The aim of this tutorial is to instruct one in making a Power Ranger helmet suitable for costume use or display using only inexpensive, safe materials and easy techniques.
Materials and tools you need:
Thin cardboard such as cereal boxes
Elmer's Wood Glue (or similar brand)
Paper Mache Pulp
Sheets of Craft Foam
A rotary tool with a cutting wheel and drill bit attatchments
Spray Paints and Sealers
Step 1: Creating the "base" of the Helmet
The first step is to create the basic shape of the helmet. To do this first we cut strips of cardboard about an 1.5" tall and 14" in length. Use two of these strips to create a circle around your forehead with enough room to spare to fit comfortably and hot glue them together. .
Next use the strips to run from the middle of the forehead piece to the back. This creates the curvature of the top of your helmet.
Next we will make another circle, this time fitting around the bottom of your head around the jaw, again leaving enough room to wear comfortably. After this is is done, use more strips to join the top half to the bottom circle.
Once this basic "skeleton" is created all that is left is to fill the remaining spaces with cardboard. I again used strips around the same size and made sure to bend them to the curvature of the basic helmet shape. At this stage it is important to continually try on the helmet to make sure everything fits correctly, it's much easier to fix at this stage than later.
Step 2: Paper Mache
Map out where the visor should be and cut it out with an exacto knife
Next, cover the whole cardboard structure with paper mache. I used a simple recipe of Elmer's wood glue thinned with just enough water to make it easily spreadable. For the paper I used newsprint.
Around 3 or 4 layers should suffice, allowing it to fully dry between. Make sure not to trap any air between the layers.
Step 3: Refining With Paper Mache Pulp
After the last layer has dried it's time to cover the mask with paper mache pulp. This will allow us to refine the forms and add detail.
There are several different brands on the market, Celluclay and Sculpt-a-Mold seem to be the most popular. There are also various websites with recipes if you'd prefer to make your own.
When applying the pulp make sure not to build up too much to keep the weight down. You can smooth out the surface with a bit of water, this makes for less sanding.
Allow the pulp to fully dry and then sand smooth. At this point you can add a thin layer of drywall compound and again dry and sand.
It's easier to pick out imperfections if you prime after you sand. Apply more drywall compound and repeat the process if necessary.
Once you've achieved a nice, smooth surface you can use a dremel cutting wheel to further shape the visor and mouth area.
I chose to cut out the mouth and create the inner shapes with card stock and craft foam then sealed it with a few layers of wood glue.
I wanted a helmet that was two pieces like the ones used in the show so I drew a line down the middle with a pencil then cut the helmet in half with a dremel.
Step 5: Adding the Raised Details
To add the raised details I first drew them on paper and sized everything against the helmet itself. Then I cut it out and traced the patterns onto craft foam and hot glued it onto the helmet. I then sealed the foam with wood glue and used joint filler to fill in the gaps where the foam pieces met and sanded it smooth. At this point you can prime your helmet once more to see if there are any imperfections to sand out.
This would be a good time to add the hardware for the helmet to open. I used the smallest hinge for a cabinet I could find from the hardware store. Just add it at the very top of the helmet where the two pieces will meet and follow the instructions that come with the hinge to install it.
I also used two clasp closures on both sides of the bottom of the helmet to keep it closed tightly.
Step 6: Creating the Visor and Painting
There are two different kind of visors used in the helmets in the show. The first is a dark tinted clear plastic. The second was used on the helmets used in stunts and fight scenes, it is an opaque plastic like the rest of the helmet, with many small holes drilled in it for visibility and painted black.
If you prefer the look of the standard visor, you can cut it out of clear plexiglass and cover it with window tint which can be bought by the roll from wal-mart. Plexiglass can be bent to shape with a heat gun.
I chose to go with the stunt version for better visibility and comfort. I used another piece of craft foam and proceeded to drill a series of holes with the smallest drill bit that came with my dremel. Then I painted it black and glossed it with 5 minute epoxy and hot glued it into the helmet.
Painting the helmet is very simple. I used kryolan spraypaints, first painting the whole helmet white. Then masking off the areas around the detail with masking tape and then painting the appropriate areas metallic gold and silver. I used acrylic paint and a brush to apply the black.
Afterwords you can seal your work with a crystal clear spray.