Steampunk Flying Helmet With Goggles and Headphone Attachments




About: Aiming to get a Show and tell maker fair going in March 2009. Anyone in UK or willing to travel, please let me know.

Flying helmets whether vintage or replica are really expensive so here is how I made one from bits lying around the house. PLEASE VOTE AND COMMENT.

Stop press: you can see this and my other instructables in the flesh at the Scottish maker fair: McMADSAT, 14th March, 10-4, Glasgow Science centre:

Other instructablers will be guesting there too. More always welcome

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Step 1: Materials List

You will need:

1. Outer layer
Ideally some thin leather, such as from an old leather coat. I bought a truly hideous pair of leather coats for about a pound in a charity shop (= 2 dollars in a thrift shop for USA instructablers) and the I used some of the last bits of that for this project.
Early flying helmets were often of canvas so really you can use anything that will keep the weather out, even old jeans would do, if your sewing machine can handle it.
Whatever, you use you will probably need a piece about 2x2ft.

2. Liner
Ideally some fake fur. Again, my scrap bag had the last scraps of a fake fur coat from a charity shop, bought for some halloween project i think.
Anything that will keep you warm when you are up in your open cockpit biplane, hotair balloon or airship, will do. Fleece, old pullover, sweatshirt or whatever.

3. Small piece of foam about quarter inch thick and about 6x3 inches.
4. Budweiser can (empty)
5. Buttons
6. Strong sewing machine, glue gun. I will make suggestions for making this without a sewing machine, but I havent tried the suggestions out myself.

Step 2: Cutting Out the Pieces for the Outer Layer

The helmet consists of an outer layer and an inner layer. The outer layer (mine is leather) will be done first.

1. Top strip. You need to measure the distance from your eyebrows to where your neck meets your shoulders. This is is the length of the top strip. The width is the distance across your forehead, or between the outer corners of your eyes.

2. Side panels (2 pieces). These are the shape of the sides of your head, so experimenting with some paper patterns before you cut out the panels is a good idea.

3. Earflaps (2 pieces). Your helmet will have headphones sometimes so you need holes in the side panels so you can hear from the headphones but you dont want your ears to freeze so these holes need flaps. Cut two circles about 4 inches in diameter.

4. Chinstrap

Step 3: Making the Outer Layer

1. Earflaps
From a piece of thin foam cut two circles about 2 inches in diameter and cut holes in the middle as in the picture. These will pad your ears from the earphones. first picture
Hold one of the side panesl up against the side of your head and note where your ear is. Make a small hole in the panel at that point. Do the same with the panel for the other side of your head.
Put the earprotector foam circle over the hole and lay the round earflap over the top. second picture
Sew the earflap on, leaving a small gap at the top to get your earphones in and out. see third picture. You could glue the earflaps on if not sewing.

2. Panels and top
With the right sides together (the ones that will be on the outside when we have finished) sew the top strip to the side panels. fifth picture. Trim any uneven edges.

If you dont have a sewing machine capable of sewing through leather or canvas - lots of electric ones cannot do such thick stuff - you could try stapling them and then laying the seams flat on the inside and putting a strip of your trusty duct tape over the seam.

Step 4: Sewing the Inner Layer

You are essentially doing the same as in the previous step: sewing the panels to the top strip. If you are not sewing, you could probably glue the separate pieces into the outer helmet, using a hot glue gun or superglue.

Step 5: Assembly

This is probably the fiddliest bit. You are going to assemble the liner into the outer helmet and sew them together.

It is probably helpful now to put the liner into the helmet and try it on in front of a mirror, so you can pull everything into place. you can see in the first picture that the liner is sticking out because my cutting was not very precise. This doesnt matter as it makes it easier to adjust now.
1. sew your chinstrap on and any buttons
2. sew the bottom edge, round the neck, first, and then try it on again to make sure all is right.
3. sew the front edge, round the face
4. Trim all round to make a neat edge

This could probably be done by gluing or stapling if not sewing.

Step 6: Badge

I have made a badge for the back of the helmet. It serves to hold the wires of my headphones. The badge is the (vaguely0 winglike emblem from a Budweiser can, stuck onto a backing of red fabric and black leather.

