Hogwarts Sorting Hat Animatronic - Harry Potter Party Decorations

About: Hello, all! Just started creating my own Halloween props last year. I have also cosplayed several times. I am a big Harry Potter fan and draw most of my creating inspiration from that.

Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Welcome to another start of term Instructable!

It's not often one gets to create a 1,000+ year old hat! Therefore, this project is a work in progress but, mainly functional. I hope to rework it to play its own sound clips and movement at a push of a button.

My project was majorly inspired by jegatheesan.soundarapandian. He had a great base Instructable but it seemed a little out of date but had amazing information! I also do not have the soldering skills he has. This is my first ever project of this sort and it was a lot of fun to put together. I researched online different ways to control multiple servos. Using this knowledge, I pieced together my own version with the original instructable!

I found it quite easy to follow by using his pictures up until the actual soldering and technology. He admitted that is program he created at the time is out of date. It was up to my brain to find a new alternative. Since this project uses multiple servos I opted to use a Pololu Micro Maestro 6-Channel controller. Using this controller I was able to use the program created by Pololu to control up to 6 different servos! For this project I installed 5 servos as the original suggested. Due to my mechanical mishaps I was only able to use three of the five servos. I still think it gave an appropriate amount of movement for my first project.

Have your wands at the ready and follow along to learn how to create your own moving Sorting Hat!

Supplies:

  • Large poster board to cut out the hat "skeleton" and brim template.
  • Several large pieces of cardboard to cut and use for structure in the hat.
  • 3 Yard of brown fabric to cover the hat and brim.
  • 2 or 3 scraps of different brown fabric to use as patches for the hat. (I found these in JoAnns quilt patches)
  • Sandpaper to weather and tear the hat!
  • Thin wire that is the circumference of the brim to use at the edge.
  • Sewing Machine (optional) or Needle and thread to lock the wire into the edge of the brim
  • Scissors to cut the fabric and also the poster board.
  • Small plastic tubes ( I used an old marker set as suggested in the original instructable) used for the mechanical joints to move the hat.

  • 3 to 5 servo motors used to power the hat once connected to the controller.
  • Pololu Micro Maestro 6 Channel controller used to control a sequence of motions with the servos.
  • 4xAA Battery Pack to power the servos.
  • Screws that are long enough to fit through the width of your plastic tubes combined!
  • Washers and nuts to keep the screw in place.
  • Several large paper clips to use to lock the joints in place.
  • Drill to drill holes into the tubes that will fit the screws with a little wiggle room.
  • Wire cutter to cut the paperclips.

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Step 1: Part 1: the Skeleton

As I have mention, I used a large portion of an already existing Instructable (see links above)

You will need:

  • Poster Board
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  1. Using an article on Martha Stewarts Website I was able to create my own poster board wizards hat.
    • For this step you need your poster board, strip of cardboard cut to 17 inches, and a pencil.
    • Follow along with the article linked above for detailed instructions!
  2. I also added newspaper bunched up and taped, then hot glued as "eyebrows" to give the hat more character.
  3. Continue to follow along in this Instructable until it is time to connect the servos to the micro controller.

Step 2: Part 2: Fabric and Tech

  • Brown Fabric
  • Fabric Scraps
  • Hot Glue
  • Fabric Scissors

Using the method used during the cutting of the hat, cut the brown fabric.

Slowly, starting from the top, hot glue the fabric to the skeleton of the piece.

THE TECH:

The Pololu Maestro is VERY simple to set up. Make sure you have your Maestro Controller, USB, Servos, and external battery pack.

Follow THIS VIDEO to learn how to set up your Pololu Maestro controller to your servos.

Step 3: Finishing Details

  • Thin wire
  • Brown Fabric
  • Sewing machine/needles and thread
  • Scrap Fabric
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Sandpaper
  • Styrofoam Wig Head

Using a large circle of fabric, pin the thin wire about half an inch from the edge.

You can use a sewing machine or sew the wire rim in by hand. I tried the sewing machine but broke my needle so I did it by hand. I actually liked the look of half machine/half hand sewn.

Take your brown scrap fabric and cut it into several different shapes for the patches. I use the sewing machine to sew a faux stitch around the edge of the patch. Hot glue the patches to the hat.

With long strips of the brown fabric about 2" wide, hot glue to the inside of the hat.

Take sandpaper and use it on the brown fabric to rough it up.

I cut the forehead off a wig head and used it as a stand for the Sorting Hat.

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