Stores rarely stock helmet stands these days (I know, shocking). Even online, the only helmet stands available are plain and overpriced. This tutorial shows you how to make a beautiful antique-looking helmet stand in a ridiculously small amount of time for an even more ridiculously cheap price. The secret is that you can find combine mostly-finished pieces bought from Home Depot and Hobby Lobby.
Tools I used:
- Power drill (hand or drill press)
- 1/4" drill bit
- Paint brush
Materials I used:
- Wood banister or railing section (cheap pine worked great, about $3 from Home Depot)
- Wood railing topper (cheap pine again, about $2 from Home Depot)
- Wood award plaque (8" circular with routing details) (raw unfinished pine, about $1.50 from Hobby Lobby)
- Sandpaper (220 grit)
- Stain + polyurethane sealer (Minwax Antique Walnut Gloss came out great, but any color/finish you like)
- Wood glue
(at $5, the most expensive material is the small pint can of stain/sealer, and this project barely used any of it, so there's lots leftover for other projects)
Step 1: Drill Holes in Rod and Base
Finding the center: Here's an excellent Instructable on how to find the center of a circular piece of wood.
Both the railing section and the railing topper were pre-fitted with a 1/4" screw, so I only had to drill a 1/4" hole in the plaque base to hold the railing section then drill another 1/4" hole in the top of the railing section to fit the railing topper. It was tricky getting the holes perfectly vertical and perpendicular to the surface of each piece, so I'm thinking a drill press would have helped here, but I was able to do it with a hand drill.
You don't want to drill too deep into each piece, just deep enough to hold the screw (i.e. do not drill all the way through the plaque base). Pro tip: mark your drill bit with a sharpie or bit of tape to know how deep your bit has gone into the piece.
Note: I was planning on gluing the circular base onto the rectangular base for extra stability, but it turned out that the 8" circular base was plenty to keep the heavy steel helmet from tipping over, even if I swatted the wings.
Step 2: Attach Rod to Base and Topper to Rod
Now simply screw the rod into the base and the topper into the rod. I added a small amount of wood glue to the topper + rod connection to add some strength to the connection. The connection to the base was already plenty tight so didn't need any reinforcement.
Step 3: Finish the Helmet Stand
Give the whole stand a once-over with some very fine (220 grit) sandpaper to remove any roughness or burring on the wood pieces. They are super cheap, so they tend to be a bit rough and unfinished.
Finally, using a stain brush (I used a foam brush), apply 2 coats of the stain + sealer to the entire stand. Wipe off the excess stain with a paper towel before leaving it to dry.
I did it in stages, letting each stage dry and set (about 6 hours) before applying the next stage. First, I stained the bottom of the base, then laid it on its side to dry. When it was dry, I stained the entire top of the base and the rod and topper. I left it standing on the base to dry. When that was dry I repeated each step for a total of two coats.
That's it! It took me only a few minutes of work spread over a couple of days and cost less than $12 including lots of stain leftover for other projects. Enjoy!