Thursday, January 19, 2012

DIY Hat Display Stand

Here's a quick & easy mod for anyone who has a pretty bit of head wear to display. It's perfect for steampunk top hats and aviator hoods, but would work equally well for any kind of hat - like, say, collectible Mickey ears. [grin]

All you need is a pretty candlestick, half of a hard foam ball, a bit of padding, fabric, and long push pins (not shown - ignore those nail tacks there):

The foam ball will sit on the top of your candlestick. It can hang over the edge, or you can get a size that fits the top almost exactly, as I did.

Cut your foam ball in half (I used a long utility blade) and cover it with quilters batting. Glue the first layer down with plain white craft glue, and the other layers of batting will stick to each other.

Now, I didn't actually have any batting, so - prepare to laugh - I used unrolled cotton balls:

Hey, it works!

If you plan to tuft your cushion (did I mention we're making a cushion here?) with pins, you'll need a fair amount of padding. I used four or five layers of unrolled cotton balls, with a bit extra on the very peak.

Now the tricky bit: wrap your padded half ball with a generous square of fabric and gather it all together underneath the flat bottom, holding it all in one hand. Smooth the top of the ball with your free hand as best you can, and arrange the pleats/scrunchy bits on the edges 'til you're happy with the results.

Next tie the gathered fabric you're holding together with a long twist tie or bit of string, like so:

Then pin the bejeepers out of it all around the edges. (Kinda looks like a jellyfish's nethers, doesn't it?)

When your pins are all in, remove the twist tie and trim off the excess fabric.

Now flip your mini cushion over and use more push pins to create a tufted look, if you like:

I quickly realized the tacks I purchased were way too large, so I decided to stick with the tiny push pins. I later used liquid gold leaf to paint the tips, so now they blend with the fabric better:

I used a small square of industrial Velcro to attach the cushion to my candlestick top. If your candlestick has a metal spike sticking out, though, you could just stick the foam ball right on top of that.

And that's it!

Although I did have to add one last finishing touch:

Since this is for the steampunk Mickey ears Christina & Dylan made for me, I decided to add my aviator Mickey pin to the stand's base. First I jazzed it up with a few gears on the back:

[singing] "I glued some gears on it, and called it steeeeampuuunk..."

...and then I drilled a tiny hole into the base to insert the pin back:

This way I can still remove the pin when I want to wear it. Also, note how the gears match the back of my Mickey ears:

(Ah, those infamous Tim Holtz gears...)

Ok, time for pretty finished product shots!

Now, you might be wondering why I bothered making a pretty cushion when odds are no one will ever see it. Good question. All I can say it, I'll know it's there.

And here are my steampunk ears, finally displayed in all their glory!

And now with a few snazzy accoutrements:

Hope you enjoyed, guys! Be sure to send pics if you try this yourself!

Oh, and if you're on the hunt for good candlesticks to mod, I found the best selection was over at HomeGoods. This one cost about $12, and is a nice heavy resin. Of course, ideally you already have a few wooden 'sticks lying around the house you can use!


Come see ALL of my craft projects on one page, right here!


  1. Oh My Gosh! This is so cool! I need to make one of these to go in my room. Thank you so much for the inspiration!

  2. Love it Jen! It seriously looks way awesome! I never really heard of steampunk until your blog, and I have to is fun to look at!

  3. Look at you all full of creativeness and make little lightbulbs go on over my head! Thank you!

  4. Love it! I showed that video to my brother, and it's become a great inside joke.

    My steampunk costume is coming along well, but I'm stalled at a top hat fascinator...I don't want to order anything online because I like to be tactile when shopping, but there wasn't a profusion of new years hats around Calgary like I was hoping, so I'm waiting for inspiration to strike. :)

    Oh, and a holster...I can't remember...did you make your own holster? Does anyone have a good pattern? I'm about as far opposite of a DIY queen as you can get, so I need something really simple!

  5. I love this! I make hats and am constantly running out of space for them. I've considered making stands with the foam balls before, but the candlestick idea is great. I could make them at different levels too so they could sit closer together.

  6. Wow!! This couldn't be more perfect! Pretty with or without the ears, too. Brilliant! :)

  7. It's too pretty to cover it with a hat!

  8. I think I need to make some of these to replace the garish styrofoam wig heads that currently display my hats...To the thrift store!!

