How to Make a Tricorn Hat

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Swashbuckling pirate or adventuresome colonist -- a tricorn hat sets off these costumes perfectly, and you don't have to spend a lot of money to get one. Make your own from an old felt hat or craft one from paper, wool or felt.

Head Start With an Old Hat

For a swaggering tricorn, upcycle an old hat that has a low crown and a 3- to 4-inch brim. For a temporary version, fold the brim up and attach it to the crown in three spots with glue dots. Make it more permanent with fabric glue. Dress it up and add texture: Punch a pair of holes with an ice pick in three spots around the crown. Punch matching holes in the brim. Lace the brim to the crown with leather cording.


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Start From Scratch

Use this same technique to make a hat from paper or felt. If you use regular felt instead of craft felt, add fusible interfacing to the wrong side to help hold the hat's shape.

Things You'll Need

  • Card stock or craft felt

  • Pencil

  • Ruler

  • Scissors

  • Paper clips (optional)

  • Craft glue or stapler

Step 1

Cut a 22-by-3-inch strip of cardstock. You can also use a sentence strip, available at most teacher supply stores, and either paint it or cover it with paper or fabric.

Step 2

Make a ring from the strip, and put it around your head for sizing. Use paper clips to hold it in place while you check to be sure you can easily slide one finger between the ring and your forehead. Mark a line to show where the ends need to overlap.


Step 3

Trim away any extra length from the strip, and glue the strip into a ring. Let the glue on your new hatband dry thoroughly.

Step 4

Center the hatband on a sheet of cardstock and trace around it. Add a second line 1 inch outside the first, and cut the circle out along the outer circle. Alternatively use construction paper for the top and brim of the hat, or use the felt option.


Step 5

Cut slits from the edge to the inside line all around the circle, about 1/2-inch wide. Then fold them all in the same direction to make tabs. If your paper or fabric has a distinct right or wrong side, fold the tabs toward the wrong side.

Step 6

Glue the tabs to the inside of the hat band, snuggling the top down on the band. If you are using felt, fabric glue is another option.


Step 7

Trace the band onto another piece of paper, and add 4 inches around the outside. Cut out the circle.

Step 8

Draw a line 3 inches in from the edge. Draw another line 1 inch farther in toward the center. Cut out the center along that second line.


Step 9

Make tabs along the inside of the brim, cutting to the line that is 3 inches from the outside edge. This time, fold the tabs toward the right side of the paper.

Step 10

Glue the tabs into the hat band. When the glue has dried completely, fold up three points on the brim, dividing the hat into approximate thirds, and tack the spots to the band with a dot of glue.


Turn your tricorn into a cavalier's hat by folding up only one side and adding a faux ostrich plume. These plumes can be found at craft stores. Because feathers can present a choking hazards, follow the manufacturer's label for age recommendations.