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How to Make a Dunce Hat Out of Paper

Updated February 21, 2017

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.

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

  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. Cut the excess paper away along the line and discard.

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

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

  7. Tip

    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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Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tape or glue
  • Paint

About the Author

Sarah Schreiber has been writing since 2004, with professional experience in the nonprofit and educational sectors as well as small business. She now focuses on writing about travel, education and interior decorating and has been published on Trazzler and various other websites. Schreiber received a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications.

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