Lots of people are hard at work making their own felted fantasy hats, either using one of my tutorials or what they learned during one of my face-to-face workshops. But there is one question my students ask me over and over: "How do I make an extra wide brim?"
That's a good question. The standard hat shaper that I use in my Wizard and Witch Hat tutorial only allows for a brim as wide as 4 inches, while some of the hats in my shop have brims as wide as 8 inches.
The short answer is that I had to figure out how to create an extended brim hat block using the simple materials I had at hand or that I could buy from the local hardware store. After months of experimenting I finally came up with a design for a custom extended brim hat block that would allow me to make all those wide hat brims you see in my shop. Since I've came up with the design I've made seven or eight more extended brim hat blocks, and all of them have lasted for months and dozens of hat projects each, without much sign of wear and tear at all. The block is waterproof, perfect for wet felting projects, as well as sturdy and easy to clean.
If you are interested in making hats with brims as wide as 8 inches, and you are thinking about getting my tutorial, here are a few more things you need to know. First of all, this is a video tutorial. If you've bought any tutorials from me in the past you know they are all PDF tutorials with step-by-step instructions written out. I decided to make the change to video though because there are just some parts of the process that it would be hard to describe without the benefit of seeing it in motion. I also did lots of voiceover work in the video so you still get the benefit of hearing me describe the process as well as giving you some helpful hints along the way. Through the whole video you will see me go from describing the individual materials and parts all the way through assembly, start to finish.
For anyone worried about the video quality, this is not a low-res YouTube video. The video resolution is 1920x1080, with lots of lighting, and the voiceover work was done after the video was recorded using a written script and a Blue brand desk mic. (not using the camera mic or anything like that). The file download is about 1.13 gigabytes and is in MP4 format, playable on most computers. But this is my first video tutorial so let me know if there are any technical issues, if you need the file in a different format, or if you need the video at a smaller resolution. I'm sure I can get Grumpy Husband to figure it out for you.
Keep in mind this is a video tutorial on how to make an extended hat block. The video does not include any information on how to actually make a hat, so you will either need to know how to make a felt hat already or you will also need my Wizard and Witch Hat tutorial.
For a full material list check out the tutorial listing. And good luck!
Thank you everyone who came and explored my website, read my blog, and left such uplifting comments during last month's giveaway! This is the Mysterious Giveaway Hat - a gradient colorway that begins at the brim with deep red to orange to mustard to brown to black. It is the perfect Autumn hat as I feel it mirrors the color cycle of the leaves that fall this time of year. Red or yellow, or orange when they hit the ground then fading to brown and black the longer they rest upon the earth.
Somewhat unsure if the man was trying to help or just luring them to a secluded place to chop them into bits, the photographer rushed back to her group to explain. The all agreed to go, so piling into the car they drove after the tractor which was leading them to a small copses of trees further out in the field. Upon reaching the spot the group was in awe of the spooky little spot and introductions were made all around. He told the group to say and shoot for as long as they wanted then turned on his heel and hoped back on his tractor driving off to mow his field. The END
OK I may have exaggerated a bit for effect, but honestly not by that much. It was like the Spirit of Halloween fated that chance encounter. I have been shooting in that field for years and never met anyone. That hat was meant to be shot in that spooky little spot. I know that I got this hat out a little too late for this year's Halloween and I am sorry :( and I only have about 6ish spots left open for Halloween orders - BUT maybe you won't need to order a hat...maybe you could win one in my Halloween Witch Hat Giveaway. Now this is a little peculiar, but the hat is going to be a surprise - meaning there isn't a picture. But I think you all trust me enough to know it will be an awesome hat ;) I have it made and it is autumn themed in color but that is all I am going to tell you. I will post pics of it just before I announce the winner and that will be on October 1st. The winner must agree to pay shipping costs and to enter all contestants must leave a comment on this blog post. Bonus points will be given to those who leave a comment telling me something they like about my website (so explore it a little), I know, I know I am shameless.
Sure it was raining and we were all soaked from the 5ish minuet walk to the shoot site, but I had a new model, a new location, and two new hats that I needed photos of. So we made it work. Under the tree cover it wasn't so bad actually, but Grumpy Husband's shoes were squishing when he walked, Lily Anna was barefoot and my feet were the only thing dry on me. My new model is a friend that I met at the KY Highland Renaissance Fair a couple of years ago when I was a vendor there. We had been wanting to do a shoot together for ages, and then on this day the stars aligned and it happened. I brought my garb and she brought hers and together we created some sweet costumes.
The birch hood (below) might be my all time favorite piece. I have always really love birch trees, mostly because they stood out from all the other trees. Growing up we had a lot of them in our woods and many of them had that "eye" shape to some of their stripes. It was very eerie but also really intriguing. As a child I would often wonder if they were watching me and were more then just trees. I also just really like this hood because it was a challenge and it came out so well despite that!
The Fire Mage hat was the perfect custom order for autumn, and really we couldn't of had a more perfect backdrop! Granted we had to do a costume swap between hats, and that meant a five minute walk back to the dorm and you guessed it! It rained the whole way. Of course as soon as we got inside it stopped. We were all heartened by this, but on our way back out to the shoot location it started up again. Grumpy Husband was very damp and looked like a thunder cloud himself, so I bribed him with dinner out after the shoot. Lily Anna joined us and I think that was the best most fun shoot I have ever done! :)
It all began with an attempt to make a hat that looked like an acorn cap. I had trouble though getting the texture of the hat to be "acorny" enough. And I decided to change the brim so the back was turned up and the front had a pointed tip. After tinkering with several prototypes I ended up with a hat style that looked almost like a fantasy archery hat. I called them my "Fae Fedoras," and you might still see a few photos of them floating around Pinterest.
