Today, I’m sharing how to make a whimsical Queen of Hearts or Mad Hatter fascinator for yourself, a child or grandchild in a seven-step tutorial.
With Halloween a little over a month away, it’s costume-making season for young trick or treaters, or adult party goers. And, portraying an Alice in Wonderland character is a popular costume choice.
As regular followers are well aware, my fourth My Favorite Things Party had an Alice in Wonderland theme.
Since the event, I’ve shared numerous party project tutorials, including; How to Make Whimsical Teacup Fascinators. Recently, I also shared Craft Fun to Fabulous Floral Fascinator. It’s taken me until costume season to circle back to how I made the black and white checked toppers.
Learn how to create and customize a Mad Hatter fascinator to accessorize a costume, wear to a tea party, or even as a stylish top hat to complete a New Year’s Eve outfit.
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DIY Mad Hatter Fascinator
I made a total of 18 fascinators in three different designs (teacup, top hat, and floral) and in a variety of colors.
Whether you want to make a Mad Hatter fascinator for a child or adult, there are lots of methods to choose from online. What follows, is a step-by-step tutorial of how I did it.
Admittedly, my process may be a little more complicated and time-consuming than some. If you have any questions about making a Mad Hatter fascinator, don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section below.
Many of the materials came in packages and were used for making multiple fascinators. Even if you only are making one hat — at only $1 per package — it’s still a cost-effective source for supplies.
- Clear 5 3/4″ plastic plate Dollar Tree (8 for $1)
- 9 oz. plastic tumbler (any color, grocery store)
- Diamond check fabric Joann Fabrics (about 1/2 yard)
- Foam or stiff felt (single sheet or scrap)
- Headband Dollar Tree (3 fabric-covered or 5 plastic for $1)
- Netting (about 1/2 yard)
- 1 1/2″ wide ribbon (about 18″ length)
- Playing card
- Feather boa (cut about 6-9″ section) Dollar Tree
- Assorted silk florals
- Mini glue sticks (probably 2/per hat)
For a New Year’s Eve style top hat, simply change the fabric and add sparkly embellishments; with gold and silver for glam.
No special equipment is needed, just scissors, ruler, glue gun, pencil or marker, plastic knife, and an iron.
My Mad Hatter fascinator design had to be lightweight to wear on the head and balance in place; allowing guests to comfortably move around. That was especially true while Playing Flamingo Croquet and Building a House of Cards.
And I wanted it to be whimsical and stylish enough the ladies would want to wear them the length of the party.
Circled in yellow is a clear plastic plate used as the base or brim of the top hat
My solution was to use a plastic cup and plate to create the underlying structure of the Mad Hatter fascinator. The rim of the plate gives the impression of a top hat’s brim. And, the shape of the cup (larger at the top) is important to give the hat its distinctive silhouette.
Step 1: Create Pattern
You need three pieces of cut fabric to cover the top hat. Begin by making a paper pattern based on the measurements of the plastic plate and cup.
- Create a circle larger than the plastic plate. You’ll need enough margin to cover at least 1″ on the underside of the plate. I used an 8 1/4″ luncheon plate to create the pattern piece.
- Next, trace the open end of the cup; adding roughly 1/3″ margin all the way around.
- Making the pattern piece to cover around the side of the cup is a little tricky, but doesn’t have to be an exact fit.
Start by placing the side of the cup on a piece of paper. Make a mark on the cup to indicate where you started. As you slowly roll the cup one full rotation, trace it’s curved path onto the paper.
Now, use a ruler to mark 1/3″ along the wider edge of the curve; about every inch or so. Connect those points into a curved line with a pencil. Finally, use the ruler to make a straight edge at the two ends of the curve — adding another 1/3″ margin on just one end. When finished, the pattern piece should resemble the one to the right of the picture above.
Step 2: Cut Fabric Pieces
Lay the pieces on top of your chosen fabric, pin into place, and cut with scissors.
Use an iron to fold and press the 1/3″ margin along the wider edge of the curved fabric piece.
Step 3: Cover Plate with Fabric
Before you begin attaching the fabric, I suggest reviewing the detailed illustrations and guide in How to Make Whimsical Teacup Fascinators.
Underside of the plastic cup once the fabric was glued into place.
- Start by taking the large circle, with right side of the fabric facing down.
- Place the plastic plate upside down, in the center of the fabric circle.
- Now, use a glue gun to attach the fabric to the plate. Pleat the fabric as you glue; until you’ve made a full circle around. See above illustration from the teacup fascinator as a guide.
Step 4: Cover Cup with Fabric
Begin by taking the small round circle and centering it on the open end of the plastic cup. The 1/3″ margin should slightly extend over the edge all the way around. Now, hot glue in place, by pleating the fabric as you go around the rim.
Take the final piece of fabric and glue it to the side of the plastic cup. The ironed edge will go at the top of the cup. This will create a nice finished edge. It will also cover where you glued the fabric over the open end of the cup.
Work slowly, applying glue as you go. Start by attaching about two inches of fabric at the top of the cup. Check to make sure the material is positioned correctly, so that the fabric will fit all the way around the cup. Adjust as needed.
Once you have wrapped and glued the fabric around the cup, there should be about 1/3″ of margin left. Use it to overlap the ends and glue into place.
Next, pleat the remaining fabric and glue to the bottom of the plastic cup. Let dry completely and touch up spots with additional glue if necessary.
