Introduction: Helmet Mohawks in 10 Minutes

About: Dan Goldwater is a co-founder of Instructables. Currently he operates MonkeyLectric where he develops revolutionary bike lighting products.

This article is sponsored by Momentum magazine and MonkeyLectric - creator of the Monkey Light bike light


Now I know what you're thinking - "If I wanted a great new style in 10 minutes, I'd just go to Supercuts!  Why try to Do It Yourself?"  That's about what my sweetie says every time I cut my own hair.  Actually what she says is: "I can't believe you tried to cut your own hair *again*.  It's a total mess and you better go pay them to fix it before my friends see you."  So the compromise was I'd just wear a hat for the next month. 

I think this all goes back to my mother.  I was 9, it was the height of the hair-metal '80s and I really really wanted a mohawk.  Of course my mom wouldn't let me!  The compromise was I got to give my cat a Mohawk.  Well, I think I just did it and then we compromised that I wouldn't ever ever do it again.

During one of these hat-wearing episodes a few months ago I ran into my friend (and master of DIY) Julia Hasty on a ride.  Julia was sporting a well loved DIY helmet which rather drew my attention.  Julia said "I strapped some plastic aquarium plants to my helmet".  All I could think was - "That. Is. So. Hot."

Later - in an unrelated fit of ornithological wonderment I was reading up a bit on the Australian Magpie.  Perhaps the most notable thing about this bird is its attitude.  During mating season it becomes highly aggressive to unsuspecting humans (or, Australians at least).  It will dive-bomb and gouge the head and neck Hitchcock style!  I read this on Wikipedia so it must be true.  Then I happened upon a most interesting note in the article: "wearing a broad-brimmed or legionnaire's hat or using an umbrella will deter attacking birds … the use of cable ties on helmets has become common and appears to be effective".

I had little more than my hat to keep these ideas in my head so I guess it was no surprise that night when I woke up thinking "I AM GONNA HAVE A MOHAWK LIKE I ALWAYS WANTED!  BUT ON MY HELMET!  AND WITH CABLE TIES AND IT IS GONNA BE TOTALLY HOT AND IT IS GONNA TAKE ONLY 10 MINUTES AND IT WON'T NEED ANY MOISTURIZING CONDITIONER".  Of course I had to wake up my sweetie and tell her right away.  She said "you are a total mess and you better pay them to fix you before my friends see".

So you can see it really makes a lot of sense to give your helmet a great hairstyle, and its totally hot.  And seriously, it only takes 10 minutes in DIY-time (which any DIY'er knows means half an hour).

Step 1: What You Need

This article covers not one, but TWO different ways to make a helmet mohawk.  whoa!

METHOD 1: CABLE TIES.  All you need is a pack of 100 cable ties (also known as zip-ties) and a helmet with air slots in it.  Cable ties are available in a variety of colors at your local home improvement store in the electrical section.  Standard cable-ties are 8" long (200mm), depending on the size of the slots in your helmet the ends may stick out 2" to 4" (50 to 100mm).  If you want something longer you can put 2 cable ties together in-line to make an extra-long tie, or you can buy longer ones to start.  From you can get every possible length, width and color you might want.  My helmet in the photo uses 11" (250mm) fluorescent orange cable ties, part number 71295K66.

METHOD 2: FUZZY CLOTH.  You need about a 2 foot long by 4 inch wide piece of fuzzy cloth.  Go to your fabric store and pick your favorite.  You also need some glue.  We used hot-melt glue, glue guns for this are at lots of craft and home improvement stores.  You can also use a variety of other rubbery glues.  You also need scissors.  You need a helmet, this method is a bit easier on a helmet with fewer air slots.

Step 2: The Cable Tie Helmet Hairdo

Once you've got the ties, just start looping and cinching them one-by-one around your helmet slots.  That's it!  I used the various slots in my helmet to get the ties pointing in various directions.  If the lengths come out un-even use a scissor to give the long ones a trim.  Instead of a Mohawk you can also make a "pinhead" hairstyle by making them point all over the place.

Step 3: Fuzzy Cloth Helmet Hairdo

Julia also needed a new helmet style, and she made her own 10-minute mohawk helmet using a strip of fuzzy pink cloth from the fabric store. 
  • Cut the fabric to strip to length.
  • Glue down only the middle the strip from end to end.
  • Cut a few notches along the edge of the strip it to help conform to the curve of the helmet.
  • Now glue the edges down
Julia used a skateboarding helmet which has less slots, it's a bit easier to glue onto.  She attached the fuzzy cloth with a hot-melt glue gun which is super fast and easy.  These guns are about $20 at your home improvement or hobby store, or from  You can also just use a variety of general-purpose rubbery glues (gorilla glue, silicone, liquid nails) for this.

Note:  the 'foam' part of the helmet is damaged by many common glues.  the 'shell' will not have a problem with most glues, if you are not certain you can make a small test patch first.

Step 4: Other Ideas

How about helmet dreadlocks using a bunch of innertube strips? Or go the full art-car route and glue lots of beads, mirrors, toy soldiers or other fun material all over your helmet! Julia also made a great dino-style 'do using triangle-shaped wedges of plastic.