom of the helmet.

Step 3: Cut Strips of Vinyl.

Using my ruler and my utility knife, I cut many, many strips of vinyl, roughly 1/8" to 1/4" wide. I kept them on the backing paper until I needed them.

Step 4: Apply Vinyl Strips to Half of the Helmet, Making Random Triangles.

Picture of Apply Vinyl Strips to Half of the Helmet, Making Random Triangles.

I started with one long strip of vinyl on the centerline of the helmet, from back to front. From there, I made many triangles - or implied triangles - of varying sizes. I stuck to triangles only, so that it would fit with the overall aesthetic of my skateboard deck. When sizing the individual strips of vinyl, I used the utility knife to cut them flush, so that I wouldn't have any weird shapes show up in the final spray.

Step 5: Make a Sloth Face Out of Masking Tape, and Transfer That to the Blank Side of the Helmet.

Picture of Make a Sloth Face Out of Masking Tape, and Transfer That to the Blank Side of the Helmet.

Looking at a reference, I drew a quick, similarly sized sloth face on 4" wide masking tape. I used my handy utility knife to cut out the eyes and the nose.

Carefully, I placed the 3 masks onto the blank side of the helmet.

Then, I used the edges of more tape to create the diamond shaped head of the sloth.

Step 6: Protect the Rest of the Blank Side of the Helmet With Masking Tape.

Picture of Protect the Rest of the Blank Side of the Helmet With Masking Tape.

Mask up the rest of the helmet with a lot of tape. I used clean edges of tape directly over my vinyl borders. I also tried to overlap the tape wherever possible.

You're basically trying to make sure that there is no way that paint can get through your barrier and onto your helmet.

Step 7: Protect Your Latches/fasteners.

Picture of Protect Your Latches/fasteners.

Don't forget to mask off your belts and clips! I accomplished this by just wrapping a layer of tape around the straps, and then taping them to the inside of the helmet.

Step 8: Before Painting, Double Check Your Tape.

Picture of Before Painting, Double Check Your Tape.

Before you start painting, do a once over of all of your masks. Make sure that the edges of your tape and the vinyl are pressed firmly into the helmet. If there's any gap at all - regardless of size - you'll get overspray underneath your neat geometric lines.

Step 9: Spray Your Base Coat.

Picture of Spray Your Base Coat.

Just like for the skateboard, I started with the purple. I build up 2-3 light layers of purple over the helmet.

Step 10: Get Weird With Your Other Colors.

Picture of Get Weird With Your Other Colors.

Taking my blue and my pink, I splashed color over the outside of the helmet, trying to randomize everything.

Step 11: Add Stars.

Picture of Add Stars.

From a distance away, I sprayed white paint as shown, so that big globs of it would land on the helmet.

Step 12: Wait Until Dry.

Picture of Wait Until Dry.

To check this, make sure you touch part of your mask - and not part of your final finish. When your finger comes off clean, it's safe to start removing tape.

Step 13: Carefully Peel Off All of Your Masking.

Picture of Carefully Peel Off All of Your Masking.

My advice? Really take the time to enjoy this process. It's like unwrapping a present.

One word of caution: because this didn't use a laser cutter, there was some chance that peeling the vinyl could pull off some paint as well. Please be cautious while removing all of your masks.

Step 14: Clear Coat!

Picture of Clear Coat!

Spray on a few layers of your clear coat to protect the paint job you just put on your helmet!

Step 15: Glue the Liner Back Inside the Shell.

Picture of Glue the Liner Back Inside the Shell.

Double check the proper orientation of the inner lining to the outer shell. Once you've confirmed the orientation, put a glob of hot glue on the front, back, left, and right sides of the foam lining.

Gently slide the shell over the foam liner until it reaches it's original position. Hold the shell to the foam until the hot glue cools.

Tug on the straps and make sure that they are not caught between the shell and the liner.

And that's it! Now go ride in style!

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Bio: I'm an engineer, designer, and maker studying at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
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