Make a Mini Top Hat

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Make a Mini Top Hat

Tiny hats in Victorian styles are a steampunk style that is gaining new interest with the release of Disney's Alice in Wonderland. You can make a mini top hat that rivals the Mad Hatter's designs with this simple tutorial.

Here's what you'll need:

Once you've gathered your materials, let's get started.

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Cut the Top and Brim

Make a Mini Top Hat
Use bowls to cut the top and brim. Rain Blanken

To shape the top and brim of the hat, we are going to trace a couple of bowls onto the cereal box. Cut the bottom of the cereal box so that you can unfold it. We will be using both sides of the box.

Take a look at your potential top and brim sizes by putting the small bowl inside the medium-sized bowl. The small bowl will be the size of your top, and the medium-sized bowl will be the brim.

Trace the bowls upside-down on the cereal box and carefully cut out the circles.

Next, we will make the hat band.

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Cut the Hat Band

Make a Mini Top Hat
Cut the hat band from the other side of the cereal box. Rain Blanken

The hat band is the tube at the middle of the hat. These instructions will give you a fluted hat band that is a little smaller at the bottom than the top. You can modify the height and curve of the hat band to create tall skinny hats or short squat hats. For a taller hat band, you'll need a larger piece of cardboard than the cereal box we are working with here.

Cut out the side of the cereal box. Cut it in half lengthwise. Overlap the short edges about an inch and tape each side.

Wrap your hat band around the circle you cut out for the top of the hat. Cut the hat band to fit, leaving a couple inches of overlap.

In the next step, we will curve the hat band.

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Curve the Hat Band

Make a Mini Top Hat
Use just a few measurements to put a curve on the hat band. Rain Blanken

A straight hat band will work, but fluted hat bands give a hat more personality. To curve your hat band, we will first draw an arc at the bottom.

Measure at least an inch at the middle of the band. For a more dramatic 'V' shape for the hat band, go up to 2 or 3 inches. It is up to you to experiment and see what you like best.

Make a 1/2" mark a few inches from each edge of the band. You should now have three marks on your hat band.

Connect the marks to sketch out the arc from one corner of the hat band to the other.

Next we will continue to shape the hat band.

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Continue to Shape the Hat Band

Make a Mini Top Hat
Use the cut bottom piece to form the top of the hat band. Rain Blanken

Cut along the arc you drew in the last step. Don't throw away this scrap piece.

Place the scrap piece at the top of your hat band, lining up the masking tape on each. Trace along the top of the scrap piece to make an identical arc.

On each end, draw a connecting line from the edge of the top arc to the bottom arc. This will be the ends of your hat band. Cut out the top arc and edge marks to create the shape shown above.

Now that we have all our shapes, let's cut the fabric.

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Cut the Hat Fabric

Make a Mini Top Hat
Use your cardboard pieces to make the fabric pieces. Rain Blanken

Use the shapes you have made to cut out your chosen fabric. You will need to add a 1/2" of fabric to each piece to allow for tucking of the fabric.

For the top of the hat, cut around a 1/2" larger than the circle.

For the hat band of the hat, trace around 1/2" larger than the band shape.

For the brim of the hat, trace around 1/2" larger than the brim circle.

For the bottom of the hat, simple trace the brim circle.

Next, let's attach the fabric to the top of the hat.

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Attach Fabric to the Top of the Hat

Make a Mini Top Hat
Tape the fabric onto the top piece. Rain Blanken

Before you start this step, prepare ten 1" pieces of masking tape. Lay the small circle of fabric face-down. Center the small cardboard circle on top.

Fold over and tape a section of the fabric to the cardboard. Work in small pieces, alternating edges to tape sections opposite each other. Working small sections will minimize bunching of the fabric.

Next we will prepare the brim.

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Prepare the Brim

Make a Mini Top Hat
Cut a hole in the middle of the brim and fabric. Rain Blanken

We need to cut a circle in the brim to assemble the hat later. The circle can be any size, as long as it is large enough to fit your fingers in and smaller than the bottom of your hat band.

Lay the brim fabric face-down and trace the brim hole on the fabric. Cut out the hole on the fabric. Add dots of glue around the edge of the hole.

Line up the fabric and brim cardboard and press down to secure the glue around the hole.

Next, we'll attach the fabric to the brim.

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Attach Fabric to the Brim

Make a Mini Top Hat
Tape the fabric to the brim. Rain Blanken

Fold over the fabric the same way we did with the top of the hat. Remember to tape small sections and work opposite sides to help evenly distribute the fabric.

Next, we will finish the hat band.

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Finish the Hat Band

Make a Mini Top Hat
Tape the fabric to the hat band, then shape it. Rain Blanken

Lay the hat band fabric face down and center the hat band cardboard on top. Fold over and tape the fabric all around the hat band. For best results, add a piece of tape to each of the four sides, then work in between them.

Bend the hat band in a circle so that it is the size of the top hat piece. Tape the inside of the hat band together. On the outside edge, hot glue the hat band together. If you don't have a hot glue gun, dot two rows of glue. To help the glue set, use clothespins to hold the hat brim together.

Once the hat band is dry, let's attach it to the top of the hat.

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Attach Top to Hat Band

Make a Mini Top Hat
Tape the hat band to the top piece. Rain Blanken

Center the top of the hat under the hat band so that you've made a cup shape. On the inside, use long strips of masking tape to attach the hat band to the top of the hat. Layer the entire inside groove with tape strips and you will have a strong hold.

Next, we will attach the hat band to the brim.

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Attach Hat Band to Brim

Make a Mini Top Hat
Tape from the brim to the inside of the hat band. Rain Blanken

Center the brim upside-down on the hat band. Be sure it is centered before you begin taping, and check periodically during this step to make sure the brim is even. If the hole you cut is too small, now is the time to enlarge it for easy taping.

Apply long strips of tape as shown, first applying them to the brim and stretching them to attach to the inside of the hat band. Tape all around the inside of the brim until you've got a strong hold.

Your hat is now formed and you're ready to close it up.

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Add the Bottom of the Hat

Make a Mini Top Hat
Glue the bottom of the hat to the brim. Rain Blanken

Lay your last circle of fabric over the brim. Trim the fabric so that it is at least a 1/16" smaller than the brim.

Glue the fabric in place. Use clothespins to set the fabric.

Next, we'll finish up by stitching on the comb.

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Stitch on Hat Comb

Make a Mini Top Hat
Stitch on the comb and you're ready to decorate the hat. Rain Blanken

Lay the comb down near the edge of the brim and stitch it on using a simple overcast or blanket stitch.

Congratulations on making your own Mad Hatter Hat! Now you can decorate it as you see fit.