As far as kids are concerned, Vikings rule. But not just any Viking, said our kid advisers. "You have to have the helmet and the hair!" enthused Nora, age nine. Not to mention great details, like "those straps across the chest," said 10-year-old Nicole.
In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup of flour and 2 cups of cold water. Add to a saucepan of 2 cups of boiling water and bring back to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar. Let the mixture cool and thicken before using.
For the Viking Helmet:
Cut off the bottom of the milk jug (A) and discard the top.
For each horn, twist a crumpled full sheet of newspaper and wrap it completely with masking tape. Attach the horns to the jug with double-sided tape and masking tape (B).
Crumple the third newspaper sheet into a point and tape it to the helmet. Brush papier-mâché glue on the helmet and apply the brown paper strips, leaving the horns uncovered.
Once they're dry, add duct tape trim and a gold seal. Use double-sided carpet tape to stick fur trim around the base of the horns.
If you're adding braids, make each one by tying the top of a thick bunch of 2-foot lengths of yarn. Then, braid the yarn and tie it with ribbon at the bottom. Flatten the top of the braid as much as possible and duct-tape it inside the helmet (C).
If needed, cut slits into the back of the finished helmet (D) for a larger fit.
For the Chest and Waist Straps:
For each strap (you'll need 2 for the chest and 1 for the waist), press together two 36-inch lengths of duct tape with the sticky sides facing. Use double-sided carpet tape to secure the chest straps to the waist strap as shown (E).
Drape the straps over your child's shoulders, crossing and taping them together in front and adorning them with another gold seal.
Attach Velcro strips to the ends of the waist straps and fasten them together. Tape the loose chest strap ends to the waistband behind your child's back and trim the length if needed.
Make 8-inch duct-tape wrist cuffs using the same method as you did for the chest and waist straps.
Faux Fur Cape or Shawl and Boot Trim:
Using duct tape, secure the ribbon to the cape fur as shown (F).
When it's time to dress, drape the cape over your child's shoulders, loop the ribbons over his or her arms, and tie them behind his or her back.
For a thin, long shawl, join together two 7- by 24-inch fur strips with duct tape. For the boot trim, duct-tape strips of fur around the tops.
Double up the aluminum pizza pans (for sturdiness) and use duct tape trim to hold them together. Add a gold sticker to the center.
For a handle, make an 8-inch duct tape strap as before. Tape the ends to the underside of the shield, being sure to leave some slack for the Viking's hand to fit underneath.