Introduction: Floating Bowler Cap Pendant Lights

About: Where there's a will, there's a way! Never give up, never give in...BE the good you want to see in the world. :)

THE PROBLEM: No good light source over my office space (especially at nighttime), leaving it dark and dreary.

THE CHALLENGE: Lighting needs to be cost efficient, yet also beautiful and stylish with a little quirky. I also didn't want the bulkiness of lamp cords showing.

THE SOLUTION: Floating bowler cap pendant lights!

This solution is especially great because it gives the illusion that these hats are floating in mid-air! I have seen some hat lights before, even pendant lights, but I have never seen any that float.


In total, these 2 pendant lights cost me about $28.

Supplies you need for this project are:

  • 2 bowler hats or other type of hat (I found these two at Goodwill)
  • Duck Mirror duct tape (in metallic gold)
  • Ultra Slim wire lights (aka fairy lights or string lights) -- I used the copper wiring version...They also make some that are remote controlled, which would be ideal if you prefer a switch-on setup for your finished pendants.
  • Fasteners (see picture for clarity)
  • High strength clear fishing line (mine is rated to hold 4 pounds)
  • Velcro strips (mine are rated to hold 5 pounds)
  • Metallic gold buttons
  • Embroidery thread that matches your hat(s) -- my thread was in gray and black (it probably could be regular thread if that's all you have on hand)
  • Sewing needles (at least 2)
  • E6000 glue (or other strong holding super glue)
  • 6 AA Batteries (or whatever your battery pack for the wire lights requires)
  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape
  • Small tipped Phillips Head screwdriver
  • Box cutter
  • Swag hook (I already had one installed in my house)
  • OPTIONAL: Super fabric adhesive (I did not end up using this)
  • OPTIONAL: Metallic gold spray paint
  • OPTIONAL: Helper -- my cat, Mittens, decided to help me out :)

Step 1: Remove Tags

Cut out the tags from both hats.

Step 2: Sew Rim

Because my hat didn't naturally hold its rim in an upward position to look like a bowler cap, I sewed the rim to the hat to keep it pinned where I wanted it.

1. Thread the needle and tie a knot between the two ends.

2. On the inside of the hat, start the stitch with a knotted end (go through part of the fabric with the needle tip, come back out, and pull the needle tip through the loop created, then pull tight to create a knot).

3. Working from the inside of the hat towards the outside, do a couple of simple straight stitches (while pinching the rim to the body of the hat with your fingertips to keep it tight).

OPTIONAL: Alternatively, you could try adhering the rim to the body of the hat with the super adhesive fabric glue or another glue if you don't want stitch lines, but I can't vouch for this approach because I haven't tried it.

Step 3: Find Center

Find the center of each hat by holding it up on your middle fingertip to see how it hangs just right. Where the bulge is made on the top of the hat from your fingertip, that's a basic center.

Alternatively, you could use measurements and math. But the fingertip approach worked for me. ;)

Step 4: Puncture the Center

With the small Phillips Head screwdriver, use a twisting downward motion to puncture the center of the top of the hat.

Step 5: Insert a Fastener

In the hole created in the previous step, insert one fastener. From the inside of the hat, flip the flaps open to secure the fastener.

OPTION 1: You can spray paint the fasteners the color of your hat if you so desire, however you can't really see the tops of the hats when they're hung up so I didn't find this necessary.

OPTION 2: Additionally, you can super glue the fasteners to the hat. However, they will be covered with super glue in a later step so I didn't find this necessary either.

Step 6: Lining the Hat

Use the Mirror duct tape along the inside lining of the hat. This gives a beautiful look to the finished product, and it helps to bounce the light off the wire lights to amplify the effect (making the lighting stronger/brighter and with a golden glow).

1. Start with a vertical strip over the center of the hat.

2. Then use horizontal strips over the base of the hat across the first strip.

3. Add strips of tape along each wall of the hat (following the horizontal curving of the hat) until you reach the brim. Press the tape firmly into the walls of the hat to get a nice stick.

4. Trim any excess tape that doesn't line up with the other tape. For example, around the brim of the hat, some of the tape may be uneven. Trim this to make it even.

NOTE 1: Don't worry about the surface of the tape bubbling around the curves and not laying perfectly smooth. This is unnoticeable in the finished product, especially with the lights on.

NOTE 2: Also, don't worry about seams showing of the different tape pieces. When you lay one piece of tape onto another, the mirrored effect of the tape makes the seams hardly noticeable, if at all. So going this way and that way with the tape won't look sloppy in the finished product.

Step 7: Measure the Velcro

This Velcro will make it possible to easily detach and reattach the battery pack from the hat when you need to change the batteries.

1. Decide which side of the battery pack to add the Velcro to. I wanted the ON/OFF switch to be easily accessible, so this side would be facing out. So I flipped over the battery pack to the other side for attaching the Velcro.

2. For clarity of what I am explaining, I left the two sides of the Velcro separated. However, you should stick together one strip of the scratchy Velcro side with one strip of the soft Velcro side.

