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How to Make Asian Coolie Hats

Updated February 21, 2017

Many field workers in Asia wear a distinctive conical hat that is often called a coolie hat in the West. The wide brim of these hats is intended to keep off the sun and the rain. Coolie hats are still seen today in Thailand, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Korea and Japan. If you are making a traditional Asian style costume, or are looking for a simple craft project for kids, a coolie had can be made quickly out of poster board and string.

Cut a piece of string that is approximately half as wide as you would like the hat to be. Tie the string around the pencil.

Hold the loose end of the string in the centre of the poster board. Pull the pencil so that the string is taut.

Move the pencil clockwise around the poster board to draw a circle.

Cut out the circle with the scissors.

Place the ruler so that one end is on the centre of the circle, where you originally held the string. Trace along the edge of the ruler to draw a line to the edge of the circle.

Move the ruler to draw a new line. The new line should also start in the centre of the circle and should form a pie-shaped wedge with the first line, that is about one-sixth of the circle.

Cut out the wedge along the two lines.

Bend the paper so that the two cut edges of the wedge meet each other and the circle forms a cone. Tape along the line where the two edges meet to hold the hat in a cone shape.

Cut off another piece of string that is as long as you would like the hat strap to be. Poke two small holes on opposite sides of the hat, using the scissors. Push the string through the top of one hole and out the other, forming a chin strap. Tie each end of the string in a knot so that the strap will not slip through the holes.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 large sheet of poster board
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Ruler
  • String
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About the Author

Darby Stevenson began writing in 1997 for his high-school newspaper, the "Alsea Valley Voice," which won him statewide awards for Best Feature Article and Best Personality Interview. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies from the University of Oregon.