Personalized Party Hats—MAKE IT

Handmade birthday hat for my niece

I take birthdays very seriously.  Birthdays are special.  No matter how people feign their indifference, everyone at every age wants to be fussed over on their birthday.  My niece recently turned 12 and one of the things I did for her birthday was to make her one-of-a-kind party hat in her favorite colors with little details to let her know how much I love her unique personality.

My sister Sioux has her birthday later this month, so I made a hat for her, too–the pictures below are a step by step of assembling hers.  Customized party hats are fun for showers, bachelorette, retirement or other parties where you want to let someone know you appreciate their individuality.  Hats are quite easy to make and the possibilities for their styling are endless.  Rummage through your craft and gift wrapping supplies to create a hat that will surely make someone feel special. 

Various decorations for a personal touch


  • Paper grocery bag to use as template
  • Large piece of cardstock paper, approximately 18” x 18”
  • Wrapping paper (optional)
  • Stapler
  • Packing tape
  • 20” long piece of thin elastic band
  • Decorative ribbon, pipe cleaners or wire garland for topper
  • Embellishments like bows, sequins, felt cut outs, pom-poms, gems…
  • Glue (Fabri-tac™)
  • Scissors

(A) Template used to cut out cone hat and decorative wrapping

The template for the hat has two straight sides of approx. 14.5” each (for an adult head, smaller for a child) and a curved edge whose center is 14.5” out from the corner (A).  The angle of the corner should be about 100º, a little bit wider than a right angle.  The corner can be notched out on the template, or as I do, just clip the tip off once the paper is rolled into a cone.  I re-use the template by placing on top of the paper I want to use—often a light poster board—tracing, then cutting it out.  I’ll often cover my plain paper cone with a decorative wrapping paper, and in that situation, I will trace the template on that, too, allowing about an extra inch all the way around so that I can fully cover the plain cone and tuck the

(B) Cardstock rolled into cone: Stapled and taped.

paper up underneath for a nice finish.  I roll the paper into a cone and measuring with my own head to estimate size, staple the paper at the edge, then again farther up the cone so the seam lies as flat as possible.  Using packing tape to seal the seam of the cone helps secure it and make it smooth (B).  After the cone is made, if I’m using decorative paper in addition, I wrap the cone with it, staple the paper in place at the edge and glue down the seam.  Then I fold the paper into the cone for a clean look.  Next, I make a topper. 

(C) Wire garland and pipecleaners wired together at base with long piece of pipecleaner to anchor inside

 Wire garland is shiny, colorful and fun, as are curling ribbon and pipe cleaners (C).  Whatever you use for the topper, have a single long piece of ribbon or pipe cleaner that’s anchored to the topper to thread through the hole in the top of the hat.  Tape it to the inside with packing tape to hold it in place (D).  You may have to cut a bigger hole in the top to accommodate the width of the base of your topper.  Collect some embellishments that you’ll use to dress up and personalize the hat—hand write on sticky labels or print sayings and glue

(F) Elastic stapled inside hat, yet hidden on outside by ribbon

them on.  Staple one end of the elastic band inside the hat at one edge.  Trying the hat on, I guestimate the right length of the elastic and staple the remaining end inside the hat at the

My sister's birthday hat

other side (F).  I like to hide the staples by wrapping the entire outside edge with ribbon, a strip of felt or faux fur along the base, applying with tacky, quick drying glue.  Let dry and Voilà, a simple way to make someone’s day!

© Colleen Miko, 2010.

About Colleen Miko

Colleen Miko is a certified professional horticulturist with 20 years experience in landscape design who has designed award winning gardens for the NW Flower & Garden Show as well as HGTV’s “Landscaper’s Challenge”. Colleen is freelance garden writer and speaker.
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3 Responses to Personalized Party Hats—MAKE IT

  1. I’m sure the hat made Siouxsie’s day! I can so see her wearing it! Subtle, understated, all the things that make her who she is!

  2. Pingback: How to Make Shelly the Snail’s Easy Party Hat | VERDURE

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