Papier Mache Hat

Make wearable exciting hats out of papier mache. Examples include how to make a papier mache cowboy hat, sombero, clown hat, and easter hat.

Safety Tips

  • Watch out for this sign Ask for an adult's help. It means adult help is needed for the particular step.
Papier Mache Hat craft

Materials

  • Newspaper or paper for recycling
  • Papier pache paste
  • Papier mache mold (balloon, flower pot
    or small bucket)
  • Acrylic paint or poster paint
  • Paint brush
  • Aluminum foil or plastic wrap
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Gift wrap or handmade paper (optional)
  • Things to accessorize your hat with: ribbon, felt,
    fabric flowers, feathers, etc.

Steps

Step 1a Papier Mache Hat craft 1.

Find a mold

Find a suitable mold for your papier mache hat. Choose from either of these two options:

a.) Blow air into an oval balloon until it's approximately the same size or slightly larger than your head.
Step 1b Papier Mache Hat craft   b.) Find a plastic flower pot, small bucket, or similar-shaped container that could fit on your head. (The bottom half of a 3-liter water bottle makes an excellent hat mold!)
Step 2 Papier Mache Hat craft 2. If you chose Option B, you will need to do the following to make it possible to remove the papier mache from its mold:
  • Grease the entire exterior of your mold with petroleum jelly.
  • Wrap the mold with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Allow for an extra length of plastic or foil at the base or mouth of your mold.
Step 3a Papier Mache Hat craft 3.

Papier Mache (Hat's Top)

Here's a basic papier mache tutorial that you can follow. Make about 3 layers of papier mache around your mold.

For a pot or bucket mold, papier mache over the entire area of the mold. Take note to leave an extra length of plastic wrap or aluminum foil at the base of your papier mache.
Step 3b Papier Mache Hat craft If you are using a balloon mold, just papier mache over the top half of the balloon. Your papier mache will dry in about 2 to 3 days.
Step 4a Papier Mache Hat craft 4.

Remove the Papier Mache from the Mold

Once dry, pop the balloon to remove it from its mold.
Step 4b Papier Mache Hat craft Ask for an adult's help Remove your papier from its pot or bucket mold by holding it by the excess length of plastic wrap or aluminum foil and carefully pulling it out from the mold. Once you have pulled out the entire papier mache, remove the foil or plastic wrap inside your papier mache.
Step 5 Papier Mache Hat craft 5.

Trim the Papier Mache

Trim the edges of your papier mache to the desired height for your hat. You may draw a line around your papier mache to make cutting a lot easier.
Step 6 Papier Mache Hat craft 6.

Papier Mache (Hat's Brim)

Cover your work area with plastic wrap or with a mat. Mark the desired size and shape of the brim on your plastic wrap. Set your papier mache hat at the center and begin to papier mache around it. First lay down several paper strips around the hat to fix it in place. Slowly build a brim with 2 to 3 layers of papier mache.
Step 7a Papier Mache Hat craft 7.

Molding the Brim

Your brim doesn't need to be flat. Make it more interesting by molding it to a different shape while the papier mache hasn't quite dried yet. Here are some suggestions:

a.) Make a curled brim by putting an object to hold up the edge that you intend to curl. Leave the object there until the brim has completely dried.
Step 7b Papier Mache Hat craft b.) Make a brim with the entire edge curled up:
  • While the papier mache is still wet, make small slits (or tears) at approximately 4-inch intervals around the edge of the brim.
  • Overlap the two sides of each slit and press to glue them together.
  • Repeat for all slits to come up with an upturned brim. This would be a perfect way to make a sombrero!
Step 7c Papier Mache Hat craft c.) Make a drooping brim by setting your hat on top of an object with curved walls (e.g a small basin with its bottom side up) instead of on a flat surface while you make the papier mache brim in Step 6. I set mine on top of a 5 gallon water refill bottle.

Don't forget to line your mold with plastic wrap.
Step 8 Papier Mache Hat craft 8.

Painting Your Hat

When your papier mache hat has completely dried, paint it with your desired color(s) of acrylic or poster paint. Don't forget to paint the bottom of the brim as well.

When using light colors, you may need to prime or paint your hat white before painting with the final color. This hides any print on your papier mache.
Step 9 Papier Mache Hat craft 9.

An Alternative to Painting

Instead of painting your hat, you can add a final layer of papier mache using handmade paper, tissue paper or non-glossy gift wrap. Use a clear-drying papier mache paste such as white glue mixture for this final layer.
Step 10a Papier Mache Hat craft 10.

Decorating and Accessorizing Your Hat

Decorate your hat with a variety of materials. Below are some decorating ideas plus more notes on making this craft:

a.) Tie your favorite scarf around your hat! To come up with a natural fiber-looking finish, we used brown textured paper to make a final layer of papier mache on this hat.
Papier Mache Easter Hat craft b.) Handmade pink paper was used as the final layer of papier mache on this pretty hat. Make a flower-inspired Easter hat decorated with real blooms, fabric flowers, felt flowers or paper flowers. You can even pin your favorite brooch on your hat, like I did using a felt flower brooch.
Papier Mache Cowboy Hat craft A length of leather string and a paper star wrapped in aluminum foil topped off this cowboy/sheriff's hat.
Papier Mache Clown Hat craft This hat didn't need any brim added to it. As we did the papier mache in Step 3, we have included the mold's lip, which provided the short brim needed for a bowler clown hat. A felt flower with a button center and a pipe cleaner stem was added to make this clown hat extra silly.
Step 10e Papier Mache Sombrero Hat craft The upturned brim on this hat plus the bright colors painted on it made it distinctly into a Mexican sombrero. We have another sombrero craft made out of a plastic flower pot and construction paper that you can also check out.
Papier Mache Elegant Hat craft Beautiful gift wrap paper made this hat extra elegant and chic. A quick note on using gift wrap paper - the thicker it gets, the tougher it is to use in papier mache. Glossy and laminated paper also does not work well. We recommend finding paper that readily absorbs papier mache paste.

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