How to Make a Mini Top Hat

Nothing completes a costume better than a mini top hat! It’s like the cherry on top of the sundae. And nothing could be easier than making your own custom top hat.

I think it would be super fun to have a Hat Making Party with some friends.  Serve tea and make it a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party!

Provide the hats and the decorations and have everyone bring a glue gun. You should probably make sure to get a few hats per person, because no one will want to stop at just one.

And as long as an adult is there to supervise and operate the glue gun, this would be a great party activity for kids. Everyone gets to take their own hat home as a party favor!

tophat_01In addition to being a great addition to a costume, you can also display a few of your hats as a decor feature in your house. Make seasonal themed hats to display for holidays: Fourth of July, Halloween, Christmas!

Hang them on the wall or display on your resident skull.


This tutorial is available in video and text format. Here’s the video:hatvid

Continue reading for the text-and-photo tutorial!

Where do we get started? With supplies, of course!

SunshineShoppeSupply has a whole rainbow of hat colors, so choose one that will compliment your costume. Once you’ve chosen your hat, select a handful of coordinating bows, flowers, feathers, etc. You can go monochromatic or multicolored. All of the items in the photo below are available at!


I went with a red + black color scheme for the red hat, black + white for the black hat, and purple, green, and aqua for the purple hat.

Take a moment and assess your selection of decorative items. Check your stash and see what goodies you have that you could add- buttons, lace, fabric scraps. Get creative! You could use small toys, watch gears, hardware, and more.


These Nagorie feather pads from SunshineShoppeSupply are gorgeous. I used a whole one for my red hat, but I decided to take some of the individual feathers for my purple and black hats.


Time to get out your trusty glue gun! Remember that the secret to make durable items with your glue gun is a high temp glue gun with high temp glue sticks. The high temp glue makes a much more permanent bond than the low temp.

My standard note of caution: BEWARE THE SCORCHING GLUE. Never allow a child to operate a glue gun. I’m thirty and I probably shouldn’t be allowed to operate a glue gun, as evidenced by the blister on my finger. mini_top_hat_tutorial_steampunk_costume_05

While the gun is heating up, start auditioning your various bits and baubles. Once I played with the layout a bit, I decided that the green ribbon rosette was just too big for the purple hat.


When you’ve figured out a basic idea of what goes where, start assembling! I started by attaching this stretch velvet trim around the base of the hat.


Think about where to place unsightly things- like the seam of a piece of trim. Put it somewhere that will have another object over it, to hide the raw edges. I knew most of my details would be focused around the center front of this hat, so there’s where I hid the seam.

Stretch trims work great because you can stretch them a bit and they’ll fit quite snugly around the base of the hat. Because of this I really only used two small globs of glue for the two raw edges at the front of the hat. I didn’t glue all the way around the base. All trims and hats will be different though, so use your best judgment.


Because I left the sides unglued, I could tuck the feathers in before gluing to get the placement just right.

When I was ready to glue, I just pulled back the elastic trim, squirted in some glue, placed the feathers and set the trim back in place.

You might find it easier to glue down the feathers first and then attach the trim to cover the bottom edges of the feathers.


Here’s a detail of my own that I added. This was my Mad Hatter themed hat, so I printed out a little price card, just like the one from the book illustrations.


Next I took some birdcage veil and folded and pleated until it was in a shape I liked.


Then I secured the bottom with a piece of tape so it would hold it’s shape while I glued it.


Then I glued it to the hat, tape and all. Remember to think about placement! The unsightly glue and tape holding the veil together will be covered by a bow.


Voila! Once I glued the bow on, I knew this one was finished. Not bad for my first hat!


Here’s the red hat, featuring a large feather pad, some mesh ruffle trim, two fabric rosettes, birdcage veil, and a small red glitter heart that’s kind of hard to see. There’s also a band of black stretch lace around the base. This is my Queen of Hearts hat.


I let some of the veil drape down over the face on this one. Thank you to my lovely model, Baroness von Boney.


For the black hat, I used some scrap grommet trim around the base for a steampunk feel. I topped it off with some black feathers, rosettes and pearls!


Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go get more hat blanks from SunshineShoppeSupply, because I’m addicted!

3 thoughts on “How to Make a Mini Top Hat

  1. Does anyone know where to buy mini-hat blanks that aren’t made in China? I want to support local manufacturers.

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