Making children’s hats that represent countries around the world is easy by using old clothes and simple paper shapes. You can turn an old sweater into a French beret or Scottish tam with very little sewing. Transforming a paper cone into a Chinese peasant hat, an Alpine hat, a Turkish fez or a Mexican sombrero is also possible. Handing out paints and crayons allows the children to add the finishing touches. Feathers, tassels and pom-poms will turn these projects into hats fit for the United Nations.
Chinese and Alpine hats
Make a Chinese peasant hat out of a cone shape: Cut an 18-inch-diameter circle out of poster board.
Draw two intersecting lines through the circle to mark off quarters. Cut out one of the quarters. Join the edges with tape.
If desired, add a ribbon to tie the hat under the chin: Poke a hole on each side of the hat and thread the ribbon through.
Make a Swiss Alpine hat in the same manner, using a 12-inch-diameter circle. When joining the edges, adjust the cone so it tilts slightly to the back to create a brim in front. Glue or staple a long feather to the back so it arches backward.
Measure the costume wearer's head at the forehead and around the temples. Cut a rectangle out of poster board the same length and 8 inches high.
Bring the short ends of the rectangle together to make a cylinder, but with one end slightly wider than the other. Tape together.
Tape or staple the string of a tassel to the inside of the hat and drape the tassel over the top and down the outside.
Cut a 2-foot-diameter circle out of poster board. Measure 1 foot in from the outside edge and draw a line around the circle. Cut through the donut to the line, then cut around the line to cut out the inside circle. The donut will become the brim.
Make a cone out of the inside circle with the ends meeting. Tape together.
Place the donut over the cone to form the brim. If the donut hole is too big and falls off, make it smaller by bringing the ends together. Tape the donut closed.
Remove the brim and bend the outside edge of it up by shaping it around a soup can. Place the brim back on the cone and tape the two together.
Beret and Tam
Cut a 1-foot circle out of a plain dark sweater or blanket for a beret; choose bright colors and patterns for the tam.
Stitch with a double-threaded needle along the outside of the circle about 1 inch from the edge. Leave a tail at the knot and needle ends of the thread.
Grab both tails and pull as with a drawstring to gather the circle into a tam shape. Even out the puckering if the sweater material gets bunched up. Adjust the hat size as necessary by pulling or loosening the strings, then tie the ends together securely.
Make a tam by sewing a pom-pom to the top of the hat in the center.