So you want to build a Star Wars helmet for your costume ? Here is my very first helmet build, which was very simple to complete. I built this helmet for around $55.00. It is the Imperial Biker Scout helmet from the new cartoon series, Star Wars Rebels.
Things you will need:
Two five gallon plastic buckets. $5.00 each at hardware stores.
One round topped bike helmet. Don't get the kind that is pointy at the front and back. It must be round !
Hot glue and hot glue gun.
One pair of large dark tinted sun glasses.
A Dremel tool. With circle shaped attachment, so you can use it to cut your plastic.
One can of Fiberglass Resin Jelly. Found at Walmart, hardware stores or auto parts stores.
One can of white spray paint.
One can of clear spray paint to coat the finished helmet.
One small heat gun. For bending the face plate plastic.
Two pop bottle tops. For face plate.
80 grit and 60 and 120 grit sand paper.
1 Sanding block. Sold at Walmart and hardware stores.
One roll of AmeriSeal Multipurpose Weather Strip, for car windows and doors. Found at automotive stores.
One roll of black automotive pin stripe stickers.
Step 2: Cutting Your Buckets to Get Plastic.
First you want to take your Dremel tool and use the pictured blade above to cut the top and bottom of your 5 gallon buckets off. " IMPORTANT " You must wear a face mask to cover your mouth and safety goggles to keep the plastic dust out of your eyes and lungs !!!! You will regret it very much if you ignore this important safety tip !!! You don't want this stuff in your eyes !!!
Next wrap the rounded plastic sheet from your bucket around the sides of your helmet. Take a Sharpie marker and draw a mark on each side of the helmet, where the plastic meets the face area of the helmet. Be sure to leave a little extra plastic so that you can make mistakes when trimming down the sides of your helmet
Take your marker and a yard stick and draw angled lines down the side of your cut out plastic sheet. These lines will determine what the side of your helmet looks like. Try to make them the same size and angle. As you can see in the picture above, you're going to use your Dremel to cut these marked areas off... To make nice cuts, simply turn the Dremel onto the highest settings and place the blade on the line you drew with your Sharpie. Simply follow the line and let the Dremel melt the plastic away. You will not have to add much force. Once the blade cuts through the plastic, pull it slowly along the line to finish your cuts.
Step 3: Shaping Your Helmet.
So, now that you have cut apart both your 5 gallon plastic buckets, and determined the size of the helmet's Cowling. ( AKA..The piece of plastic your measured and cut to find around the sides of your helmet ) It's time to start shaping your helmet.
First take your Cowling piece of plastic and wrap it around the helmet so it looks like the picture above. Don't worry about the edges bulging out a bit. You can use your heat gun to melt them closer to the helmet, once the Cowling is in place. You should be able to force the Cowling to bend around the helmet top with ease. This plastic is very bendable. Remember to wear thick leather work gloves when heating your plastic. You have to hold it in place until it cools for it to hold its shape. You will be Bondoing over the top of the helmet anyways.
Next, take your second sheet of plastic and stick it inside the front of your helmet as pictured in the second photo above. Use your Sharpie to mark where you want to cut the sides of the plastic sheet off. This is so that the sheet doesn't go all the way around on in the inside of the helmet. Just 3/4 of the way. You want to be able to get the helmet on, and it is also part of the way your helmet should look from the sides.
Once your face plate is marked, take it out of the helmet and trim off the sides with your Dremel... Next, hot glue your face plate to the front of the bike helmet and around the edges so that it sits inside of the Cowling plastic you already glued on. Remember, the Face Plate plastic sheet will technically be glued to the outside of the bike helmet. This is what holds it in place and makes the Cowling plastic sheet stick out to the sides.
Step 4: Trimming Your Helmet Into Shape.
Once you have both pieces of your plastic hot glued into shape, you're well on your way ! As you can see in the picture above, you need to cut down the sides of your Cowling plastic sheet so that you can wear the helmet without the edges hitting your neck and shoulders. This should be done " BEFORE " you glue in your Face Plate plastic sheet. The reason is so that you can have an easier time of cutting down your Face Plate to the right size and shape, once it's glued in place.
The best thing you can do is get pictures of this helmet off of the internet. Yahoo Search Star Wars Rebels Cartoon. Next switch over to " IMAGES " Scroll through and save pics of the characters with this particular helmet. Simply looking at these pictures should help you greatly in properly shaping your helmet.
You will find that your Dremel is a very useful tool. You should buy at least 3 of the tool blades pictured in the previous step. You will break them !!! You can also use the flat top of your blade as a sander. This works really well for trimming down edges a little bit at a time and smoothing them out.
After your Face Plate and Cowling are cut down to size, its time to shape the nose and chin. Take out your scrapbooking heat gun and put on your leather gloves. Turn the helmet upside down and heat up the nose area on the " INSIDE " of your helmet. the plastic will discolor a bit when its ready to be bent into shape. This is why you do it on the inside of the helmet.
Take your index finger and stick it inside of your helmet in the heated area. Gently push outward with the length of your finger so as to make a ridge down the center of your Face Plate. Do this down the entire length of your Face Plate from the top to the point of the chin. When you turn your helmet sideways, it should look like the picture above.
Step 5: Cutting the Mouth and Eye Holes.
Cutting your mouth and eye holes is very simple. Get some card board and draw out the shape of your eyes and mouth with your black Sharpie. Make sure these shapes are a bit larger than what you want so you can trim them down to the proper size.
