We made a helmet earlier this summer.
Some months back, Crafteeo sent me their Helmet Kit to try out. The girls and I put it together and in today's post, we're going to tell you all about it.
First, this is a cardboard helmet. Like normal-cardboard cardboard. A bit lighter than amazon-shipping boxes kind of normal cardboard.
That is the most important thing you need to know (if you don't already) - that cardboard becomes amazing things. Especially cardboard paired with electronics. That was my Helmet Kit overview. Now, on to the background.
How-Lun Chen, the brainchild behind Crafteeo is a dad who enjoys making things. One day, he made a helmet for his son and from that experience, was inspired to develop an entire fantasy world called Aeragos.
He created helmet kits in two designs and four colorways, one for each of the four Guardian squadrons in his realm, with plans for swords and body armor to come.
Our kit arrived in a smashing white cardboard box (which we saved for future crafts).
Inside were four sheets of pre-printed cardboard
that was also pre-cut,
so we could easily punch out all the pieces.
Each piece was numbered, labeled and marked with fold lines and glue areas.
Some pieces required curving and contouring,
(a pencil was recommended as a form, but we used a hot glue stick because it was convenient).
We worked on our kit over a few days because summer was a busy time for us and we were out all day most days. We spent a couple of hours on the first evening punching out, rolling and assembling half the helmet. Here is Emily (she's almost 9) with the hot glue gun, assembling the pieces.
I love the level of detail in this helmet
and the resulting rich three-dimensional features.
Many of the surfaces were double-layered: the cardboard was thin enough to be pliable, and any areas of possible weakness were reinforced with at least a second layer. You wouldn't believe how strong this nose bridge piece was.
On the second evening, we finished the construction,
including the installation of the simple electronic circuit that came with the kit.
It was preassembled and securely soldered, and only needed batteries. Ignore our multimeter - you won't need it - it's my best friend whenever I'm playing with my circuit stuff, even if it's just to test battery voltages.
That LED illuminates a decorative piece of plastic in the front of the helmet whenever the helmet is worn, and automatically shuts off when the helmet is removed.
My kids loved the effect.
We painted the helmet on the third day.
The acrylic paints that came with the kit were excellent. I needed only two coats.
I painted all the fiddly bits
and let the girls paint the rest.
Here are different angles of the finished helmet.
Here is the head strap inside the helmet, with little pieces of felt padding for a comfortable fit and to activate the concealed switch that turns on the LED when worn. This head strap is meant to be adjusted to fit the head of the wearer, which was a little tricky for my family since we have three children between 5 and almost-9 years old.
The girth of the helmet fit all three of my kids but the height was perfect for Kate (she's 5)
while it rode a little high on Jenna (who's 7)
and Emily (who's 9).
This was one of the more enjoyable craft kits we've had in a while. The girls enjoyed watching it come together, helping to roll the cardboard pieces, painting it after and even gluing some of the bigger pieces on themselves. They also loved the LED thingy (of course). The materials were of impressive quality. I thought it was very easy to assemble and, because everything was pre-cut, a cinch compared to some of the other cardboard constructions I've made from scratch on my own. I'm excited that Crafteeo is planning more projects to come: a sword, shield and maybe even body armor.
Something to Note:
- The helmets are designed to fit a 21" (or smaller) head.
- The kit comes with all the materials you need to make one helmet. In our kit were four corrugated cardboard sheets of preprinted and precut helmet parts. There were about 90 parts in total, including 3 plastic parts, 3 felt pieces and 1 soldered electronic circuit. We provided a glue gun, glue sticks, a pencil, and some paint brushes.
- Each kit will make one helmet in one of the two designs - the rounder Northern Guardian and the more pointy Southern Guardian versions. Both designs have the same base structure (below the forehead) and a Northern Guardian/Southern Guardian variation in the crown.
- I'm estimating that it took us about 6-7 hours (spread out over three very leisurely evenings) and 6 regular-size hot glue sticks to make our helmet.
- The pdf pattern comes with full-size templates to glue onto your own cardboard material. The document is US Letter size (8.5" x 11"). A few of the template pieces required assembly with tape (or glue) - these were the rectangular strips that had to go around the head and were too long to be printed whole on letter-size paper.
- The instructions for both the kit and the pdf pattern are entirely on video (there were no printed instructions in our kit) which can be found on the Crafteeo website here and here. Each video clip is about 1-3 minutes and is silent and annotated. We found them to be excellent, clear, easy to follow and a superior alternative to printed diagrams or photographs.
- If you buy the pdf pattern, you will need to provide your own cardboard (doesn't have to be white). Pick single-wall corrugated cardboard that's similar to or just a little lighter-weight than typical amazon shipping boxes.
Something to Buy:
- Find everything on the Crafteeo shop page.
- The helmet kits are $24.99 each. They ship domestically as well as internationally. The shipping costs are calculated at the checkout.
- The pdf patterns alone are $7.99, which you can download to your computer, print out and use over and over again to make as many helmets as you need for your own personal kid-battalions.
- You can also buy the pdf pattern+electronic kit+ paint bundle for $14.99. In other words, everything but the cardboard itself. This way, if you want to build multiple helmets but need a little help with the electronics, (the circuit diagram and shopping list for electronic parts are included in the pdf pattern), you'll have a complete, soldered circuit to work with and/or for a sample with which to make more later.
Something to Save:
Crafteeo is offering a lovely discount for ikatbag readers! Enter the code ikathk2013 at the checkout to get $5 off EACH helmet kit you buy. That's $5 off one helmet kit, $10 off two, $15 off three, and so on. The code is valid till 31 Dec 2013.
Something to Win:
Want to win a free helmet kit? Crafteeo is giving away FIVE kits to my readers! Anyone in the world can enter this giveaway. You'll need to do just two things:
1 Go to Crafteeo's homepage (scroll down to the bottom) to sign up to be on their email list,
to be notified of upcoming products, promotions, and new content as they expand the world of the Aeragos Guardians.
2 Come back here and log in to the rafflecopter widget below, telling us you've signed up for the email list.