Introduction: Deluxe Knight's Helm

About: I'm an out-sourced engineer, former professional brewer, retired photographer, and above all a life long tinkerer who loves to make stuff. My latest gig was being the Resident Maker at the Perot Museum of Natu…

Why should the kids have all the fun? Here's a knight's helm worthy of patient parents and adventure seeking souls alike. It's based on the medieval Great Helm or Crusader Helm. These were basically buckets with an eye slit. Very tough, but basic in design enough that I thought would be perfect for recreation in cardboard. I designed this helm to be customized in several variations. You can add different ventilation holes or slits (I've included two samples), add horns and/or make an open face or T-slot design (shovel not included..).

So pick your favorite style and let's get building!


For this build you will need to find some larger pieces of cardboard. You will need an 18"x32" piece to cut out the body. The top can be made from an 8.5"x11 piece. If you don't pieces that size, you can buy large packing boxes at home improvement stores or office supply stores. Here's the list of supplies:

  • Cardboard 1 - 18"x32" piece, 1 - 8.5"x11" piece (2 more if you're adding horns)
  • Craft or Utility Knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pen or Marker
  • Scotch tape
  • Computer Printer or way to print patterns
  • Hot glue gun and glue

Step 1: Select Your Style and Prep the Pattern

Once you have decided which style you would like to make you need to print the pattern. There are two closed face designs and one open faced design. (See pictures for samples of each.) I've included the horn pattern separately. It's not traditional to add horns to Great Helms, but it sure looks cool!

Once you've chosen your style, print the files and cut them out. There are two parts to the Top Body and Bottom Body. Join them together with clear tape by positioning the alignment marks together.

Step 2: Trace the Pattern Onto Your Cardboard

The body of the helm has a top and bottom section. I've included just half of each. You will trace one half, flip the pattern over, align it and trace the other half for the top and bottom sections.

If possible, try and lay out the pattern with the ribs of the cardboard running top to bottom on the pieces. Doing this will greatly assist in the next step as you form the cardboard into the helm.

Step 3: Cut Out and Prep the Helm Parts

Carefully cut the parts out with a sharp craft or utility knife. Use a cutting mat or other protective surface.

Once you have the parts you will need to form creases and curve into them before beginning construction. For the Top, you want to form a hard crease on each of the tabs at the point they join the main top. Use a ruler or other fine edged tool to help form the crease. Push down hard along the crease line with the ruler, then bend the tab up. All the tabs should bend in toward the inside surface of the Top.

For the Body pieces, you want to form an easy curve by breaking the surface with the palm of your hand over a rounded edge of a table or counter. Be sure and turn the piece as you move along curving to keep the curve perpendicular to the curve of the part.

For the Bottom piece, first put a hard crease down the center line at the nose guard, then form the curve of the piece.

Step 4: Glue Up the Top of the Helm

Begin construction by gluing together the Top Body piece. Using a scrap of cardboard hot glue a gusset across the back edge of the piece. Bend the Top round to form a circle and join the ends together.

The Top Body may not have a perfect circular shape but as we combine the other pieces the shape will come together.

Place the Top Body upside down on the work surface with the front of the helm at the top. Slide the Top into the piece being sure to align the front of the Top with the front of the Top Body. See the Top pattern to distinguish which end is the front if needed.

Being sure to hold the body piece firmly against the work surface start gluing the tabs in place making sure to press the body against the Top as well. See pictures for examples. Work your way around slowly one tab at a time. If there is any slack or gaps, make sure they are located in the rear of the helmet.

Step 5: Attach the Bottom Half of the Body

You will use small scraps as gussets to attach the top and bottom parts of the helm. Prepare 10 to 15 of them. They should be about 1"x2" and put a hard crease down the middle of them with a ruler.

To start, lay the top of the helm on one side and align the eye slot of the top with the eye slot of the bottom piece. Carefully hot glue a gusset near the edge while holding the two pieces closely together to prevent gaps.

Slowly work your way around the helm adding gussets as needed to attach the halves. The top half will bend inwards as you join them which is why we pre-bent the gusset pieces.

When one side is done, begin the other the same way by aligning the eye slots. The nose guard should be on the outside of the helm as you start. When the second side is finished the two edges should align. If not, you can use your knife to trim. Add a long gusset along the seam holding it down until fully dried to get a good joint.

For constructing the Openface helm, the top half of the build will be identical. When you start joining the bottom half, align the eye slot as above, but just work your way all the way around until you get back the front on the other eye slot. Adjust and align as needed.

Step 6: You Did It!

Congratulations! You're finished. This is the basic Deluxe Helm design. If you would like to add horns, trace the horn mounting slots from the pattern (before beginning construction) and carefully cut them out. Also, print the horn pattern and cut that out. Then all you have to do is insert the horns and hot glue them in place.

This design is made a bit large. You will probably need to add some foam padding on the inside to shape to your individual head. I've also included the CAD files for both helm styles if you would like to modify them, resize them or cut them out on a laser cutter.

Now, prepare for battle! Your Deluxe Knight's Helm is complete.

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