Cardboard Batman Cowl





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, print, trace and cut your own cardboard or visit my Esty shop and purchase the kit and I'll cut the pieces for you! 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 or Cardboard kit from Etsy
  • 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

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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37 Discussions

I want to sat thank you, I have been looking for a "Batgirl" cowl for weeks, I know this is the dark knight, but with some modifications should be great. Thank you

Can you put like pepakura files so that i can print it with a standard printer?

Not everybody has a laser cutter out here, it costs an arm

4 replies

I think if you read through the comments here, you'll find a few ways to scale these for any size paper or cardboard that you have.

i don't have a projector either x_X

Did it work for you?

Check out ChristineH31's suggestion. I'm not really able to make custom templates for you for free.


2 years ago

great article Thanks

The Batman mask (also called a Cowl) unblocked games could possibly be the most important and difficult part of the batman suit to build and depending on how much time and money you have will determine what methods you use to procure a batman mask. In your quest to build your own Batman cowl, here are some tutorials to check out.

To print the pattern, open the file in Adobe reader, then use the print options to print across multiple pages of standard size paper. Some of the pieces will cross over pages, but you can cut and paste them together with scissors and tape.

Can i print these on a regular A4 paper and then then photocopy it on a A3 paper?

I'm sorry, is this properly propotioned or is your head just really small? These look like they'd made a mask that would fit a grapefruit.

8 replies

Ha! One is child sized. One fits me as seen in the photo in the comments. According to everyone who has met me, I have a big head, so, idk.

In that case I know that my Dad will love this. Thank you very much for sharing it. My Dads 55 years old and really difficult to shop for. He's a huge fan of Batman, he started collecting comic books when he was maybe 10ish and went right up to the late 80s. If I were to make a guess I'd say maybe 48% of all his still collected comic books are Batman. I'm good with duct tape and gorilla tape so maybe I'll print this out tomorrow and start making it. I've been working with cardboard and duct tape since I was in 3rd grade and that was 14 years ago. This should be easy, the instructions are easy to follow and are straight forward. Do I have to print out two copies of this or is everything I need in those two PDF files?

Also how do I "scale" it? If I try doing it just by cutting out larger patterns with rough estimates it will just come out sloppy.

Everything is included in the PDF file (also see the image in the intro). The PDF files are 18" x 24" which is not ideal for printing, BUT here's a tip: Tape your cardboard to the wall and use an LCD projector to project the PDF onto the cardboard and trace. This is also a super easy way to resize the file.
Of course, if you want help, visit my Etsy store, and I'm happy to custom scale and laser cut it for you.

Can I adjust it in a photo copier? I'm planning on printing it out on an average sheet of computer paper, cutting out the pieces, then putting as many as I can fit on each sheet and adjusting it to an 18x24 sheet of paper IF I can print it out on a sheet of paper that size.

I want to make it a surprise so it would probably be better if I did this without him noticing a package in the mail.

Probably? I would recommend the LCD trick if you can find a projector. Good luck!

I can't wait until tomorrow!!!! I'll let you know how it goes

To my knowledge as of right now the only problem I see is having the photocopier do what I want it to, That and running out of materials. Five stars on clarity for your instructions :) do you come up with figuring out how to cut it that way.

1 reply

I use a LOT of different online sources. You can search for 3D models and then "unfold" them or flatten the 3D geometry with certain programs. My favorite program is 123D Make:

But I also use pepakura. I'm on a mac, so pepakura is a pain to use via wineskin. I get the precision from these programs, but then edit the designs for cardboard using Adobe Illustrator. Then I use a laser cutter and prototype a lot until something fits on my head.
Does that all sound like jibberish? If so, sorry, but I'll bet if you search for someof these programs, you'll find a whole world of cool papercraft to learn about
AND THANK YOU for the compliment!