The Spartans traditionally did not wear much armor. Most of their protection came from a large, circular shield that was around 40 inches in diameter. In addition to this shield, the Spartan would wear a Roman style helmet and a Roman style breastplate called a cuirass. These two pieces of armor were enough to protect most Spartans from the warfare of the day. You can recreate this armor using cardboard and papier-mâché. This armor will make an authentic costume for any party. This armor will take several days to make, so advanced preparation is key.
Print the helmet templates (http://www.stormthecastle.com/how-to-make-a/spartan-helmet-download-templates-pdf.pdf) on to three pieces of paper and cut them out. Trace each piece to the side of a cereal box (it will take 4 box sides; you will need two faceplates). Cut out the template pieces.
Blow up the balloon. Tape the cardboard pieces to the balloon. Tape the two face pieces to the front of the balloon and the two neck pieces to the back of the balloon. Make sure the neck band reaches the faceplates.
Cover the entire helmet, balloon and all, with newspaper strips and papier-mâché. Apply 5 layers of papier-mâché, allowing each layer to dry for 24 hours before applying the next layer.
Pop the balloon and spray paint the helmet with bronze spray paint. Allow to dry for two hours before using.
Cut out the cuirass shape from the side of a cardboard box using the image at http://www.congiano.com/Extras/Recreation/IMG_3982a.jpg as a guide. The cuirass should be the same size as the chest of the person who will wear the costume. Bend the sides of the cuirass so that they reach partially around the person's sides.
Soak the cardboard in water until completely soaked. Form the cardboard to fit the contours of your body. Place the cardboard in a safe place to dry.
Cover the front of the cuirass with newspaper strips and paper mache. Apply three layers of paper papier-mâché, allowing each layer to dry for 24 hours before applying the next layer.
Spray the cuirass with bronze spray paint. Allow to dry for two hours.
Cut 4, 6-inch-wide strips from the cloth. Each strip should be about 1 ½ feet long. Fold the strips in thirds lengthwise, and sew or glue into place to prevent fraying. Glue two of the strips to the waist of the cuirass, leaving the ends free. Glue the other two strips to the shoulders of the cuirass. Glue the other end of the cloth just under the armpits. This will hold the cuirass on.