Introduction: Cardboard Stormtrooper Helmet

About: Science Teacher. Maker. True-Believer.

Here's a fun project for Halloween or just to create your own crazy Star Wars inspired creation.

I have created downloadable template files to laser cut - or print, trace and cut your own cardboard or other ~1/4'' thick material.

SAFETY NOTE: Always wear safety glasses when working with cutting tools. Use gloves to avoid paper-cuts from laser cut cardboard (and hot glue). Sand the edges a bit for less risk of injury.

Materials needed:

  • PDF file linked above. Print size is 18" x 24" (use acrobat to print it to multiple sheets if you are using a smaller printer)
  • Two 18" x 24" cardboard sheets (if using the files linked above) OR cut the pieces from a cereal box or case of beer for a super silly stormtrooper.
  • Safety Glasses
  • GLOVES! Laser cut edges are sharp! Use gloves especially if working with laser-cut carboard.
  • Sandpaper
  • Hot glue
  • Wood Glue
  • Masking tape or packing tape
  • Metal straight edge ruler
  • 12" x 8" strip of tinted film for the visor (if desired- be careful wearing as visibility is limited)
  • Scissors or a xacto knife
  • If you want to do these projects with kids, or just don't want to work with a sharp blade, check out Make-do Safe Saw: and other similar tools.

Step 1: Glue the Prongs of the Helmet's Top Dome

Start by gluing the many prongs of the top dome of the helmet together along their edges. Wear gloves and work slowly gluing from the middle to the ends. The curved shape will come together if you work carefully and match up the edges precisely. [Image #1]

It may help to firmly press the parts down on an upside-down bowl to help work them into shape before gluing. I also use a rolling pin to flatten the corrugation inside the cardboard if that helps it fold easier.

Wood glue provides 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. Either way, apply the glue into the corrugated edges at the sides of the cardboard and either hold or tape the edges together as the glue dries/ cools. Gluing into the corrugated edges is method is my preference, but it also works well to hold the edges together and glue along the back/bottom/inside.

*Image note: In the photo, you can see an older version of this template with 4 dome parts that are assembled as quarters. In the downloadable PDF here, the entire dome is one piece. MUCH easier, but it won't fit on 8.5" x 11" sheets.

Step 2: Attach the Back of the Helmet

Again, glue the prongs of the back of the helmet from base to end. Then glue the back of the helmet to the dome, lining up the edges of the parts flush. [Image #1 - #3]

Look closely at the third picture here to get a sense of how to fold the rounded bottom of the helmet. It can be tricky to get this right, but once you start gluing and folding, base to end, you'll see that the shape of the part informs the folds and it comes together pretty clearly.

*I've also turned this into one piece larger than 8.5" x 11", but if it gives you trouble, try cutting your piece into halves.

Step 3: Attach the Eyes

Find the parts that make up the eyes and forehead/ side area and start curving and folding them into the shape you see in this picture. Glue them onto the front of the dome, ensuring that the edges are flush.

Parts can be made easier to work with by rolling them around rounded objects. I often use a bowl or rolling pin depending on the curve required.

Check out the next step for pics of alignment on the piece that wraps aroud the side. I like to give it a little overhang to simulate the depth of the horizontal black stripe around stormtrooper helmets.

Step 4: Left and Right 3814-7 Auto Seal Conduit

Image #4 shows that the parts we are building next are called, "3814-7 Auto Seal Conduits." Did you know that Stormtrooper helmets had 3814-7 Auto Seal Conduits? Neither did I. But, the internet. So now we know.

Take your time gluing the prongs of these parts from base to ends. They can be tricky, but let go, Luke. Trust the force and follow the shape of the part. Look at the pictures and use the bowl or rolling pin method to start forming these curves.

It's starting to look like something now!

Step 5: Assemble the Nose & Mouth Parts

This is the trickiest part, but after this, you're done. I don't know exactly what to call these parts, so I'm going with "nose" and "mouth."

As you can see in the first picture, I sometimes start by attaching the ends of the "3814-7 Auto Seal Conduits" from the last step to the "nose" part to help shape the "mouth" area. [Image #1] I overlap the "nose" part slightly and glue it on top of the "eyes" part to create depth and shape similar to the stormtrooper helmet has here. Once you have the "nose" in place, it shows you exactly how the "mouth" parts should be folded. [Image #5]

The concave bits where the "mic tips" (Bliar Induction Filters according to Wookieepedia & Image #6) go are strange and can be a bit difficult to spacially imagine as you work. Also note this template doesn't actually include these "Bliar Induction Filters" so you might want to make a small cylinder or conical shape from cardboard to put in here.

Work slowly around from base to ends where you can, and they'll come together. Attach the thin curvy part first and at an angle back into space to help you get the idea about how the nose is shaped. [Image #2 - #3]

The other thin v-shaped part attaches at almost a 90-degree angle to the "nose." So, like the overlapping nose-to-eyes above, I glue the mouth to the bottom of this part instead of edge-to-edge like most everything else.

Step 6: Attach Inset Parts, Visor & Finish

Time to close 'er up.

Find the parts shaped like a comma "," (front heat dispersion vents in Image #5) and glue them overlapping inside of the corresponding shaped opening to create depth. Do the same for the "heat dispersion vents" on the back of the helmet. If this is unclear, see Image #5 to identify these parts and their silly star wars names.

Cut and glue a strip of tinted film behind the eyes to create a visor, unless you are planning to finish or paint the helmet with other material. If you are planning on finishing further, leave the visor out until afterward.

* Be SUPER careful if you are planning on wearing this helmet, visibility is limited and a dark tinted film could make it dangerously difficult to see out of.

Step 7: Go Beyond...

Here's what you'll need for finishing further:

  • Tap Plastic's Magic sculpt
  • plastic measuring cups for mixing
  • craft sticks, also for mixing
  • cheap 1.5" - 2" brushes
  • sandpaper - 80, 100, 120, 180, 220 grit

I used to finish many of my helmets with many coats of fiberglass resin and Bondo. [Image #4] But now I use tap plastic Magic Sculpt. It is SO MUCH easier and does a better job of creating a smooth finish on top of your cardboard helmet to something that looks like Plastoid™. (Oh, I looked it up. Stormtrooper helmets are made of Plastoid™, developed by the Imperial Department of Military Research. So there you go).

Get your mix right if you are working with Bondo or other quick-setting epoxies (I've messed up a lot.) Watch a few videos on how to measure and mix whatever product you are using. Don't get careless here. I've ruined a lot of hard work by getting sloppy with the finishing.

Or just mix a little ball of magic sculpt. This stuff is WAAAAAAY better than Bondo, IMO. It allows for plenty of work time, is easy to sculpt, smooths with water, etc. Put some in each of the cracks and around the visor. (we'll attach visor after we've sanded and or smoothed. [Image #6]

After adding your Magic sculpt or epoxy, it's time for sanding. Take down all the rough edges. If you hit cardboard, stop, you went a little too far. NBD, resin, sand, resin, sand, with increasingly fine sandpaper as you go [Image #7 - #8). 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 trooping, so I didn't go as far into detail as I would for myself, but this should give you the info you need to see how it's done.

I'm constantly revising the template and instructions, so let me know what you think.

Halloween Costume Contest 2015

Participated in the
Halloween Costume Contest 2015

Epilog Contest VII

Participated in the
Epilog Contest VII