Hats Off to Hats!

When youngsters decorate their own hats, they wear them with pride!

By Barbara Albright


When kids decorate their own hats, they are happy to wear them. For parents this is good news: light-weight hats with bills or visors protect children from the sun.

Hat decorating is a terrific group activity. Plan it for a birthday party, day camp activity, rainy-day-at-the-beach, or family reunion.

Decorated hats are fun to wear anytime, but they can also provide unity for a group marching in a parade or playing a team game. They are also a good way to keep track of your group at a museum, ballpark, marina, amusement part, or other field trip venue.

Paper or Cloth
Inexpensive paper painters' hats are fun to decorate for one-time use. Professional painters wear them to protect their heads from splattering, but kids can splatter them intentionally to make colorful headgear.

Paper hats are perfect canvases for dressing up with markers, crayons, glitter, construction paper cut-outs, stickers, small buttons, and faux jewelry.

More durable cloth hats might be the choice if you're planning to wear the hats for a team sport or an outing on the water.

Decorate these with fabric paint, glitter, felt cut-outs, sparkly fake jewels, and buttons. They are also perfect for swap pins.

Swaths of inexpensive netting can be glued to the back of the hat to form an insect shield or act as decoration. String ribbon around the crown or let it trail down the back. Yarn, too, can be used for decoration.

Glue on earflaps, fake hair, or animal ears. Create a theme or let the theme emerge.

Both paper and cloth hats are sold at paint stores - they might have logo on the front but this can be camoflaged with decorations.

You can also buy plain white hats at large variety stores, sporting stores, and stores that sell uniforms.

Decorating Techniques
The best way to affix cloth or paper flowers, jewelry, and other gim-gaws is with a glue gun. An adult or older teen will have to use the tool, because the glue gets hot.

Paint can be applied with brushes or sponges. Other colors come from fabric markers or colorful art markers. Stroll down the aisle in a craft or art-supply store to find good ideas and products.

Lay newspaper or an old sheet on a work surface, lay the art supplies nearby, and let the children have at it. Don't limit their creativity - the hats will be beautiful!