How To Make A Top Hat

Chances are, most of us have never worn a top hat as part of our day-to-day lives. If you have, we salute you! But, there may come an occasion where a top hat is required, such as a wedding, a fancy occasion, or a fancy dress party.

How To Make A Top Hat

If you’re like most people, though, you won’t have a spare top hat lying around to use.

Whilst you could head out and purchase a new top hat, they tend to be very pricey, especially if you’re only intending to wear it once or twice as a costume accessory.

The good news is that you don’t have to spend a few months’ wages on a new top hat. Instead, you can simply make one!

It may sound like a tricky task but you don’t necessarily need to have any hat-making experience to create a top hat at home. In fact, you’d be surprised how easy it is and how little material is needed.

You’ll require a little guidance, though, and that is why we are here. In today’s blog, we are going to show, step by step, how to make your very own top hat at home. In under an hour, you could have a top hat to show off! So, let’s get started!

Step-By-Step Guide On How To Make A Top Hat

What you’ll need

  • Cardboard (preferably strong)
  • Hot glue (preferably, a glue gun)
  • Scissors
  • Felt (at least half a meter)
  • Duct tape (only if the glue doesn’t stick properly)
  • White pencil (for marking the felt)
  • A ruler
  • A compass
  • A tape measure (to measure your head)
  • Black ribbon accessory

Step One – Cut The cardboard

The first step is to measure around your head (with a tape measure) where you want the hat to fit comfortably. Once you have measured this, cut a strip of cardboard.

This should be a little longer than the length you measured. So, if your head measures 58 cm, add a couple of centimeters on for where the band will be glued on. 

Step Two – Draw Out An Oval Shape On Cardboard 

Using a sturdy, large piece of cardboard, draw out a circle. This will be the brim. Adjust your compass so the pencil is approximately 7 and a half inches (19 cm) away from the center spoke.

Now, trace the circle. The size of the circle depends on your head size. For this example, we are drawing a 15 inch (38 cm) circle.

Step Three – Trace A Smaller Circle Inside The First Circle

Now, trace an eight inch (20 cm) circle inside the first larger circle. Adjust your compass so the pencil is around four inches (10 cm) from the spoke center.

Place the compass in the middle of the first traced circle and then draw another circle in the center. This measurement can be adjusted depending on your head’s circumference.

Step Four – Cut Out Both Circles

Next, you need to cut out the two circles you have made. Using a pair of scissors, start to cut the circle in the center first.

Then, place the smaller piece of cardboard to the side and cut out the larger circle. The edges need to be neat and smooth if you want your top hat to look sophisticated and sleek.

If you’re wondering what the smaller circle is for, this will act as the top of the hat. The largest circle will be the brim.

Step Five – Measure And Draw Two rectangles

Step Five - Measure And Draw Two rectangles

Take another sheet of cardboard and measure two rectangles and trace them. This will be the height of your top hat, so think carefully about how tall you want it to be.

For the smaller circle, use a soft measuring tape and once you have measured it roughly, divide the measurement in half to find the required width of each rectangle.

Once you have decided on the height of your hat, write down the dimensions. 

Now, trace the rectangles on a piece of flexible cardboard that can be bent easily, such as a cereal box. 

Step Six – Cut The Rectangles Out

Now it’s time to cut the rectangles out from the cardboard to create the barrel of the top hat.

Use a pair of scissors or a box cutter and cut out a couple of even rectangles a few millimeters wider than the edges of the template you sketched. Then, place both rectangles besides one another to ensure they are of equal size. 

Step Seven – Assemble Using Felt

Trace the dimensions of your felt so they match your hat’s dimensions.

Place your cardboard cutouts on a large piece of felt and make an outline of the shapes on the felt with a white pencil. Trace around both cardboard rectangles to make one giant felt rectangle. 

Step Eight – Cut The Felt Pieces Out

Using scissors, cut out the individual felt pieces that you traced and set them aside. Again, these should be a few millimeters wider than the initial cardboard sections.

Step Nine – Stick Two Cardboard Rectangles Together 

Tape the two cardboard rectangles together to make a cylinder shape.

Bend both pieces so their edges overlap and keep them steady before applying strips of tape on their sides to make the cylinder shape.

Step Ten – Tape The Cylinder To The Brim Hole of The Biggest Circle

Center your cardboard cylinder above the hat’s open brim circle and slip the cylinder into the opening. Also, apply some more strips of tape along the edges for more stability.

Step Eleven – Tape Small Circle To The Top Of The Hat

Put the smallest cardboard circle atop the cylinder and tape up with clear tape along the edges of the smaller circle.

Step Twelve – Glue The Felt To The Hat

Place a piece of felt over the brim of the hat, and the circular portion on top of the hat in a donut shape.

One piece at a time, glue small parts to the base of the felt and press it into position over the hat’s barrel, brim, and its top. Now, fold and glue the felt over the brim’s edge so the hat takes shape. 

Step Thirteen – Add Decorations 

Now, your hat should look like a top hat so you can get creative and start adding accessories, such as a ribbon on its base or maybe glue a feather or two to its side. 

And, that’s it! You now have your very one top hat! Thanks for reading! 

Willa Price

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