3. Lay these strips on top of the battery pack.

4. Cut it slightly shorter than the top and bottom of the battery pack.

OPTIONAL: You can spray paint the battery pack metallic gold before adding the Velcro (if you so desire).

Step 8: Cut the Lining

Using the cut Velcro strips and a box cutter, cut away the lining of the hat (around the Velcro strip) where the battery pack will be glued to. NOTE:Be careful only to cut through the lining layers and not the hat, although the wool of these hats makes them ultra tough and hard to cut through.

I did this because I wanted the battery pack to permanently adhere to the hat itself and not the duct tape. This adds stability and strength to the final product so the battery pack doesn't fall out of the hat.

The reason I cut out a strip after lining the hat was because I wanted to make sure the lining sat perfectly behind and around the battery pack (with no hat showing) so it looked seamless.

Step 9: Add the Velcro to the Battery Pack

Although the Velcro comes with self-adhesive sticky tape, I didn't want to take any chances with the adhesive strength holding up to gravity and weight, so I super glued the strips to the battery pack with E6000 glue.

Step 10: Attach the Battery Pack to the Hat

Likewise, add super glue (E6000 glue) to the other side of the Velcro and push it down into the gap in the lining that you made prior.

Step 11: Weigh Down and Wait

I added the base tape inside my second hat, and attached the battery pack with glue using the steps prior. Then I weighed the battery packs down with jars of tomato sauce (they're surprisingly heavy!) and let the glue fully cure for 24 hours.

Step 12: Add Buttons

I racked my brain trying to think of a creative way to get the wire lights to stay inside of the hat when the hat is hanging as a pendant light (my thanks to gravity for the challenge). What I came up with is sewing metallic gold buttons on the inside of the hat and wrapping the wire lights around each button to keep the lights inside.

1. Continuing with the threaded needle you already have (or threading it again if it isn't threaded), poke the needle tip through a hole in the button (NOT INTO THE HAT).

2. Pull the tip around from the back again to the front, and pull it through the middle of the two threads that make up the tail of the threaded needle.

3. Pull tight on the thread and your thread is now nicely attached to your button. This helps the button not move all around when you are sewing it.

4. Put the button inside the hat (near to where the wire lights closest to the battery pack would start) and sew the button into the hat.

TIP: A tip I thought of to help find the button holes when you're on the outside of the hat, is to use a second needle. First, poke the second needle through the button hole (so the tip goes to the outside of the hat). Then, using the threaded needle, you can now see where the button hole is, and simply poke your threaded needle through the same area as the second needle and there you go! This helped me SO MUCH! :)

5. Repeat this step for all buttons. My pack of buttons came with 10, so I divided it into 5 buttons per hat.

NOTE: I would not recommend gluing on the buttons as it makes it too hard to wrap the wire lights around them. Believe me, I tried...and failed.

Step 13: Wrap the Wire Lights

1. Wrap the non-wire light cord (the one connected to the battery pack) around the corners of the battery pack to keep it in check.

2. Wrap the wire lights (starting with the ones closest to the battery pack) around each button. I wrapped the wire two times around each button.

3. When you've gone one time around, if you still have extra wire, continue for a second time around. For the second time, I went around each button starting from the underside (so there were wire lights on top and underneath each button).

NOTE: If you missed my note in the "supplies" list: you can replace these wire lights with remote controlled wire lights so you can switch them on and off without using the ON/OFF switch on the battery pack.

Step 14: Finished Hats

Here are what the two finished hats look like at this point.

NOTE: The blue reflected in the hats is just my t-shirt. :)

Step 15: Insert Swag Hook

Follow the instructions that come with your swag hook kit to put a swag hook in the ceiling where you want your finished pendant lights to hang.

I was lucky enough to already have a swag hook in my rental house over where my office is, so I used that.

Optionally, you can used whatever type of hook you want to hold up your hats, and this will depend on which style of hat you choose to make (pendants, a chandelier, or wall sconces), or if you even need a hook at all (table lamp, floor lamp, or ceiling light).

Step 16: Measure the Fishing Line

The next few steps may be a little hard to see as clear fishing line is just that -- clear. But I did my best to make it show up in the pictures.

Measure out the fishing line for how long you want your hats to hang down. I determined this by holding up the hats where I wanted them over my office space, and then measuring from the swag hook to the middle of that hat.

My first measurement was about 20-21". So I added about 3-4 inches for knot and loop tying and cut it at about 23-25".

My second measurement for the second light was about 25". So I again added 3-4 inches for knot and loop tying and cut it at about 28".

It is always better to have too much fishing line than too little (as you can always remove the excess later).

Step 17: Attach the Fishing Line to the Hat

1. About 1-2" in from the end, slide the fishing line under the top of the fastener.

2. Tie the fishing line in a knot around and under the fastener.

NOTE: I added separate lines to each hat individually and hung them as such.

Step 18: Hang the Pendant Lights

1. In the open end of the fishing line, tie a loop.

2. Hang the looped end on the swag hook for both pendant lights.


Step 19: Finished Lights!

I hope this project has inspired you to think up some awesome, fun, and quirky lights of your own! You could even make sconces, a table lamp, or even a chandelier from this basic idea. Have fun!

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