Monday, November 3, 2014

X-Wing Football Helmet

Anyone who knows me knows that I rarely sit still and do nothing.  I'm always building things or working on some kind of project.  However, there are several weeks out of the year in which I pop my butt in a comfy chair and stare at the TV for hours....Football season.  

Above is a photo of me sitting at my friend's house, disdainfully watching the NY Jets lose.

I have Jerseys, I have hats and footballs.

I even made a NY Jets Stormtrooper Helmet (seen here).

But I never owned an actual football helmet.   I actually want my own football helmet to wear during games - because I'm that guy.  Looking online to purchase one is incredibly frustrating because football helmets are incredibly expensive!  So instead of buying one, I am going to make one!   However, I'm not going to make another Jets helmet - since the Jets signed Mike Vick to their team I am not a fan of the Jets (Damn you Mike Vick!).  When they get their act together perhaps I'll be a fan again, but since I've moved to Arizona I have been enjoying being a Cardinals fan.

At the point of this writing I am uncertain if I want to make a plain, normal football helmet, or if I want to make something better, like a Cleatus - the Fox Sports Robot Football Helmet!

I'll see if I want to do it as this project progresses.

To start, I am going to build the base of this helmet using the featherweight technique.  I've done this many times before, and essentially involves taking strips of cardboard and gluing them together to form the shape of your helmet.

My initial helmet wasn't quite turning out how I'd like.  It would require a lot of work to round it out.

Instead I decided to use an X-wing helmet pep file to make the helmet.

Once the X-wing helmet was made, I reworked it to get rid of the 'mohawk' so it would be a rounder helmet.

Then I covered the insides and outsides with plaster wrap.

When it dried I had planned to add some fiberglass resin to further harden the helmet, followed by Bondo to start shaping the outside.  Unfortunately I had neither of these materials on hand, so I began shaping with wood filler.  I can always add resin and Bondo later.

When the filler dried I sanded.

I finally got some fiberglass resin, so next I applied some to the inside of the helmet.

When the resin dried the helmet was much stronger.  Time to continue shaping the helmet with wood filler.

Followed by a lot of sanding.

Next I decided to add a coat of primer.

When the primer dried I gave it a little sanding.

The top curve is definitely not rounded....

I glued a strip of cardboard to help round it.

Before I added the new application of filler I used a spray paint can cap to draw a circle on the sides.

I then cut those circles out.

Then I added wood filler.

The strip of cardboard certainly helped round the helmet vertically, so next I added strips horizontally to do the same thing.

Then more wood filler.

While that dried I went out to get more material.  I was thinking how I would make the face guard, when I actually found one on sale.  

This one is meant for a T-ball helmet, but I think it will work just fine.

Next I sanded...

...followed by more primer.

I love putting the face guard on the helmet.  

The curves - both vertically and horizontally - on the helmet are working out nicely, but the tail end of the mohawk needs a better curve now.

Like before I used a piece of cardboard to correct the curve.

Next came more wood filler.  It may look like there's a lot of filler on this helmet, but there is actually considerably less filler since the curves are all lining up.

When dry I sanded.

At this point the shape of the helmet is there, but a lot of small spots needed filler/sanding/priming.  I'll jump ahead a little to relieve some of the redundancy.

Both my football helmet and my new Loki helmet drying after some more primer.

When the helmet was dry I decided to start working on the edges by cutting strips of thin crafting foam...

...and gluing them to the edges.

I also added foam around the ear holes...

...and a stripe up the middle.

Then I used some filler to smooth out the edges of the foam.

Instead of sanding the filler when it dried, I used a wet cloth to smooth the filler.

Then I gave it a new coat of primer.

For fun I decided to add on the face guard.  I did this by screwing it the mounts that came with it.

On the inside of the helmet was a thin piece of wood to help keep the mounts in place.

I added 2 mounts, but the face guard would swing up and down... I added a second set of mounts.

This held it in place nicely.

Next, I trimmed the screws using my dremel saw.

With the face plate evenly attached I noticed that the strip on the top of the helmet was not quite centered.

Annoyed, I carefully removed the strip.

I removed the face guard and began sanding the area where the strip was to make it even again.

After sanding, I marked the center of the helmet, aligning it with the vertical bars on the face guard.

I also marked other areas of the helmet that needed some touch-up.

I glued on a new strip, centered with my new markings.

Then I added more filler.

After sanding and cleaning I applied the last coat of primer.

When it dried I sanded a few spots with some very fine sandpaper, then cleaned and applied white glossy spray paint.

When the white spray paint was dry I added some red acrylic paint on the stripe and the ear areas.

Then I added blue.

I'd like to note that I am not making any particular team helmet. After the red and blue paint dried I weathered the helmet with some black paint.

 Next I decided to make a logo of my own to appear on each side of the helmet.  This logo I created in Adobe Illustrator.

I printed out the logos...

...then applied some double stick adhesive on the back.

I cut them out...

...and stuck them on.

Then I applied some clear coat to the whole helmet.

When the clear gloss dried, I attached the face mask.  Now it's really looking more like a football helmet!

It still needs some padding on the inside.


So I bought some seat cushions...

...and began cutting strips using sharp scissors.

I then hot glued the foam inside.

And the helmet is done!

All I have left is to paint the helmet stand.  I decided to make it look like turf, so I painted it green.

I added a lot of rough paint to give it some texture.

When the green dried, I used a sponge and added some white gridiron lines.

And I'm all done!

This was a fun project which will only enhance football games for me.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Superb and unique - how do you think of these amazing projects?

  2. Thanks Phil. Copious amounts of junk food before bed invites weird and unusual dreams into my head. That's where I get my ideas. Hehe.

  3. Ah, junk food! That'll be where I've been going wrong. I've just been using beer!