Introduction: Mandalorian / Boba Fett Cardboard Helmet
Here's a fun project for Halloween or just to create your own crazy Star Wars inspired creation. You can either download the files to laser cut or print, trace, and cut your own cardboard or other ~1/4'' thick material.
Note: This visor is super narrow and difficult to see through if you are planning on wearing it. It may look a bit more authentic, but it is more dangerous to wear. If you are planning to take this helmet trick-or-treating or to the con, consider cutting the visor a bit wider. I am in the process of creating a safer template with a wider cut for wearability, but in the meantime, consider cutting it wider and always bounty hunt with a buddy who can help you keep your dome safe.
Also- Always wear safety glasses for every project. Use gloves to avoid paper-cuts from laser cut cardboard (and hot glue). Sand the edges a bit for less risk of injury.
- PDF files linked below. The circumference of the template helmet is about 14 inches around, so use Inkscape or Illustrator to scale up by a factor of about 1.7x (or better- measure your own head and do math) before printing these templates.
- By popular request, I've created NEW 8.5" x 11" templates for desktop printers. Download the eleven "V4" files below.
- I have also included 18" x 24" files for laser cutters. (If your laser software use red-blue lines as cut/ etch, edit the template and switch all the red/ blue lines to black and all the black lines to your cut color.) Download the two "V3" files below
- OR Two 18" x 24" cardboard sheets for laser cutter files
- ALSO - cut the pieces from a cereal box or case of beer to create a wacky bounty hunter.
- Bondo, Rondo, or Tap Plastic's Magic Smooth
- Mod Podge or clear finish
- GLOVES! Laser-cut edges are sharp! Use gloves especially if working with laser cut templates and hot glue
Step 1: Fold and Glue the Helmet's Top Dome
Print out the templates on a desktop printer or CNC cutter. Check out the printing tips page to plan for your tool or printing strategy.
Let's start with a few tips for gluing as you start on the helmet's main dome. Curl each of the prongs of the done around a rolling pin to loosen them up and begin to help them get into shape. I rolled all of the prongs along their length, and then rolled the part perpendicular to its longest edge. The first two images here show the result from the top and them bottom of this part.
Next glue each prongs to the adjacent prong. When gluing, apply the glue into the corrugated edges and either hold or tape the edges together as the glue dries/ cools. Gluing into the corrugated edges is my preference, but it also works well to hold the edges together and glue along the back. In this case, I did both.
Personally, I think wood glue gives the cleanest and most sturdy finish, but hot glue is faster. Hot glue can also be more forgiving as you can re-heat and re-glue if you're unsatisfied with your seam.
Step 2: Roll the Face/sides of the Helmet and Glue the Visor Into Place
Use your rolling pin perpendicular to the longest edge, roll the facemask part into shape. Take a little extra time to roll the curves on the front, as they're not going to fall into shape as easily as the back. When you're finished, glue the small tab in the back to create a complete circle. (You can see in the photo that I covered this area with masking tape as well, and I can cover it with Bondo or Tap Plastic's Magic Smooth later, or just remove it once the rest of the helmet parts are holding this into place.
I'm going to attach the cardboard visor with tape here, but you may want to stop and take a minute to create a plastic visor. I'll have to remove the tape and this cardboard part later, but this will help me to get the helmet in shape, add on the rest of the parts, and create a sturdy helmet so I can go back and shape a visor later.
The dotted lines on this template file piece are alignment lines showing you how much to overlap. The dotted line across the top of the visor should be lined up with the bottom edge of the circlet piece that we assembled at the beginning of this step. This is super helpful for me when constructing a solid helmet for finishing. I won't add Bondo to the visor piece itself so that I can cut it out with an Exacto knife after the Bondo or Magic Smooth (Or whatever I'm finishing with) has cured and I have a solid helmet.
Step 3: Fold and Glue the Insets in the Face Mask
Use your metal straight edge ruler to connect the endpoints of the blue lines (See the template files for blue lines if you did not ink print them out) Use the edge of your metal ruler or straightedge to connect these points and fold.
The dotted lines on this template file piece are alignment lines showing you how much to overlap. When folding, you may need to mash the ruler edge down a little to crush the corrugation. Then fold the edges along the ruler.
When you make these folds, the edges should start to align when they meet at the angle created by the fold. Try to trust the edges when working with a pepakura based template like this, they are usually fairly perceives, but often a little frustrating to fold.
Glue the part along the edges to create the concave shape.
For corrugated cardboard, I overlap the edges a bit here to make it easier to create the depth of this shape using the thickness of the cardboard. Try it with painter's tape a few times to get it all in place and making sense to you before gluing.
