Introduction: Thinking Cap With Working Light
My oldest son just started kindergarten and really loves it. Everyday he tells me that everything is so much fun but when I ask him what he actually did he says he can’t remember. At least I’m getting a positive reaction! Although he likes it he is still trying to figure the whole thing out – I think!
I vividly remember my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Wilson, reminding us to put on our ‘thinking caps’ if we couldn’t remember something. I thought I might try the same tactic on my son so one day when he said he couldn’t remember what he did I said, “You should put on your ‘thinking cap’ and maybe you will remember!”
I didn’t exactly get the response that I was hoping for…..he very effectively stated the obvious and said, “I don’t have one Mommy.”
And so the thinking cap project began.
Felt – I used scraps but if you are purchasing you will need approximately ¼ yard of the cap color and random sheets of colored felt. Since the sheets are so cheap you might be able to get away with just using sheets.
Nuts, bolts, wing nuts, etc.
Pencil and sharpie marker
Small hole punch
Very small flash light
***This would make the great start of a Halloween costume. Mad scientist maybe!?
Step 1: Sew Cap Form
Instead of going out and finding a cap pattern I just mocked up a pattern using a winter hat that fits my son. It is a very basic rounded triangle. If you don’t want to draw one up I’m sure there are plenty of hat/cap patterns online.
Cut four pieces using the same pattern noting which point is the top.
Layer two of the pieces on top of each other and sew down one side. This would be very fast if you use your sewing machine but when pre-season football is on I really like to veg in front of the TV with a craft project so I hand sewed the whole hat!
Layer another piece and sew down the next corresponding edge. Repeat until the final edges come together and sew down the last side.
Turn the form inside out and make sure it fits the appropriate head. Make adjustments if necessary.
Step 2: Add Rim
Turn cap inside out.
Cut one solid sheet of felt in half. Sew the short edges together. Fold in half the long way and sew the cut edges onto the rim of the cap form. I started about ½ inch up the rim because it was a little long for my son’s head.
Sew all around the edge. Turn right side out. Cut (if necessary) and stitch the seam where the pieces meet.
Step 3: Cut Circles and Sew on Rim
Cut eight 1 ¼ inch circles of felt in the color of your choice.
Whip stitch them onto the rim of the hat using embroidery thread.
Step 4: Draw and Cut Gears
This thinking cap had to have gears on it since the ‘gears’ in my son’s head are always turning!
Draw basic gear shapes on paper and cut them out. Better yet print the first two pictures and size them to what you want and cut them out. Drawing them was a pain! If someone requests a pdf version I can make one.
Trace around the gear patterns with a sharpie marker and cut gears out of felt of your color choice.
Step 5: Stitch Gears
Using embroidery thread stitch gears onto the cap.
Step 6: Embellish Cap
Collect random nuts, bolts, wing nuts, etc. from the garage or buy some at the hardware store.
Using more embroidery thread secure the nuts on the circle cut outs sewn on the rim of the cap.
Bend the top of a pipe cleaner into a small circle shape.
Cut out four small circles and punch a hole in the center using a small hole punch. Push them onto the pipe cleaner. Add a wing nut under the felt circles and push the straight end of the pipe cleaner in to the seam of one side of the cap. Fold over (on the inside of cap) and secure with one or two stitches.
If you can think of a better way to secure the pipe cleaner on the inside let me know. It didn’t seem like the best solution but it was all I could figure out as to not have the pipe cleaner fall over and not poke the top of my son's head.
Repeat for the other side and secure the wing nuts with embroidery thread.
Step 7: Add the Light
Cut a basic light bulb pattern from paper and cut out two felt pieces from the pattern.
Cut two rectangular pieces for the base of the bulb.
Stitch rectangular piece onto the base of the light bulb using a running stitch with like colored embroidery thread. Repeat with other piece/side.
Put pieces back to back (right sides out) and stitch only the base of the bulb together.
Stitch a filament like shape on the bulb part of the felt. Then using a butcher stitch sew the bulb part together.
Do not stitch the bottom of the light bulb. This is where the flashlight will go.
Stitch only one side of the bottom light bulb base piece onto the top of the thinking cap. Do not stitch the back side.
Turn on flashlight and insert into the light bulb.
Let your child think!!
When you no longer want the light lit take flashlight out and turn it off!
If you want to be a little more technical about this you could rig up a light bulb with a battery and some wire. I just wanted my son to be able to do it all by himself. He thinks it's pretty cool!