DIY Halloween! Cardboard Roman soldier costume

My costume-averse 10-year old asked to be a Roman soldier for Halloween this year. Finally. FINALLY. I’d get to dress him up for Halloween! So, instead of buying a costume, I decided to indulge my love of papercraft to create a Roman soldier costume out of cardboard. Ahh, cardboard. Brings back memories… (Cue flashback music)

Many moons ago, when Anouck and I were first-year art school students, we spent countless hours making cardboard creations for a 3D foundation class. Memorable projects include: a bag that could hold up to 50 pounds; a chair you could sit on; an egg cozy that kept an egg safe from a 20 feet drop (I hate when that happens); and a violin. Cardboard is surprisingly versatile. And ubiquitous! I bet we all have an Amazon box (or two) in the house.

This isn’t a how-to post, but if I have requests, I might create one. Let me know in the comments!

Here’s how the costume turned out.

The helmet

First, the helmet. (Click to enlarge image)

Apologies for the lack of step-by-step photos, but as mentioned above, I didn’t think of turning this project into a post.

Anyways, no pattern exists for this helmet. I started by creating a 1 1/2″ band of cardboard that fitted snugly around the head. From there, I built out the helmet with 1″ strips of cardboard. Once the helmet took shape, I added the side and back flaps, visor, then the big crest on top.

The crest ended up slightly heavier than the helmet. To secure it properly, I used some toothpicks to firmly glue the crest to the helmet.

This Instructables post provided a good starting point while this post on The Cardboard Collective goes into more detail. You’ll see that none of the parts need to be perfect, and you’re in complete charge of how much detail you put into it!

The armor

The armor took some trial and error. People with sewing and patternmaking experience might have an easier time. (Click to enlarge image)

I searched online and found a diagram of what a Roman soldier’s armor looked like, and attempted to recreate the look with cardboard.

There are velcro on the side and chest for taking the armor on and off.

The end result


I’m pretty happy with it! My kiddo was too. 😁

DIY projects and self care

To be honest, this project was a part of my self-care routine. In keeping with Vinay’s post Refilling The Empty Cup (a must read), I engaged in an activity that was creatively rewarding. The bonus was that it made my kiddo happy too.

Have a safe & happy Halloween!



Here are some online resources for making your own costumes and papercraft!

Knight’s Helmet – A very impressive knight’s helmet by Zygote Brown Designs. She offers patterns in her shop. Check out the Viking helmet too!

DIY Cardboard Knight Armor – Another impressive knight costume with step-by-step DIY photos.

Use this glue! It’s the best.



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