Introduction: Clara Barton Nurse Caps

About: During the COVID-19 crisis, all of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship's religious services moved into an online-only format. I generally organize Sunday school activities for the children of the Fellowship …

We heard the story about Clara Barton, a founder of the American Red Cross and a nurse. Nursing has a long history of using white caps to identify nurses. A ceremony was started called the Capping Ceremony. A nurse got "capped" once they were trained to do their job. Today nurses-both men and women-often wear scrubs with a colored cap.

Nowadays, some schools that train nurses have changed the ceremony to a stethoscope ceremony. That shows how important nurses' knowledge and care can be, when people are injured or sick. All of these ceremonies are a way to show that nurses are important people.

Here are two simple ways to make nurses' caps that use materials that you may have lying around your house. (You don't have to make them nurses' caps -- you could make them look like anything by decorating them in any way you'd like!)


For Option #1:

-One 8.5 x 11 piece of paper


-A marker

For Option #2:

-A paper plate

-A hole punch (or a sharp pencil to poke holes)

-Ribbon, yarn, or string

Step 1: Gather Your Materials!

Grab a piece of paper, a marker (or other decorating materials), and tape. If you have double-sided tape, that would make this even easier, but I only had regular.

Step 2: Fold the Bottom of the Paper Up and Decorate.

Position your paper horizontally and fold up the first two inches or so. If you want it to look like a nurses' cap, draw a little red cross in the middle of the fold. If you want to decorate it in another way, go ahead and color this side of the paper!

Step 3: Flip the Paper Over, Pull the Top Left Corner Down, and Put Some Tape on the Corner.

You don't want to make a crease in the fold; you're going to pull the other side over in the next step to make a cone. I used a tape loop, because I don't have any double-sided tape.

Step 4: Pull the Right Corner of the Paper Down and Attach It to the Tape, Overlapping Slighly.

It should look like a funny cone!

Step 5: Pinch the Top of the Cone and Stick Some Tape on the Point.

I used a tape loop here, too.

Step 6: Fold the Point Down, and Crease the Top.

Squish the tape down really well!

Step 7: Your Hat Is Complete!

If you have a larger head, you might need to use bobby pins to keep it on. In Clara Barton's day, nurses pinned their caps on over their buns.

Step 8: OR: Gather These Materials.

A thinner, cheaper paper plate will work best for this. I like the way the red ribbon matches the red cross, but you can use whatever color of ribbon, yarn, or string you have around!

Step 9: Flip Your Plate Upside Down, and Fold It in Half.

You'll want to crease it really well!

Step 10: Using a Hole Punch, Make Holes in Both Corners.

If you don't have a hole punch, get an adult to poke a sharpened pencil, a knitting needle, or the pointy end of a pair of scissors through to make a hole.

Step 11: Tie a Piece of Ribbon Through Each Hole.

Make sure you make it long enough to tie around your head! If you're using ribbon, you can cut the ends at an angle to minimize fraying.

Step 12: Decorate Your Hat!

You can make it look however you want!