Getting ahead…

In my quest to get our Halloween costumes finished early this year, I have been doing lots and lots of online research.  One of the cool things I have found are some really pretty pirate hats decorated with ribbon, lace and other trims by different crafters.  There are a few tutorials but mostly people selling these gorgeous hats on Etsy.com.  I, of course, would like to decorate my own hat, so that it matches my outfit and so that I can add what I want to it.  I’ll write more on that later…

I ordered some hats off of eBay that can be decorated however we want.  They are plain, black, wide-brimmed wool hats that will work perfectly for the pirate costumes.  They are pretty floppy though, and that might it difficult to work on them.  I was toying with different ideas on what I could use to make the whole process easier.  After some thought I decided that the foam forms that you can get at beauty supply stores would probably be the easiest and most economical.  The forms generally run about $5.00 give or take a few quarters.

So after deciding that that the foam forms are what I needed I remembered that the closest beauty supply store had closed a few months ago.  I had already run errands earlier in the day and going out again in 108 degree weather held no appeal.  I took a few moments for a quick internal discussion and started looking at what I could do with what I had in the house.  We have one foam form that we use at Halloween to display one of many masks and/or hats.  I had seen some tutorials on making duct tape dress forms** the other day and I wondered if I could use the same technique to make my own hat display.

I didn’t think to take pictures until I was almost done with the second form so bear with me.

Materials –

  • foam head form
  • plastic bag
  • duct tape
  • cardboard
  • stuffing (plastic bags, newspaper, etc)

I started with the foam head and covered it with a plastic grocery bag.  I used strips of duct tape around the neck the part to hold the bag down and pull it tight around the form.  Next I started ripping strips of duct tape and wrapping the plastic covered foam form.  I split the strips vertically, some half the width and some in thirds.  I used the third widths across and along the nose and eyes to contour to the shape of the form.   The half widths I used starting along the jawline and moved up the side of the form.  I also put a long piece of tape down the center starting above the nose and continuing down the back of the neck.  I continued to lay down strips until the entire form was covered.  I did my first layer with a solid color duct tape and a decorative duct tape for the second layer.  The second layer is just like the first, I was just more careful to smooth down the duct tape.

When the form was covered with the second layer then I cut through the duct tape/plastic up the back and pulled the duct tape covering off of the form.  Use another few strips of the patterned duct tape to close up the back again.

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I used plastic grocery bags and crumpled up newspapers/ad mailers for stuffing, I was careful to fill in the contoured areas with the bags and filled the center with the crumpled paper.  I traced the bottom of the foam form on cardboard and cut it out.  After it was filled as much as it was going to be I put in the cardboard and covered it with the decorative duct tape.

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Here are the final results.  Now I have two hat forms that i can stick pins into and keep the hat in place while I work on decorating them.  Clearly, I could have bought two of the foam forms for about $10 and in about a third of the time that I spent making these.  For me, it was about being resourceful and using the materials that I had close at hand.   I am pretty pleased.

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**Duct tape dress forms – Google “how to make a duct tape dress form” for tutorials.   I liked this one, it has good info on the duct tape part, this one has more details on how to set up the form.

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