This past fall I was invited to a “fancy hat party” where fancy or outlandish hats were required attire. Now, I’m sure my hosts would have been satisfied if I had simply gone out to a local costume shop and purchased a cheap plastic fireman’s helmet, or a flimsy foam tri-corner hat and add some feathers to it, however…it’s me…and I always try to challenge myself whenever an element of creativity is called for.
Since I am a huge fan of Asian art and culture, in particular feudal Japanese styles, I settled upon making a samurai helmet or “Kabuto”. I didn’t have a lot of expensive materials lying around, so I turned to the one material I DID have in bulk that could do the job…duct tape.
The whole process was relatively simple. I started with an old ball cap. I then cut the bulk of the brim off, and taped it to the rear part of the hat, angled downward a bit to create a basis for the rear neck guard. It was a process then after of simply applying strips of cardboard, then reinforcing them with more tape to make the right shape. The front “flaps” were simply curled pieces of cardboard, covered in duct tape and then held in shape by using tension from the tape on the backside. The crest was a simple matter of cutting out cardboard forms, covering them in tape, and mounting them to the front of the helmet.
All in all the project only took me about 4 hours. I actually would like to make a full suit of samurai armor this year out of duct tape, and perhaps use different colors. This was indeed an exercise in craft and precision. Overall, I’m happy with the end result. I even looked up the proper knot to tie for the chin strap. We’ll just suffice to say that I was a hit at the party 🙂
Click on the pictures below to see them in greater detail.