Introduction: Super Easy Super Silly 20 Gallon Hat

About: I've been an artist all my life. Probably nothing I couldn't accomplish according to my grade school teachers who said "I would make a perfect student if I would just stop drawing all the time". I'm …

One of my many Silly Hats. Some I've purchased, collected, and made over the years. This particular one was pretty easy to make. I hope you'll forgive the drawings as I actually made this before Digital cameras. Well I didn't have one then. LOL

So yeah It's pretty old but in great shape. This hat was the result of ones up-manship and for a scout function (imagine that?!?). A fellow scouter showed up with this large oversized foam hat for one of our Wood Badge Leadership presentations. So I decided to out do his by making my own. He jokingly called his a 10 gallon hat. So mine had to be double that and hence the 20 Gallon Super Silly Hat was born.

This was super easy to make. I purchased a large roll of foam padding typically used for pillows and other small furniture or clothing type projects.

The piece I got was approximately 72" wide x 36" tall and about 1/2" thick. I wanted it to be a white color but all they really had was a yellowish off white.


  • 1/2" Foam Padding 72" x 36"
  • Needle and spool of off white thread
  • Pencis an length of string or thread 36" long
  • Yard Stick
  • Scissors
  • 2 Pins for securing sides (I used old Scouting Year services pins)
  • Tin Star (or any various adornment for the front)
  • Fabric tape measure

Step 1: Determine Your Head Size

The important part of this step is to find a hat you currently wear that fits comfortably. Not too tight, or too loose.

The foam padding is a bit stretchy so a little tight might be ok, but you don't want it so tight it ends up being uncomfortable to wear. Too loose and you'll find that a hat this large will be falling off you, which isn't fun (especially if your doing a presentation).

Fortunately for me I had many choices to choose from in finding a comfortable hat to wear for proper fit.

I ended up using one of my other make shift hats for sizing.

Bonus Silly Hat Idea:Which as it was is super easy to make too. I had this baseball cap that has white horns sticking out the side. I measured up the sides for a rough position then taking my Doctor Seuss hat I cut holes relative to the horns position. Then I put them together placing the horns out of the holes. And Viola my very own Water Buffalo hat.

Step 2: Cut Foam Into 2 Pieces : Make the Brim

Taking the foam pad I cut two pieces in the following dimensions.

Brim: First cut a square about 30". Lay a yardstick across the the center at a diagonal pointing the ends towards the corners. Draw a small line with a pencil or sharpie at halfway point on the yard stick. Orient yard stick towards the other to corners and repeat drawing a line. This will give you and approximate center.

With the center marked you can now draw a large circle using the outer edge as your drawing point and use a string attached to a pencil in the center keeping the string taught slowly draw a circle from the outer edge as you rotate the pencil on the string all the way around at least half way. (You can go all the way around if you like, but only half way is needed.

Fold at the center point on the foam so that your penciled circle is visible. Take a pair of scissors an keeping the edges together cut along the circle pencil line. You may find it easier to cut out the drawn circle first as an option. Then Fold and roughly trace the cut edge on the uncut side then cut.

Take your time for as clean a cut as possible. Foam is pretty forgiving and east to clean up the edges.

Now with the large circle is cut use the same center mark (now in the circle) I took my hat that has the comfortable head size, and positioned as close to the center as visually possible. Again using the pencil I lightly traced the out edge of the hat. Removing the hat I now I have an indication where my head will go.

To be safe I started cutting out the center about an inch in from the oval drawn from the hat. After your first cut take and place over your head to see how much it may need to be trimmed down more. Keep trimming smaller amounts around the inner oval til it fits on your head.

Step 3: Make the Stove Portion

With the brim made and the inner circle cut out you have a great starting point for the big the stove portion and where it needs to be. The only question was how tall. Using the remaining uncut piece of foam cut a long rectangle the fit the circumference of the head hole. It my case about 22" wide and kept the 36" tall.

Rolling the 22" ends together forming a long tube(Stove). Verify by holding over the head hole to confirm it'll be a good fit.

Take your needle and thread and sew the foam length wise try keeping your threading as close together as you can since the foam is porous you'll need to go deep enough into the foam for a secure anchor.

Sew the entire length no matter how tall it might be. Stitch together the top edge with about an inch or two portion. When all stitched reach through the open end grabing the stitched closed top and pull back through turning the whole stove inside out. This way all the stitching seams will be inside and give you a cleaner finished look. See picture of finished top.

Before moving on to next step you need to determine how tall you want it to be. In my case the entire 36" length was a bit too much (even though it would have been great taller), I feared it might be too unwieldy to wear.

As it turned out I was probably right. I'll explain later.

I ended up cutting the height down to roughly 22" tall.

Step 4: Assemble Brim to Stove

To assemble the two pieces together I found that by placing the stove between my legs with seam facing me (and the face of the stove away from me) then position the brim with head opening over the stove. To make it easier to sew I did 6 quick stitches like the face of a clock around the circumference of the head opening. Again making sure I got good solid stitches of the two parts.

Then slowly sew your way around the head opening connecting the stove to the brim.

No I'm not a sewing machine kinda guy so as you can see these are all hand stitches for the whole thing. After going all the way around with one stitch, I back tracked taking the stitches with more of an angle to form almost and "X" pattern. This served as a duel purpose. Obviously extra support but the X stitch helps keeping the parts together when wearing it. So sudden head turns won't rip the structure apart.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

With the hat essentially assemble I decided to add a Strap around the stove down against the brim of the hat. This served two purposes. 1. Help give stability to the stove height and keep it from swaying. 2. Hides the stitching job I did on the top side of the brim. On the bottom side where its against your head no one will really see.

As it was, the brim was so large when I worn it the sides drooped down like floppy bunny ears. Which I guess in and of itself would be pretty silly looking. But I wanted this to look professionally silly. LOL

Taking two Scout Year Service pins I had extras of I pulled each brim side and attached a little above center and just off center towards the back half of the stove. This narrowed the brim in the back and made the front a bit wider looking.

For the front Stove It's had many adornments. First being the course patch when the hat was actually made (2007), then it had the traditional toy sheriffs badge pinned the front, my Wood Badge course patch art enlarged (2011). So really its adaptable to any needed event.

Now to explain wearing this monstrosity. I'm 6'4" tall so wearing this hat makes me a good 2 foot taller. Not a problem as it fit perfectly on my head. So moving around was not an issue, well until I tried to navigate in and out of buildings and or rooms. I was constantly forgetting how tall this thing was banging into doorways. As you can see from some of the many times its been worn it had the desired silly effect.

Silly Hats Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Silly Hats Speed Challenge