Introduction: Making a Paper Mache Hat

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If you are looking to create an inexpensive costume accessory, here is a fun hat project to use as a general design to get you started. The best paper to use is from your standard paper grocery bag. You can either use wallpaper paste or a homemade paste to stick papers together.

Homemade Recipe: 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of water and 1 Tablespoon of salt (optional). Mix well to get out any lumps. Set aside until you are ready to create your hat.

Materials needed:

  • 2 paper grocery bags
  • masking tape
  • balloon
  • sheet of paper for cut-out
  • scissors
  • pen
  • ruler or measuring tape
  • paints ( acrylic, latex, or poster)
  • paint brushes
  • glue
  • accessories (fabric, ribbons, buttons, beads, feathers) 

Step 1:

To get started, prepare your paper by tearing them into small pieces or strips. By tearing them rather then cutting them with scissors will prevent sharp edges. This will blend pieces together much better.

Step 2: Creating the Pattern

On a sheet of paper, measure an oval shape cut-out approx. 6" x 7". Cut out oval shape and trace it onto the second bag which will be used to create the brim for your hat. You can also cut the brim out of cardboard. Just make sure the cardboard is not too thick so it doesn't look awkward. Draw a second oval approximately 2'' wider around your first oval . Cut out shape and fit around your head. If the shape is too big, fold in equally on each end until it fits. If it is too small, you can extend it on each end also. Once you fit the brim to your head, blow up the balloon to fit the inside of the cut-out. Tape the brim to the balloon. The lower it is placed on the balloon, the deeper the hat will set on your head

Step 3: Putting It Together

Dip each piece of the paper bag, one at a time, into paste and place on the hat. Make sure paper is completely soaked and then work the area where the balloon meets the brim first to create stability. Cover both top and bottom of brim making sure pieces overlap the edge. Create at least three layers to make it stronger. Let the hat dry completely before removing the balloon. You may need to add a few more pieces of paper mache at the bottom of the hat where the brim meets the balloon. To remove the balloon, just pop it and toss it. Paint and add accessories. For more information go to: