Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom; patron goddess of household crafts, art and goddess of war. The Greek capital Athens is named after her. It is said she was born from the head of her father Zeus, king of all the gods. Athena is nearly always depicted in battle armor, with a shield, spear and helmet. Athena’s helmet is typically depicted with a rounded, bulbous back that emphasizes the curve of the back of the head, perhaps symbolizing her extensive wisdom.
Find a skull cap or beanie that snugly fits the intended wearer of the helmet. Measure the distance between the edge of the skull cap and the top of the wearer’s nose, the distance from the edge to the nape of the neck, and the jaw line.
Cut a strip of lightweight wire mesh which goes from the edge of the skull cap to the nape of the neck at the back and the jaw line at the front. Use needle and thread to sew it around the back of the skull cap.
Cut a wire piece that is shaped like a triangle peak; its tip will go to the tip of the nose; the sides should taper up and back so visibility in not compromised when wearing the helmet. Sew it onto the front of the skull cap like you did the back. Use your hands to slightly flare the edge of the wire out at the back, and tilt the peak slightly upward.
Form a cylindrical shape which closes at one end and is wide enough at the other end to fit over the skull cap. Mold the wire so it looks bulbous at the back and sew it onto the top of the skull cap. Starting from the middle of the rounded back, attach a strip of wire mesh which stands straight up, runs all the way down the back and trails off around 10 inches down past the nape, tapering to a point as it goes further down for the crest of the helmet. Now you have the "bones" of the Athenian helmet.
Rip pieces of newspaper about 1-inch thick and 10 to 15 inches long. Mix 3 cups of craft glue and 1 cup of water in a bucket, then dip the newspaper strips in the mixture and place them over the wire bones of the helmet with around 1/4 inch of their edges overlapping. Apply four coats and let the papier mache dry.
Apply another four coats of newspaper strips over the top of the dried original four and let dry again. Cover the inside of the neck and peak portions with four layers of newspaper strips as well and leave to dry.
Paint the helmet in either silver, gold or bronze paint. You can also paint on symbols of Athena, such as the owl, a gorgon head or the chariot.
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