How To Make A Hat Box

You can make your own hat boxes with these tips, instructions and design ideas. They can be used to store hats or stacked as bedroom decoration.

There was a time when hats were a must, and most every woman owned many. Over the years the tradition has faded. But as with many fads, they might leave, but they usually return. Hats are becoming popular again, and if you have a lot of hats you'll need hat boxes to keep them from getting damaged. Hat boxes themselves were a tradition once upon a time, being made with Victorian themes or family collages.

Hat boxes are easy enough to make, but each box with lid requires several individual steps, and every cut you make must be exact. You'll need regular sheets of poster board, extra long pieces of poster board, 1/2" paper tape, a sharp craft knife and some clamps. The clamps should be the type that are round and extend to a very large circle, and some that will fit most any shape. These can be found in a plastic strip-type, adjustable bands.

Measure around the hat and allow the box to be a couple of inches larger in diameter than the hat. Cut one piece of regular poster board in the shape you need: square, round, octagonal. First draw the design onto the poster board, then use a craft knife - never scissors - to cut out the shape. Score the shape first, scoring again and again until the final cut is made. Use light grade sandpaper to barely sand the edges if needed. Cut the lid in the same shape, a mere eighth of an inch larger, all the way around.

Cut the long poster board to the proper size by first measuring the circumference of the circle, or the perimeter of the square, then drawing that measurement onto the long piece near the edge. For an octagonal box, add the measurements of all sides, and then mark the long piece accordingly. After cutting the long piece, take a minute to wrap it around the box bottom to see how it will fit. If you need to cut the long piece a little shorter, do it now. The ends should meet around the bottom of the box, with no overhang to the long piece.

For a round hat box, twist the long piece of poster board into a circle; place a fine line of glue on the ends. For a square box, bend the long piece to meet the four squares of the bottom. Follow this same technique to fold the octagonal long piece, folding at each side. After shaped, glue the ends together and clamp.

The long piece of poster board should be placed at the very edges of the circle, square or octagon. You can lay a fine line of glue around the bottom of the long piece, turn it over and place it on the bottom of the hat box, or lay it on the bottom piece, clamped, and use the paper tape to attach the bottom to the long piece. This will make the sides of the box. The paper tape should be placed with half of the width of the tape on the edge of the sides of the box, and the other half of the width placed on the bottom part of the box. Glue with tiny dots of glue, just to hold in place, and then use the paper tape.

After the sides are on the bottom, allow to dry completely and remove the clamp. Cut a 2-1/2" strip from the long poster board to make the sides of the lid. Follow the instructions for putting the sides on the box bottom, forming the side strip, gluing the ends, clamping it, then gluing and taping it to the box lid.

Now that the box and lid are put together, collage pictures onto the exterior in a particular theme by using decoupage glue to paste the pictures on. The hat boxes can be done in a solid color of paper, striped cloth, or any other paper or cloth designs. On the interior, use paper to line the box and the lid, or insert velvet, corduroy, satin or your choice of fabrics.

Hat boxes can be as fancy or as plain as you want. Use strands of faux pearls and glittery ribbon to tie a bow around the box, punch holes in the side and insert rope to make a handle, use colored piping to outline the box lid, or stack boxes up and tie them together with candy cane ribbon for Christmas hats.

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