This is my HOWTO build a Wickie helmet, part of a Wickie costume.
Wickie is a very popular comic character from Sweden. It's a viking boy who is known to be not very brave, but outstanding clever.
Although the Wickie character is not, the vikings have been very tough warriors and sailors. So I wanted the helmet's finish appear warn and used but not exactly damaged.
Step 1: Material List
The base helmet is made out of cardboard and paper mache. So you'll need
- some cardboard, newspaper and some paste.
- a cutter and some white glue
- a balloon as a head dummy
The hull of the helmet, as well as the ornaments are sculpted with putty. I have used two-component putty of the kind that is used for car repair, to give the helmet some extra solidity. One-component putty can be used as well. If you intend to use two-component putty, make sure you know your hazardous materials.
- putty and spatula
- a file and sanding paper
- material to sculpt the ornaments, like styrodur
I have chosen acrylic paint for the helmet, some metallic spray cans did the job very well.
- blue (preferrably metallic) and white paint
Step 2: The Frame
The frame is visible as part of the helmets unique look.
Cut stripes of 4cm width out of regular cardboard and glue two of them together for double thickness. Glue one of these double-sripes together to make a ring - the base ring - and a shorter doble-stripe on the inside of he base ring for the helmets upper brace. Then glue another brace on top of it on the outside, to make it even to the ring. This frame will be on the outside of he helmet so you want to do things very accurate.
I have mesured the required head circumference of 53 cm. When i built the first frame, it was way too small. The helmet will be very circular, but a head usually is not. At my third attempt I used 60 cm stripes for the ring, which turned out to be a little too wide, but fits fine with some pad inside the helmet.
Step 3: The Base
The base of the helmet will be made of paper mache on the inside of the frame.
Take a balloon and inflate it into the frame. Inflate the balloon to just fit into the frame and the release some air again, to leave a little gap between the balloon and the frame for the coming paper mache. Someone please invent balloons with the shape of a head or I will try to do that with tape some day.
Place the balloon on a stand, mark the bottom of the frame on the balloon with a CD-labeling pen and take the frame off the balloon.
Now cover the balloon with paper mache down to the marked line. The paper mache newspaper glued together with paste. Cut the newspaper into tiles (e.g. 5x5 cm, the smaller newspaper tiles the smoother your paper mache surface). Mix the paste for heavy wallpaper. Apply at least 5 layers of paste-soaked newspaper titles on the balloon.
Pull the helmet's frame over the balloon and over the paper mache and make sure it gets glued together with that. This is the the basic shape of the helmet. Let it dry at least one day, the balloon inside the helmet will make the drying slower.
Step 4: The Outer Layer
When the paper mache is dry from the outside, start to sculpt the helmet with putty. If you are using two-component putty like I did, you want to do that in a well ventilated location and wear protection - a respirator and working clothes. You also want to wear your breathing protection later when sanding the putty.
Mixing two-component putty requires a little practice to mix the proper proportion of putty and hardener. If you use too little hardener, the putty will not compound properly and keep exhaling for days. The putty compounds within 5 to 7 minutes, so you want to apply the putty swiftly. Also try to avoid a too jagged surface or you will end up sanding for hours.
Apply the first coat of putty with care, because the paper mache cannot take too much pressure. Once the putty has compound to a hard shell, the balloon can be carefully ... *BANG* ... Oh, OK. Remove what is left of the balloon. The inside of the helmet will still be a little wet because it had no chance to dry out. The bulge of the balloon might have led to another gap between the paper mache and the frame at the bottom of the helmet. cut the paper mache vertically in that region all around he helmet's ring and re-attach/glue the paper mache to it. Let the paper mache dry out.
Don't care for the horns in the pictures below, I did not use them, but decided to build others.
Step 5: Sculpting and the Ornaments
After the first layer of putty you can start sculpting the helmet's surface and ornaments. Sculpt the helmet's basic shape first. Apply putty to the helmet and sand it down to a smooth shape. Do this again and again until you are satisfied with the surface.
I have used some spare pieces of styrene for the ornaments. Cut the horns to shape with a utility knife, file them to shape and glue them onto the helmet. Do the same with the five gems on the top brace. Shape them the same way as the helmet: putty , file/sand, putty, file/sand and repeat. Make sure to use enough putty around the horns, because they are likely to break off, if the helmet falls on the floor. Sand your helmet until you have an nice surface.
Once totally convinced with the surface (in my case regarding the time left to finish the helmet), cut some cable and glue it to each side of the upper brace and on the top and bottom lid of the base ring.
That's all for the helmet's shape, you can proceed to the finish. Prepare the helmet for coloring with a white primer.
Step 6: The Finish
Painting the helmet is the most fun part for me. The helmet is supposed to look blue with white ornamental stripes. The gems on the upper brace are also white on the original, but could as well be carried out as studs. I decided to make them white with a light pink inset, looking like pearl-shell.
Cover the gems and horn with tape for the upcoming coloring. Fold and clamp an old cardboard to a spray protection and mount the helmet on a can or similar to be able to rotate and spray it from all sides.
I have chosen a red/brownish base color for the helmet. This can nicely get visible on parts not painted later as rusty spots and rims. The second layer is a metallic gray color to make it look like iron. The final color is a metallic blue, which makes a very nice finish for the Wickie style - comic but not too flat.
Paint the horns and the gems with a brush. Use a color that matches the rest of the coloring (acrylic in my case) and withstands the final step: a layer of clear coat.
Step 7: The Finished Helmet
My helmet got a little too big, so I attached some foam pads on the inside of the helmet.
The first helmet, the one that got too small, was finished as crew helmet without much ornaments.
Participated in the
Halloween Props Contest