Dark Helmet

For the 2018 costume, Debbie decided to do Dark Helmet from Spaceballs.  My task has been to make the portion of the costume from which it derives its name: the helmet itself.

The helmet needed to be fairly sturdy and is curved, so the material needed to be fairly easy to work with in that regard.  Because weight was also a concern, I decided that fiberglass would be the material for the shell of the helmet.  My plan was to first sculpt a plug out of some other material and once I had the plug the way I wanted it, I could lay the fiberglass on it, pull it off the plug, and have my shell.

Since the plug was something that was just going to be set aside anyway, the material needed to be inexpensive but it also had to be something that I could easily work with hand tools.  Those criteria led me to start off with spray insulation foam.  It’s cheap and once it is dry sanding it is pretty easy.

This started as a much taller pile when I sprayed it out, but as it dried it collapsed and spread out a bit.  I got another couple cans and piled it on a little more slowly.  Once I had a good stack, I got to sanding.

As I was getting in to the finishing stages of the sanding, I realized that I was going to need to build up some areas and smooth out some others.  I chose plaster of Paris for that job and went through about 30 pounds of it.  Definitely not the right tool for the job, but at the time it seemed to make sense.  I built up the plug and then sanded it down.  And then built it up.  And then sanded it down.  And then built it up….  etc etc

Finally, I was left with a plug that was roughly shaped like the helmet I was trying to form.