When Zoey decided she wanted to be Princess Skateboarder for Halloween I knew I needed to make the accessories required by the costume for it to feel complete. The two main accessories needed are the skateboard, posted last week, and the knight’s helmet. Here’s how I made the helmet and it’s in such a way that you could easily shape or paint it differently to make any kind of costume hat needed.
In the Princess Skateboarder video, found through the Homer website and app, Princess Skateboarder needs to escape a tall tower by using her self-created skateboard. When she first attempts to skateboard away she falls and rips her dress thus realizing she needs to be safer. She had used the shield from the knight’s armor, set up behind her, to create the skateboard so she now grabs the knight’s helmet and other parts of his armor to protect herself with a helmet, elbow pads, and kneed pads. With this protection she’s able to skateboard down the decorative spiraling pathway to escape the tower and head to the town to save them from the dragon’s sleeping spell.
Before going over how I made the safety gear for Princess Skateboarder I figured I’d share all the related posts with you in one easy to find location in case you want to jump through them all. Currently this is only the third post but I will add the links for the next two when they go live.
When I first started planning how to make the helmet I considered just using Zoey’s normal day-to-day helmet and using craft foam to make the helmet’s visor. I even started considering whether Command™ strips might stick to craft foam so the additions could be easily removed from her helmet after Halloween. I then realized just how bright and decorative her helmet truly was and realized it was a lost cause as I’m not going to permanently paint it grey or anything. In the process of these thoughts; however, I came across Fire Lily Cosplay’s craft foam page and purchased several paper-sized sheets of grey craft foam from Michael’s Arts and Crafts that I never did use.
Between the logistics of changing a normal helmet to a knight’s helmet and the fact that the skateboard itself doesn’t roll I realized I could do this in a much simpler way. Somehow at some point I came across a post sharing that a balloon is perfectly sized to be used with paper mache to create a custom helmet for cosplay. As such, one thing led to another and I made Zoey’s helmet using several balloons, brown parcel paper, Mod Podge, and acrylic paint. It turned out awesome.
With a plan kind of in place it was time to get started.
Balloon, Paper, and Mod Podge
I started working on this helmet after creating the skateboard base but before cutting it out. This meant I applied the brown parcel paper, through paper mache, to the balloon, then added it, in the later steps, to the skateboard for any additional details. Once both projects were complete and dried I painted both of them at the same time. Looking back I love how both such drastically different projects where so similar at that point so they could have been paper mached, painted, and Mod Podged at the same time.
Anyway, I started out with a balloon, called Zoey over, and blew up the balloon so it looked like it matched Zoey’s head size. Of course both kids came over so I had to grab three balloons in total so they could each have their own after I blew mine up. Once the balloon was sized and tied with a knot I grabbed my brown parcel paper, ripped it up into smaller sizes, grabbed a bottle of Mod Podge, a foam brush to apply it with, and an orange napkin to help protect the table. I then opened the bottle and used the foam brush to apply the Mod Podge directly onto the balloon. Once I had painted a section of the balloon I then stuck paper down and used my brush to apply more Mod Podge over top of it. I kept repeating this process making sure that I only applied the paper in a helmet-like shape. During this I left my phone opened to the above screenshot and my reMarkable open to my sketch so I could keep comparing my current balloon progress with both images. Once I had a single layer of paper in a helmet-like shape I set it aside to dry.
Balloon Issues = Opportunities to Try the Helmet On
The next morning I came out just to realize that the balloon had popped at some point in the night. Pieces of the balloon were in the thin crumbled paper helmet and in several spots outside of the bin. The fact that the balloon had popped meant that technically I could try it on Zoey so after touching the inside to confirm it wasn’t tacky and was fully dried I had her stand up so we could confirm the size and shape of the potential helmet.
