Jack Sparrow was my first ever cosplay. I have always related to this character the most and I've always wanted that perfect Jack Sparrow Tricorn hat.
Let's face it, leather is expensive. If you were to buy a leather Jack Sparrow hat from any maker, you'd spend between $150-300 and a lot of that cost is in the leather alone so I'd say if you found one for $150 that you liked, that would be more than fair.
I'm still not satisfied. So in true pirate fashion, I not only made my own, I pillaged the leather to make it with!
Keep a sharp eye maties, it be too late to alter course now...
- Couch leather from a street beast (you can also buy leather somewhere, but it won't be cheap mates)
- Wood Glue
- Razor, X-acto knife or box cutter
- contact cement (I used Barge)
- A needle with a large eye
- A friend with a sewing machine (Or if you have one, AWESOME!)
- A pen!
- A bucket!
- A strip of plastic
- Channel lock pliers
- A mixing bowl
- A rotary tool with a cutting wheel and sanding drum
- A... crylic paint
Step 1: Gather Yer Supplies Mates!
Ever drive yet ship down the concrete river and pass by a couch long since been retired sittin alone lookin sad as a sailor without a ship? Dock yet vessel in the harbor and draw your saber (box cutter) from its scabbard (pocket) and skin it to its bones!!!
I will almost always stop and strip a leather couch if I see one that has been discarded because rather than all that pretty leather going to a landfill, I want to give it a new life in form of a prop or costume piece.
Photos picked up from google images, I don't take photos of the couches I strip, though I may take photos of the next one and edit this step in the future...
Onwards ya scoundrels!
Step 2: Good Form Mate! Right Good Form!
The next thing you will need is a hat block, now I know not everyone can afford a hat block, and I honestly didn't feel like making one either.
Hat Block: A hat block, also known as a hat form or bashing block, is a wooden block carved into the shape of a hat by a craftsman known as a block shaper. It is used by hat makers or milliners to produce a hat.
THANKS WIKIPEDIA! ??
I made mine out of a mixing bowl that I found at the supermarket!
But you can find it here: Click me
You've got to grind off the ridge at the bottom and give it a good sanding to make it round and true!
Then, you have to cut off the rim off of the bowl that has the little spout area and handle, but DO NOT THROW IT AWAY!!!! You'll need it for the next step!
This bowl will give you a hat that is about 24" in circumference with plenty of give to fit over your dreadlocks and dangles.
Step 3: Soak Yer Leather and Stretch It Thin!!!!
You'll have to get a bucket or tub and fill it with water for this step. Many makers will use warm water to do this but I just filled a bucket with a garden hose... I mean, dunked it in the sea and used that! Yar!
Once you have your bucket filled with water, soak one piece of leather that is large enough to cover the hay block and be stretched over the entire edge of it.
Now after the leather has been soaked for about 30 minutes, drape it over the form and begin smoothing it out.
Now remember that rim that we cut off the bowl? Here's where it comes in handy! Put the rim over the form and leather and pull the wrinkles out as you push the rim down closer to the bottom of the form. I used a set of channel lock pliers to help me accomplish this, you can see the scratches (I mean weathering) on the leather.
Step 4: Wait...
I hate this part, you've just gotta wait and let that leather dry.
Bored kid photo courtesy of Google images. ??
Step 5: Remove Your Rim Mate!
You'll have to remove the rim off the leather, this might be easier said than done. I used the edge of a table and a good mallet fist to get the job done. ?
This is where you'll start to get pretty excited.
Step 6: It Will All Have to Be Redone! All of It! -J. Sparrow
Once you have the rim off and the hat crown formed, soak a new piece of leather. While the leather is in water, take the form and formed crown on it and cover it in wood glue.
I used cheap house brand stuff from Home Depot but I'm pretty sure any wood glue would do the job here.
Now take the leather out of the water and put it over the crown you've just covered in glue and put the rim back over the whole bit and tighten it down as before. This one will be tougher than the first time because there will be two layers of leather now. You might not be able to get all of the edges perfectly smooth, but much of it will be hidden by the up-turned brim.
