How to make a tricorn hat out of newspaper

Updated February 21, 2017

Tricorn hats are symbols of both pirates and the French Revolution. These hats are simple, elegant and unmistakable. The style became popular in the years before the Revolution, mostly because of their practicality in rain, and have recently risen in popularity likely because of the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

Form the hat

Cut two circles out of the newspaper or packing paper. One should be 66 cm (26 inches) in diameter, and the other, 35 cm (14 inches).

Flip the mixing bowl upside down, and put a small loop of masking tape on the top of it. Find the centre of the 35 cm (14 inches) circle, and stick it to the tape.

Push the paper down around the mixing bowl, folding or crimping as necessary to form a cap. The more folds you put in, the more weathered a look the hat gets. When the cap is creased together, wrap some masking tape tightly around the cap, about 2.5 cm (1 inch) from the bottom.

Pull the cap off the mixing bowl, and pull the masking tape loop out of the cap.

Place the cap over the centre of the 66 cm (26 inch) circle, and trace it. Cut the smaller circle out of the larger piece of paper, which will become the cap's brim.

Make several small cuts around the bottom of the cap, cutting straight up toward the masking tape band you placed earlier. Snip at approximately 2.5 cm (1 inch) intervals, and fold these cuts out.

Place some glue on top of the tabs you cut in Step 6, and then set the cap on your table surface.

Push the ring-shaped brim over the cap onto the glued tabs. Push it firmly, and leave the whole thing to dry for a few minutes.

Remove the masking tape band, and thread your needle with the black floss.

Measure 1/3 intervals around the brim, and mark them in pencil.

Pull one of those marks straight back to the cap. Tack the brim to the cap with thread in a small X-shape. Knot the thread inside the cap, and trim it as needed. Repeat this with the other two marks to form the three corners of the hat.

Paint the hat

Mix the paint with water, more water than paint.

Dip the sponge in the paint mixture, and dab it on the hat. Rub it on liberally, allowing the paper to go floppy. Make the paint job uneven and spotty to give it a very worn and weathered look.

Leave the paint to dry. Periodically use a hair dryer on the hat, which will make it dry unevenly and give it more of a weathered and worn look.


If you want to make the paper look more weathered, do so before building the hat. See the Resource section for more information about ageing paper. If you want to make a cap with a flat-topped design, look at "Blossom Hill Elementary: Make a Tricorn Hat" in the Reference section for suggestions and tips on making that.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper or brown packing paper
  • Scissors
  • Medium-size mixing bowl
  • Masking tape
  • Glue stick or glue
  • Pencil
  • Large-eye sewing needle
  • Black embroidery floss or thin string
  • Tape
  • Small container (for mixing paint and water)
  • Brown acrylic paint
  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Hair dryer
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About the Author

Grahame Turner has worked as a freelance writer since 2009 and a freelance reporter since 2010 for Wellesley Patch and Jamaica Plain Patch in Massachusetts. He also works part-time as a bookseller at the Northeastern University bookstore. He is a Northeastern University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English.