Doctor Who Time Lord/Lady Headdress




About: As an artsy-craftsy Whovian (among other things), I love making crazy projects out of cardboard, paper, and paint. After perusing this site for some time, I have finally joined to add some of my own DIY proj...

For quite a while, I have wanted a time lord/lady headdress. I have tried to find patterns or instructions but there are very few. So I decided to make my own instructable, more or less based off a Time Lord headress in the Fourth Doctor episode 'The Deadly Assasin'. This one is red with knitted and braided edgings.

Step 1: Supplies

You will need:

  • Cardboard boxes (To be honest, I took this picture about halfway through, so the boxes shown are different from the ones I actually used. But any large cardboard box of relatively thin cardboard should do the trick.)
  • Gold foil wrapping paper (I bought mine for about 5 bucks at Hobby Lobby)
  • Tape (Duct tape and clear tape are both needed)
  • Scissors
  • Red yarn and knitting needles (one good-sized skein should do, and I used thin knitting needles, size nine I think)
  • Gold marker (not shown, sorry!)
  • Hot glue (also not shown, sorry!)

Step 2: Cardboard Shapes

For this part, I cut a large semicircle piece for the back and a smaller semicircle with a semicircle cut out of it for the behind-the-head bit. There is an extended bit for the connection behind the neck, and the ends of the semicircles curve out for pointed shoulders. The proportions depend on your size. I suggest referencing my images and an image or two of a Time Lord headdress (I used my Doctor Who: The Vault book. It had a picture of the costume I based this on, but you should be able to find plenty of good ones online). The sides are quarter circles with a part that folds out and attatches to the neck section.

Step 3: Covering the Cardboard and Connecting the Back

For this step, trace each piece onto the gold paper and cut a piece out with an inch margin. Then fold the edges over and tape it on for each piece. I also duct taped the top and bottom of the back as I covered them, since I slipped the extension on the bottom one under the paper edge of the top, then covered that side of the base to cover the join.

Step 4: Fitting the Shoulders

To attach the shoulder pieces, you must crease them as shown above. You must fold the edge out, curve the main body of each piece to fit over your shoulder, and fold the top curved triangle-ish section backwards to line up with the bottom curve of the upper portion of the headdress. Do not attatch the pieces yet. You will need them separate to paint them.

Step 5: Painting the Pieces

To create the soft pink/red-gold color, I coated the pieces with red acrylic paint and then used a wet paper towel to smear the paint around and remove most of it. In retrospect, a sponge brush may have been a better technique. Also, you want to avoid over-painting, since that can mess up toe gold paper below (I did this in a couple spots, and the gold turned white. Oops.)

When you finish painting, let it dry, then attach the shoulders. I used duct tape on the inside, where it won't show. You can also use clear tape, like packing tape, to attatch it on the outside.

Step 6: Making the Helmet

For this step, I don't have any in-process pictures, just some after-I-finished ones. I included several shots of the inside, which is where most of the duct tape ended up. Basically, I wrapped a box around my head and cut it to fit, then covered it with the gold foil paper. Small triangular cuts are good for creating curves. The basic shape is a peaked dome, with a point in the front that rests between your eyebrows. The side pieces should reach your lower cheek before curving back to create an opening for the ear. The back edge should rest near the base of your skull. The exact sizes depend on your head. This should be quite comfortable when finished.

Step 7: Decorative Embellishments for the Main Piece

On the costume that mine is based on, there are two thin red strips parallel to each other on the shoulder and back sections, a red border (which also looked knitted) with a gold strip underneath. For the thin red strips, I knit two stitches back and forth until it was long enough (measured off of the costume). The red border was a stocking stitched strip seven stitches wide. For the gold strip, I used some flat gold ribbon. I then used hot glue to attach these embellishments. Note: the edge piece, the 7-stitch one, is glued on inside out, with the wrong side facing out. I suppose crochet would work, but I don't know if it would look right. The other option would be purchasing some kind of ribbon.

To attach the embellishments: hot glue the ribbon around the entire edge of the headdress. Then wrap the knitted border around the edge and hot glue it on. Half should be on either side of the edge, folded in half with the wrong side facing out. Then hot glue the 2-stitch strips parallel to each other as pictured above.

Step 8: Decorating the Helmet

First of all, you will need to paint the helmet in the same way you painted the main pieces. Once it's dry, you can add the decorations.

For the helmet decorations, I made a flat braid for the edge. To do this, take 6 very long pieces of red yarn (preferably the same color as the knitted borders) and divide them into three pairs. Tie each pair at one end and sew the knots together, flat. Then braid the 2-string strands until it is long enough to create a full border for the helmet with about two or three extra inches, then knot each end and sew it like you did the beginning. On the other hand, you could buy a red braided trim. Either way, to attach it, you must hot glue one end parallel to the inside edge of one side of the point at the forehead, then fold it over to the top and hot glue it around the edge. When you get back to the point, fold it back around to the inside and glue it down.

For the design at the top, I used leftover braid (I had made mine WAY too long) and hot glued it down in a double spiral. The little leaf embellishments are bits of gold wire (18 gauge, I think) folded into leaf shapes and glued down with sparkly gold hot glue (no idea where I got it, but I'm sure most craft stores would have it). I also pressed some transparent orange seed beads into the glue. However, since there is a huge variety of Time Lord headdress helmet designs, I would encourage you to design your own, like I did. (I didn't follow the design for the helmet of the headdress this is based on, though it did inspire the leaves.)

Step 9: Gallifreyan Name Plates

Sorry, I forgot to take pictures until I had already made these. You need four cardboard circles, about 5 inches in diameter (I traced the bottom of a ceramic mug). Glue two together and do the same with the leftover two, then cover them with gold paper. For the design, you can use the seal of Rassilon or something of your own design. I used my name in 'Doctor's Cot' Gallifreyan. Pictures of the seal and the how-to for Doctor's Cot are included above. Or you can use a more popular form, Circular Gallifreyan: or use this link for instructions/ translator (Thank you, emilyvanleemput). (If you are wondering, no, there is no official Gallifreyan language. All the ones you will find are fan-made: the BBC hasn't released their version). Either way, feel free to personalize these decorational plates.

When you have made them, glue them onto the headdress as shown.

Step 10: Finished! Multo Bene!

All done! This works great with a Rennaisance-style dress (for a girl) or robes /armor (for a guy). I had a blast wearing it to a Doctor Who Barnes and Noble event!

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    9 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I have really wanted one of these, so I might build it!

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    I know this reply is suuuuuper late, but that's awesome! If you did/do build it, I would love to see!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea! I would suggest using spray paint. Might be easer to control the thickness, not have to wipe.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago on Introduction

    ​Good idea! At the time I made this, I was just using leftover supplies from other projects and didn't have red spray paint.


    2 years ago

    love it thinking of making one for a cosplay contest

    1 reply