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How to: Knightmare shield and helmet

23 August 2011 by Amy Hansford

For my 30th birthday we had a Kids TV themed party. I chose to go as a character out of Thundercats while Alex opted for going as a generic kid from the programme Knightmare. Huge credit to this kid for making us realise it was possible to make this outfit. I couldn’t find any pictures of the actual shield, so ours is based on his. While the photos don’t start until halfway through, I thought it might be helpful to post a guide on how to make such an outfit.

The only item bought in advance was a viking helmet to use as a base.

You will need:
Cardboard (I used the one the helmet came in)
Viking helmet
Black pen
A4 card
Newspaper (I used the free ones, collected over a fortnight)
PVA glue (school glue) (We could only find it in Hobbycraft)
Strong adhesive
Kitchen roll

Step 1: Making shapes
For the shield, I found a cardboard box big enough and drew on a basic shield shape before cutting it out. At this stage it looked like a giant guitar pick.
For the helmet, I blew a balloon up bigger than Alex’s head, then sellotaped A4 paper around from the middle downwards to extend into a helmet shape. Note – you should use card as it’ll give it more strength!

The plain shield with built up edges and central piece

The plain shield with built up edges and central piece

Step 2: Building up
For the shield, I twisted newspaper and taped it around the front edge of the template. I also used more scrunched paper to build up the middle area of the shield where the raised eye would be. Both areas were built up around an inch high from the base.
For the helmet, I used a mix of 1/3 PVA glue 2/3 water and pasted strips of newspaper all over the balloon and attached paper. I probably did around 4 layers before moving on to the next stage. It takes a long time, so be prepared to do this over several days to allow each layer to dry.

Step 3: More of the same
For the shield, I pasted newspaper all over the front. Once dried, I took some more cardboard and taped it on the back to make a handle, followed by – you guessed it – more newspaper pasting!
For the helmet, it was time for the embellishment at the top. I taped a larger, pointed scrunch on newspaper at the front, three rounded scrunches to form a cross behind it, then two smaller scrunches inbetween the left/rear and right/rear. I then took a piece of card cut in the same shape and taped this on top – I also used strong adhesive to help. Once settled, I pasted with newspaper.

Sticking the viking helmet (minus horns) inside the cropped popped balloon

Sticking the viking helmet (minus horns) inside the cropped popped balloon

Step 4: Shield 80% Helmet 60%
With the shape of the shield now complete, it was time for the final top layer – kitchen roll. I used the PVA mix from before and pasted this on to give a strong and single colour base on which to paint later.
The balloon still inside the helmet was burst. Make sure you have scissors on hand to quickly cut away from the sides of the helmet to avoid it collapsing in on itself. Having been cut down to a point where Alex could see his feet, I took the plastic viking helmet (minus horns) and glued it inside the paper helmet. This would ensure it sat comfortably on Alex’s head.

Step 5: Helmet 70%
At this point, the kitchen roll was still drying – while it’s stronger and a better base, it takes longer to set.
I glued the horns to either side of the helmet using sellotape to secure the position and to fill in the gaps, then papered it.

Before the paper...

Before the paper…

Before and after the paper

…and after the paper

Step 6: Helmet 80%
I taped thick string (doubled up) around in the pattern seen on the original helmet, then kitchen rolled over this.

Lots of lovely string

Lots of lovely string

Lots of lovely kitchen roll

Lots of lovely kitchen roll

Step 7: Finish
Finally, I painted the shield and helmet. No pics of the process due to mysteriously vanishing from my phone.
The shield was painted grey on both sides with a red iris on a white eye. The eye was outlined with black paint to make it stand out more.
The helmet was painted white/grey for the horns, black for the ‘top’ piece, brown for the main helmet and black for the front centre drop. Gold paint was used for the stringed areas. Do note I was guessing at the majority of the colours. I was going for it looking good rather than being completely accurate.
Alex used a pin to put several dozen holes in the front in patches to allow him to see. Visibility was still limited, but you couldn’t see any holes from the front at all.

Finished Knightmare helmet

The completed helmet!

And so, the finished product!

If you make your own Knightmare helmet or shield, do let me know. It’d be interesting to have a bit of a gallery!

1 Comment »

  1. Mike says:

    Awesome, I made one about 8 years ago for Scouts we were playing Knightmare with a Laptop in the Scout Hut. We had “Elves” putting in obstacles to match the floor plan.

    My Helmet was Cardboard bands overlaid like scale mail with plates decorations glued on. Being cardboard it couldn’t take the weight of horns. 🙁 So Kudos to you on putting them on.

    Great Job.

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