December 29, 2012

New Year's Craft ~ 1930s Style Crepe Paper Party Hat Tutorial

During the first half of the 20th Century handmade paper hats were de rigeur for evening parties, costume parties, church, school and society events.

In the 1920s, it was not uncommon to see beautifully crafted paper hats, fans and parisols on the pages of fashion magazines. According to Dennison, a major crepe and tissue paper manufacturer throughout the century, "these hats can be very simple or as picturesque as a Parisian extreme." By the early 1930s, crepe paper skull caps gained popularity and were often adorned with crepe paper bouquets, pinwheels and butterflies.   

While the pointed party hat may be the standard in our modern times, I thought it would be fun to revive one of the most versatile and fanciful paper hats from the last century.  The method is basic -- just a few folds and snips.  The materials are simple -- just crepe paper, scissors, some heavy stock for the band, glue and embellishments.  The results are fabulous!  

How to Make:
1930s Style Crepe Paper Party Caps

Makes 1 hat
Time:  Approx. 5-10 minutes

  • 1 sheet 20"h x 25" crepe paper (with grain running vertically)
  • 2 strips of crepe streamer in a complimentary color, 1 3/4" x 25"
  • 1 strip of posterboard, 1 1/2" w x 24"l
  • Tacky glue
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Glue gun (optional)
  • String or heavy cord (approx. 4") to tie off tassel
  • Embellishments such as scrapbook or Dresden borders, rosettes, feathers, rhinestones, etc.

Step 1:  Lay the sheet of crepe paper on a flat work surface with the grain running vertically.

Step 2:  Fold the crepe paper in half (from bottom to top) and press to crease along the fold.  Then re-open.

Step 3:  Run a thin bead of tacky glue along the entire bottom edge of the fold.  Regular school glue is not recommended because of its high moisture content, which can cause the crepe paper to bleed.

Step 4:  Set the posterboard band in place just below the crease, centered in the middle of the crepe paper so that there is some crepe paper overhang on each end.  Fold the overhang in on both sides.

Step 5:  Run a thin bead of glue along the edge of one of the streamers.

Step 6:  Now apply the streamer along the top edge of the crepe paper, with the non-glue side lined up with the top border.

Step 7:  Next, fold the bottom edge of the crepe paper up to meet the top.  Using same method as in Steps 5&6, apply the second strip of crepe paper to the top border.

Step 8:  With scissors, fringe the entire border area.  You can use pinking shears for an alternate style.

Step 9:  To make the hatband, simply fold up the bottom edge (containing the posterboard).  

Step 10:  For a custom-fit hat, wrap the hatband around your subject's head.  Hold together where the two ends meet, then remove from head.  Trim away excess overlap, so that only 1 1/2" overlap remains. Staple in place, with finished edge on top (trimmed edge on bottom).  For a generic fit, trim to create a 22" circumference.

Step 11:  Place back on head, then evenly gather the fringe.  Tie off with a ribbon or sturdy thread.  Fluff the fringe to form a pompom puff.

To embellish my caps for New Year's Eve, I used Recollections Glitter Paper (in Silver) cut with a Martha Stewart Crafts Scallop 3-dot Edge Punch for the border and cut with a Cricut on the highest pressure and deepest cutting setting for the numbers.  I adhered the border with hot glue and the numbers with tacky glue.

Step 12:    Embellish with decorative borders and ornaments.

Don your Bon Ton chapeux and party on!

This post has been linked-up with 
Think Pink Sunday @ Flamingo Toes!
Catch as Catch Can @ My Repurposed Life


  1. How cool!

    I would love if you would share on Fall Into the Holidays, open through Thursday!

    Katie @ Horrific Knits

  2. I thought these were candy filled party favors...or confetti but now i see they are real hats! Tucking this away for next year...Happy New Year!

  3. AMAZING! Jenn I love this whole post... the history, the tutorial and the photos. It is just a gorgeous idea and post. The hats are so beautiful and special. Thank you for taking the time to write this and create the hats... and for sharing them.

  4. Love the poms on top! What a fun, festive, and retro way to ring in the New Year. Hope yours is a happy one! :>

  5. These are SUPER cute!!! I Love them.
    Happy New Year!

  6. I did a little tour of your blog, it looks great interesting. I 'm going to sit back . I congratulate you what is good to do this blog
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