Step 7: We Wait... Yet Again!
Baby image courtesy of Google images.
Step 8: Remove That Rim for the Last Time!!!
This one was tougher than the first, but anything doing right takes effort mates!
Same plan as before, table edge and a good mallet fist!
But once you've got the rim off, trim off the excess leather (with the edge of the bowl) and lay it flat on your work table.
Mark a straight line around the perimeter of the formed leather and trim it with a box cutter. (Carefully)
Take out the red bowl and get really excited about what you've done.
Step 9: Ye Ever Draw a Circle Before Mate?
I forgot to take a photo of this part but I got two pieces of leather and glued them suede to suede to give my brim material a bit of body and stiffness. I used the same wood glue to do this.
I really had no idea how large I needed this brim to be, so I just kinda went with it... I knew that the edge needed to be right about the top of the crown when I folded the brim to the hat so, I drew a cross on my leather and marked some points on it with a pencil every inch in all directions to help me center the crown on my leather. Then I flapped it up and eyeballed where I wanted the brim to stop and marked that point.
"You're not making any sense at all..." -J. Sparrow
I think made a compass from a piece of plastic by drilling a hole in one end and another at the radius I needed the brim to be.
I lined up one hole in the center of my leather and punched an awl into it to hold it in place. On the other side I put the tip of a ball point pen and drew a circle. I did the same thing for the cut out I would need for the crown to attach (where yer head goes mate).
Step 10: Ye Ever... Cut a Hole in Somethin' Mate? (That Just Sounds Creepy)
I trimmed the brim at the outer diameter I drew on first (no reason for that really) and then I scored the leather (really I cut through one layer of it) where I knew the crown would meet the brim. Then I cut about 3/4" away from that (closer to the center) and added darts to it.
Step 11: Remember Them Darts From Before???
The darts we added to the bottom layer of leather will get contact cement brushed onto them. You'll want to add contact cement to the inside of the crown you made earlier and wait about 5 minutes for it to get tacky but not wet.
I placed the crown onto the brim and slid it to the edge of a table just enough to reach into the opening and flap up the darted leather to make contact with the crown where I put contact cement. I turned the hat as I went until I made it all the way around.
Step 12: Try It On!
Because you look silly!
Step 13: Stitch Your Leather Together!
I had a buddy do this on his sewing machine because I don't have one, YAY FOR FRIENDSHIP!!!
He stitched a strip of leather about 1/4" from the edge with the excess facing in toward the crown, suede side up. (This will eventually be rolled over)
Step 14: Let's Wire It Up!
Between the layer of leather, you'll want to place millinery wire and super glue the edges together, essentially trapping the wire inside.
DISCLAIMER: Do not start at the end of a wire, leave a couple inches unwrapped so you can overlap the ends of the wire under the leather and not get a sharp corner when you're done.
When you're done glueing in your wire, trim the excess leather off the edge and leave about 3/16" past your stitches.
You should now be able to pull the leather over and see a nice edge.
Step 15: More Glue!!!
Using contact cement, brush up with strip and about 1/4" on the brim where your rolled edge will make contact. Wait 5 minutes until tacky and stick them together it rolling the edge over and kind of pulling it a bit to keep it tight.
Step 16: Shape Yer Hat Mate!
Jack's tricorn is pretty specific so some reference images will help you while you do this.
I used twine for my cross stitched to hold the two sides in place and just rolled up the back to add the other two corners. I tied the twine inside with a single knot and put a dab of superglue on it to hold the knot together.
I don't quite know how to explain this any better, but there's a wire in the brim, just shape it as yer ticker desires! ?
Step 17: Ye Can Weather the Storm, Ye Can Also Weather Yer Hat!
I used some Burnt Sienna acrylic paint from Liquitex for this step and I smeared it on with a damp paper towel and rubbed most of it off with a dry paper towel... FANCY!!!! :)
Step 18: Put It on Mate, Look Dashing!
I'll get some shots of me in it when I'm in my whole getup. For now, this'll do ya!