Monday, 28 May 2012

How to Make a Miniature Hat

I've been promising this post for quite a while, especially to members of Craftsforum. I first found the basic method for making a miniature felt hat in a doll's house magazine seven years ago. When mulling over the original article I came to realise how much I've changed the method to meet my requirements, so the how-to you now find below is my own.

Being the proud owner of a miniature Victorian pub, The Acton Bell Inn, I've had a go at making various hats over the years. I imagine there would be a fair few hanging up inside the pub's door, and my landlady has quite a penchant for ornate hats, too. In fact, the hats have arrived in the doll's house before the lady herself!

I've made hats in the style of later periods too, such as my favourite cloche.

Best of all, they're really easy to make. Here's how:

You will need:

  • Felt in your chosen colour
  • PVA glue
  • A paintbrush
  • An elastic band
  • A bottle with a smallish lid
  • Ribbon in your chosen colour
  • Clingfilm
  • Spray starch
A word about choosing a bottle - your bottle will be the mould for your hat's crown. You need a lid that will allow your finished hat to remain in proportion to your miniature project, or doll's head, and the shape you'd like the crown to be. I've always found a nail varnish remover bottle lid to be perfect, because it's the right diameter, and has a rounded top. A more flat lid will give you the shape for a boater, top hat, etc., so try different lids and see what you like best.

1. Cut out a square of felt, big enough to cover the top and sides of your bottle lid. Cover the lid in a layer of clingfilm, place your felt over the top, and then smooth down and secure in place with an elastic band.

You won't be able to smooth out every pleat in your felt, but stretch it slightly over the lid and arrange it to reduce the pleats as much as possible.

2. Coat your hat's crown in a layer of watered down PVA glue, down to the elastic band, then leave to dry overnight. Once dry and hardened, remove the hat from the bottle, and cut around the elastic band, so you are left with your crown shape.

3. Place your crown back on its mould. Cut out a circle of felt, approximately 6cm diameter. I haven't owned a compass since school so I just used the inside of a plastic bangle. We're ensuring your brim is extra big (sombrero!) so we have room to trim it into your chosen style. Fold your circle in half, then into quarters. Cut off the point of this shape, so you have a hole in the middle of your circle. Try placing it over the crown of your hat. It will probably be too small, so keep trimming a tiny amount at a time until the brim fits snugly over the crown. Then shuffle the brim up to the top of your crown, paint a line of PVA where you want the brim to sit, then glue the brim into place.

4. You now have your basic hat shape!

Trim your brim (rhymes!) to the style you prefer, then spray with starch and leave to dry. You'll have a join where you attached the two pieces, so just cover this up with your ribbon. You can then let your imagination run wild with ideas for decorating your hat. I love using feathers, mini silk flowers, and collect old earrings because they make expensive-looking embellishments.

The ribbons that are sewn into clothing to keep them on the hanger are the ideal width for miniature projects.

I'm always so inspired by the work of milliner Louise Pocock:

Above three photos from Louise Pocock's website

Visit her website and Facebook page for ideas galore.

If you'd like to see more hattish goodness, pop back later in the week!

Enjoy your Monday,


  1. They are very Pretty. You have a very creative mind!

  2. Genius! These are just darling!

    1. Pleased you like them. I finished trimming them in the garden, and it looked like Mr Cadbury's parrot had come to a sticky end by the time I had finished. So many coloured feathers everywhere.

  3. Oh these little hats are just delightful!
    Victoria xx

  4. How tremendously talented, beautiful, and creative! I used to collect Japanese 1/6th scale miniatures (Re-Ment and the like) for about five years, however to help fund our cross country move a few months ago, I sold off nearly all of my miniatures. I don't regret the decision (much as I loved my collection), but I do sometimes miss having a few itty-bitty treasures of the doll house appropriate kind around to keep me company. Perhaps one day I'll try my hand at trying to make these splendidly pretty mini hats to fill that void.

    Thank you very much for your lovely comment on my post about collecting vintage brooches. I very much agree that (whether figuratively or literally) it's the little things in life that can mean the most sometimes.

    Wishing you a gorgeous Monday & week ahead,
    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thank you Jessica. It was quite strange for me when I realised one day that collections can shrink as easily as they can grow. I suppose it's all part of the fun! I should probably apply this lesson to my book hoard...

  5. The hats are adorable! I am your newest follower on GFC. Patsy in Texas

    1. Welcome, Patsy, thank you so much for following!

  6. Thank you for such clear and easy instructions. l am currently outfitting a driver for my horse and buggy and now she can have a very stylish hat. (Anne in Aus)

  7. So perfect for my child's tiny figurine. He said, "He needs a hat!". Now, he will have a great hat!

  8. Love your little hats. So sweet. Where do you get the little wooden hat stands? Do you make them?

    1. Thanks Denise, the stands can be bought from dolls house shops such as The Dolls House Emporium.


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