When planning my daughter’s Alice in Wonderland tea party birthday, I knew we couldn’t celebrate without fancy Mad Hatter top hats. I looked into buying them, too expensive, and I looked into making them with doll hats, but they didn’t look right. Finally, I grabbed the ‘ole hot glue gun and some felt to make my own mini top hats. The end result was both low-cost and adorable! Even better, they are super easy to make! Whether you need one for a costume or 20 for a party — you can make these!
- Black Stiffened Felt Sheets – available at craft stores
- Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
- Black Headbands – you can use any thin headband, but after a lot of research I decided on satin covered metal headbands. I like metal because it doesn’t break, and the satin cover made them very comfortable to wear. They cost about $1 each. You can save money by getting metal headbands not covered in satin, but I really like the satin.
- Large Rhinestone Gems
- Tulle Circles (available in any color)
- Anything else you want to use to decorate your top hats (feathers, glitter, flowers, etc.)
Step 1 – Prep and cut your pieces
Begin by cutting out all of your felt shapes. However many you are making, I recommend that you cut out all of your shapes at once. Then you can move on to assembly. You need three basic shapes, a rectangle (9 x 3 ins) and two circles (2.5 inch and 4 inch circles). To make perfect circles (well, as close as I can make them) I use a Fiskars Circle Template. I use the template all of the time, but in case you don’t have/want to get one, I created a template for the shapes I used.
Download my mini top hat template. (Adobe PDF file.)
Step 2 – Build the hat
Once you have your shapes, you are ready to assemble. Starting with the rectangle, you need to soften the felt to get it ready to roll into a circle. To do so, rub the rectangle along the edge of a table. This will break up the stiffened fibers, otherwise you will end up with a lumpy circle.
Next form a loop with the rectangle using the small circle as a guide as to how big to make the roll. Your roll should be just about the same size in diameter as the small circle. Hot glue the overlapping flap to form your roll. Set aside your roll to fully cool while you form your next roll.
Once your rolls are ready, it is time to attach them to the small circles. Run a small line of hot glue along the edge of the roll – make sure you get it a little bit to the inside. Place the small circle on top of the roll. If there are any edges that are not quite glued together, squeeze additional glue from the inside of the hat around the edge. But doing it from the inside, you will hide the extra glue.
Step 3 – Attach the base to the headband
Before you attach the bigger circle to the hat, it needs to be attached to the headband. To do so start by putting two slits about an inch apart in the middle of the circle. To do so, fold the circle in half and snip. The slits should be slightly longer than the width of your headband. Slide your headband through the slits and arrange the circle where you would like the top hat to sit. I made the girls’ hats sit slightly off center, and the hats for the boys straight up on top. Once you decide where you want the mini hat to sit, hot glue your headband to the big circle at the point where the headband goes across the felt circle from one slit to the other.
Step 4 – Assembly
After attaching the “brim” of the hat to the headband, attach the body of the hat to the brim. Just like when you put the top on to the roll, put a ring around the roll edge at slightly toward the inside of the roll and attach to the brim.
Ta-da! There’s the hat!
Step 5 – Decorate
You can decorate your hat in any way to match your party or personality, but here is how I decorated mine.
Start with a circle of tulle. Pinch the middle of the circle, and gather the tulle into a clump. To keep the tulle gathered, use your thread to tie off the gathered tulle. I found the circles to be slightly too tall when gathered, so I snipped off a small portion under where I tied off the tulle. Then glue the tulle in place on your hat.
Next I hot glued the ribbon around the base of the hat over the gathered tulle. I found it best to have the ribbon overlap right at the point where the tulle sits.
Finally, I added a large gemstone with hot glue to the front for a little bling!
There you have it, a perfect mini top hat fit for a Mad Hatter Tea Party.
Stay tuned for ideas for decorations, food, invitations, activities and more for an Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter Tea Party.
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