How to Make a Top Hat

There are many costume ideas that call for top hats, such as leprechauns, Uncle Sam and Abraham Lincoln. You can easily make a cheap top hat from items around your house.

Here's what you need:

  • Paper plate
  • Construction paper or poster board, 2 sheets at least 12-by-18 inches (30-by-46 centimeters) large
  • Glue or tape
  • Scissors
  • Paint, markers or other coloring instruments
  • Tape measure

Here's what you do:

  1. Cut a circle out of the center of a paper plate. The plate rim should fit around your head. You will need both the hoop and circle.
  2. Measure the circumference of the hole in the paper plate.
  3. Make a rectangle out of your construction paper. The width should be 1-inch (2.5-centimeters) longer than your measurement in step 2. The rectangle should be between 8-inches (20-centimeters) and 12-inches (30-centimeters) tall. You may need to attach two sheets of paper together to get the right size.
  4. Hold the rectangle so it's wider than it is high. Cut eight slits into both the top and bottom edges of the paper. The slits should be 1-inch (2.5-centimeters) deep, perpendicular to the edge and evenly spaced.
  5. Roll the rectangle of paper into a cylinder so the shorter, uncut edges overlap by an inch (2.5 centimeters). Glue or tape the edges together.
  6. Fold all the bottom slits of the cylinder so they flare out from the base.
  7. Slide the hoop from the paper plate around the cylinder so it sits on the tabs. Fix it in place with tape or glue.
  8. Fold the top tabs of the cylinder down so they point to the center.
  9. Glue or tape the circle from the plate onto the tabs, to make the top of the hat.
  10. Paint or color your hat to fit your costume [source: Smithsonian, Crayola].
  11. Put on your hat! Wear it with pride!