Crafty crap

Athena’s Corinthian Helmet: A How-to Guide

Athena Helmet in progressWhile I was basking in the glow of successfully making my daughter a Shield for her Athena Halloween Costume, it occurred to me that she couldn’t just carry a shield and not have a helmet.

Of course, this realization happened late in the evening, October 30th.

“Holy crap! How am I going to pull off making a helmet at the last minute?”

I searched Google for images of Athena’s helmet for inspiration, and was immediately overwhelmed. Most versions of Athena’s helmet seemed far too elaborate to make as a last minute project with items on hand around the house.

After an extensive search, I decided my best bet was to recreate the Corinthian-style helmet, as it seemed to be the least complicated helmet to make.  I used this photo of a Corinthian helmet as inspiration.

This tutorial has a zillion steps, because the process of making the mock Corinthian helmet is a bit involved, so you may want to run to the bathroom or make a snack or something before you get started. I’d hate for you to get a bladder infection or starve to death before you reach the end of this post.  That would really suck.

Here are the supplies I used to create Athena’s helmet:

– Old baseball cap
– Cardboard
– Sheet of Copy Paper
– Foil (18″ wide works best)
– Brass brads
– Stapler
– Spray adhesive
– Pen
– Sharpie marker
– Ruler
– Knife
– Scissors

The Ever-So Tedious Process:

1) Find a baseball cap around the house.  Try to use one that has seen better days, so you won’t be too heartbroken about basically destroying it.  My daughter volunteered this one:

Athena's ball cap

The sacrificial baseball cap.

2) Realize the sacrificial cap isn’t the stiffest thing in the world. How on earth is it going to support the foil overlay if it’s all floppy like this?


3) Cut 4 strips of lightweight cardboard. These are used to stiffen the floppy part of the hat.

Support strips

4) Glue the cardboard support strips to the inside of the cap. I used spray adhesive for the job.

Tuck the strips under the inside edge of the cap. (There is probably a term for the inside edge of the cap, but I don’t feel like Googling it. Sorry. It’s the part I’m pointing to with the arrow down there.)

Tucking the strips will keep the supports more secure.

Hat supports

5) Now the cap is sufficiently stiff.  See?

Stiff cap

6) Now what? Um… Get a sheet of copy paper and some cardboard. The piece of cardboard should be bigger than the piece of paper or this will not work. At all.

Paper and cardboard

Why? Well, you’re going to end up putting the cardboard inside the  back of the cap to make the front of the helmet, and it’ll need to look something like this:

Make sure you have a large enough piece to do that, okay? Okay.

7) Take a sheet of copy paper and fold it in half, width-wise.

The whole thing gets a little fuzzy from here on out. 😛

8) Draw the image below on the paper, as shown:


This will become the pattern for the face plate.

9) Cut the pattern out of the paper.


10) Unfold the pattern.

Unfolded pattern

11) Using a ruler, plot out the midpoint of the cardboard. Match the center of the pattern to the center of the cardboard, then trace the pattern onto the cardboard. When you are finished, it will look something like this:

Pattern traced

12) Cut it out, already. When you’re done it will look like this:

Pattern cut out

13) Cut three slits at the top of the cardboard, like this:

Cut out slits in mask

14) Fold the slits so that the cardboard piece will mold to the shape of the hat.  It helps to actually do this while the hat is on the head of the helmet’s intended wearer.

Mold front piece to hat

15) Staple the folded slits so that the helmet keeps its shape.

Staple the folds

Once you do that, the front cardboard piece will be able to stand on its own. 🙂

16) Pop the front piece back onto the hat (while the intended wearer is wearing it), and mark lines where the cardboard will attach to the hat.

The lines will look like this when you’re done:

Marking attachment point

17) Grab the spray adhesive and get ready to attach the cardboard to the hat. (Finally!)

Getting ready to attach cardboard

When using spray adhesive, be sure to work in a well-ventilated area.  Outside is best, if the weather allows.

18) Spray the adhesive on the outside of the hat on the area where you wish to attach the cardboard.

19) Attach the cardboard piece to the hat, as shown.

Attaching cardboard

20) Pop the whole thing on the intended wearer’s noggin.

21) Fold the nose piece down a smidge, so it’s not sticking up. The midline you drew before is a good spot for this, but you can fold it at whatever point looks best on the wearer.

Fold down nose piece

22) The straight edges on the front look wonky. Let’s fix that. Draw curves on the side pieces of the cardboard. These will provide guidelines for trimming the cardboard into a more pleasing, Corinthian-helmet-esque shape.

Trim lines for sides

23) Trim the edges along the guidelines.

Trim edges

Ah! That’s better!

That's better

Not done yet!  You want this sucker to stay put on the ball cap, right?

24) Staple the cardboard piece to the ball cap.  This will make sure the attachment is extra secure, especially for the foil step coming up.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to staple so that the rough side of the staple is on the outside of the cap, otherwise you will snag the wearer’s hair. Ouch.

Staple to hat

25) Grab the foil and the spray adhesive.

26) Apply spray adhesive to the areas of the hat and cardboard that you plan to cover with foil.

27) Attach foil to the helmet.  Start with the ball cap brim, and work around to the front of the helmet. Don’t worry if there are gaps. You can fill in with more foil later, if need be.

Applying foil

Start with brim…

Applying foil

…move to front cardboard piece.

When you are done attaching the foil it will look like this:

Once foil is attached

28) But, wait! There’s more!

Nearly done

Are you kidding me, Mom? We’re supposed to trick or treat in an hour!

29) Grab the brads. The fasteners, not your neighbors named Brad.

30) Attach brads along edges of the foil-covered cardboard, starting with the nose piece.

TIP: Using an X-acto knife to start slits for the brads to go through will make the process much easier.

Attaching brads

Keep going…

Keep going

Almost there…

Almost done

31) Ta-da!  Your helmet is complete!

Finished Corinthian Helmet



32) Throw on your Athena costume, grab your shield, and get ready for some trick-or-treating.

Full Athena costume




3 thoughts on “Athena’s Corinthian Helmet: A How-to Guide

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