Alterations and Thickening the Helmet
I was glad it had popped because I was able to try it on Zoey and confirmed that I needed to alter it a bit. For one I had to trim some excess paper off as I had applied too much paper mache to the balloon. The second issue was that the helmet itself was too big so I folded the back in to tighten it up. Once I had added the fold I grabbed another balloon and, once it was half the helmet’s size, I placed it inside the helmet and carefully continued to blow until it just filled the helmet without causing the fold to unfold. I then applied Mod Podge over the fold and covered it up with more papers it help hide it and stop it from unfolding immediately. At first I was worried that the fold in the back of the helmet would bug Zoey’s head but it’s not very rough, she hasn’t mentioned it at all when trying the helmet on in the future, and if she changes her mind she could always wear a beanie or something underneath to help cushion it.
The last thing I noticed when trying it on Zoey was that the front of the helmet was too wide so I marked where the outer edge of Zoey’s eyes were, while she was wearing the helmet, so I could extend the sides out once the balloon was back in.
This time around, while I slept, the balloon didn’t pop but instead it had a slow leak so I came out the next morning to find an itty bitty baby balloon within the helmet. Again this worked as the inside was able to dry and I could check how it fit on Zoey without any extra effort. Also it was less crumbled in as most of the helmet was now thicker than before. Again, I tried the helmet on Zoey, trimmed the excess pieces, and then marked any points I needed to extend before taking it off of her and blowing up a replacement balloon to go inside the helmet. I also realized that I needed to work on the helmet in short and close together sessions so I explained to Zoey that I couldn’t wait for her, as she had been helping tear the paper and apply some pieces, and I instead worked on it in quick sessions throughout the day. She wasn’t too disappointed and quickly came to the realization that she could come home from school or out from her bedroom to see what progress had been made on her costume. As a quick aside I started out using Outdoor Mod Podge, as I had extra of it, and then switched to Hard Coat Mod Podge hoping it would add more structural integrity to the final helmet.
Adding the Visor
Once I decided that the helmet was thick enough it was time to figure out the visor. Originally I had planned to take two pieces of craft foam, cut them, shape them, and join them together to form the left and right sides of the visor. While making the helmet; however, I decided to just stick with the paper mache itself since the visor, on Princess Skateboarder, was pushed mostly up and out of the way so it didn’t need to be moveable and I didn’t want to add unneeded weight. With this there was another issue as I worried that the bottom of the visor would sink in as it would stick to the balloon as I created it. To get around this I grabbed some paper towel, folded it to fit the width of the helmet’s opening, and covered it with plastic wrap so the Mod Podge wouldn’t stick too badly to it. I then carefully compared my helmet with the image of Princess Skateboarder and marked where the swivel points on the visor were. I then opened my Mod Podge, ripped some paper, cut four circles out of the paper, and carefully got to work constructing my visor. I started out by placing two of the circles where I wanted the edges of the visor to end, at the swivel points, and then worked from there to construct the overall shape of the visor. Once I was happy with that shape I carefully built up the depth of visor and then, using rolled up pieces of paper, added a vertical line in the center to emulate where the visor was bent. With the visor shape in place I added the last two circles at the pivot points so the circular points were more obvious.
And with that the helmet was shaped.
Once the helmet was thick enough, dried enough, and had all the needed paper mache details it was time to do the final try on! I brought the helmet to Zoey along with a sewing pin as the balloon was magically still blown up and I wanted her to be able to pop it herself this time around. With the balloon out of the way I was able to try it on Zoey and make any final adjustments. I also realized that I needed a new way to hold the helmet above the table and solved this issue by balancing it on my emptied freestanding paper towel holder.
With the final structure of the helmet done it was time to go on to paint the rest of the details on.
Paint and More Mod Podge
With the bottom of the helmet having been trimmed off I was worried whether it would feel sharp against Zoey when pulled on. Thus, before painting, I flipped the helmet upside down and applied more Mod Podge to the edges hoping it helped keep the layers together, softened the edge, and rounded any hard points.
Once the Mod Podge had dried it was time to start painting the helmet. As I mentioned in the previous post I painted the skateboard at the same time as the helmet as, in the video, they came from the same suit of armor. Since I had a light grey paint already I started out by painting the visor itself. Then waiting for the visor to dry I went on to paint the grey bits on the skateboard along with the black and blue parts. I then grabbed some white to make the center fold of the visor stand out before mixing it with the black already on my painting dish. I immediately noticed that my old white paint was clumpy and worried about how it would look on the helmet and skateboard. I pictured some areas being too black while other looked too white rather than proper dark grey. Looking back I needn’t have worried as the clumpy white paint added to the runny black paint worked perfectly for my dappled dark grey. I am so glad I had enough paint for both the skateboard and helmet as I don’t know if I’d be able to duplicate the same look with new paint.
