Duct Tape Helmet:  Man’s NEW Best Friend

Duct Tape Helmet: Man’s NEW Best Friend

Last updated on August 7th, 2015

Duct tape has existed for millennia.  But it is only recently that mankind has unlocked it’s full potential as clothing.  This year I decided to join the enlightened wearers of duct tape following the innocent Halloween time question to my four year old: “Do you want daddy to have a costume too this year?”  I don’t know how the real Elsa from Frozen would have responded but my daughter naturally said “yes.”

Now in no way was I already thinking of making a duct tape helmet and used Halloween as my “in” to doing it and not looking like an idiot.  Let’s just get THAT out of the way right now.

Uh, yeah….

For the Souls fans out there, I made my wife do a quick comparison between Solaire and Oscar and we were off to the realm of “attempting to make an Elite Knight helm from tape and fencing wire.”  Luckily this realm happened to be in our living room.  What follows is an exciting and tantalizing story of adversity, triumph and me trying to get way more mileage out of this mediocre achievement than I really should…


 

October 30th, 2014: Late Evening

Following me devising the plot above to end up with my duct tape masterpiece, I begin to plan the specifics on actually doing it.  Now remember I had “never” contemplated a duct tape helmet before so there’s no way I had already started thinking of the engineering of Solaire’s bucket helm.  Naturally then, the Elite Knight Helm wasn’t a complete rewrite of my plan or anything…  I got out my fencing wire (as seen previously in my chain mail article) and started a frame that I prayed would work.  Long story short, between the difficulty in making anything symmetrical with wire and the even difficultier necessity of trying to splice fencing wire together, I was less than pleased at the beginning.  Knowing I had one knight to do this in, I told my wife before she went to bed, “I might just scrap the whole thing.”  Prior to my family going to sleep I had what looked like a demented early prototype of a football helmet.  Things were not looking up.

October 30th, 2014: Late Knight

Duct Tape Helmet 3Having my cruddy football helmet in hand I decided to press on and cross my fingers.  This made cutting tape difficult but you can’t argue with luck and superstition.  My biggest foe for the visor seemed to be symmetry.  Crossing my fingers might have led to better blood flow to my brain because I had a revelation at that point.  I could cut the cloth/tape into the needed shape while folded for symmetry purposes and THEN add fencing wire for rigidity.  This turned out to be genius.  Or at least “not stupid as hell.”  Three hours later and I had my helmet.  The total time was between four and five hours.  This is why I didn’t get to more than just a helmet.  Maybe next time I’ll have learned my lesson and start making things sooner than the day before it’s needed (hint: I won’t).  Also note that I somewhat failed.  While I think I did a decent job I acknowledge the many reasons it’s not the Elite Knight Helm before anyone tears into me for it. Let’s just label it as “Based on a true story helmet.”

October 31st: Work

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She’s probably smiling like crazy under that thing

Knowing that there’s a costume contest at work that day I make the executive decision to bring my helmet with me.  This is following everyone in the family trying it on of course.

The important thing is that finally, after all these years, I can say that I walked into work with a duct tape helmet on.  I’m living the dream.

As the day progresses, I stumble across many ways in which the duct tape helmet is the greatest invention of all time.  I come to the realization that I can fall asleep in meetings and no one would ever know.  Sadly I don’t have any meetings except for the costume contest/get together and can’t directly test this idea.  As there was food which needed eating, the helmet couldn’t remain on.  I could have made a few faces at people though and they’d have been none the wiser.  Leaving work for the day I make further important decisions such as putting my coffee mug and other items in the helmet to carry them out, thus creating the most badass and manly purse to ever be.  The kind of purse you might see Conan the Barbarian toting around if only it matched his leather underwear.  If you take nothing else from this article, it is my sincere wish that the image I just placed in your head will haunt you forever.

October 31st:  Trick or Treating

Due to some drizzle we needed an umbrella.  My wife held this as it turns out that a duct tape helmet is excellent rain gear.  Score another one for the Elite Knight Rain Hat.  I should market this.

Right out of the gate I was also confronted with a pine tree whose branches were threatening to scratch my head.  Not on THIS guy tree!  Duct tape helmets are practically invulnerable to pine needles!  It’s at this point that I convince myself that I found a permanent new wardrobe item.

I was worried that my decreased peripheral vision would lead to an injury once it got dark.  At one point I nearly twisted my ankle when I didn’t see a piece of sidewalk that was elevated.  This occurred during a rare moment when I wasn’t wearing the helmet, thus proving I should indeed always be wearing the helmet.

