These are the directions to make a Mad Hatter Hat as I teach them for my 7th grade art students. It has become a favorite project!
Step 1: Cut Main Piece
You need to cut a rectangle of cardboard. It Should be 14inches by the circumference of your head in inches plus one inch. This usually means your cardboard is somewhere between 14x 20 and 14x24 inches, depending on your age, etc. You need to make sure the ridges run up and down, or parallel to the 14 inch measurement.
Step 2: Break Cardboard
You next will need to break the cardboard. You can do this by adding pressure and bending it over a table edge. It is much like curling ribbon with scissors, only in this case you need to individually break the cardboard between each ridge. Usually you can not get every ridge, but you need to get as many as you can and definitely don't leave a big area where you did not break it. This allows you to be able to curve the cardboard around your head for your hat.
Step 3: Cutting Fringe
You will next measure up 1 inch from the long edge on one side and down 7 inches from the other long edge. You will make lines along the length of your hat so you can have a stopping point when you cut fringe. You are cutting fringe on both sides, to the 1 inch mark on one side and to the 7inch mark on the other. Your fringe width does not have to be measured or be perfect. Try to make it approximately 3/4th an inch in width. You can use the ridges to help you cut straight. It is important that you cut right up to the line however, not before it or past it.
Step 4: Taping Hat and Making the Brim
Next you tape your hat together in the section between the two sets of fringe. Masking tape works fine.This is a good time to put on your hat and make sure it fits on your head. If it's a little loose, that's okay because it will get a little tighter when it gets covered. If it's too tight, you really might want to consider remaking the main piece. So far you're only out cardboard, tape and time! Once you have taped the main piece together, on a second piece of cardboard you need to trace arounf the circumference of your hat. Your hat may not be perfeclty round at this time, so take some liberty and adjust it into a reasonable head shaped oval if you need to. Remember most people do not have a truly round head, so it will be alittle oblong.
Step 5: Cutting Out the Brim and Top Pieces
Now you will take a ruler and go around your circle and mark 2 inches out, all along the outside. Just make several dots, and then you can go back to connect the dots and get your outer circle. You now have the brim piece you can cut it out. Make sure to poke a hole in the middle so you can cut out the middle without cutting through the ring piece we need to keep. Once you have the ring cut out, you need to trace the outside of the ring on a third piece of cardboard and cut that circle out to eventually be the top of the hat.
Step 6: Attaching the Hat Brim
With your hat sitting with the 1 inch fringe at the top, slide the brim onto the hat right to where the fringe stops. If your hat will not fit into the brim, trim the inside of the circle a little bit until it does fit. If it fits, but is rather loose, that is no problem. All of the fringe should be bent at the 1inch mark to the outside of the hat. This creates fastening tabs to attach to the brim. I have found that it is better to initially tape a few tabs onto the brim by spacing them around the perimeter first. This helps with the hat not getting lopsided. We have also found that by taping inside the hat clear out over the outside of the brim edge helps hold it better. Hot glue would be an option also, one time we got a batch of tape that just wouldn't stick and we had to hot glue the tabs.
Step 7: Attaching the Top of the Hat
Now flip your hat over, so the brim is on the bottom. At the base of the 7inch fringe, bend it all out. This allows the hat to bell at the top. Then you need to bend the top of the tabs in, at the 1inch mark. I use a ruler for this. I put the tab along the ruler up to the 1 inch mark and use the end of the ruler to bend it. I don't have to mark each on this way, and I know my bend is square. Once all fringe has tabs, you can sit the top piece inside. At this point the top piece is the exact same as the bottom , so there will be a very extreme bell at the top. Most people decide at this time to adjust the top to their liking, by trimming the top circle down slightly. It should stay somewhere between the size of the inside and and outside of the brim to look correct. If you cut it too small it will just be a stovetop hat, and there was not point to cutting all of the fringe! If you do accidentally cut it too small, just trace the bottom of your hat onto another piece of cardboard and start over with a new circle. Now you will tape the top pretty much just like you did the bottom. It is more important to make sure your tabs are even however, because your hat can get lopsided. The tape is sometimes more resistant to stick on the top, and again you can use hot glue if needed.
Step 8: Covering Your Hat
This is where it gets fun. Examples I saw online used fabric to cover their hats. I hated it. It was all bunched up and puckery. I thought there had to be somthing better, but my students don't have access to sewing machines, so it had to be readily available. I decided opaque leggings or tights would work. You have to get the largest size you can because the main part of your hat is really covered with the leg of the leggings. I can find them generally at our local Walmart for around 6$. Black is the basic and works well for most hats anyway, but any color that is not sheer works. You literally slide the legging onto the hat, pushing the hat into one leg. Slide the leg down evenly all the way around until the crotch seam is at the top of the brim. This is where a ribbon is generally around the hat, so it's a perfect way to hide this. Once you've done this, turn your hat over and fold in the material into the inside of the hat. You will trim off one whole leg, most or all of the elastic waist band, and really anything in your way. Just take care not to cut off too much, we don't want any cardboard showing. Then you will hot glue the leggings into the inside of the hat. I use a piece of cardboard to push against the fabric. This creates a barrier so I don't burn my fingers, as the hot glue WILL go through the fabric. There will be more gathers of fabric on the brim where the leg was removed. Since it is stretchy fabric, just play with it until it looks pretty good. This isn't a perfect system, but we've achieved pretty darn good results on the cheap! If your hat will get a lot of wear, you might want to duck tape the edge of the leggings material so it is flush against the hat.
Step 9: Finishing the Top of the Hat
Now to finish the covering. At the top of the hat, go down the leg to the middle of the cardboard on the top of the hat. There you will puch a small hole with scissors. I then take a pencil and push a small piece of the leg material through to the inside. Reach inside the hat and carefully pull all of the leg through. At this point, the top of the hat should have a perfect pucker at the top center of the hat. Then inside the hat the leg can be tied into a knot, and the extra cut off.
Step 10: Decorating the Hat
Then at long last.... the decorations! The sky is the limit really. Our hats for class must have a theme. We've had Christmas themed hats for tree toppers, steam punk, Harry Potter, Easter hats, Basket Ball themed, etc. This hat is for my nephew who is an aspiring magician. First I hot glued a red ibbon around the hat. The ribbon is highly recommended, remember we have a seam to hide! Then I added a feather, some "magic" playing cards and a metal embellishment to finish it. I covered the hat in spray glitter as a last step to add some pizazz.
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