How to make king tut's hat

Written by b.t. alo
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How to make king tut's hat
Make your own "nemes" like the one King Tut is wearing in his burial mask. (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

King Tut, or Tutankhamen was one of Ancient Egypt's youngest pharaohs, according to the Franklin Institute. Some 3000 years after his death, the figure of King Tut still captures the imagination, and his funeral mask with its striking gold and blue striped hat is one of the most instantly recognisable symbols of Ancient Egypt. While Tut would have worn many crowns as a Pharaoh, the most popular image of him remains that of his striped hat, or "nemes," which despite looking very solid and structured in carvings, was actually a soft cloth headdress worn underneath other crowns.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Fitted skullcap or beanie
  • Styrofoam dummy head
  • Blue and gold striped fabric
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Utility knife
  • Hot glue
  • Blue or gold corded rope
  • Gold cardboard
  • Garbage bag ties

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Fit a skullcap or tight beanie over a styrofoam dummy head.

  2. 2

    Wrap the edge of blue and gold striped fabric around the circumference of the skullcap or beanie, with the stripes oriented perpendicular to the circumference. Pin the fabric together at the back of the head and to the edge of the skullcap -- leave the fabric long at this stage.

  3. 3

    Remove the skullcap from the dummy and use the straight stitch on a sewing machine to attach the fabric to the edge of the skullcap or beanie; don't worry about being overly neat, as this edge will be covered later with a gold cardboard circlet.

  4. 4

    Replace the skullcap on the dummy head. The fabric will naturally fall down the back and you will begin to see the shape of the "nemes" taking form.

  5. 5

    Cut a Popsicle stick in half with the utility knife. Peel open the striped fabric from the back so that it falls over the front of the dummy head and exposes the skullcap or beanie. Place a Popsicle stick upright on each side of the skullcap above where the ears would be and use hot glue to fix in place on the skullcap.

  6. 6

    Fold the fabric back over so that it falls down the back again. You will see that the Popsicle sticks create a slightly stiff, raised section on each side of the hat, which is quintessential to the look of a "nemes."

  7. 7

    Bring half of the fabric to the front of the dummy head, as though it were over the shoulders and leave the rest hanging at the back. Trim the front portion into two lapels that extend down around 10 inches and are about 5 inches wide.

  8. 8

    Gather the section of cloth at the back of the head like you are going to make a ponytail, ensuring it is loose enough not to disturb the lapels at the front. Bind the cloth with blue or gold cord so that it is about 10 inches long at the back, then tie off the cord and cut the ends, as well as any fabric hanging past the bound portion.

  9. 9

    Cut a strip of gold cardboard long enough to go around the circumference of the hat, and about an inch wide. Cut out a cobra head -- roughly teardrop shape -- from the gold cardboard as well. Make a second cobra head piece the same as the first.

  10. 10

    Glue a garbage bag tie along the centre of one of the cobra head pieces, and hot-glue in place. Place the second cobra head cutout on top of the garbage bag tie and glue it down, so that the tie is invisible. Bend the garbage bag tie inside the cobra cutouts so that the nose of the cobra bends over.

  11. 11

    Glue the curved cobra head on the back side of the centre of the gold strip. Center the strip over the edge of the hat where the fabric is connected to the skullcap, then glue it around the circumference so that the cobra sits right in the middle.

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