helmets and armor out of papier-mache?

Discussion in 'Costuming and Props' started by myself_me, Jul 16, 2003.

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  1. myself_me Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 16, 2003
    star 4
    Heard something about creating this out of papier-mache. If so, is someone here who coul give advice? links? tips? And yesereee :) I have tried google already, but I didn't find that much info which to start upon. Any help would be hot :)
  2. The-Matt-Man Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 19, 2002
    star 4
    I have made a thing or two out of paper mache in my time, and all I can say is that it's only good if you need an expendable peice of something for a very distant shot. Paper mache is VERY brittle. If it get's wet, it becomes a big sticky mess, if it sits in the sun too long, it becomes even more brittle and breaks like nothing, and it really doesn't look that great, thus why people who use it for piñatas commonly use a seperate, glued on layer to hide the ugly paper mess.

    There ARE ways around it. You could use a thin layer of super sculpey (I've tried sculpey II and III, they're too thick) and make sure it's nice and smooth, then blowdry it (evenly). It'll still be brittle, just a little smoother though (so you can get a nice smooth paint job).

    If you're desperate for an alternative to stunt armor for a storm trooper or something, it'll do the trick, but aside from that, I'd reccomend doing things the hard way.

    -Matt
  3. MiealDeneb Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Try visiting this topic at "Of the Valar", a LOTR costuming board. Jedi Elf Queen has made Elven armor with paper maché.

    ElvenArmor

    If that doesn't work, go to Of The Valar and then click on the "Elves" section, you will see a post titled "Helms Deep Elven Armor"...that's it. Hope it helps. :)

  4. Stubbzilla TFN Costumes Staff

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    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2001
    star 2
    You can actually make paper mache very durable and mostly water proof. You can make it smooth and very detailed, too. It all depends on what kind of paper mache you use.

    However, I'd recommend Sintra for the armor. It's easier and it's going to look better in the long run.
  5. myself_me Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 16, 2003
    star 4
    how much would it cost me to make a stormtrooper armor, other than a good few weeks of work? If I use Matt-Man's second method, would the armor look somewhat realistic?

    And what about small items like blasters? I wanted to make 1, and at least 3 copies of it, so it can be used by other people, and as a double.

    I don't know, I think my questions were a little stupid, but please answer what is possible.
  6. Azeem TFN Staff, Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 12, 1999
    star 4
    honestly, i wouldn't try making trooper armor. Most of the Troopers in the field are made of ABS plastic. There is no way you could match quality. Trooper armor usually runs from 550-650 on ebay.

    Stubbzilla can make a nice jetpack out of it but the armor piecs still require plastic.
  7. Skaught Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2001
    star 2
    You could make a cute costume, but nothing that would resemble anything "realistic" looking.

    Scott
  8. Stubbzilla TFN Costumes Staff

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    Jan 30, 2001
    star 2
    In the hands of an expert, paper mache can look very good. In the hands of most, no. The work required to make it turn out really well is going to be extensive.
  9. SithKittie Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 5, 2003
    star 1
    I've been having some fun with posterboard, modge podge, and newspaper, and it's coming out ok. granted, i suck with everything but fabric, but i've found that if you cut the newspaper the same shape as the surface u're putting it on, it comes out much smoother. it also, well, modge podge at least, can be molded when it's still wet. I've only been working on teh chest piece for ST armor, and quite honestly, i'm ready to give it up. it's fun and all, but it's sooooo much work.

    I've only ever seen one set of ST armor out of paper mache, and it was ok, but a lot of the problem was that it looked like he used a water-based paint, like tempra, and the sculpting was a little off.

    However, i have seen mandalorian armor out of paper mache that looked really good. personally, if i had the money, i'd go with the sintra method, but yeah.

    I think for the helmet, it could be sculpted out of wire-mesh then paper mached over that, which would give it a stronger frame and better shape - avoiding the cylinder look or the flat top. also, using acrylic paints, or (haven't tried this method yet) car paint, does (should) give it a more polished finish. it's also stronger and doesn't flake like water based paint and should take away some of the fragileness. I made a cabinet for my ma' out of paper mache and used acrylics to paint it, and the thing's still alive :p course i'm not wearing it and goofing around in it >_<

    course, another problem with the helmet's gonna be the smell inside. paint/glue/paper mache *gag* but that would go away eventually.

    as for the weapons, i found a site somewhere that had a tutorial on how to build a blaster rifle out of pvc pipe for pretty cheap. i'll look around somemore to see if i can find it again. the only problem with making a blaster out of paper mache is that you might crush it on accident :p or smack it against something or anything else.

    I'm not sure how long paper mache armor will last. if you take care of it, obviously, it'll last longer. and acrylic might help waterproofing it some. but, I dunno, pretty much my final decision on making stuff out of paper mache is that I'm not doing anything too huge, ie full body armor. I'm lookin around for ways to make an IRG helmet and eventually I'm going to make mandalorian armor for my coz, but i'm thinking ST armor is just way too detailed and way too big for me to handle.

    course, i'm not saying you should give up. on the contrary. i applaud you for making the effort, and i'd love to see the final results.

    *looks over post* ok, that's really long, kinda rambling, but, hm. well, i'm kinda mixed about this. i really like the idea of making armor out of paper mache, but i'm finding it so ... ick. (and i'm generally a very patient person :p) I'm with you on your call for help tho dude, that's all i can really say. i've posted in a ton of forums for help, but i dont' think many people - besides JediElfQueen (who did graciously help me) - have done this. but i'll be checking back to see if anyones added more info. hope what i wrote helped a bit. don't mean to sound discouraging, but you really should know that you're in on an enourmous project. :) good luck
  10. Stubbzilla TFN Costumes Staff

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    Jan 30, 2001
    star 2
    You can get an entire 5'x8' sheet of Sintra for $25 if you look around. There are even websites where you can have it shipped for not much more.

    EDIT - I still wouldn't recommend trying to make ST armor out of it.
  11. Raef_Wolfe Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2003
    star 4
    Paper Mache armor is right up there with Graphite (AKA glof club) Sabers. Something you wouldn't want to do. Would break and not work well at all.


    I've never tried making armor, but I know from exoerience that Paper Mache is bad news for aything other than covering stuff :(
  12. Scruff Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 25, 1999
    star 4
    It's interesting you said that Wolfe. They're using carbon fiber tubes for lightsabres in Ep III because they're less likely to break than the aluminum ones. A company in Australia that makes fishing rods is supplying them. (July 19 tf.n update)

    My first attempt at paper mache was making Greek type helmets. They sorta looked ok, but nowhere near smooth-looked like somebody had beat them with a ball bat.
  13. Raef_Wolfe Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2003
    star 4
    Interesting. Well, my personal experience says no. We've broken too many of them.


    Adn yes, they'reused often. My bro's making a fanfilm and they practise their choreography a lot more than anything else. Maybe they just need to check their shots, but for now we'll use wood and strong metal. Mainly wood. But it still splinters.

    Thank god for Parksabers plastics :)
  14. YouAgain Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 2001
    star 5
    Found this on the net


    [image=http://www.studiocreations.com/stormtrooper/images/scotth_36.jpg]

    [image=http://www.studiocreations.com/stormtrooper/images/scotth_37.jpg]


    is suposbdly paper maché.
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