How to Make a Paper Chef Hat

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In a professional kitchen, the tallest hat indicates the person in charge. Next time your child wants to help in the kitchen, put them in charge with this fanciful, yet super simple chef’s hat. It takes just a few minutes of folding and taping and you more than likely already have everything you need to make one!

Things You'll Need

  • 9 sheets of standard printer paper (8-1/2 x 11)
  • Clear cellophane tape
  • Stiff card stock or poster board
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Fabric tape measure
Little chefs in big hats.
Little chefs in big hats. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 1

A few sheets of paper and a little time will put your little one in charge of all your Michelin stars. Please see the last slide for an itemized list of tools and materials.

Chef's hat materials.
Chef's hat materials. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 2

Cut a piece of card stock 1/2 inch by 11 inches and another 1 1/4 inches by 11 inches. These will be your measuring guides to make the pleated section of the hat.

1/2 inch and 1-1/4 inches gauges.
1/2 inch and 1-1/4 inches gauges. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 3

Align the half-inch guide at the bottom of a piece of printer paper. Keep the guide from shifting while you fold the paper over the guide and crease the paper.

Start with 1/2 inch fold.
Start with 1/2 inch fold. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 4

Place the 1 1/4 inches guide on the paper, aligned with the crease you just finished. Keep the guide from shifting while you fold the paper over the guide. Repeat the alternating folds across the entire sheet of paper. The sheet should begin with a half-inch tab and end with 1 1/4 inches after the last half-inch fold. Don’t worry if there’s a fraction more or less on the last pleat.

Alternate folds creating pleats.
Alternate folds creating pleats. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 5

You’ll need several sheets folded this way. Four sheets will be enough for small children, for tweens you’ll need five, for teens and adults, make five or six.

Make several pleated sheets.
Make several pleated sheets. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 6

Align the sheets with the pleats all facing the same direction. Tape the half-inch tab of the first sheet to the 1 1/4 inches tab of the second. Repeat, forming a continuous pleated strip.

Tape sheets together.
Tape sheets together. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 7

Tape two pieces of paper end to end with an overlap of one inch, resulting in a piece of paper 8 1/2 inches by 21 inches (larger hats will need a third piece of paper). Use the folding guide to mark 1 1/4 inches along the long edge of the paper and fold along the line. Fold over again, forming a cuff for the brim of the hat.

Double fold to create cuff.
Double fold to create cuff. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 8

Turn the piece over, measure and mark 1 1/4 inches along the opposite edge. Place the pleated paper along the mark and tape it down securely.

Tape pleats to brim.
Tape pleats to brim. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 9

Measure around your child’s head with the fabric tape measure. Add one inch. Measure the hat material to the calculated length and cut.

Measure, add one inch and cut material.
Measure, add one inch and cut material. (Image: Jeff Farris)

Step 10

Bring the two ends together with an overlap of one inch and tape. Try the hat on your little chef and adjust as needed.

Tape together and you're done!
Tape together and you're done! (Image: Jeff Farris)

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