The badge is glued onto the back of the helmet, glued at each end, leaving the middle clear for the headphone wires.
Similarly glue the ends of a small strip of leather Vertically above the badge. This is to secure your goggles strap

Step 7: Assembly of Final Helmet and Equipment

Earphones for wireless communication with your preferred aerodrome: push the earphones into the slots you left open at the tops of the earflap circles. Cut holes in the lining so that sound comes through. Secure the wires under the badge

Goggles - (see my other instructable to make these) put the straps through the securing strip at the back of the helmet, so that you dont lose your goggles when you take them off. That way everything you need is fixed to the helmet ready for SCRAMBLE!

Isnt this great? Keeps you warm, lets you list to your wireless set, and protects your eyes from the blizzard all at the same time.

It is VERY warm. In fact if the snow outside gets any better I might have to use it for things other than going up in my biplane.

You could even vote for me in the keeping warm competition.

happy flying.

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    38 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Being in Florida, a fur lining makes this too hot to wear. Any suggestions to make is thermally cooler?

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    If you used cotton fabrics it could work. The lining wouldnt be as cool looking, but it wouldnt be as warm.


    7 years ago on Step 7

    I think it would be even cooler if you cut the earpieces off of the headphones and sewed them into the helmet. You could probably route the wires through the inside of the helmet and out the back, too.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    One could then build and wear a flight skin under a helmet for the authentic usage of such. ie Quilted coif under a kettle helm. And... No disrespect for the safety issues that greensteam states but,, If you ride a motorcycle you are taking a risk. How much do you risk? If you go down, do you care how much friction your helmet causes? (and additional possible injury..) Or do you care more about how cool you look upon those many more hours you are riding with a smile on your face. Balance safety with Cool. I go with Cool. If you ride, you are going down. Know it, prepare for it, ride defencive. The risk is why everyone doesn't ride. Keep Cool!

    Some people like dressing up like they did in victorian england. Im one of them. I would check out diesel or cyberpunk

    Its about a lot more than the clothes I wear, as I am not a re-enactor or similar, just that I want to be able to wear more interesting stuff than what the chainstores sell. I am also a former engineer who wants to show the wider society that we should value what engineers contribute and steampunkers are keen on that too,

    It is also very highly about DIY, very much in the Instructables ethos, with most steampunkers being heavily into modding of modern items like pcs, mobiles etc to look more interesting with wooden or metal added facia.

    Coolness is, as ever, in the eyes of the beholders and there is a good deal of crossover with dieselpunk and cyberpunk.

    Go to Brassgoggles' forum for a better idea of the breadth of the culture.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    There is nothing to "get". Like any other hobby or art, Steam-punk is merely another theme. It's all for the ones who enjoy the style and fantasy. "Coolness factor" isn't the point. "cool" is extremely subjective. One persons cool is another's dumb. Obviously you don't care for it, in which case why even the need to reply? If you don't like it, move onto a theme you do like. What is YOUR obsession? (It's called passion, its a healthy hobby. Obsession is unhealthy. Art, as long as it is not taking over your life and health is a passion, not obsession) You can have something be a main focus in your life without it being a bad thing. BTW - DIY Is the coolness factor in which all projects on this site share. That's enough reason for most to create and share their art.

    I guess it depends on ones' individual tastes....I've been making/ wearing the aviator hats for over two decades, long before I knew about Steampunk myself.  Steampunk is just a subculture lifestyle  based on a fictional future or alternate history.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Quite. I think it either grabs you or it doesnt. I was at Edinburgh's first steampunk event last night - the arrival of Airship R1001. Some excellent entertainment but loads and loads of flying helmets and goggles. I would expect to see pictures soon on Flickr and Brassgoggles.

    Nice  first  effort  with  leather aviator  hats/ helmets, Green!  I remember  my first leather projects nearly 20 years ago,  sometimes really bad results!  But I've designed and perfected my own patterns  for aviator hats that turn out absolutely beautiful!  Check out to see some I have for sale!  They are a big hit with the Steampunk community, and many owners wear them as everyday Winter hats, as I do too!  I even make them with animal ears in a rainbow of leather colors!  Ravers and Burning Man people love 'em!

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    :3 I freaked out a little bit when I saw your goggles. I made a pair that look almost exactly like them! I used rivets to attache them, though.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Depends on the hood, but typically hoods are a lot looser than helmets. You are aiming for a fairly close fit, allowing for the fur lining. The point of flying helmets is to keep you warm when flying in your unpressurised, unheated, or even open, cockpit/balloon basket etc. Might be worth making a paper pattern and sticking it together to try it on, Good luck.