Introduction: Cardboard Stormtrooper 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'' 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.
- 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 stormtrooper.
- GLOVES! Laser cut edges are sharp! Use gloves especially if working the the laser cut kits and hot glue
- Hot glue
- Wood Glue
- Masking tape or packing tape
- Metal straight edge 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: https://www.make.do/products/safe-saw-005 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 hemet 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.
In the photo, you can see an older version of this file in which I quartered the dome. In the pdf I've attached to the introductory step, the entire dome is one piece. MUCH easier, but it won't fit on 8.5" x 11" paper. If you don't have access to something that can print at that size, and would like help, visit my Etsy store, and I'll cut all the parts for you!
Step 2: Attach the Back of the Helmet
Again, glue the prongs of the back of the helmet. 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, 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.
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 so I can later attach a black rubber strip over the helmet if I'm going for a more authentic looking finish.
Step 4: Left and Right 3814-7 Auto Seal Conduit
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.them can be tricky, but let go, Luke. Trust your feelings. Just kidding, 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
Sorry, internet, I'm going to go back to calling these parts of the face that I've heard of.
This is the trickiest part, but after this you're done. Are you ready young padawan?
As you can see in the first picture, I sometimes I attach the ends of the tubular parts from the last step to help shape the nose area. Overall I don't think this gives you the best angle between the nose and sides, but the last time I did this they were really giving me trouble. See what works best for you.
The concave bits where the mic tips (Bliar Induction Fliters according to wookiepedia) go are srange, but work slowly around 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. The other thin v shaped part attaches at almost a 90 degree angle to the "nose" and shows you exactly how the nose parts should be folded.
Step 6: Attach the Nose and Mouth Parts to the Helmet
Time to close 'er up. I like to overlap the top of the nose just a bit on top of the eyes as stormtrooper helmets have just a bit of a ridge here.
Glue the parts shaped like a comma "," (sort of ?) inside of the corresponding shaped opening to create depth. Same for the heat dispersion vents in the back if you haven't done that already.
Step 7: Finish!
Here's what you'll need for finishing:
- Bondo Brand fiberglass resin
- 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 start with a coat of fiberglass resin. (Image 4) Get your mix right! Bondo brand is the one I've had the most success with (and I've messed up a lot.) Watch a few videos on fiberglassing and how to measure and mix. This brand is pretty forgiving, but don't get careless here. I've ruined a lot of hard work by getting sloppy with the finishing. Then mix a little ball of magic sculpt. This stuff is WAAAAAAY better than bondo, IMO. It allows for plenty of work time, easy to sculpt, etc. Put some in each of the cracks and around the visor. (we'll cut the visor out after we've sanded and applied lots of coats of resign. (Image 6) Hit it with another coat of resin and get to sanding with your 80 grit. 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 (Images 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 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.
If you purchased one of my Etsy kits, I'd especially love to get your feedback on the kit, part design and this instructable. I'm constantly revising, so let me know what you think.