Several people noticed the awesomeness of the helm.  One, reveling in my glory, stated “Duct Tape Knight.”  That was it, but no further discussion was needed.  Another, noting my lack of other armor, concluded I must be “one of those modern day casual knights.”  You sir, nailed it.  And finally, toward the end of our perilous journey a small lad turned his face up into the (light) rain with a face aglow with admiration and hope that I might free his land from the tyranny of beasts and villainy and tyranny.  He then said, and I believe I recall a slight waver in his voice (out of respect and awe I imagine), “I like your helmet.” As only a gallant knight could reply, I bellowed in a normal talking voice “I like your shirIt was royal blue and had the number “14” and “Watkins” on the back.  Which you of course knew despite not being there.  GO BILLS!

With my knightly duty of protecting the princess complete, we returned home to the most important thing out of this whole story…

Duct Tape Helmet 1

My daughter got an ENTIRE BAG of candy and we added a night full of memories before she hits the age where daddy and his brand of nonsense become an embarrassment.

 

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7 comments on “Duct Tape Helmet: Man’s NEW Best Friend”

  1. Avatar DarkNoobz says:

    i’m impressed and a lil shocked at the same time, lol

    :cheers:

  2. Avatar skarekrow13 says:

    Next year: Pauldrons!

  3. Avatar DarkNoobz says:

    please teach us how to make duct tape armors. we need a tutorial. will make my own lol.

  4. Avatar skarekrow13 says:

    Oh boy. A tutorial huh? That might be tough unless I make another one (and I’m good on the helmet front, not happening). I could maybe make a sketch of the wire frame and pray that it’s coherent enough to follow. But that’s really the tough part. Adding the tape is easy. I have a crap ton of stainless steel fencing wire that I use for just about everything.

    I made a frame custom fit for my head (a little snug at first) and then use one of two taping methods to make the rest.

    For the main helm, I simply kept attaching strips of tape from one part of the wire frame to another making sure to leave some slack so that it could make curved sides. I did that relatively easily and accurately by starting with a main strip across the center (ear to ear, not mouth to back of neck). This needs to be on the inside of the helm as you’ll be sticking your head in to make sure you have enough room to put it on, but not so much room as to have a lot of excess tape that will crinkle. If you start on the outside you might lose hair. As this is one of the first strips, if you got the length wrong, just take it off and try again. The rest of the shell is a snap after this. Then you just do the outside so you’re not sticking to anything.

    For the visor I made a large piece of duct tape cloth. This is a good skill to learn for any duct tape craft (I’ve made my wife a skirt, hair things for my daughter and a mini kite because what the hell, kites are fun). All you do is lay down a strip sticky side up the length you need. Then another slightly overlapping. Still sticky side up. Do this until you have the length and width you want. Then just go over the whole thing again but sticky side down. You should be left with non stick gray on both sides of your piece. Then you simply cut out the shape you need.

    In this case the main visor is actually two sections which is hard to see in the pics. The Elite Knight helm has a small jutting area at the nose I wanted to capture. I didn’t nail that. Also of note, the lower section was made from one cut of cloth but in order to get the curvature I made a curved cut in the center leaving me with two pieces that I had to tape back together but not in a curved form.

    Anyway, after I cut my pieces I added one piece of wire to each to make them rigid and just duct taped the wire on the inside.

    There’s some detail work I did which would be harder to explain but if you’re serious about doing one, I’d be more than welcome to elaborate. Nothing really popped until I did a few little beautifications. Think of the above as a "this is what I’m getting myself into" tutorial.

  5. Avatar DarkNoobz says:

    i’d be interested to see the wire frame :biggrin:

    everything else was explained pretty clearly, minus the beatification. that i guess was just creativity. cutting holes and what not?

  6. Avatar skarekrow13 says:

    I’ll see if I can come up with a coherent diagram.

  7. Avatar skarekrow13 says:

    Here we are…

    I just drew on pictures of the final thing. Each color (except one i note below) represents a different wire. Unless indicated otherwise, if the colors look like they touch the wires are joined together there. These are quite rough and the actual wire frame was much more symmetrical. Ask away if you want more explanation
    Apart from the blue wire, assume it's symmetrical on the other side. The green and blue do join at the front but not the back. The green has about a 3 to 4 inch gap in the back to allow more flexibility. The blue is also just floating in the back. Since i had to fit this on my head i made sure to curl the wire back to avoid being stabbed or scratched. I can detail that process if you need. The orange to red at the chin is where i started taping to make a chin strap. Both wires need to be carefully fitted to your face to make this work.
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    This shows the red (first wire i made, then blue, green and orange) as one piece. Make sure to look at both this and the last drawing to get the right shape.
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    Finally the visor. This is two wires but I got lazy with colors. Plus this is the easy part. You'll need to curve them to fit the helmet but it's just a straight piece to start.
    Image


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