  9. @ Michelle - we *did* make a holster, thought I can't remember if I put instructions on here or not. You can see pics of it in my costume post, but it's basically a stiff back piece (roughly in the shape of the gun) with a thick leather strap to go around the gun body and a tiny metal cup to support the gun tip. Not hard to make, and it keeps most of the gun visible, which is good for cosplay.

  10. Love the finished product!

  11. 1000 points for using the word "accoutrements"! I love that word and don't hear if often enough.

  12. My brain is quickly wondering how I can do something similar to show off my Harry Potter 3D glasses and Sirius Black's wand........

  13. I love this! I only have traditional Mouse Ears with my name embroidered on back. My dad had a business meeting at DL when I was in college. I got a care package with the Mouse Ears and a letter from Dad saying DL was not the same without the kids.:-)
    If I ever get another pair I will have to Steampunk 'em.

  14. This is wonderful; now MUST make two stands for when I make our steampunk hats.

    @Michelle -we live in Red Deer, um, we are certain that there must be a huge variety of patterns and materials for holsters in Calgary, because there are a HERD of cowboys & cowgirls that live there. We're sure you could adapt one for steampunk. (tee-hee-hee)

  15. Oooo I've a couple of cunning hats that I need to take pictures of. This would be a great way to show them off. Thanks for the tutorial!

  16. tee hee-- jellyfish nethers *snicker*

  17. While the stand is beautiful as is everything you make, my favorite part is Jellyfish's Nethers. That may be my new favorite phrase. :)

  18. I can see you upside down in the shiny Mickey ear. ;)

    Don't you love Dollar Store Crafts? Heather is the best!

  19. you are a genius! I'm off to buy candlesticks!

  20. I love it! Although my hat collection is too large to display on candlesticks like that, I'll have to make a couple to display some of my favorites.
    I ended up buying a couple old wooden mug racks at garage sales - the sort of accordian kind that you hang on a wall - and painted them to make them pretty. I hung those on the wall in our bedroom and then have my assorted hats hanging from the pegs. Works well with most of my hats, although the ones with really large brims need a lot more space.
    I really like the candlestick idea for displaying my favorites, like my steampunk top hat or the crazy big brimmed hat with all the flowers that I still don't know where I'll ever wear it but it looks so fun I had to have it anyway...

  21. What an excellent use of your HomeGoods candlestick find. Such a great project!

  22. ZOMG I have that pin AND that vinylmation!!!!!

    Great tutorial! I may try this for my Mickey ears!

  23. Have you seen these gears yet? They're actually metal, and while they are thin and lightweight, they're pretty sturdy for the price.

  24. AWW!!! Steampunk Mickey is the BEST! He is so darn cute!

  25. Hmmm - maybe that's what I can use my bizarrely shaped (inherited) brass candlestick for. I had been considering painting it because the shape is cool (two rods in a hollow spiral kind of double helix shape) but I still couldn't figure out where I should put it in my house. Thus, I couldn't decide on a color.

    It might just make a better hat stand. And I even have a vintage bowler hat that needs to be displayed...oh, the ideas you have given me! Thanks!

  26. I have always wanted a hat stand and I am going to do this project as soon as I can get all the materials together for it. I did some investigatory shopping today and it looks like I will have to order the styrofoam balls online. Since I can't see them in person, I have no idea about scale. Do you know what size your balls were (heh heh heh)? I'm guessing about 80-90 mm, or 3-3.5 inches? This will be my first Epbot-inspired project, so I'm psyched!

  27. Oh My Stars And Garters! I have a mini-collection of Mouse Ears (including the gold 50th anniversary set from Disneyland *brag*) that I have been trying to figure out how to display. This is so perfect! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  28. I need a hat stand for an Elizabethan hat I made for an SCA event. This is awesome, thanks!

  29. I am thrilled to find this tutorial! I now hve more "Sunday-go-to-meeting/ladies luncheon" hats than I know what to do with! My dressing room is a fairly good-sized one, and I think I can easily display my hats - or at least some of them - out in the open on these. Super idea! Thank you!

  30. I can't wait to try this. I have a large hat collection and styrofoam heads take up a lot of room. May I suggest that Goodwill is a great place to find candlesticks or maybe a narrow vase.


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