How to make the Ultimate Disco Ball Helmet

April 09, 2018

How to make the Ultimate Disco Ball Helmet

The Disco Ball Helmet is the ultimate accessory for any festival aficionado. Put this on and instantly be the centre of the party! There are a few methods for making a magical mirror ball helmet of joy, and in this blog we will show you, step-by-step, how we made ours.

We wanted a disco ball helmet that could stand the test of time whilst kicking out some serious sparkle. We opted for building it around an motorbike helmet instead of adapting an existing Mirror Ball. Using the helmet also made it safer to attach large amounts of glass tiles too which are by far the best type of tile to use for maximum DISCO! Unfortunately they don't sell 1cm square glass mirror tiles on sheets that you can cut into strips and glue on in rows so each piece had to be individually glued on. This isn't a quick project, be prepared to put some hours in... but boy will it be worth it! 

Tools you'll need

1.Tape Measure  2.Pliers  3.Safety goggles  4.Wire cutters  5.Tile scorer*  6.Scissors  7.Masking tape  8.Dry wipe/marker pen  9.Old knife  10.Metal raised ruler for scoring glass  11.Plastic spatular – This is actually a saucepan cleaner but anything similar can be used 12.Cutting mat  13.Sandpaper  14.Bowl  15.Whetstone

* We ended up buying two types as the first one, which had a tiny sharp wheel as the cutter, wasn't accurate enough for such small tiles. We found the best one was the blue handled one (in the photos below) with a diamond tip steel pin on the end. This still wasn't perfect but gave more control.

Materials you'll need

1.Open faced Bike Helmet (we got ours from Ebay for £20)  2.Wall tile adhesive – Wilko  3.Silicone tile grout and sealant – Wilko  4.Modroc – Ebay  5.1cm Square Mirror tiles. You will need between 350-450, for a wide range of colours we used the Mosaic Colour Mirror company on Ebay  6.All purpose Glue – Wilko

Prepare the helmet... To start with you will need to remove all the lumps and bumps from the surface of the helmet. Luckily ours had a pop on/off visor so all we needed to do was remove the popper fixtures. Being very careful, we used a knife to loosen the fixtures first, we then wiggled them out the rest of the way with pliers and/or wire cutters.

Scuff the surface... To give the tile adhesive something to stick to, you will need to scuff the surface of the helmet. We used rough sandpaper to do this.

How to make the ultimate disco ball helmet

Prepare the face opening... At this point you need to decide if you want the mirrors to go just on the helmet’s printed surface or come into the face? We went for the latter option which meant we needed to prepare the soft foam area around the face. To make it a solid surface for the tiles to be stuck to we decided to use Modroc (bandages covered in plaster). We pre-cut it into small strips of between 10-15cm to start (You may need newspaper down for this as it can get messy). Dip the strips into warm water whilst gently rubbing them to soften the plaster of paris. Once it has a slimy feel we smoothed it over the foam area and back onto the helmet to cover any ridges. Continue this process until the whole area is covered and leave to dry in a warm place over night to go hard.

N.B: If we did this again, we wouldn't tile this area. It can make it hard to put on and it's also very fiddly when you come to tile it.

Mark your mirror line... We wrapped a tape measure around the helmet, lining it up with the front brim and trying to keep it as straight possible. We then marked the line around the helmet as a guide for sticking the first mirrors. 

How to make the ultimate disco ball helmet

 

Get Tiling... Using the plastic spatular, we smoothed tile adhesive on the helmet then stuck on the tiles following the guide. We tried to leave around a 2mm gap between the tiles. The adhesive drys quite quickly so we'd recommend doing little bits at a time. We used a knife to scrap any excess tile adhesive that oozed up through the cracks of the mirrors as we went.

N.B: In the end, to avoid an excess of adhesive being applied to the helmet, we cut small triangles into the side of our spatular to control the amount going on the surface. Don’t worry if you end up with gaps in-between the tiles as they will be filled in with the grout. It's easier to clean grout off the tiles than the adhesive! You can see and example of this in the bottom right picture below.

Fill in the gaps... We had quite a few gaps to fill in, especially as we’d decided to cover the area around the face in mirrors too. This was the trickiest part of the project. As the tiles are so small they're really hard to cut without crumbling or pinging up into you face!

Firstly we marked with a dry wipe pen onto the tile where it needed to be cut. We then scored the tile down that line trying to apply as much pressure with the blue scorer that we could. We used a metal raised ruler for this job as it protects your hands. Using the pliers and the ridges at the end of the red tile scorer (another pair of pliers can be used if you don’t have the red tile scorer) we gently snapped the tile over a bowl. 

How to make the ultimate disco ball helmet

To get rid of any jagged edges we used a whetstone to file down the edges. As some of the gaps were quite fiddly to put tile adhesive into, we used all purpose glue instead. At this point we also used the whetstone to file down any sharp corners and edges on the helmet. 

Grouting... We started off by covering the black rim around the back of the helmet in masking tape to prevent it from getting covered in grout. If you have only covered the helmet shell then you will need to cover the rim that runs around the whole helmet. We used a flexible grout and sealant in white for a clean, showerproof finish. Once the grout was dry we used the spatular to scrap off the excess from the tiles. Again, a bit tedious but it’s so sparkly that we didn’t actually mind! 

Et Voila... Magical disco vibes all around 💖

Mirror Ball Helmet




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