Introduction: How to Make a Fedora (Indiana Jones')


The fedora is the hat of gangsters and detectives, its distinctive form drawing us into the era from which it emerged. This iconic felt hat is what comes to mind when we hear of such heroes as the intrepid Indiana Jones. My son is currently mad about Indiana and so his 7th birthday will be themed accordingly. This year all the birthday guests will be requiring a fedora to face the Raiders of the Lost Birthday Cake.

Nine fedoras to make and not a milliner in sight! I scanned the internet for fedora designs, but alas, found nothing suitable. This instructable is designed to give a step-by-step guide to making a cardboard/papier-mâché fedora.

Step 1: Materials

You will need...

Cardboard (60cm x 60cm)
Tape & Scissors
Templates (see pdf
Scrap paper (for papier-mâché)
Cornstarch (cornflour) & Water
Paints & Brushes (or shoe polish)

Update: Equivalent template images have been added as an alternative to the pdf file. Click on the [i] on the image, to access the original 300dpi images.

Step 2: Prepare Template

Download the Fedora Template and print it out (designed for A4). Remember to turn off page scaling, as the template has been designed for a 55cm (21.5") head circumference (depending slightly on your cardboard thickness). To scale the template to the required size, either use your printer properties (depending on your printer) or extend the template by sketching around it (adding 1cm to the inner radius, should increase the circumference by around 6cm). Tape the template to your cardboard and cut it out. When cutting out the base, take care to cut along the tabs so that the base smoothly fits your head. Bend the tabs up ready for attaching to the top.

Update: Equivalent 300dpi template images have been added on step 1 as an alternative to the pdf file.

Step 3: Fold Top Indentation

To form the indentation on the top of the hat, first fold the sides up at the outer markings. Turning the cardboard over, fold the sides up at the inner markings, taking care to bend the first fold back in the opposite way.

Step 4: Construct Top & Attach

To form the top of the fedora, tape the side panels together at their base. Place this over the brim piece covering the tabs. Turning it over, tape the tabs to the top.

Step 5: Shape Fedora

An essential feature to any fedora is the curve of its brim. Shape the front of the brim downwards, while shaping the brim upwards along the sides and back. As papier-mâché is applied, you can continue to form the brim in this way.

Step 6: Apply Papier Mache

Taking the cornstarch (cornflour), mix approximately 4 tablespoons with 1 litre of hot water. Tear scrap paper into strips, dipping them into the water and applying them to the card. Cover with two layers to aid strength, allowing to dry between each layer. To make a ribbon to wrap around the fedora, you can use the base of the top template as a guide. Cut a 3cm wide strip from the template sides and tape together to form the ribbon. Apply papier-mâché to the ribbon, adding a final strip of paper to form the ribbon's band to complete the look.

Step 7: Paint & Weather

Mix up an appropriate shade of brown (for Indiana) and paint the fedora, painting the ribbon a darker shade (brown/green or even black). Using water colours will induce a pilled effect, giving the fedora a felt like appearance. Apply as many coats as needed, allowing to dry in between coats. Applying shoe polish to the final coat, may help to give the fedora that weathered look.

Step 8: Keep Up With the Joneses

Now, all that remains to do is find a lost ark, temple of doom or your own holy grail... and yes, if you must, the odd crystal skull or two.