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With Star Wars Episode VII coming up fast, my 8 year old son wanted to be Kylo Ren for Halloween. He usually identifies with characters from the darkside, not because he's evil, but because their costumes offer such interesting and rich aesthetics. With that said, reference photos for this character are limited and I had to piece together what was available online, or through toys. However, toys often vary in detail from toy to toy, so it's best not to treat them as 100% accurate. My main inspiration for the costume came from images sourced from the Star Wars Celebration exhibit.

Step 1: Building the Helmet

Kylo's helmet is detailed and also asymmetrical. The chrome pattern on his face is not identical having a slightly different pattern on either side.

I started by measuring my son's head. When making any helmet there are key measurements needed to create a custom fit. They are;

- Circumference - The distance around the widest part of the head.

- Diameter: The width of the head.

- Height

- Depth from to back, including and excluding nose

- Eyes - Width and height of each eye as well as distance between the eyes.

- Height of eyes to chin as well as eyes to top of head.

- Chin to base of neck

I started with a dome shape made out of 0.5" foam called plastazote. The dome is calculated by making half a sphere and is 8 wedges glued together.

I used contact cement to glue the dome together. Glue each side of the foam and allow to dry for at least a few minutes before sticking together. I like to glue each half separately then gluing the halves together.

When finished, you will have a half sphere. This may be fine for some helmets but Kylo Ren's helmet is more flat and squared off on top. I achieved this by cutting the dome in half, left and right hemispheres and adding a 1" strip of foam down the center tapering it at the front and back edge. Doing so widening and flattens the yop of the dome but doesn't change the width of the dome opening. I added another 1" strip between the front and back halves to extend the dome shape. Doing so gave the helmet dome some more depth. • See Dome Diagram in the photo sections.


Next, I refined the dome by carving the form using an Olfa knife until I was pleased with the shape. Note, I tweaked the dome throughout the building process.

Using the same 0.5" foam, I created a basic eye socket that would be used to help glue the face to the helmet.

The rest of the helmet was constructed using 1/8" thick sintra (PVC Foamboard)

I created the flare that wraps around the helmet by first drawing a pattern on paper and then created a mock-up with 1/8" thick foam skin, refining and editing until I arrived at a shape I was happy with. I then traced the mocked up foam onto my PVC foamboard. Using a heat gun, I softened the PVC foamboard and shaped it to the back od the helmet dome. A 1/8" notch was cut into the dome so that when glued, the flare was flush with the dome. Again, I used contact cement.

The same process was used to create a basic shape of the helmet face. After I was satisfied, I cut the foam template out of sintra.

The 2 muzzle faceplates were first mocked up with a paper template that I created and then the 1/8" foam for scale, placement and positioning. I kept it like this until the majority of the helmet was complete. I realized that the 2 faceplates were a little short so I went back and revised them making them slightly longer. Again, once I was pleased, I cut the details seen on the 2 plates out with a scalpel blade before heating and shaping the plates with my heat gun.

Next I began drawing directly on the helmet, trying to get the chrome pattern sorted out. I then did a test fitting on my son before proceeding.

Chrome Pattern

This area was quite tricky and I found the best way to accomplish it was through trial and error. Using tracing paper, I copied the lines that I created directly off of my helmet. I then transferred them to the 1/8" foam and started mocking up the pattern. I used the same process for the face pattern, drawing on the surface and then refining it with tracing paper. To keep things simple, I created the forehead, and cheek patterns separately, glued them in place and filled the seams with bondo spot putty.

Clean-up, sealing, and priming

Once the raw build was complete, it was time to seal the foam for paint, fill any imperfections, sand, and prime.

To prep the foam portions of the helmet, I sealed the surface with white glue. I usually use flexbond but had none available. I brushed on 3 thin coats using a chip brush( Don't use a good brush, you'll only throw it away) letting the glue dry between coats. If you want the surface smooth, brush on the 3rd coat, and while its still wet, dip your fingers in a cup of clean water, and gently rub over the surface. This will help level the brush marks and remove small imperfections.

After that was complete, I filled seams, and any imperfection that I didn't want using Bondo spot putty. Sanded it with 220 - 800 sandpaper.

When I was finished with that, I primed the helmet using sandable primer. 2-3 coats. Gave it a wet sand, and primed again, filling in any further imperfections.

