Here's a fun project for Halloween or just to create your own crazy Star Wars inspired creation. You can either download the files, print, trace and cut your own cardboard or visit my Esty shop and purchase the kit and I'll cut the pieces for you!
Note: Use gloves to avoid paper-cuts from laser cut cardboard (and hot glue). Sand the edges a bit for less risk of injury.
- PDF file or Cardboard kit from Etsy
- Two 18" x 24" cardboard sheets (if using the files linked above) OR cut the pieces from a cereal box or case of beer for a super silly stormtrooper.
- GLOVES! Laser cut edges are sharp! Use gloves especially if working the the laser cut kits and hot glue
- Hot glue
- Wood Glue
- Masking tape or packing tape
- Metal straight edge ruler
- Scissors or xacto knife
- rolling pin or other cylinder for rolling (baseball bat, chair leg, paint roller, etc.)
- chopstick or pencil for antenna
Step 1: Fold and Glue the Helmet's Top Dome
Let's start with a few tips for gluing as you start on the helmet's main dome. Curl each of the prongs of the done around a rolling pin to loosen them up and begin to help them get into shape. I rolled all of the prongs along their length, and then rolled the part perpendicular to its longest edge. The first two images here show the result from the top and them bottom of this part.
Next glue each prongs to the adjacent prong. When gluing, apply the glue into the corrugated edges and either hold or tape the edges together as the glue dries/ cools. Gluing into the corrugated edges is my preference, but it also works well to hold the edges together and glue along the back. In this case, I did both.
Personally, I think wood glue gives the cleanest and most sturdy finish, but hot glue is faster. Hot glue can also be more forgiving as you can re-heat and re-glue if you're unsatisfied with your seam.
Step 2: Roll the Face/sides of the Helmet and Glue the Visor Into Place
Use your rolling pin perpendicular to the longest edge, roll the facemask part into shape. Take a little extra time to roll the curves on the front, as they're not going to fall into shape as easily as the back. When you're finished, glue the small tab in the back to create a complete circle. (I covered this area with masking tape as well, and I can cover it with bondo later, or just remove it once the rest of the helmet parts are holding this into place.
I'm going to attach the cardboard visor here, but you may want to stop and take a minute to create a plastic visor. I'll have to remove this later, but this will be the fastest way to get the helmet in shape, add in all of the parts, and create a sturdy helmet so I can go back and shape a visor later.
Step 3: Fold and Glue the Insets in the Face Mask
Use your metal straight edge ruler to connect the vertices of the angles and fold along the ruler.Use the photos as your guide. These folds are tight and close to the edge, so they can be a little tricky. Create a little groove with the ruler by pressing it into the fold and mashing the corrugation. Then, bend the part against a table or your work surface while holding the ruler in place on the fold.
Glue the open edge first and the curved seam should fall into place.
Step 4: Create the Concave and Convex Rectangular Prisms
I am a teacher after all, so let's dig out a bit of geometric vocab and put these terms to good use.
There are three parts in this kit/ pattern that look like an iron cross before they're folded. Two of these shapes will form a rectangular prism and the third will form trapezoidal prism. USe the metal straightege ruler technique from the last step to fold the edges inward and glue the corners.
The trapazoidal prism forms the concave inset at the back of the helmet, so let's glue that in place right now. The other two will form convex features on the left and right side of the helmet.
Step 5: Attach the Dome and Insets to the Facemask
Slide the dome up through the inside of the hemet (watch out for the inset you just attached in the back). Allow the dome to sit just slightly inside the facemask to create a little ridge around the helmet. Glue in place working at the front, then back, then left, then right before adding glue or tape all the way around. This will ensure that the dome stays centered.
Add the insets by gluing the long straight edges first and then close up the curved seam.
Step 6: Attach Convex Features to the Sides
Glue around the edges and press this rectangular prism onto the side of the helmet. Line up the middle of the prism with the middle ridge in the dome.
Step 7: Fold an Glue Range Finder (antenna) Parts
Use the metal straightedge technique to fold the base of the range finder as shown in the first image in this step. Then glue the shape together as shown in the second image. Both photos are taken from the inside to make it a bit easier to see exactly where I put my metal ruler and creased the cardboard. (I used recycled cardboard from another project here, so there are some wood finish stains on it. Boba Fett doesn't mind.)
To fold the end of the range finder, use the PDF template attached to this instructable to draw your fold lines (image 4) and fold them with your metal ruler (image 5). Because this is a smaller stand alone part, I prefer to create this part from poster-board or mat-board as it folds and finishes better than corrugated cardboard (image 3). Glue along the inside to avoid sloppy seams, and use image 6 and 7 as your guide.
I attached a chopstick (image 3), but I'm sure you could roll some cardboard around a pencil for a pure cardboard finish.
Step 8: Finishing
To attach the range finder, line up the base of the antenna with the top of the rectangular prism on the left side (left if you are facing the helmet, right side if you are wearing the helmet.) See Image 1 and 2 in this step.
Slide your chopstick and range finder end in, and you're done!
You want to get serious about finishing, which, you do.
Here's what you'll need for finishing:
- Bondo Brand fiberglass resin
- Tap Plastic's Magic sculpt
- Plastic measuring cups for mixing
- Craft sticks, also for mixing
- cheap 1.5" - 2" brushes
- sandpaper - 80, 100, 120, 180, 220 grit
I start with a coat of fiberglass resin. (Image 3) Get your mix right! Bondo brand is the one I've had the most success with (and I've messed up a lot.) Watch a few videos on fiberglassing and how to measure and mix. This brand is pretty forgiving, but don't get careless here. I've ruined a lot of hard work by getting sloppy with the finishing.
Then mix a little ball of magic sculpt. This stuff is WAAAAAAY better than bondo, IMO. It allows for plenty of work time, easy to sculpt, etc. Put some in each of the cracks and around the visor. (we'll cut the visor out after we've sanded and applied lots of coats of resign. (Image 4)
Hit it with another coat of resin and get to sanding with your 80 grit. Take down all the rough edges. If you hit cardboard, stop, you went a little too far. NBD, resin, sand, resin, sand, with increasingly fine sandpaper as you go (Images 5 - 7). When you're happy with the finish, paint. I've sent this one off to a young padawan who isn't as concerned with finish as he is with bounth hunting, so I didn't go as far into detail as I would for myself, nor did I spend much time of the facemask, but this should give you the info you need to see how it's done.
Go get 'em, but NO DISINTEGRATIONS!