I wasn't satisfied with the Fae Fedoras though. After making a few I decided that they were missing something, some wow factor that would take them from being merely cute to being something truly unique and interesting. I started experimenting with ways I could incorporate a crinkled hat tail (like the ones on my witch/wizard hats) into the design. After a few sketches I made the attempt and came up with a new prototype.
The hat was starting to really shape up. But there was still something missing. Snow was still on the ground outside when I finally decided to add a curl to the front brim. The idea was so compelling that I put it together immediately. Finally! The hat looked GREAT! It had so much personality and just the right amount of magic and whimsy! But it was then that Grumpy Husband reminded me (in his oh-so-gentle manner) that it was the middle of the winter and it would be months before we could really go outside and take some photos of the hat that would do it justice.
So I waited. And I schemed. And I bought lots of little things to put together the perfect outfit. Just this week the weather was warm enough, the sky was cloudy enough, everything was just the way I wanted it to be! I put on my outfit and we went to take photos of my brand new hat style.
I am so excited to introduce to you the brand new Fantasy Fedora! Let me know what you think!
You might notice that the felted fox hood I am wearing in the above photos is a little different then the original fox hood below. In the hood above the inside of the ears is all white and so is the whole inside of the hood. This style of hood is not available in my shop but if you think it should be let me know in the comments!
Even when I first started taking photos of my items years ago I was still very interested in the artistry of the pictures. Sometimes my items would be set against completely white backgrounds, but as much as possible I tried to incorporate useful backdrops and interesting locations. I wanted the photos of my items to be as fun to look at as the items themselves were fun to wear and show off.
But I live in a pretty small city. We have had to get pretty creative with photo locations and backgrounds. That is why I am so excited by the fact that we found a new location for photos! And based on the photos you would never be able to guess where our new location is.
It began a few weeks ago when me and Grumpy Husband went to a Walmart to buy some packing supplies to send out new hats to customers. We had never really gone to this Walmart before (we prefer a local food co-op for most of our groceries) and as we were leaving a flash of green suddenly caught my eye. Zooming around the outside edge of the Walmart-sized parking lot I told Grumpy Husband to stop the car so I could get out and get a better look at what I thought might be a little park.
Grumpy Husband was incredulous. Parks aren't put up against Walmart parking lots like that. But after thinking about it a moment he became curious too so we parked at the furthest edge of the parking lot, jumped out of the car, and went to see what was going on.
It turns out that it was a little park with a little bridge too!
The park space has two purposes. Some nearby apartments are on a lower plot of land than the Walmart. The park has stairs that link the Walmart parking lot to the apartments so people can more easily walk between. The space is also designed to accommodate floodwater runoff, being set lower than the Walmart or the apartments. But it wasn't just a sump. Instead they tried to prettify it with trails, benches, a few nice big trees, and even a little bridge.
As soon as we had some time we decided to go and experiment with it as a new photo shoot location. I'm sure we turned a few heads traversing the Walmart parking lot with me dressed as a white witch, but that's all part of the fun!
Unfortunately the bridge did not work very well because it made the photos look a little too industrial. We will keep it in mind for some of my future steampunk top hats. But a little ways away from the bridge was a nice big tree in the middle of a beautiful stretch of grass. I thought the silhouette of the tree's shadow around me on the ground paired well with the silhouettes I was trying to show off on my hat.
What do you think?
Want your own custom silhouette hat with your own colors and patterns?
Check this item out:
On Etsy - Or At My Discount Shop
After finishing a galaxy colorway witch hat recently I decided that it came out so well I needed to take some photos. So I strapped a camera to Grumpy Husband, pushed him into the car, and we headed out to one of our favorite photo spots. The lighting was perfect! Check some of our best photos out below or in my galaxy hat listing!
And if you are looking for a little discount be sure to check out this hat in my storefront here on my website. It is always $10 cheaper than Etsy!
Last week I posted a few photos of me dyeing a rainbow hat for a customer. Well this past weekend I finished that very same hat. But since it was a holiday weekend and I couldn't ship the hat out anyway I decided to take it out to one of my favorite photo locations and take a few shots of it. Of course I couldn't do that without also dressing up for the occasion in my rainbow witch costume! And we had a friend visiting us for Easter who is also a talented photographer (and I may have asked him to bring his camera for the visit). So then we also had a super photographer. All of the sudden my little improvisational outing turned into a full-blown photo shoot! But I didn't mind at all. After spending so much time making the perfect rainbow hat it was really fun to celebrate the completion of the project with photos and friends.
And here are the best of the photos we took!
What makes this hat especially unique (besides all those glorious rainbow colors of course) is the wide brim. Although I love all my hats equally it is extra-special to see a rainbow hat with a nice big brim. It just makes the whole thing feel that much more witchy or wizardy.
Now I have enough new photos to make a new Etsy listing so that anyone who wants a rainbow hat with a wide brim will be able to buy one even easier.
Because we had our guest photographer my usual photographer Grumpy Husband had nothing to do. To keep from getting too grumpy and bored he took a few candid shots. Thanks GH!