Step 4: Create the Concave and Convex Rectangular Prisms
I am a teacher after all, so let's dig out a bit of geometric vocab and put these terms to good use.
There are three parts in this template that look like a distorted iron cross before they're folded. Two of these shapes will form a rectangular prism and the third will form trapezoidal prism. Use the metal straightege ruler technique from the last step to fold the edges inward and glue the corners.
The trapazoidal prism forms the concave inset at the back of the helmet, so let's glue that in place right now. The other two will form convex features on the left and right side of the helmet.
Step 5: Attach the Dome and Insets to the Facemask
Slide the dome up through the inside of the hemet (watch out for the inset you just attached in the back). Allow the dome to sit just slightly inside the facemask to create a little overlapped ridge around the helmet. Glue in place working at the front, then back, then left, then right before adding glue or tape all the way around. This will ensure that the dome stays centered.
Add the insets by gluing the long straight edges first and then close up the curved seam.
Step 6: Attach Convex Features to the Sides
Glue around the edges and press this rectangular prism onto the side of the helmet. Line up the middle of the part with the middle ridge in the dome.
Step 7: Fold and Glue Range Finder (antenna) Parts
Use the metal straightedge technique to fold the base of the range finder as shown in the first image in this step. Then glue the shape together as shown in the second image. Both photos are taken from the inside to make it a bit easier to see exactly where I put my metal ruler and creased the cardboard.
To fold the end of the range finder, use the PDF template attached to this instructable to draw your fold lines (image 4) and fold them with your metal ruler (image 5). Because this is a smaller stand-alone part, I prefer to create this part from poster-board or mat-board as it folds and finishes better than corrugated cardboard (image 3). Glue along the inside to avoid sloppy seams, and use images 6 and 7 as your guide.
I attached a chopstick for the range finder (image 3), but I'm sure you could roll some cardboard around a pencil or use a paper straw or something for a pure cardboard finish.
Step 8: Finishing
To attach the range finder, line up the base of the antenna with the top of the rectangular prism on the left side (left if you are facing the helmet, right side if you are wearing the helmet.) See Image 1 and 2 in this step.
Slide your chopstick and range finder end in, and you're done!
Check out JF Custom's post on the RPF to check out the original versions of their foam template that I used to create these templates. He also has a number of great tips for building and more cool mado stuff.
For a sturdy finish, heres what I use for finishing:
- Tap Plastic's Magic Smooth is my number one go to for creating a study finish easily that looks amazing. Magic Sculpt is also a great sturdy finish and great to work with and easy to clean
- Plastic measuring cups for mixing
- Craft sticks, also for mixing
- cheap 1.5" - 2" brushes
- sandpaper - 80, 100, 120, 180, 220 grit
mix a little ball of magic smooth or sculpt. This stuff is WAAAAAAY better than Bondo, IMO. It allows for plenty of work time, easy to sculpt, and smooths with water! (And please dont let your hard work crumble apart by using plaster to finish) Put some magic smooth in each of the cracks and around the visor. (I left the cardboard visor part taped in as I sanded and finished. (Image 4)
Start sanding with 80 grit. Take down all the rough edges. If you hit cardboard, stop, you went a little too far. NBD, add a little magic smooth resin, sand, resin, sand, with thin layers and increasingly fine sandpaper as you go (Images 5 - 7). When you're happy with the finish, paint. I've sent this one off to a young padawan who isn't as concerned with the finish as he is with bounty hunting, so I didn't go as far into detail as I would for myself, nor did I spend much time on the facemask, but this should give you the info you need to see how I did it.
Go get 'em, but NO DISINTEGRATIONS!
Step 9: APPENDIX - Printing Tips
Download the template parts for your printer size. Print and cut out the template parts. Tape together the two largest parts and any other parts that need to be taped together and reassembled before tracing onto cardboard. The templates go to the edges, so make sure the printer crops the edges rather than scales the print down. It may be helpful to download and open the full size template (labeled v3 18 x 24) files to get a look at the fully connected template parts if you are unsure of how to reconnect any of the template parts.
if you are laser cutting or CNC cutting on Cricut or Silhouette machines:
download the full size 18” x 24” template (labeled v3 18 x 24). For Cricut and silhouette users, you may prefer the 8.5”x 11” templates for machines with 12”x12” cutting area. The cuts should be allowed to go to the edges (my goal was to make reattaching the largest part simpler) Also note that the dotted lines on the visor template file piece are alignment lines showing you how much to overlap. I thought this was handy, but you may want to take them out if your material is delicate or you want a faster cut.