A couple of weeks ago, I posted the pictures from the Alice In Wonderland anniversary party I held for a friend of mine. And promised that I would show how to make Mad Hatter hat centerpieces.
They definitely stole the show at the party. And they were so easy to make, I may have to think of a way to do something similar for my Halloween party…maybe with witch hats…
Anyhow, there is kind of a “formula” that I used to put the hats together, so if you want to know the easy way to make these hats, keep reading.
What You Need
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Okay, first I have to admit, I didn’t actually make the hat forms. I bought some really inexpensive tall fabric hats in pink, white and black stripes from Party City.
But you can pretty much use any kind of hat you want to.
And, if you do want to make your own, there’s a tutorial at thisfairytalelife.com that might help (you can also get some hat decorating ideas from them, too).
Or you can buy a hat pattern and sew one if you like to sew.
The Hat Decorations
All of the hats used the same basic embellishments…3“ wide ribbon, feathers and a decorative pin (or broach) (plus some sewing pins to hold things in place). You can change out the exact width and colors to match your decor, but here is what I used for this hat:
3″ wide black and white checked ribbon. I got this from zazzle.com. It is a little more expensive but they have a ton of different options to choose from, so you’re sure to find a pattern and color that goes with your decor. And I used this ribbon on more than one hat so I didn’t have much left over.
While this traditional gros grain ribbon works, wired ribbon is definitely easier. The wire holds whatever shape you put it in so it’s easy to make it look like you want it to. And if you happen to have a Costco membership, it is the least expensive place I have found to buy wired ribbon. My local store only sells it at Christmas so I could only use it for the colors that I had leftover from other events.
Dyed ostrich feathers – The 12″ to 14″ feathers are more than long enough for hats, so don’t worry about spending the extra money to get the really big ones.
Chair sash pin* – I like to use these chair sash pins for this kind of thing. They are meant to hold chair sashes in place at weddings but I find they are really useful for other kinds of party decor. You could also use a broach or any other kind of decorative pin.
Sewing Pins – I used these to hold the ribbons and other embellishments in place on the hats. If you want a more permanent solution, you can try hot glue or sewing them in place.
Candelabra – I originally started out using candelabras as the base for my hats because I couldn’t think of anything else to use. But after I got them set up on the table with the tealight candles (flame-less of course), I actually really liked them.
The Basic Mad Hatter Hat “Formula”
This pink hat was my favorite one so I thought I would use it to demonstrate the basic hat decorating instructions.
1. Cut the ribbon so that it is at least long enough to wrap around the hat.
2. Wrap the ribbon around the hat and secure it. I used pins to hold it in place. If you want a more permanent solution, you could hot glue it or sew it in place. Also, I didn’t bother to hem the ends, but if you want a more finished look, you could turn the ends over and sew, fuse or glue them so that you don’t see the cut edges.
3. To add some tails, cut another shorter piece of ribbon. Fold it roughly in half. If it’s one-sided ribbon, you may have to twist it at the top so that the right side faces out. You can also cut a V-shape in the ends if you want to finish the ends off a little.
4. Position the tails under the ribbon and use the sash bin or broach to hold them in place.
5. Finally, stick the feathers in behind the ribbon so that the ends get caught in the back of the sash pin. Again, if you want something more permanent, you can add a bit of glue to hold them in place.
6. For this particular hat, I added a large fake flower on the front of it. (This flower came from Pier 1, but unfortunately, they no longer carry them.) I held it in place by having the stem go behind the sash pin (which wasn’t very stable, so you may want to use pins to attach the flower to the hat).
5. Place the hat over the middle of the candelabra and that’s it for your basic Mad Hatter Hat Centerpiece.
The Blue Hat With A Fake Rose
The blue hat was another really simple hat that used the same ribbon and sash as the original pink hat, but added a white rose with the feathers.
How to Put It Together
Make the ribbon hat band and attach the sash pin the same way as the first hat.
Add the rose behind the ribbon, using the back of the sash pin to hold it in place.
Then add in the feathers behind it which makes the rose stand out.
The Second Pink Hat With Layered Ribbons
The second pink hat followed the same basic formula, but I layered 3 ribbons on top of each other to come up with the final look.
7/8″ Grosgrain Ribbon
How To Put It Together
1. Start by cutting each of the three ribbons to the same length, making sure they are long enough to go around the hat.
2. Line them up on top of each other and pin together.
3. Wrap the ribbons around the hat and make sure that they match at the front of the hat.
4. Make a tail the same way as you did with the first hat but use 2 or 3 of the ribbons instead of just one. Pin the tail behind the brim ribbon.
5. Add the sash pin and feathers the same way as the first hat.
The Green Hat With a Bow and Two-Toned Feathers
I’m sure by now you’re getting the idea of how easy these hats are to put together. The green hat looks a little different because it had a big bow at the front and used 2 different colors of feathers, but the same basic steps still apply.
12″ Green ostrich feather*
12″ Turquoise ostrich feather*
How to Put It Together
1. The first step to making the bow is to make sure that you cut the ribbon long enough. Instead of just wrapping around the hat, you will need an extra 2′ or so on each end.
2. Wrap the ribbon around the hat as you have done with the other hats, but then cross the ribbons over in the center like you are going to tie a knot.
3. Make a loop with the left end of the ribbon and pin it in place. If you have one-sided ribbon like this is, you may need to twist the ribbon to make sure that the right side is facing out.
4. Make a second loop with the left end of the ribbon this is closer to the middle of the hat. Again, pin it to keep it in place.
5. Now repeat the process with the right end of the ribbon…make a loop on the right side and pin it.
6. Make a second loop with the right end of the ribbon and pin it in place.
7. Attach the sash pin in the middle of the bow.
8. Add the feathers behind the bow, using the back of the sash pin to hold them in place.
9. Add it to the candelabra and you have your centerpiece.
The Purple Hat Using Wired Ribbon
The purple hat was one of the simplest ones that I did…it was the only one that I had a wired ribbon for, which definitely made it easier to put together!
Other than the different colors of the hat, ribbon, and feathers, the steps to put it together were exactly the same as the first hat. And I didn’t even make tails for this one…so actually it was even easier…
Purple wired ribbon
12″ Purple ostrich feathers
How to Put It Together
The steps for this hat are exactly the same as for the first one. The only difference is that I tied a regular bow with the ribbon at the front and let the sash pin hold it in place. Since this uses wired ribbon, you can position the ribbon however you want it to look and it stays, so making bows is fairly easy.
Put it on top of the candelabra and it is ready to go.
So now you know my Mad Hatter hat decorating formula…by mixing and matching different ribbons, feathers and flowers, there are so many different variations that you are sure to come up with something you like!
Have comments or questions on how to make Mad Hatter Hat Centerpieces? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on September 8, 2016 but was updated with new content on July 4, 2023.