When making a Top hat you have choice as to how well you’re going to make it. If you’re going to get by a night job, you’re going to use construction paper. If you’re going to get by a few days job, you’re going to use felt or at least some type of fur or fuzzy material. This is the longest any of the run of the mill, fly by night costume maker parent is going to need, If you’re looking for the actual and completely create your own top hat, where you have a real durable top hat, maybe even an accordion fashion. I can not tell you how to go about doing that. I’m sorry.
The first part of top hat making is the same no matter what kind of material you’re using. The most important thing to remember for this part is that it has to be accurate. Ask the wearer of the hat to put on a regular hat so that it comfortably fit them. Take the hat from them and place it on a sheet of paper. Trace the circumference of the hat. Pay very special care not to bend or move it. That hat is now to the contours of the person’s head, so we want it to stay exactly as it is. Now draw another circle around the circle you just drew that is 2 inches larger. The easiest way to do this is to make 5 dots where there is 2 inches away from the first circle. Get a compass and trace a circle around that hits all those dots. Once you have the circle cut out, cut out the outer circle. Put the outer circle around the head of the person who will wear it, it should wrap all the way around his head. If it’s slightly too big, that’s ok. You now have the circumference of his head.
Draw this same size circle on your chosen material. Now draw another circle about 6 – 8 inches larger than the first circle. Cut out the larger circle, and then cut out the smaller circle. You now have a brim the right size of your hat, you’re 1/2 way done. If you are using cardboard, now would be a good time to lacquer the brim. If you lacquer it, it will make it so it won’t fall and it’s just as straight as can be.
Roll up about three sheets of construction paper, or one piece of material. Attach these rolls to themselves so you have a nice tall cylinder. You can make this cylinder as long as you want it, but the average size stove top hat was about a foot,
if you’re using construction paper you have to put two 1 foot rulers down the inside of the pipe. You can attach this with glue or paste. Once the glue has hardened it will stand up solid and straight. Place a a lot of glue on the top of your brim and place the top on top of all of the glue. Allow to set for about 5 min. Turn the whole thing upside down, and put a small bead of glue around the brim of the inside. Then tape it in about 12 different places, that attach the inside of the top, to the brim, completely securing it. Turn it over again, and add another bead of glue around the brim. Since it will dry clear, it will not be seen. Cut a circle the size of the top and tape and glue it on.
If you’re using fabric, the fabric should stay up by itself. However, run two to three large wire, like coat hanger wire, down the tube and about 3 inches from the bottom. Place the top upside down on your workspace. Hold the brim upside down and place the bottom onto the top. Take the wire and bend it onto the brim. Bend it just past the ability of thew brim, and the wire will bend back onto the brim. Place a bead of fabric glue over the wire, the seam, and the outside of where the top attaches itself.
Once everything dries, you have a top hat.