Helmets and shields

How to make a cardboard Viking/Anglo-Saxon Helmet and Shield

To make the helmet:

You will need:

  1. Begin by cutting 3 strips of card approx. 3cm wide, one about 65cm long and two about 40cm long. With the longest strip make a band around your head just above your ears. Secure firmly.
  2. To this add one band across the top of head from ear to ear, the other from front to back, leaving a few cms protruding down to make a nose guard at front. Secure together, thus forming the ‘ribs’ for the crown of your helmet.
  3. Paint these silver or grey so they look like metal.
  4. When dry, line the bands with brown paper so it looks like hardened leather. If you are wealthy you could use grey, as you can afford metal.
  5. Earlier Viking warriors added ‘spectacles’ at the front to protect their cheek bones. Add these if you want to.

To make the shield:

You will need:

  1. Cut out a large circle of cardboard to be the basic shape of the shield. Two layers can be glued together to make it stronger. The diameter should be roughly the measurement from the knuckles to elbow doubled.
  2. Take the shallow plastic pot, and draw a circle round it at the centre of your shield. Draw a smaller circle inside that one and cut round it. This will form a lip for the pot to sit on. Push it through and stick it in place with tape to form the ‘boss’ of the shield where your hand will be.
  3. Glue a strip of stiff card to form a handgrip across the hole behind the ‘boss’. To strengthen, push paper fasteners through from front; tape at back. DO NOT rely on tape alone to keep the handle on, or you will constantly be making running repairs on broken handles all day!
  4. Optional – Cover the outside of the cardboard and pot with layers of newspaper to strengthen, finishing with a plain layer.
  5. Paint shield directly on to the cardboard – choose a bright design that will help identify you on the battlefield!

With thanks to Cathy Murphy who came up with the plan for making these with children.