Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Top Hat Tutorial

I've had a few requests on how to make your own top hat so I thought I'd give it a go. So, you're going to need:
- Cardboard
- Two different sized bowls (the quickest and easiest way of measuring)
- Hot Glue
- Elmers Glue
- Tape (I've used masking tape here, it holds very well)
- Some clips to hold fabric in place
- Black thread
- Black felt
- Gauzy material (black tulle would work great. In these photos I've used scrap
material I bought from Savers)
- Black head band
- Decorative items (beads, feathers, flowers, buttons, whatever)

The first step is to trace the bowls onto the cardboard in a donut shape. You will also need the top part of the hat (by tracing the smaller bowl) and finally the band for the hat which can be done by cutting strips from the cardboard to circle the inner part of your donut.

You can see here the parts that will make up your hat. Tape the two long skinny lengths together, measuring that they will fit the inner circle of the donut and cutting away any excess.

And now you are ready to cut out black felt to fit your carboard pieces.

Here are all the parts you will assemble. When you are cutting the felt I found it useful to make sure you cut a little bit extra around the edges and I'll explain why later.

Cover the cardboard pieces in Elmers glue than carefully place your felt pieces over them. With the two flat parts I found it useful to place heavy books on top of them while it dried. For the band of the hat I placed clips around the fabric while it dried. When its all dry you get the hot glue gun out and glue the pieces together. Hopefully it will end up looking something like this. Now this is where that extra edging comes in - you notice that when you sandwiched the two felt pieces you can see the cardboard peeking through? To make it look nicer I blanket stitched the edges together. This is the most time consuming part of the project but the end result is worth it.

So now you have a top hat in need of decorating! This part is optional but if you want a lovely trail on your hat cut a long strip of tulle or whatever fabric you are using. You can hot glue it to the back, or like I did just blanket stitch it into place.

You can leave it just like it is or like I've done here gather a bunch of the fabric then hot glue it in a bundle in the back.

Now your hat is ready to be hot glued onto the head band. Before you glue the top hat put on the head band then place the hat over it at the angle you want then mark the spot with a white colored pencil. I put two strips of hot glue over that spot then placed the hat over the hot glue. I also went back and slathered a lot of hot glue to make sure it stayed in place.

Now comes the last and most fun part, decorating! I had so many ideas for decorating it was hard to limit myself! I've found that Ben Franklins and Michaels has a wide and wonderful variety for decoration - including a new line of Steampunk accessories and beautiful feathers. I hope this has been helpful in creating your own Victorian/Steampunk top hat, enjoy!


Louise said...

un saludo desde

Ryan said...


This is a great tutorial; thank you for sharing it.

I have a question:

I work for Marygrove College where I write for their Master in the Art of Teaching program. Every month we like to put together a free resource to give teachers curriculum, craft or lesson-plan ideas.

We're putting together a new resource and thought your project would be a lot of fun for students. Would you mind having us repost this?

We would, of course, give you credit and link back to your blog.


Devicat said...

....I wonder if this is suuuuper late and I apologize; I don't get commenters usually so I don't bother to check. Yes, of course - I would honored if you used this for your students. have fun!

Muppy Pumy said...

Simple, efficace et ce qui ne gâche rien TRES JOLI. J'adore et j'adopte votre façon de faire . Merci