I have had the idea of turning a hat into a lamp for a while now and decided that the make it glow contest would be good motivation to finally get to work. I was at the store looking for a cool yet inexpensive hats when I saw someone walk by with a knit cap on and thought wouldn't it be cool if that was the lamp and one of the strings on the sides was the pull? Fortunately, most stores in my area have switched to spring clothes so I was able to get one for less than 4 bucks.
Step 1: Materials
I am a believer in upcycling or using cheap materials when ever possible. I picked up the hat off season for less that four dollars, the light kit came from an old lamp I had picked up for about eight dollars, and I used a kids fireman's hat to give the cap some dimension. If you don't feel comfortable cutting up a cord to rewire it you can light kits at most home improvement stores and keep it under 15. I was originally just going to buy one of those but I really wanted one that had a pull cord instead of a toggle and my local store only had the toggle ones. There are a few other small bits of material not shown in the picture like a bit of yarn and some tape. Also not pictured is an LED light bulb, they produce a lot less heat, which is important since I used a hat as a lamp shade.
Step 2: Prepping the Hat
The hat I used had a fleece lining in it which I decided to remove. I knew I was going to use an LED bulb to reduce heat but I was still a little worried about how thick the hat would be so to alleviate some of that concern and to allow more light to pass through the hat and illuminate the room. I was worried about the knit unraveling so I left a bit of the fleece around the seams. You have to be careful while cutting so that you don't accidentally cut any of the yarn of the hat, I had a few close calls while I was doing it.
Step 3: Giving the Hat Some Shape
I knew I need to give the cap some shape and did a lot of looking for what I could use to fill it out. I ended up settling on the dome of this plastic fireman's hat. I cut the rim off as well as the par to of the emblem in the front to give it a more round shape. It was still a little too big so I cut a slit in the front emblem and resized it there, taping it closed. The cord needs to go through the top so be sure to cut a hole there too. The cut job wasn't as refined as I would like but it's not seen once it's in the cap. I may revisit this step later and swap out the fireman's hat for a metal framework.
Step 4: Cutting the Cord...
When I first settled on the this lamp I thought it would make a great donor for this project and that I could just pop the top off, unfortunately it was assembled with some kind of rivet instead of screws. So I had to cut the plug off to get it out of it's old base and into it's new home.
Step 5: Threading the Cord
One of the benefits I guess of having to cut the cord was it made it easier to thread the light kit through the knit of the cap. I didn't want to have to cut any of the knitting and was lucky enough to find a spot where the holes where large enough to get the cord through. You will want to make sure that what you are using to give your hat shape is where you want it before threading the cord through.
Step 6: Fixing the Cord
This solution isn't necessarily the most elegant but you won't see the plug end of the cord very often so out of sight out of mind. Stripe the insulation off both ends of the cut cord so you are left with exposed wires, twist them together and twist the caps on to seal the deal. Wiring isn't my strong point so use caution on this step and ask for help if necessary, I did.
Step 7: Attaching the Pull Cord
I had a bit of grey yarn that I hopped blended in with the hat that I used to connect the pull from the light kit to a bit of felt that was sewn into one of the ear flaps of the hat. Make sure that the yarn doesn't have any slack in it when you tie it off, this will make pulling on hat to turn it on and off easier.