How To Make a Great Helm

Great Helm Pattern and Construction

by K. Grayson

Our thanks to K. Grayson for allowing us to re-publish this article on Arador.

Also see: How to Make Armor and Building Spaulders – an exercise in basic hammerwork, finishing, and assembly.

This type of helm is a nice basic helm to make. It is typical of those found throughout western europe from about 1275 till about 1375. This makes it perfect for those recreating transitional era armour. This is based of several helms c1300. Two examples can be seen on the right.

The first of these helms I made in Janurary 2001.

These patterns are designed to fit a 61.5cm (24″) head, with 12mm (1/2″) padding. (see also: Facts and Myths about Armour Patterns)

Note: Some gifs are not displaying properly, please right click the image box and save it to your computer.

Great Helm

The Patterns

Click on each image then print it out using a full sheet of A4 paper. Carefully cut around the outside of the lines.










Putting it together

Get a sheet of mild steel. I would recommend 16 gauge, but if you prefer a little extra protection, then use 14 gauge. If you are making this for SCA combat, make sure your steel is true 16 gauge (1.600mm) or 14 gauge (2.000mm), as it often may not be. Place the patterns on your metal and mark around them. Then cut out your pattern with a jigsaw, angle grinder, nibbler, metal shear, or snips. (see also: Wire and Sheet Metal Sizes)

Step 1) On the top piece, use a blunted cold chisel to score around the dotted line, then fold each tab down.

Step 1
Step 1

Step 2) Curve the top back piece around a pipe-like object, making sure to get the flared-out shape. Then drill holes and rivet it to the top plate.

Step 2
Step 2

Step 3) Fold the top front down the dotted line and curve the rest slightly. Then rivet to the top plate, and top back.

Step 3
Step 3

Step 4) Curve the back bottom and rivet it to the top bottom.

Step 4
Step 4

Step 5) Fold the front bottom down the dotted line and rivet to the back bottom.

Step 5
Step 5

Step 6) Rivet the nasal to the front top, drill breathing holes, pad up and its done!

Step 6
Step 6
Note: top plate tabs can go either inside or outside. Great helm construction by R. McWilliams
Note: top plate tabs can go either inside or outside. Great helm construction by R. McWilliams
  • Tim Robinson

    I have never seen how to make a great helm explained so easily. After I complete my current projects, we must try this.

  • lawrence

    This looks for me a beginner though when i printed the patterns out all on A4 paper it looked very small, I even done a mockup in cardboard, what have i done wrong. thank you for time lawrence

  • K Grayson

    I’m very glad people are still getting good use of this. The size issue was from converting it from A4 to letter standard and it got a little skewed somewhere. It will usually need some slight change from person to person anyway, so make it first out of cardstock to fit, then cut in metal when the size is right.

  • Lee Wagoner

    How big of a sheet of steel does this require? I’m thinking 18 gauge. How much did the sheet cost for you? Thanks!

  • Yang, Ming-tien

    I am a volunteer guide for Chimei Museum in Taiwan. This is a very useful and wonderful reference for me to make a helmet easily with cardboard. I believe it will be very attractive for visitors’ attention to our weapon area, then leading to know how a helmet be designed or how to buy a suitable helmet.