How to make a fabric sailor hat

Written by meredith burgio
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How to make a fabric sailor hat
Make your own sailor hat to complete a sailor costume. (tired sailor image by Paul Moore from

Don't rush out to a costume shop to get the perfect sailor hat for an outfit. You can make one yourself using items you likely have around your house. A sailor hat will complete any school, recital or fancy dress costume you need. You can even let your kids join in on the fun. They'll feel excitement and pride after making (and wearing) their own sailor's hat.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Large coffee filters
  • Cardboard pizza box
  • Stapler
  • White fabric
  • Fabric glue
  • Hair dryer (optional)

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  1. 1

    Break down the cardboard pizza box so that it lays flat on your work surface. Cut a long piece of card board at least 12.5 cm (5 inches) tall.

  2. 2

    Wrap the piece of cardboard you cut around your head starting with one end at the back and wrapping around your forehead back around the other side of your head. Cut any excess cardboard so that it fits snugly around your head. Remove the cardboard from your head. Staple the ends together every 1.2 cm (1/2 inch). This will be the base of your sailor hat.

  3. 3

    Grab one coffee filter. This will be the top of your sailor hat. Place the edges of the coffee filter, no more than 6 mm (1/4 inch), around the top of the cardboard piece you stapled together in Step 1. The coffee filter should completely cover the top of the base to the sailor hat.

  4. 4

    Try the sailor hat on to make sure that it fits properly. You may have to adjust the staples from Step 2 to give your head more room.

  5. 5

    Take the white fabric and wrap it around the cardboard section of your sailor hat. You want to leave some excess at the top and bottom. You will need just 2.5 cm (1 inch) of excess on the bottom of the hat where you put it on, but you will need enough excess fabric on the top to cover the coffee filter. You may want to pin the fabric to the cardboard to ensure that you do not cut off too much. The white fabric will make the sailor more uniform in appearance.

  6. 6

    Glue the fabric to the outside of the cardboard section of your sailor hat with the fabric glue without gluing the aforementioned overhang on the top and bottom. Place the glue on the cardboard and cover the glue with the white fabric, smoothing as you go to prevent wrinkling.

  7. 7

    Cut slits, about 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) apart into the overhang that is on the top of your sailor hat. Glue the fabric down, completely covering the coffee filter. If there is any excess fabric, cut it off, but make sure to glue down the ends of the fabric so they are flat against the coffee filter. None of the coffee filter should be visible when you are finished with this step.

  8. 8

    Gently adjust the coffee filter back up once all of the glue is dry. The coffee filter should be rounded out and dome-like in appearance.

  9. 9

    Flip the hat over so you are looking at the bottom of the hat. Cut the same type of slits from Step 7 with this section of fabric. Glue the strips down to the inside of the hat. The hat should be completely white once you are finished with this step so that none of the cardboard is visible.

  10. 10

    Let the glue dry. You can use a hair dryer to speed up the process if necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • If you don't have white fabric, you can use white paper or coffee filters.

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