How to Make a Napoleon Hat

Written by martha adams
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How to Make a Napoleon Hat
A two-pointed hat or bicorne (mask image by Lovrencg from Fotolia.com)

Bicorne or two-pointed hats are associated with 18th century military gear and especially with Napoleon Bonaparte. They may be worn with the points back and front or side to side, but Napoleon wore his with the points over his shoulders to distinguish himself from other officers on the battlefield.

You can make your own Napoleon hat in two ways, by starting from scratch with paper or by adapting a basic ready-made hat.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • FOR A PAPER HAT:
  • Pattern
  • Black, lightweight posterboard or other sturdy but flexible paper
  • Pencil
  • Clothespin or large paper clip
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Glue
  • Red, white and blue striped ribbon or paper strip, 2-3 inches wide and 12 inches long
  • 1 wine cork, cut in half crosswise, or 2 small foam blocks 1 inch thick
  • FOR A READY-MADE HAT:
  • Wide-brimmed felt hat, black
  • Red, white and blue striped ribbon or paper strip, 2-3 inches wide and 12 inches long
  • Straight pins

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Use a pattern to draw the shape shown onto the black paper in a size to fit you.

  2. 2

    Cut out the entire shape around the outer curve.

  3. 3

    Lay the shape flat and cut the hole for your head. Start small, try it on and remove more paper until it fits. Remember, you can always cut more but there's no putting it back.

  4. 4

    Fold the paper gently in half, bringing the top edges together and secure them with the clothespin or paper clip, but do not crease the fold.

  5. 5

    At the points where the upper curve dips to form what would be the brim of the hat, place the cut wine cork or foam blocks between the two edges of paper to separate them and hold them apart and glue them in place.

  6. 6

    While the glue dries, make a French Revolutionary tricolour cockade to decorate your bicorne by pleating the red, white and blue ribbon or paper strip into a fan shape and securing it with glue and a pin.

  7. 7

    Remove the clothespin or paper clip and make sure the hat maintains its shape. Re-secure where necessary.

  8. 8

    Pin or glue (or both) the cockade to the hat over the separator so that it's on the wearer's left side.

  9. 9

    Place the hat on your head with the flat sides front and back and the points over your shoulders.

  1. 1

    Pull two sides of the brim up over the crown and pin them together at the points where the crown meets the brim so that they make a fan-shaped crest. Pin the top edges together if necessary to make it hold its shape.

  2. 2

    Make a French Revolutionary tricolour cockade to decorate your bicorne by pleating the red, white and blue ribbon or paper strip into a fan shape and securing it with a pin. You can use a little glue if necessary.

  3. 3

    Pin the cockade to the hat where the crown joins the brim so that it is on your left when the hat is worn.

  4. 4

    Place the hat on your head with the flat sides front and back and the points over your shoulders.

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