How to make sombrero hats

Updated July 20, 2017

Sombrero hats are a recognisable icon of Mexican culture. Sombreros are often used in Halloween costumes, during Cinco de Mayo and for Mexican fiesta-themed parties. Making a sombrero at home is an easy craft project that can be entertaining for children. Kids can create a festive hat with many items easily found around the house, which makes the craft fairly inexpensive. You can show off your creativity by designing a sombrero hat with your choice of colours and embellishments.

Find a suitable hat base. Almost any paper or plastic cylindrical object could work. Plastic pails, buckets and flowerpots all make good options. You can also use lightweight plastic bowls or paper buckets. You may have to fit several items onto the head of the child or adult wearing the sombrero before deciding which will work best.

Prepare the hat base for decorating. If you have selected a flower pot or an object with writing or images on it for your hat base use a paintbrush to paint the outside of the object with white acrylic paint. You can also chose to prime your hat base if it is a different colour than you would like the top of your sombrero to be once the project is finished. Let the base of your hat completely dry.

Lay the base of your hat onto a large sheet of construction paper or foam so that the opening is face down on a flat surface. Use a pencil to trace a circle around the hat base. Remove the hat base and use the compass to make a smaller circle inside the circle you have just created. The new circle should be about an inch smaller.

Create the brim of your hat by drawing a large circle or oval around the two circles with the pencil. You can use the compass to help you or you can also create an oval or circle freehand. The size and shape of your brim can vary based on your preferences.

Carefully cut the brim out with the scissors. Next, cut out the small inner circle creating a hole. The brim should now look similar to a doughnut. Using the scissors, carefully cut slits into the brim. The slits should start from the hole and end at the pencil circle you created earlier. Make the slits about three to four inches apart from one another. The slits will create small tabs once you cut around the entire hole.

Flip your brim over so that all the pencil marks will be face down on the table. Fold the small tabs up so that they are sitting at 90-degree angle from the brim of the sombrero hat. If you have created your brim out of craft foam you may have to use force.

Give your sombrero a curved brim by cutting 1-inch long slits at the edge of the brim about 7 to 8 inches apart. You should have between five to eight slits, depending on the size of your brim, which will create tabs. Overlap the tabs slightly and secure them to each other with hot glue or craft glue. If you are using construction paper you can fold the paper up to give the hat a more curved brim.

Attach the brim of your hat to the hat base. Place the hat base opening side up. Lay the brim of your sombrero on top of the hat base so that the curved portion of your sombrero is facing down. Center the brim of the hat over the opening of the hat base and use glue to attach the tabs of the brim to the inside of the base. Glue a ribbon or a piece of wool or string to the two sides of the base to create a hat strap.

Flip the sombrero right side up and decorate. You can paint the base any colour you'd like. If you want to use multiple colours use masking tape to mark off sections of the hat so you can create stripes or zigzags. Let the paint dry completely. You can use ribbon, buttons, markers and craft foam to embellish your sombrero as well.


A large paper bucket like the kind chicken is served in makes a great hat base.


Always have adult supervision. Do not select an object for the hat base that you plan to use again.

Things You'll Need

  • Construction paper or a large sheet of craft foam
  • Plastic flower pot, plastic pail, large paper bowl or similar object
  • Craft paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Masking tape (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue or hot glue
  • Pencil
  • White acrylic paint (optional)
  • Ribbons, wool or string
  • Markers, buttons and other similar embelishments
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About the Author

Shakirah Drumbore lives in central New Jersery and has been writing since 2008, specializing in infant care and relationships. She works in the wedding industry and writes for an online wedding magazine. Drumbore has also had her fiction published in an anthology. She studied English at Rutgers University.