Make a Native American Cheif Hat (war Bonnet)


Introduction: Make a Native American Cheif Hat (war Bonnet)

About: My name is michael j. caboose and I HATE BABIES!

This is an Instructable on how to make a war bonnet. A war bonnet is a traditional headdress worn by chiefs and skilled warriors. I've always wanted to make one and I had to make one for a project at school, so YAY! I also didn't see an Instructable on one so I decided to make one. (double YAY)

Step 1: Stuff and Tools

This is a list of things you will need to make this.
1. an old baseball hat
2.a cloth belt
3.small "fluffy feathers (2 bags at least)
4.eagle feathers(9 minimum, I used 12) tape( you only need about a foot and a half)
7.1 foot of wire(you want some that will hold its shape)
8.a spool of thread.
9.animal hide( rabbit or squirrel look the best, you can get these at a craft store)
1.poket knife glue gun
4.needle drier(optional)

Step 2: Preparing the Hat

This Instructable is built in three major parts. The hat, the ear flaps, and the crown. First you want to make the hat. Take your baseball cap and cut the brim off of it. Don't just take scissors an cut it off, turn it upside down and cut the thread that holds the brim on. Rip the fabric off the brim, you'll use it later in the project. There should be a big gaping hole in the front. Take your thread and needle and sew it up.

Step 3: Headband

Now you are going to add a headband to your hat. Take your belt and cut off the buckle( make sure to save it for later projects). Wrap the belt around your hat and cut it off where the belt reaches your ear. Now find the middle of your belt and mark it with a sharpie marker. Line the middle of your belt with the middle of of your hat and sew it on. Then take your hot glue gun and hot glue the headband to make sure it doesn't fall off. Try it on and make sure it fits. you have now finished the hat part of this project.

Step 4: Ear Flaps

Now you are going to make the ear flaps. Take your cardboard and trace two circles( I used my easy button). Cut the circles out and cover them in duck tape. Now take six of your fluffy feathers and match them up by size and shape. Next take three of the six ( I chose two black and one blue) and tape or glue them to the back of the disks. Repeat. Now take your pelt(rabbit or squirrel fur) and cut off two equal strips. Take those strips and glue them to the backs of the disks. Now you have completed the ear flaps.

Step 5: Feathers

Now take your eagle feathers and divide them into two equal groups of left and right wing feathers. The way you can tell is by just picking them up and seeing witch way they point. Next take your eagle feathers and your hair drier and flatten the feathers by heating the feather up and squashing it between two books(this step is completely optional, I didn't do this step and mine turned out fine,it just makes the headdress look nicer). Now take three to seven small fluffy feathers and a small square of the cloth off the brim of the baseball cap. Take the square and wrap it around the base of the eagle feather with the small feathers inside of it, pull it tight, and sew it shut.(sorry for the third picture my camera dumped half of the pictures I took). Do this to every eagle feather.

Step 6: Putting It Together

Now take your earflaps and hot glue them on the headband so that they cover your ears. next take feathers and hot glue them on the front of your hat. THEY DO NOT HAVE TO GO ALL THE WAY AROUND!!!!!!. they just have to go on they front and sides. make sure one side has one direction of feathers on it and the other side has the other direction.bend the wire into an arch and hot glue it on the inside of your hat to make the feathers stand up. And your done unless you want to make it look a little better, if so proceed onto the next step.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

If you want it to look better you can do some or all of these idea's
1.cut another strip of fur and cover the headband.
2.take your extra eagle feathers, put on a loop of string, and hang it off your earflaps. glue small feathers on the tips of the eagle feathers.
4.cover the inside of the headdress with the rest of the animal fur.
5.make one and show me the pics!!!



    • Stick It! Contest

      Stick It! Contest
    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest
    • Water Contest

      Water Contest

    32 Discussions


    2 years ago

    how ignorant and foolish

    Let's kick bwarner off of this page. Bwarner, for one thing, it is frowned upon in many places to do anything Native American Themed, including wearing war bonnets and even if you are Native American you are still not entitled to wear it unless you are a chief

    I think it's really nice of you to post this. I also think that people saying negative comments are so sad. How can you take time out of your day to criticize a kid doing a school project? Wow, hope you're all proud of yourselves. I'm sure you enriched your lives with your action. Secondly, I think if you keep the hatred alive, then it's still there. It's over. You can't be offended by people who love the look of something so much that they want to wear it themselves. It's not being offensive, it's showing reverence for a culture which was sadly nearly lost completely! Also, why would you want to lose skills like this? There are very few native american Indians left and I think it would be tragic if the world forgot how to do things. If you want a war bonnet, make one. If you want a medieval bow, make one. If you want to dress up like a 14th century peasant, do it. Life is about love and experience. Not hatred. Thank you so much for being thoughtful and brave enough to post this! I have found it extremely helpful and I hope you didn't take any negative comments to heart. Love and happiness to all. Let's stop the hatred, people.

    3 replies

    Also, I don't think anyone is planning on wearing one to a reservation, or a native american gathering like, "HEY! I'm here making a mockery of the significance of your traditional garb."

    They may not be going to a reservation, but they're doing just as much harm by perpetuating a stereotype.

    I realize that this somehow became a trendy thing to do, and I agree that traditional native american head dresses are beautiful and cool looking. However, it's really offensive to appropriate a spiritually significant piece of a culture that your ancestors massacred.

