Introduction: Pet Graduation Caps!

About: I'm a Designer, Creator, Inventor. #1 Hobby - brainstorming. I invented the Unicorn Poop cookie, as published here on instructables. And now I am a metalsmith. <3

My Bostons have been through a couple training courses and I noticed the first time around, that there were only 2 caps for the entire class to share and they were ugly.  No offense, PetsMart.  Hahah.  So, I decided to bring my own for their next graduation, that way I get to keep the caps, they can be used in their photos and they will match their dresses for their big day.  It was a fun project and it worked out really well.

You can make caps or hats like this, with felt, for practically anything.  :) Please post pics if you do!!

Felt (may need to buy some extra sheets for bigger dogs)
-I used stiff glitter felt from Michaels
Hot Glue, Glue Gun
Thin ribbon or a tassel
A Bow, not needed, lol.
Elastic to match your dog's head, I used black.
Cardboard, recycled from something, to support the top of the cap

Step 1: Sizing

First thing I did - I made a long strip and cut it out from the felt, I took it over to my dog and made a ring out of it.  I held it over the crown of her head to see what size would lay nicely and not feel awkward for her.  Once you have the right ring size, take it back to your table and hot glue it shut.

Check the height.  If the ring is too tall, just trim it down evenly, you don't want a tall cap, you want it to be tall enough to be above the head, but not dorky-tall.

Next, lay your ring down onto the big piece of felt and trace your square.  Cut it out and use it as a template to make one more.  Then, put your flat cardboard support of some type - between the two shapes and hot glue the four edges.  Don't glue the cardboard, it will be ugly.  Now, you should have a flat and sturdy top!

From that point, figure out how long you want your tassel to be and cut it to size, measuring from the middle, top of the cap.  If you're using ribbon for braiding it - make sure you make it a lil longer because the braiding will lessen the length.

Step 2: Assembly

To get your elastic into the ring - just cut two tiny slits in the opposite sides of the ring of the cap.  Then put the tip of your elastic through and hand sew it, or hot glue it like I did.  When you size the elastic, you want to make it so that it barely stretches when it's over your dog's head.  If you make it so that it has to stretch a lot to fit - it will be too tight.  Make sure that you give extra room and just a little tiny-tiny bit of a snug fit so that it stays on your dog's head.

Glue the ring to the top of the cap with the glue gun.  I suggest that you put your hot glue on the inside of the felt ring, so that none of it shows on the outside and you will be left with a clean-cut cap!  

Glue your bow on top, if you have a bow.  I hot glued the ribbon "tassel" between the layers of the bow, so that it didn't show.  That was super cool and it hides the glue really well.  :D

Step 3: Practice!

You can't just whip these out at the moment that you need them to be worn.  Make sure that you play with your dogs with the hats or caps ahead of time.  They need to be kinda used to them, or at least - exposed to them.

Tip:  Make it a game, get excited about the caps and ask if your dog "wants it" and get all excited for them, then say "okaayy!....Waaait...." then they are thinking --- "hey I have to work for this prize"  and *bam*, you have tricked your dog into wearing the hat.  Hahah.  

Reward with praise and treats when they keep the caps on.  It's cute reinforcement.

Step 4: Graduation!!!!

Congrats, Pet Parent!  You've put your dog through training and doggy classes and you're now rewarded with a beneficial relationship and a new understanding of each other.

Now, it's time to put on that graduation cap, snap some photos and keep the memories forever.  :D  <3

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