Harry Potter Sorting Hat From T-shirts




Introduction: Harry Potter Sorting Hat From T-shirts

To which Hogwarts house do you belong?

  • Gryffindor?
  • Hufflepuff?
  • Slytherin?
  • Ravenclaw?

Or even one of the American counterparts:

  • Horned Serpent?
  • Thunderbird?
  • Wampus?
  • Pukwudgie?

Want to find out? Make your own sorting hat to determine where you belong!

I made mine out of a couple of old t-shirts and a few other common items lying around. This instructable does take a fair amount of sewing, so if you do not already have an awesome sewing machine, like say a Juki TL sewing machine, and are not sure about how to hand sew, then check out the Instructable class Hand Sewing.

This is how I made my own sorting hat!

Step 1: Materialis Utilizis!

  • Two adult sized t-shirts (if not already brown, chose white or light colored)
  • Needle and thread
  • 24 X 36 inch poster board
  • Brown dye
  • Brown paint
  • Mod Podge (If you would rather make a batch of homemade mod podge. Check out this instructable by MissArtieCraftie for DIY Mod Podge.)
  • Standard white glue
  • Brush
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Clips
  • Safety pins

NOTE: If the shirts are not already brown, I recommend dying both with the brown dye. I didn’t dye them first to make it easier to follow which pieces came from where. Since I went this route, I will paint the hat with the brown paint when it is almost complete. Some parts, I will dye parts later.

Step 2: Erecto Brim!

  1. Take one of the shirts, lay it flat and draw a large circle on the back.
  2. Cut out the circle from both the front and the back making two large fabric disks.
  3. With the needle and thread sew the two disks together. Leave about half the circumference open. This will crate a fabric envelope.
  4. Lay the fabric disks over the poster board.
  5. Trace the disk.
  6. Cut out the poster board circle.
  7. Slide the poster board into the fabric envelope.
  8. Apply a liberal amount of glue to the poster board top and bottom and press the fabric envelope against it.
  9. Sew the rest of the way around the edge closing off the envelope.
  10. Work out any wrinkles.
  11. Lay flat to dry.
  12. After the glue has dried, draw a circle in the middle that is about 8 inches diameter.
  13. Cut out this new circle.
  14. Again, sew up the seam of the inner circle.

This is the brim.

Step 3: Erecto Point Part 1!

Now it is time to sew the point of your hat.

Besides a face, the sorting hat has a distinct looking tip created by some folds. I accomplished this by actually creating the point from two separate pieces and sewed them together.

  1. With another t-shirt, lay it out flat.
  2. Draw a large triangle. Make sure the base of your triangle is about 25 inches wide! (In comes math: If the hole in the brim is 8 inches diameter {D}, the base of the triangle to make the peak will have to have a circumference {C} of about 25 inches.C=PI(D))
  3. Cut out the triangle.
  4. Fold over the top couple inches of the top and sew it down. This will help the illusion of the fold for the tip.
  5. Next, fold over the triangle lengthwise.
  6. Sew the long edges together leaving the top and bottom open.

Step 4: Erecto Point Part 2!

To create the tip of the hat:
  1. Cut the sleeve from one of the shirts.
  2. Cut a small triangle from the sleeve.
  3. Again, sew the long edges together.
  4. Now, turn both point part 1 and point part 2 inside out.
  5. Sew the base of the tip the narrow end of the part 1 point.
  6. Turn them right side in.
  7. Work the fold where they join to look more natural.

Step 5: Erecto Hat!

This is where the point gets attached to the brim.

  1. First, pin the brim and point together at four equidistant points making open quarters.
  2. Next, sew one of the quarters together.
  3. Then, sew the opposite quarter. (This will help keep the point fabric consistent around the brim so there is no gap or bunch when you get to the last stitch.)
  4. Continue with the last two quarters.

It is starting to look more like a hat!

Step 6: Duro Hat!

Now that you have something that resembles a hat, it does not quite resemble THE hat! It needs to be firmed up and given some shape.

  1. First, hang the hat upside down.
  2. With a brush apply the Mod Podge to the point. Make sure you cover all of it!
  3. Let it dry completely.
  4. Now, turn the hat upright, and apply more podge to the brim. This will keep the brim fairly firm but still move like a large floppy hat.
  5. Set aside to dry completely.

Step 7: Duro Face!

Looking more like a pointy witch’s hat. Now, it needs a face!

  1. First, smash down the entire point to the brim. This will create some natural wrinkles and creases.
  2. With the clips, clip out the facial features.
  3. One horizontally on the inside for the mouth.
  4. One vertically on the outside just above the mouth for the nose.
  5. Two more diagonally on the outside to make the eye brows.
  6. And finally another inside toward the top to help the tip stay in place.
  7. Lightly brush all the face creases with more podge to hold them in place.
  8. Let dry.
  9. When it is dry, remove the clips and gently work out the stuck creases to make it look less deliberate.
  10. If not already dyed, paint the entire hat brown in a well ventilated area.

Step 8: Geminio Accessories!

A few more characteristics of Harry Potter's sorting hat are the accessories.

  • There are a couple of patches on the hat: one on the point near an eye, and another at the brim.
  • There is a hat band/tie around the base of the point.
  • There are two long, hanging ties underneath. These ties have magical designs on them.

Following the instructions on the bottle of brown dye, color the remaining parts of the t-shirts.

After they are dry, cut out the accessories.

  • Two long strips about 3 or 4 inches wide for the under-ties.
  • One long strip about 2-3 feet long and a couple inches wide for the hat band/tie.
  • Two irregular squares about 3 inches by 3 inches for the patches.

Note: One of the shirts I used had a silk screen design on it. This was perfect to mimic the magical designs on the hat ties! If your under-ties do not have any design, you can take a cotton swab and some bleach and draw some circles and swirls into the dyed fabric to create the magical designs.

Step 9: Final Touches!

Attach the accessories to the hat. I found it easier to actually glue the accessories to the hat rather than sew, because with the podge it was difficult to push the needles through. Plus it gives a little tattered edge to the patches.

  1. Glue one patch just behind the eye.
  2. Glue another patch along the brim.
  3. Last glue the hat band along the bottom of the point.
  4. Make a double knot in the back, but make it not too tight.
  5. Turn the hat upside down. (I found it was best to set it in an open box so the point did not get crushed.)
  6. Glue a few inches of the under-ties to the inside of the point.
  7. Set aside to dry completely
  8. After it is dry, you may need to reach inside the point and work in or work out some of the creases and wrinkles to make it look less stiff and more pliable.

Step 10: Ceremony Time!

There you have it!

Now you can hold your own ceremony to determine which house of the Harry Potter universe you should belong in.

I hope you enjoyed my instructable and have fun trying it yourself!

And as always, thank you for checking out my Instructable!

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    7 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Sweet project. Is that an actual human crane ?


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you very much!

    No, the skull (I call him Yorick) is just a resin prop I keep around to bounce my Instructable ideas off of. I thought he would enjoy being in the shot this time. I'd say by his grin that he approves!


    3 years ago

    Congratulations on your win!


    Reply 3 years ago

    WOW! Thank you very much! I am so surprised!
    I thought your motorcycle face mask was a fantastic instructable!!!


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks! It was pretty last minute. Honestly, I'm super happy that I was even a runner up.


    3 years ago

    So much work but worth the effort! Brilliant!


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you very much! Yes, it was quite a bit of work, but it was fun and I think it turned out well.
    It would be much easier with a true sewing machine and dying the shirts ahead of the cuts and seeing.
    Thanks for checking out my Instructable, parisusa!