    Think of it this way: It's like if Hasidic curls became cool with German hipsters. It's not cool, it's offensive. Please don't wear this out.

    4 replies

    i hope you realize how blatantly xenophobic and irrational that last line was. You have no proof that this kids ancestors slaughtered natives and you have no proof that a given german's ancestors killed jews. And if someone is offended its their own fault, no one, i repeat no one has the right not to be offended.

    I hope you realize how blatantly ignorant and stupid you just sounded. Let me guess, you're a typical white American with no culture of your own? No wonder you preach that "no one has a right to be offended."

    Do you have a fine view from a top your high horse?

    In your opinion it is offensive, but does it really offend Native Americans or are you making an assumption that they are petty minded and humourless - like the assumption that this lads ancestors massacred Native Americans?

    Stop trolling around the internet being sanctimonious and chill right out :)

    From a Native American to the rest of you out there. If you think it cool to do this than go for it. But know what it is about. All kinds of people go to festivals and Pow Wows and buy these small mass manufactured head dresses all the time, some from actual Native Americans. It is only dis-respectful if they run around acting like they are real or that they think this is how real Natives go about their day. Each head dress and it's attachments have a meaning in each tribe. Most people recognize the Chief's War Bonnet of the Plains Native Americans as an every day piece of normal wear, but in actuality it was only a ceremonial wear for special occasions. Some where only a hand full of feathers on what might now resemble a hair braid piece. And each feather in that bonnet represented something significant in that person's life (battles, promotion, successful raids, wars, and even the occasional Peace Treaty). Also those eagle feathers were earned not just picked and placed by the wearer until it looked good. Some natives head dress looked like stocking caps or wraps worn with feathers from turkeys or maybe even peacocks adorning them dependent upon the regions the hale. Some natives that don't live on reservations or were civilized(adapted to) by the churches or states have lost a lot of their history, traditions, customs, and even their languages. So while there are a lot of us that take real offense to some things being so blatently exploited by other cultures, some of us also see it as an opportunity to open communications and to spread a little knowledge, not only to other people but to our own youth. Don't think it would be taken so well by some cultures if you showed up wearing their ceremonial attire as a fashion statement. I myself think it is kind of flattering as to how many people want to be "Indian" after a system of government almost eliminated that very culture. And to be clear, the Native American culture has at more than one time saved this very country in more than one way. They Have always been the caretakers of the lands on which we now find ourselves trying to keep from being destroyed. We are not so weak as to go quietly in the night. Be respectful and sincere to people and the land and you will live a good life. As the song said "I was country when country wasn't cool"!

    Great Job on the school project. My son in Native American and also is his father (more than 50% Native American), from the Kanien'keha'ka tribe in Canada. I do agree, I see a LOT of teenagers and young kids making their version of the "headdresses" and posting them on social media networks just to seem cool. like its a Fashion Statement. The boy that did this was doing it for a school project, for research. Give him a break. My son is turning 1 and for his birthday party, its ALL Native American themed, I am also making him his own headdress. because as a baby, in this household, is he the Chief. Im not patronizing his background, his father wants him to know his history and where he comes from., and I want my family to know also. Im very proud to be his mother, and to be a part of my future husbands life. He tells me all about their history, and I love to listen to it. Actual Headdresses get VERY expensive to make, or buy. So this kid used his creative side and learned more about the Native American culture while doing so. So as for that, I hope you got an A on this project. It didn't have to be absolutely correct, down to the T an actual Headdress. The feathers I bought are chicken feathers that are coloured, because yes, I don't want to go to prison. I want my son and my fiancé to know that I do care and am involved in their culture, life and history. Please leave this kid alone, he didn't do anything wrong. Kind regards Michael. ~Brooke~

    1 reply

    p.s - My mother in law moved to the states from their tribe, and she has a Headdress that was made just for her. (and she wasn't the chief) but she wants to keep her history and culture alive. no shame in that, and I will do anything to support them any way I can. very coo Headdress she hasl, makes me wish I had one. and wishing that doesn't made me disrespectful. Im very interested in their culture.

    I love this instruction! It's funny, and very useful!!!! Thank you for posting this. Much of love from me, to you. xxx

    given the history of conquest and genocide, Native Americans find this sort of cultural appropriation offensive. Be prepared if you actually decide to wear this out in public.

    Super cool instructable! Just wanted to mention one thing to those that are hoping to make something like this and are residents of the US.

    A federal law known as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act protects all native birds and their parts from unregulated collection, this includes feathers found on the ground. If you happen to be Native American yourself, you may be exempt from the confines of the federal laws regulating the possession and use of native bird feathers.

    With that said I highly urge anyone that is thinking about making a more authentic headdress to consider this before venturing forth with their project, as violation of this Act carries quite a hefty fine per feather. I'm sorry if this comes across as scaremongering as that is not my intention. I'm sure that the OP used imitation feathers, I just don't want anyone to get in trouble over something that can be easily avoided.

    TL;DR That badass feather you found on the ground might end up biting you in the ass. Be sure to do your research before using it for artistic endeavors such as this one.

    1 reply

    This is the awesome idea! We are going to use it in the fashion show this fall 2012. Yes it is illegal to get real eagle feathers, we are not using real feathers in crafts! This is for fun but in my case it is for a fashion show in which we are joining the past history, blending old and new cultures to a wise more practical caring country!