Once your eye and mouth patterns are the right shape, cut them out of the cardboard with a scissors. Use some tape and place them in the appropriate areas on your helmet. Look closely at the pictures you down loaded and trim your pieces up to make them match. Once your satisfied with the shapes and sizes of your cut outs, tape them into place. Next use your sharpie to trace these shapes onto your helmets Face Plate.
Next, remove your cardboard cutouts from the helmet. Take a final looks at your Face Plate to make sure every thing lines up before you cut the insides of these lines out with your Dremel. Remember, all cuts are final !!
Take your time in cutting out your eye and mouth holes ! You can always use your 80 grit sandpaper to round the corners and straighten the lines. It really doesn't take much work with this plastic. For the lines on the chin, simply use your Sharpie to draw them in, then short cuts with your Dremel tool... I just let the blade melt down the plastic until it popped through the plastic and dragged it forward a bit. It's easy...
Step 6: Fiberglassing Your Helmet.
The next step is to Fiberglass the top of your helmet. First plug the helmet holes with plastic from a pop bottle. You only need to cut it to the size of the hole, and then hot glue it into place. After that, using a can of Fiberglass Jelly put a layer over the top and sides of your helmet. Be sure to apply the Jelly over the cracks and seems where the Cowling plastic is attached to the helmet. Don't be afraid to really glop it on over the cracks and holes.
This process should be done outside in temps around at least 50 F. Let me warn you, this stuff really stinks ! The fumes from Fiberglass Jelly are very strong, so be sure to wear a mask over your mouth so you don't inhale the fumes. You can find a good mask for around $15.00 at Walmart in the paint section. I just used the same one from cutting plastic. Let the Fiberglass harden and then add more layers until the top of your helmet is round and the edges of the Cowling are completely covered up. Be sure to Fiberglass a bit below the Cowling Edge because you need to sand this stuff down and you don't want any plastic edges showing...
Step 7: Sanding Your Helmet
As seen in the picture above, you must sand your helmet Fiberglass areas smooth. I recommend starting with your 60 grit sand paper. Get a sandpaper block at the hardware store or Walmart to hold you paper in place for you. Believe me, it will save you a lot of finger cramping ! Use this method to get your helmet smooth.
After your Fiberglassed areas are smoothed out, take the 80 grit sandpaper and start sanding your helmet without the sandpaper block. The reason for this is so that you can round the corners and top of the helmet. It's going to take you about three hours of hand sanding to totally smooth out the helmet top. A bit of a pain, but well worth the end results. Please be sure to wear your face mask to prevent yourself from breathing in the Fiberglass dust. There will be a lot of dust, and I'm pretty sure you can really screw up your lungs by not wearing a protective breathing mask ! Nobody wants to get lung cancer from making Star Wars helmets....
Step 8: Making Sure It Fits !
Next step is to make sure your helmet fits on your head ! If the Face Plate is a bit too snug, simply use your heat gun and push the nose and eye area out a bit. Be sure to wear your leather gloves, and only heat up the inside of the helmet Face Plate. Use the length of your pointer finger to shape the plastic.
Step 9: Getting Ready to Paint.
Once your helmet is sanded down to smoothness, you will have to spray clear coat or primer on it. You can get clear primer at most hardware stores and Walmart. It only runs about $7.00 a can. You only need one can of clear coat and one can of white gloss spray paint for this helmet.
When you clear coat your helmet, the Fiberglassed area will turn brown. This is normal. Be sure to put on several coats and let each coat dry before adding the next one.
Step 10: Painting Your Helmet.
The next step is to paint both your helmet, and the pop bottle tops for your mouth piece at the same time. Be patient and do light layers of spray paint from a distance. Too much paint all at once will leave runs in your paint job !
After your helmet has about five coats of white paint on it, it's time to clear coat it ! The clear coat should be sprayed on several times to protect your helmet's paint job. Once the clear coat is on and dry, then you can simply hot glue the two pop bottle tops into place. Be sure to press hard when you do this, as these tend to drop off if not secured properly onto the Face Plate.
Step 11: Final Steps.
Next find the largest pair of sunglasses you can get your hands on. I choose the kind pictured above because they had a bit more length on the sides than the rounded lenses. I took the sunglasses apart and put hot glue inside the helmet around the edges of the eye holes. Next I put the lenses shiny side outward inside the helmet and glued them into place. Be sure to look at your eye holes from the outside of your helmet to make sure your lenses cover the entire eye hole up. Remember to check your lenses with the eye holes. As you begin to cut out the eye holes from the Face Plate, be sure you leave enough room inside the eye holes for your lenses to glue against.
Final step; Go to Yahoo.com and do an images search for Star Wars Imperial Logo. Right click and save the images you want onto your computer. You should also have some sort of a photo editing program on your pc so that you can change the size of your images. It's nice of you can change the color of your Imperial Logo as well. There is a free program called Gimp 2 online. Simply search Gimp 2 download in Yahoo.com You will need to watch some " How to use Gimp 2 " videos on Youtube. But it is a fairly easy program to use, once you get the hang of it.
After resizing my Imperial logos in Gimp 2, I simply printed them, and cut them out. I placed these logos on the helmet using a glue stick. Use only light amounts of glue, as it may change the color of your Imperial logos with thinner paper. Photo paper is best... Once your helmet decals are applied, use some clear contact paper to seal them into place. Just cut the clear contact paper down so it barely covers your decals, and then apply it...
Congrats !!! Your Star Wars Rebels Imperial Biker helmet is done !!!!