Once painted I waited until both the helmet and skateboard had fully dried and then coated them in Hard Coat Mod Podge to help make them last longer.
And with that the helmet was done!
The Final Helmet
I absolutely love how the knight’s helmet turned out and how perfect it looks with the knight’s shield as a skateboard. I’m so glad I thought to use a balloon and paper mache as the final helmet looks more realistic and is lighter in weight than whatever I could’ve come up with if I had kept on with my original idea.
And with that the helmet is finished! I figured I’d go on in this post to share some of the other Princess Skateboarder accessories with you too.
Knee and Elbow Pads
After Princess Skateboarder attempted to use her created skateboard she fell and decided she needed to be safer. In addition to the knight’s helmet she also used other pieces of his armor as knee and elbow pads.
I wanted to also include this in Zoey’s costume and, at first, considered making them from some kind of black and/or grey fabric and maybe adding craft foam. I then realized it would be so much easier just to buy it and went onto Amazon looking for grey and black safety pads. I found a set, also including wrist guards, that would be similar enough in color to work and although they’re a bit big for Zoey we’re going to go ahead with it unless she wants to go without. Worse case if Zoey wants something and they’re too big to wear for too long I could see wearing the elbow pads, as they’re slightly smaller, as knee pads and going without the elbow ones.
Planned, Started, and Gave Up
In the Homer video once Princess Skateboarder gets to the town she still needs to wake up all the townspeople that the dragon made fall asleep. In her travels; however, three little birds had started following her and she found that whenever she did a trick they’d make louder sounds. As such she skateboarded through town doing tricks and everyone woke up. Happy ending!
With the birds playing such a pivotal role I really wanted to include them too. I considering just buying birds but then decided to make my own. This didn’t turn out quite the way I pictured and between that and all the accessories I decided to simply skip the birds and thus abandoned them. However, in case you’re interested I still wanted to include what I did do in case you want to use parts of it or build on my general ideas. For instance I had planned to use fishing line to attach the birds to a pot handle so they could be carried around more easily which I could see doing if I had bought the birds or made them in a different way.
I had a set of kids pots that we weren’t using and planned to borrow the lid of one of them for this costume. First; however, I needed to make the birds. My big plan started by sketching out a bird and printing a copy of all three of them since they were identical. I then cut three pieces of cardboard the general size of the template, cut two holes in each, and attached a long length of fishing line to them so the birds could later hang from the pot lid and any needed height. I then glued cardboard to either side of the center piece, repeatedly, until the stack was thick enough that I could, ideally, cut and sand the excess away to make the perfect birds’ shape. Finally, I had planned to paint the birds and then tie each one to the pot’s lid and voila I’d have three birds that Zoey could pretend were tweeting up a storm to wake up anyone around.
It was during this cutting process that I started second guessing this entire part of the project. Although I was amazing at somehow not cutting any of the fishing line I did tilt the knife too much and the back of each bird is rather misshapen. As such I debated abandoning this project while cutting them and then gave it all up after having cut them out. My original plan was to somehow shape them, paint them, and then hang them from the pot lid at different heights.
If you’re interested in making these yourself, other than the fishing line part, the birds were basically the same process as my skateboard but made much thicker. Looking back I’d make them thinner and more 2D looking than I had planned. The thinness would help make it easier to keep the bird-shape while cutting the cardboard as well as making it easier to cut. Whether you want to follow the same process or not I did upload my birds’ template so you could download it here:
In case it would be helpful to your process. Feel free to use it if you’d like. And I’d love to hear from you, in the comments below, on how the birds went if you do end up making your own.
I hope this post helps you out whether you’re making your own Princess Skateboarder costume or using the general process to make a different one. I hope it goes great and I’d love to hear what you do in the comments below. Have a great day!
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