Mar 14, 2012

Kid's DIY Star Wars X-wing fighter pilot's helmet

Oh my goodness! Let's all stop getting ill ok? Just for a while? This last month has been a relentless torrent of snot and barf and squitty butts! I've just put my back out as well, so although thankfully the ever evolving plague seems to have finally left the house, I am now creeping about like Julie Walters in the "Two Soups" sketch. Can we all agree that April will be super-awesome-not-sick month? Yes? Everyone remember to cough into your sleeve, only stick your fingers up your own noses, and try not to lick each other's eyeballs or any other gross, weird, contagious disease spreading malarky, you dirty, dirty little gremlins!

So, on to the post that I've wanted to write about for weeks!

The kids are still way into Star Wars and playing make believe, so I thought it would be fun to see if we could make some sort of very low cost dress up play version of an X-wing fighter pilot's helmet, so they could play Rogue Squadron with their walkie talkies. As usual with our antics, it's got to be really cheap to pull off, so yeah, it doesn't look like a cosplay prop, and you aren't going to want to rock one of these at Comicon, but if you have little children who aren't fussy about their dress up clothes being made from hot glue and paper plates then this is going to work for you.

The kids were so happy with how it turned out and it was pretty easy to pull off with some stuff that you likely have in your cupboards already.They were enjoying their Rogue Squadron status so much that I decided to make them "flight suit" hoodies, and I'll post the printable iron on decal that I made for those in the next post. This post however is all about making the helmets. Here's all the bits and bobs we used to make them.

The easiest thing to use as a base for this was going to be their bike helmets, but I didn't want to permanently alter them or damage them. The solution was to cover the bike helmet with one of the white trash bags that we use for our kitchen bin. I laid out the bag and wrapped it around the helmet and then used masking tape to tape around the edge of the helmet to hold it on. We just had cheap Kirkland bin liners, but if you had the fancy stretchy ones you could probably make this look really neat and tidy.

Then I trimmed off the excess bin liner, leaving enough so that I could fold it into the helmet and use a few bits of masking tape to hold it down.

Doing it this way means that when you are done and want to use your bike helmet to go out for a bike ride again, you can just peel of the masking tape and the whole x-wing pilot helmet will come off the top leaving the bike helmet underneath undamaged. Now you need a couple of paper plates (These ones I sort of popped the rims over on, but with the other type we used we didn't do that and both ways worked)

The next step was to use a low temperature hot glue gun to glue a white paper plate to each side of the helmet to get the shape right. We used two different kinds of paper plate for our two helmets, just to see which looked better, and I think they are both pretty ok really, so most any type of paper plate should work fine. The really cheap ones with the crimped edges we had to double up to make the card thick enough to be sturdy though.

We also cut and glued on a third plate at the back to make it a full helmet.

For the mohawk section that runs down the center of an x-wing pilot's helmet we cut two strips of corrugated cardboard from an old box and then wrapped it up in some butcher's block paper and glued it on with the hot glue.

I think it might be important to note that we used low temperature hot glue for all of this. I think if you tried it with the high temp stuff then you'd wind up melting the plastic bin liner that you'd used to cover the bike helmet and possibly damage the helmet underneath.

Once all the extra stuff was glued on to get the shape right, we  decorated our helmets with pens (we used Sharpie permanent markers because the one type of white plate we used had a sort of waxy finish to it that regular pens wouldn't write on) I also drew the Rebel Alliance logo onto some card circles for them to glue on. Here's a link to a pretty good reference photo of the movie helmets if you want to copy the decals on them for your own helmets.

We didn't have any yellow transparent plastic handy to use for the visors on the helmets, so we used some clear plastic that was in the recycling bin from some random packaging and the kids coloured it with orange and yellow Sharpie pens. That sort of worked, but it wasn't really very yellow and if we were setting out to do this from scratch again then I think I'd try and find maybe a cheap yellow plastic see through sleeve or wallet from an office supply store that could be cut up and used for the visor.
All in all this was fast, cheap, easy, and the kids have got some good fun out of them. They decided that they should wear their dad's DIY safety glasses under the helmets to make the visors look more real, which is what you can see in the photo.

My friend Jordan says that there are actually at least two women fighter pilots in Rogue Squadron! I had no idea because they aren't present in the movies, but I was pretty stoked to find out it wasn't all men as I'd assumed. Very glad that the Rebel Alliance is equal opportunities, even if it was "long ago" and "in a galaxy far far away"!

Next post will be the flight suit hoodies :)


  1. In the briefing scene aren't there a couple of women? These look awesome.


  3. Brava, Linds! These are so cool. I am definitely going garage sale hunting for bike helmets to make some of these - we've been having faaaaaaaaaaaaaaar too much girly princess/mermaid stuff going on here lately and I need something faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar more cool than that. Also going to make small wooden R2D2s - supplies coming in the post already! Excited. Hope you all feel better soon!

  4. Holy cr@p- my son would go bonkers for one of these. BDay party fun in our future. thx!!!

  5. You know, Yours was the first DIYAwesomeness blog I ever followed. And while I've since added a dozen more, yours is my favorite. I seriously miss you in the in betweens! Stay healthy kids! :)

  6. Yay for an update. Glad to see you back, and the helmets are cool!!

  7. these are great! my husband just made our 3 year old one to wear to free comic book day last weekend. thanks for the inspiration!

  8. So, these are pretty much the most amazing helmets ever. Thanks for the inspiration and tutorial!

  9. I know this a Kid's DIY but its also helpful for many of us low budget college students who are super nerds! This is an awesome idea! Thank you! =D


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