Hey there! You often in this referenced Adobe files you made and modfied. Would you be willing to pass on these files? Thanks!
Can you tell me how many yards the outer coat and hood/scarf took? My son is 7 and I found some material online I'd like to order
<p>Hi there, I'm trying to remember how many yards I bought. I want to say 4. That should be enough with a bit extra.</p>
Awesome, thank you so much!
Amazing work.
Thank you. I appreciate the feedback.
Love your work on this tutorial. I made this for my son for oz comic con..his first cosplay. Didnt tackle the helmet though. Thanks
here.. ?
<p>The costume turned out great! Well done.</p>
Thanks! Glad I could help. How did it turn out?
<p>If you remember what you used to create the costume can you give me a list of what I need to make it?</p>
<p>Just wondering how you measured your &quot;wedges&quot; for the helmet. I want to make one with a circumference of 25 inches, Front-Back 14&quot; and Side-Side 12&quot;. I figure 3.x inches for the base, but how do you get the curves up for the top?</p><p>Beautiful job BTW....</p>
<p>Do you have any recommendations for a more readily-available foam? I'm having trouble finding the plastazote.</p>
<p>Plastazote is difficult to find. EVA foam is fairly common. You can buy it at Walmart and is about the same thickness 0.5&quot;. It comes in a pack of 4 and is in the form of interlocking floor tiles. Smooth on one side and textured on the other. Its also inexpensive.</p>
<p>Thanks, I've seen some other costume tutorials using that foam, but I wasn't sure if it could be used to achieve the same results :)</p>
Roughly... What were the &quot;triangle&quot; measurements for the top of the helm? I know it's gonna vary... But a rough will get me started in the right direction... Thanks in advance.
<p>Amazing costume!</p><p>Question: How did you detach the sleeves from the turtleneck? </p>
<p>Thank you. There is a proper tool for it, however I simply used my x-acto knife. Pull the sleeve and body apart to try and reveal some of the stitching. Then start cutting the thread gently with your knife. Once you get a few threads cut, you can start pulling the pieces apart. Continue cutting, or ripping with your knife until the sleeve is off. </p>
<p>Thank you! I did it together with my sons and it made Star Wars Episode VII night unforgettable (younger one wearing the helmet) http://www.mindforger.com/interests/kyloren.html</p>
<p>Cool! You're welcome.</p>
<p>Just to help you out, there is a scene in the movie where Kylo is talking to Vader's helmet. If you notice, he is not wearing his outer-most robe, revealing that the inner tunic is completely pleated all the way from the shoulders to the inner skirt. Additionally, to make the sleeves more form fitting, the run a zipper along the under side of the sleeve. I hope this helps others!</p>
Can you tell me more specifically what that outer cloak fabric is made of? I've hunted and hunted for something suitable and what you found is perfect.
<p>Hi there. It's an upholstery fabric I stumbled upon. I couldn't find both the weave and the pattern together, so I went with this that had some sheen and a suitable pattern. Its from a store called Lens Mill, here in Toronto.</p>
<p>Amazing build!!!</p>
<p>Thank you.</p>
<p>Awesome build so far! You didn't have copies of the silver design of the helmet at all? I've tries to draw them but failing miserably. </p>
<p>Thank you. I don't have concrete designs for the chrome areas. I ended up drawing them on the mask and created a pattern from there. </p>
<p>Hello, excellent very good job right!</p><p>I have doubts about the Plastazote foam, you know me state the density of the part used, and its thickness and 5 cm, have problems in using the 2cm?</p><p>Thank you.</p>
<p>Thanks. I'm not sure what you're asking me about the plastazote? I used 0.5&quot; thick plastazote and 1/8&quot; thick sintra for the helmet. </p>
<p>seriously epic costume, nice work. was the lightsaber custom made to or did yuou buy it?</p>
<p>Thanks man! I intended to make at least a hilt for my boy as weapons aren't allowed at school, but I ran out of time. Its the disney store version, pretty good for the price. I plan on making at least the hilt for some upcoming conventions and maybe the blade as well.</p>
<p>nice, well deffo get some pics up when you do, might stear this for my nephiew and get it ready for when the film comes out, how long did it take? Ive build a few ironman suits and they took 3/4 months in my spare time</p>
<p>I started the build at the beginning of October. Worked on it when I could.</p>
<p>This is an awesome build. It looks really great. I don't think I've ever heard of plastazote before and now I'm curious. Is it easy to work with? I found this on amazon: </p><p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Plastazote-Foam-Material-Self-adhesive-Medium/dp/B002BUH2U8">http://www.amazon.com/Plastazote-Foam-Material-Self-adhesive-Medium/dp/B002BUH2U8</a></p><p>It says it's self-adhesive but is this the same kind of thing? It looks flexible, is it squishy like cushion foam or more stiff like floor mat foam?</p>
<p>Thank you. I checked the link, doesn't look like what I'm used to. I've never used any with an adhesive. It's not the type of foam that's readily available in retail. I'm fortunate to have access to it due to the nature of my job. I carve / build for a mascot company and we use it, and other foams regularly. Check any plastic / foam manufacturers in your region and ask if they have it. It's great to work with. Unlike EVA foam, its easily carved. It can be shaped with a heat gun, sanded with a dremel, belt sander, hand sanded, rasped. Very strong. Usually sold in 8' x 4' sheets.</p>
<p>Thanks, I'll have to look into that!</p>
<p>I am gonna make Samurai Costume to fight with you. :)</p><p>Good Job, BTW.</p>
<p>You won't be fighting me, but if you want to take on an 8 year old, you better come prepared ; )</p>
Excellent job. This looks fantastic and the write up is very helpful as well. It is fun to see other people's strategies for doing this stuff and gleen from what they have learned. Total parenting win.
<p>Thank you.</p>
Cool!
Cool!
Cool!
<p>This is a fantastic costume! </p><p>The foam you used for the helmet looks like an excellent material to work with. Where do you get it?</p>
<p>Thank you. I work for a mascot company and it's one of the materials we use. It is excellent, comes in 1&quot; as well. Great for carving and extremely strong. I don't know of any retail outlets that carry it. You would have to search for &quot;plastazote&quot; through any plastic or foam manufacturers in your area. I usually use black but wasn't able to get any when I started the costume. It comes in other colours as well.</p>
<p>Nice, thank you. I'll have to track some down. I've got a few mascot-ish type projects I've been wanting to tackle for years, but am still in the supply gathering phase.</p><p>. . . My wife calls it hoarding; I call it "gathering supplies" :)</p>
<p>Ha!, I hear ya. If you have any questions when you're ready to make some mascot stuff, send me a message. Another good foam for making mascots is ester foam. Not sure I'm spelling it right.</p>
<p>Sweet, thanks again!</p>
<p>The other material is sintra. I buy it from a plastic supplier. Comes in 4' x 8' sheets. Very easy to work with.</p>
This is excellent, I've been wanting to do a Kylo Ren helmet and it was very instructive.

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