cranial helmet

Cranial Helmet- Painted Helmet For Infants

The bond shared by a mother and son is undoubtedly unconditional love. I recently came across a client who made me realize how love goes all out for you. She was in search of a local artist who could make a cranial helmet (doc band), look lively and fun for her child. While googling for a savior, she came across my work and reviews on Yelp. She reached out to me and we had a one on one consultation. I generally give a free half-hour consultancy to my clients, but this wasn’t an ordinary case. In our meeting, I got an in-depth knowledge of her requirement, concerns, and goals.

Image1: Painted Helmet for kids

Concerns of the client regarding Cranial Helmet design

Her first concern was the doc bands appearance, that made her immensely stressed and panicked. She didn’t want her baby to look as if he had any medical condition (which the white cranial helmet was indicating at). Her second concern was that the color should be gentle and free of toxins.

She already had few design ideas in her mind, of what she was seeking. We discussed the initial plans and chalked out a rough look. She inquired about how soon could I deliver the helmet, as the doctor had proposed to start using it immediately. I promised to deliver it to her by the next day, as I really wanted to make the unhappy mother happy. It wasn’t just another piece of art to finish, it felt like a responsibility to use my skills to impact someone’s life immensely.

About cranial helmet/ doc band

Cranial Helmet therapy, or the doctor band, is used for helping shape the babies skull properly. The helmet helps to rectify the shape by initiating growth from a flat spot. This helmet is generally worn between the age of 4-6 months up to when the baby ages to 1 year. (I.e. when the brain is in the growing stage.)

Image2: Cranial Helmet Design

The five uphills

To start off, there were five challenges for me.

  1. Firstly to design something that the kid could wear all day long and to impersonate it as stylish rather than a medical condition.
  2. Colors and materials to be used in its making should be non-toxic.
  3. Quick turnaround time due to the medical condition, the kid had to start wearing the band immediately as suggested by the doctor.
  4. Perfection demands undivided attention and utmost concentration. Drawing perfect proportions for a 3D round object put my skills to a test.
  5. The cost of manufacturing the molding helmet approximates to $2000.00. Which added pressure to deliver the helmet, without making any mistake.

Redecorating the 3D Helmet:

I started by sketching out the ideas on a rough paper. My client demanded some kind of goggles at the front of the band paired up with some kind of helmet design. The color combination of this design was very subtle.

The Process of creating 3D Helmet:

I used Nontoxic Applebee’s acrylic color for the helmet. This color has a little thinner consistency. And to fix the color I had to research a lot on the materials as almost all the varnish is toxic. So, I ended up using the gloss luster mod podge. Thin brushes and a thin rope for measured the proportions of the drawing.

As color was quite thin, the first layer had the white band visible. To fix this I added almost three coat of colors which gave a bright and vibrant look to the helmet. These supplies were easily available at Walmart.

After finishing the color, I wanted to fix my color as the baby would have to wear the helmet all day and night for six months. I coated three layers of mod podge to seal and secure the color. After every coat, I had to let it dry for at least twenty minutes. It generally depends upon the day and the heat, as I did it in the night it took more than usual to dry.

The mod podge itself turned out to be a one and half hour long process. Mod Podge not only sealed the acrylic color but also made it look brighter adding the gloss and luster, making it look rich.

In the end, I gathered all the small time-lapse video and merged them to create one for my client. She was delighted to receive it. She expressed that she’ll always cherish this throughout her life.

I even got a chance to capture my client’s expression after receiving the gift. I am glad that I was able to touch her life in a positive way.

Lessons learned

I gained knowledge and enhanced my skills with this experience. Moreover, I researched about a lot of products and choose the medium, colors, and materials that work best for infants.

I even learned about different shapes of the cranial helmet. As it’s prescribed by the doctor, different kids need a different shape of it. The helmet is customized as per the size of kid head.

So, I conclude this by saying everyone’s unique in their own way. You just have to embrace every challenge that comes your way!

Completion

I was able to finish the helmet after ten hours of rigorous efforts, but it was worth it. My client’s reaction motivated me to use my skill, to spread positivity as I touch people’s lives in whatever manner possible.

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