Flat Pack Bike Helmet




I'm a student at the West-Flanders High School (HOWEST). I study industrial product design and for one of our projects we had to make a flat packed product. The conditions imposed on our flat packed product are:
- Finding a creative solution to create a volume out of a sheet material.
- Apply the flat pack technique on products that aren't obvious to be flat

First of all I want to say that the helmet using the materials described in this instructable is a proof of concept therefore it isn't safe to use it in real life situations. The objective of the proof of concept is to demonstrate, using simple materials like cardboard, textile, Velcro and Styrofoam, that you can make a bike helmet flat pack. Actual production of this helmet would require using leather instead of a cheap textile, ABS instead of cardboard and of course the helmet would be fitted with a buckle strap.

This helmet is targeted to people who go to work or school and want minimum protection. These people don't wear regularly their helmet because they can't get rid of it during the day. The advantage of this helmet is that you can store it in your bag.

Let's make it!

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: What Do You Need?

The tools you will need are:
- superglue
- scissors
- cutter
- chalk
- ruler

The materials you will need are:
- cardboard (without waves)
- textile (it has to be flexible)
- Velcro
- styrofoam

Step 2: Measurements

First we will cut the unfolded shape of the helmet out of the textile using the chalk to draw the shape on the textile and also some scissors of course. In attachment you will find one Illustrator file with all the measurements of the unfolded shape and the other file is the unfolded shape without measurements. If you print this last file you can draw with the chalk around the printed shape. This makes life easier. After drawing the shape you cut it out with your scissors.

Step 3: Cutting the Figures

Now you'll cut out all the triangles out of the cardboard with the cutter. Again I have put in attachment all the measurements of each figure you will need then 3 other files with the same figures but in large numbers (enough to fill the entire helmet plus some figures in reserve) so you will save time to cut out all the triangles. When you are finished cutting the triangles it is good to put the different triangles in a separate box so you wont lose track of them.

Step 4: Gluing the Figures

Next you will glue the figures on the textile using the superglue. I found it useful to draw the lines/spaces between the triangles so I can see exactly where I have to glue my triangle. This is important because the triangles allow the textile to fold on the desired place but for this all the triangles have to be glued roughly on the same place on each unfolded part.

Step 5: Gluing the Velcro

Gluing the Velcro is very simple. On each unfolded you should have a zone that is still free (no triangles are glued here). This zone will be used to glue the Velcro on it is 1cm large. If the tape on the Velcro doesn't stick really well then you can always make use of the superglue. You don't have to cover the entire zone. On the back you glue the other part of the Velcro. Now you can stick all the Velcro's together and create a 3 dimensional form.

Step 6: Cutting the Styrofoam

On the picture here above you can see which zone the Styrofoam has to cover. Very important leave two opposite sides free of Styrofoam because these will be use to attach the buckle straps on. One piece has to be smaller because you still have to be able to fold the textile. These two pieces of Styrofoam you have to make four of each piece. You cut them with your cutter out of the 1cm thick Styrofoam plate. Then you attach pieces of Velcro on the right place on the textile (if you want to do it properly you put the Velcro in the centre of the zone marked in red on the picture above) and the other Velcro part you stick at the back of all eight Styrofoam pieces.

Step 7: The Buckle

You should have two opposite sides that don't have Styrofoam on it. These sides will be used to attach a buckle on it. I just used a Velcro strap because this isn't the part I want to prove in my concept. I suggest strongly a buckle strap if you want to use the helmet in real life and it is best to knit the buckle straps instead of gluing them on the textile.

You attach the buckles in the centre of each side. In my example this is a simple Velcro piece you stick at the centre of each piece.
Now you are finished!

Step 8: Better Materials

For those who want to use this helmet in real life. I suggest you use leather instead of a cheap textile because it is really good against heat/friction and instead of using cardboard you can use ABS this will serve as a solid shell that will protect you from sharp objects and it will offer the first protection against impacts. Of course strap buckles are obligatory when you use the helmet in real life. The Styrofoam can be used also in the definitive product because it is used in all helmets and will protect you from big impacts.
This helmet doesn't contain a large number of Styrofoam plates so it will not be the most safe helmet but the helmet is targeted for people who go to work or school and want minimum protection. These people don't wear regularly there helmet because they can't get rid of the helmet during the day this concept has the advantage that you can store the helmet in your bag and you won't have to carry the helmet the entire day in your hand.


This should be more or less the result.

Have Fun!

Patterns Contest

Participated in the
Patterns Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Cardboard Speed Challenge

      Cardboard Speed Challenge
    • Multi-Discipline Contest

      Multi-Discipline Contest

    16 Discussions


    3 years ago

    No. Just no.

    A bike helmet gets its strength from the rounded bowl shape. The continuous curved shape transports the impact forces to the whole helmet. Think about the strength of an egg shell. The trick of a helmet is not to get a few millimetres of foam between your skull and the road, the trick is to spread the contact area away from the point of impact over the whole skull.

    A segmented bowl (like a dodecahedron or you design) can work, but the edges have to withstand very big forces, stretching and bending them. A piece of velcro? No.

    Maybe some interlocking metallic structure with styro foam pieces that form a gapless shell when closed.

    5 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    He said "This is a proof of concept and is not safe to use." It is meant as an idea, not a finished product. Seriously why can't people see the ingenuity in this design.


    Reply 3 years ago


    The average person has no idea of what is involved in creating a product. I work for a custom fabrication and machine shop and it is not unusual for a customer to go through ten iterations of a design before arriving at something that can be further developed into a final product.


    Reply 3 years ago

    And it proofs ... what? That you can approximate a smooth round shape by a tesalated one? In form - yes. In function - no.

    If you think otherwise - put it on your head an jump of a bike. Or just do the math. That's the difference between artists and engineers. For the former it has to look good, for the latter it has to _work_, no matter how it looks.


    Reply 3 years ago

    If you made it so that the plates could slide and lock into place at an impact it cold be more comfortable for the rider and provide more protection by putting all of the padding at the area of impact. Also engineers get a lot of their ideas from artists.


    Reply 3 years ago

    I completely understand what you're saying and I agree with you. This helmet like it is shown here will not save your life I agree but like I said in the Instructable it is a proof of concept. This doesn't mean I think your comments are invalid. I will use your proposals to improve the helmet. Thank you for the comments =D


    3 years ago

    a cardboard helmet.

    that looks safe


    3 years ago

    great job, you work very hard on this, and its awesome!!


    3 years ago

    Great idea my only problem is you will never get laid again if women see you in it. Lol


    3 years ago

    Look up IRA (not the ppl who take your money) and look at their skull cap, its similar.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Indeed I like that IRA skull cap. I think the shapes they use are also better then my geometrical shapes. Thank you for your good advice.


    3 years ago

    Great Project, for an industrial design course. Great to see that you are thinking outside of the box!.....or is that thinking inside of the box?


    3 years ago

    Nice idea and implementation. It is worth considering that what you have proven is that a padded hat can be made flat-packable. An I implied trait of a helmet is the protection it offers. Without also demonstrating the protection, you simply have a hat with foam in it, not a helmet. You're well on your way though, good job.


    3 years ago

    Excellent! One point: no textiles on the outer shell. The shell should slide if you hit the ground, protecting your neck from twisting on impact. I like this!

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    True, although the pointy geometric corners on the outside would probably stick on the ground anyway, assuming the material was strong enough to not just crumple on impact


    3 years ago

    Real good job
    Leather as you suggest should slide