Making a Pattern for a Foam Helmet

I’m not new to making armor out of EVA foam, but I’ve never made a helmet out of the stuff. And, let me tell you, making a helmet is a whole ‘nother monster to deal with. Because of this, I figured I’d catalog my progress and maybe cobble together a bit of a tutorial while I was at it.

First and foremost, the materials you’ll need are:
Box cutter/exacto knife
Blade sharpener
Aluminum foil
Duct tape
Polyester packing fiber
Wig head (not pictured)

In order to even begin with this project, you need some sort of head cast. If you want to get technical, you can make a cast of your head out of plaster or even duct tape. I’m not going to explain how to do this; there are a lot of tutorials out there already. I am going to explain an alternative to making a cast. If your head is small, like mine, you can possibly just use a wig head. You can buy a wig head at your local craft store.

The wig head I used is shown below.

For my helmet, I needed a completely smooth surface to work with. Therefore, I took some poly-fil and some duct tape and rounded out the front of the wig head to remove any trace of the nose and lips. For your project, you can achieve various shapes to your wig head by adding poly-fil and taping it down.

Once you’ve built up the shape you want, take some aluminum foil and cover your wig head in it, taping it down here and there. Once your head is completely covered in aluminum foil, cover it fully in duct tape. The idea here is that the duct tape will connect all the pieces of foil that you used and even out the wrinkles. The foil itself acts as a removable base so that you can remove your pattern from the wig head.


Now, draw out your desired pattern onto the duct tape. Be sure to make reference lines and directional notes. After you’ve done this, cut out the pattern. I typically do this with a box cutter. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of drawing my pattern and then cutting it off my wig head, but here are some pictures of my pattern. I drew my pattern so it was composed of two parts.

In the first photo, you can clearly see I’ve marked up the pattern. The ‘F’ represents the front of the pattern. The ‘R’ represents the right side of the face. It’s very important to do this because if you come back to your project later, you do not want to be confused about which part of the pattern is what. The lines that border the edge of the pattern are meant to help with lining up this part of the pattern with another part of the pattern (which you can see in the second photo).

Some of the pieces of your pattern may not sit flat (see the third photo above). In this case, you need to make a dart so that the piece can be flattened completely. You need to do this before you begin transferring your patterns to foam.

There you go, now you’ve got a pattern. Now all you’ve got to do is transfer it to foam and glue it all together. Easy, right? Joking, joking.

I’m working on making a tutorial on how to do exactly that. I’m also working on making video tutorials rather than just using photos and words. I understand these sorts of tutorials can be hard to follow, so stay tuned.

By the way, here’s what I used the pattern for (and what I’m currently working on):



Author: Quinn Hiers

When my father wasn't looking, I used to sneak into the attic to read his old comic books. After being regaled by spandex-clad superheroes at a young age, it's not a wonder I became such a huge nerd. From comics, to movies, to video games, to cartoons, my life has only been bettered by nerd culture and the many people I've met along the way who've shared my obsessions. My first plunge into cosplaying was when I was 18. I went to an anime convention and my costume was absolutely horrible. But, despite this, I loved the atmosphere and the people, so I kept making costumes. My love of cosplaying has only increased, so I'm here to get people interested in costume-making and give as much advice as I can.

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