How to Make a Dunce Hat Out of Paper

Written by sarah schreiber
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How to Make a Dunce Hat Out of Paper
Dunce hats were a form of classroom punishment. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

The pointed, conical hat known as a dunce cap originated in the 13th century. John Duns Scotus, a monk and philosopher, created a hat for children to wear when they needed assistance with focusing. The cap eventually evolved into a form of classroom punishment; misbehaving students would wear the dunce cap while standing in the corner of the classroom. Making a paper dunce hat is a hands-on craft project for classes learning about colonial times.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tape or glue
  • Paint

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  1. 1

    Place a rectangle sheet of paper in front of you so the long side is parallel to your body.

  2. 2

    Draw an arc from the top, left-hand corner of the page extending downward to the bottom of the page. This creates a cone-shaped template.

  3. 3

    Cut the excess paper away along the line and discard.

  4. 4

    Roll the paper into a cone shape with the point of the flat piece of paper forming the cap point and the round arc forming the open bottom part of the hat.

  5. 5

    Tape or glue the cone figure shut along the paper's edge.

  6. 6

    Decorate the dunce hat by painting a big letter D on the front or spelling out the word "dunce."

Tips and warnings

  • If you're making the paper dunce hat for a person to wear, use a large piece of paper at least 2 ½ ft. by 3 ½ ft. Paper rolls are the easiest way to obtain long pieces of paper.

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