Introduction: Cardboard Batman Cowl

About: Science Teacher. Maker. True-Believer.

Here's a fun project for Halloween or just to create your own crazy superhero creation. You can either download the files to laser cut or print, trace and cut your own cardboard or other ~1/4'' material.

Note: 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. 18" x24" (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 batman.
  • GLOVES! Laser cut edges are sharp! Use gloves especially if working the the laser cut kits and hot glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Hot glue
  • Wood Glue
  • Masking tape or packing tape.
  • Metal straightedge ruler
  • 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.

I've numbered the parts on the backs (see image here) and will refer to these numbers throughout this instructable. "L" and "R" stand for left and right, but remember to flip them over so the numbers don't show on your final model. (The image here shows L pieces on the right side and vice versa, because they're all flipped upside down and therefore reversed.)

Step 1: Start Gluing Your First Part

Start with the piece shown in the pic here, (kit users find part labeled #1) and glue the three prongs together along the edges. Wear gloves and work slowly gluing from the base to the ends. The curved shape will come together if you work carefully and match up the edges precisely.

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. Either way, 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 method is my preference, but it also works well to hold the edges together and glue along the back.

Step 2: Glue Part #2 and Attach to Part #1

Find the part labeled #2 (kit users) or match up with the one in the photo. Glue edges together and then glue the ends of #1 and #2 together. See pic. There is a slight gap in the middle prong in part #1 (seen in he third photo), as I modified the design for a special part to add to this cowl. Your parts should not have this rectangular opening, but instead fit together fairly 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.

Step 3: Attach the First Side Pieces #3L & #3R

Again, work slowly gluing the triangular end of part #3L into the forehead/ brow area and work towards the top of the crown. Repeat for part #3R.

Step 4: Attach Part #4R & 4L

Start by gluing part #4L to part #3L near the temple. I find that this is easiest as the edges that line up are fairly easy to identify. (See the first pic in this step.)

I usually also attach part #5L in this step, but for this build, I decided to finish parts #4L and #4R first. Skip ahead to the next step if you want to do both parts now. It may make shaping both parts a little easier.

Repeat for part #4R, glue the back prongs together on both #4L and #4R and attach both parts to part #2.

Fold and glue the ears into place along part #2.

Step 5: Attach "Ears" - Parts #5R & #5L

Finish up the ears by first folding part #5R and #5L as shown in the first pic.

Line up the longer end of the trapezoid to the top of the crown and glue. Close up the other two sides of the trapezoid, and then work your way up the ears, curving and shaping as you go. I like to glue along the back edges of parts #5R & #5L and mash the corrugation down as the glue cools to get a cleaner seam.

Step 6: Folding and Gluing the Brow - Part#1

The features of the face start to get a little tricky, but you've come this far, you can do it. The big difference is that now the pieces start to form 3d shapes, whereas most of our gluing up to this point has been in the same 2d plane (aside from the ears.

First, use your straight edge ruler to fold the brow as shown in the first pic in this step.

Bend the brow underthe forehead and glue it as shown in the second pic. I like to mash the corrigation down a bit for a more fine seam between the two pieces. Also, if this step gets really tricky, you could try cutting the brow away from the forehead and gluing, as in some kits these are two seperate pieces. I've joined them in my design to help with alignment, but it can make the fold a bit trickier.

Once you've glued thetop part of the brow, glue and seal the sides as shown in the third image.

Step 7: Fold and Attach the Right and Left Sides of the Nose- Parts 6R & 6L

We're almost there. This part is the biggest troublemaker, and sometimes I cut the entire thin prong off. (You can see an example of this on the intro step on this intractable. But give it a shot before you do that, and if it gives you too much trouble, get the scissors and show 'em who's boss.

Start by folding parts #6L and #6R as shown in the first two images. I photographed the folded part from two angles to help you see exactly how I fold them, so match up your piece accordingly.

Glue the longest end to the sides of the nose, as seen in the and third and fourth photos. As you can start to see the thin prongs give shape to the underside of the eye. This may be uncomfortable if you plan on wearing the mask, so cut 'em off if you don't like them.

If you like the added depth and detail, glue them to parts 3L and 3R as shown in the final step in this photo. Again here you're not gluing in the same plane, but rather at an angle so that part 6R and 6L go back into the eye sockets a bit.

Step 8: The Lower Cowl - Part #7

Part #7 is also a part that I've combined and modified several parts from other kits. I did this to make it easier to fit your head though the chin strap and improve overall durability. If you use wood glue on this part it will really help with the overall stability of your cowl, but you'll need masking tape or packing tape to hold it in place ad the glue dries.

As you see there are two cuts in the sides of the part that will help you fold. If this fold gets frustrating for you, feel free to cut along my cut lines and separate the pieces.

Fold part #7 as shown in the first two images. Again here, I've photographed the folded part from two different angles to help you see more detail. Match your part up to the photograph.

Start gluing at one side of the and match up the shapes like a puzzle piece. You'll have to bend and fold as you go around the cowl, forcing your will upon the part. Again a rolling pin or a bowl might be helpful here to press the cardboard against and give it some shape according to your head.

Move around the cowl and glue the opposite side just as you did the first side.

Step 9: Finish!

You're done!

Paint and finish as you like. I often use bondo or wood filler to cover the cowl and create a castable silicone cowl or create something wild like zombie batman or mutant batman. GO nuts!

If you purchased one of my Etsy kits, i'd love to get your feedback on the kit, part design and this instructable. I'm constantly revising, so let me know what you think.

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