Finally, apply a generous amount of glue to the bottom of the cup. Center it in the middle of the right side of the fabric-covered plate. Press and hold firmly in place as the glue sets up. While continuing to apply downward pressure on the cup, hot glue around the bottom edges, where the cup meets the plate.
Step 5: Attach Headband
To attach the headband to the plate, cut a roughly egg-shaped piece from either a sheet of foam or stiff felt. Use an Exacto knife and cut two small slits. It’s the exact same process as in How to Make Whimsical Teacup Fascinators.
Now hot-glue it to the bottom of the plate. Once you finish embellishing the top hat, the headband is slipped through the two slots. Since the headband is not fixed in place, the Mad Hatter fascinator can be slid to one side or the other; allowing the wearer to adjust as needed.
Step 6: Apply Netting
I added netting to both the front and back of my Mad Hatter fascinator. For this step, you’ll have to play around with the amount and placement of the netting as a matter of preference.
First, cut a roughly 12″ circle of netting. Cutting the netting isn’t an exact science. Judge it by how full you want the netting to be, and/or if you want to be able to pull it down over the eyes.
Position the seam of the cup to the backside of the hat. Attach the netting in the front of the hat, so it will fall on the forehead part of the face.
Spread about an inch or two of glue at a time. Then gather, or pleat, as you hot-glue the netting to the underside of the plate. So you won’t burn your fingers, use something like a plastic knife to push the netting into the glue.
Now, for the back side of the Mad Hatter fascinator, cut another length of netting to create a poof. Allow for doubling over, and the amount of tails you want extending out or down the back.
Fold the netting in half and glue to the underside of the fabric-covered plate, using the plastic knife to press into place.
Side view shows turquoise netting covering forehead and poof in back.
Again, let dry completely and touch up with glue where needed. Wait until you’ve attached the rest of the embellishments before poofing and arranging the netting.
Step 7: Add Embellishments
When designing the Mad Hatter fascinator, I wanted each to look good from the front, back and sides. Because many of the embellishments came from my craft stash of faux florals, ribbons and other materials, no two looked exactly alike.
Tiffany blue netting, ribbon, and flowers were leftovers from party decorations from the Breakfast at Tiffany’s Theme Brunch. I did try to stick to a color scheme when choosing embellishments for each hat.
First, I wrapped a ribbon around the base of the Mad Hatter fascinator. In addition to adding a pop of color, the ribbon also hid the seam where the cup was attached to the plate. A bow was tied to one side. Because it was a Wonderland theme party, I also glued a small decorative rose on one of the ribbon tails.
To tie-in to the party theme, I also tucked an Alice in Wonderland card into the ribbon. See the Amazon link at the end of this post if you’re interested in ordering a full deck. I had leftovers after incorporating cards into vintage teacup favors and other party decorations, like this banner.
Alice in Wonderland party and home decor are available in my Etsy shop, DebbeesBuzzBoutique.
Of course, you could use any ‘ol cards. A Queen of Hearts from a regular deck would work particularly well.
Prep the card by rolling and shaping it around a tall straight glass; being careful not to crease it. Then, slip it inside the ribbon and tilt at a slight angle. Now, spread some glue between the lower part of the card and hat. Apply slight pressure and hold in place until the glue sets up.
As far as embellishments go, work off a theme or whatever floats your boat! Just make sure whatever you use is lightweight. Florals work very well. I also added pieces of feather boas from Dollar Tree for an inexpensive flourish. They come in white, black, pink and red.
Fit for a Queen
As the hostess of the Unbirthday Party, can you guess how my Mad Hatter fascinator was embellished?
You know me, always the Queen of Theme!
In addition to the Queen of Hearts playing card, I added red roses, sparkly hearts, a brass key and a crown!
And, although it might be difficult to see it in these pictures, I also added a bee charm to represent Queen Deb-bee, LOL! It complimented my bee necklace and earrings.
For the rest of my guests, it was first-come, first-pick in the Mad Hatter’s trunk show! Most of the stylish ladies chose a fascinator that color-coordinated with their outfit.
How do you think they turned out?
Have you ever had occasion to wear a fascinator to a wedding, tea party or other event?
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Wow that was interesting! Using the plastic plate and cups was a great idea and how you applied the headband was too. You really go all out!
Looking back, I’m not sure how I created all the fascinators, painted glasses, favors and decorations for that single event — although, I did work on it for an entire year! Might bee why I needed a break this past year?
I really enjoyed going through this tutorial. When I was sprucing up my vintage/antique booth yesterday, I met a woman whose bathroom decor is Alice in Wonderland. She collects Cheshire cats. (My bathroom has Monets and flamingos; takes all kinds, huh?). I think a bit of whimsy is good for the soul!
Hi Kathy, I got a kick out of reading your comment! My powder room has a monkey, jungle took with a painted black ceiling — seriously! I’m with you on whimsy. We can all use something to smile about.
Debbee, did you see my eyes glaze over ? I am good, but that takes talent and practice ! I was thinking about you yesterday while in Michael’s looking at fascinators in their Halloween section.
There was a video once about how the Brits make them and it looked like an American rag rug coil about the size of a coaster for the base on top of the headband.
Love the idea of a whimsical bathroom.
Making them doesn’t take any special skill; although my technique isn’t the quickest and easiest to do. After figuring out the first one, it was faster making several at a time. Thinking of me at Michaels, in the Halloween section hmmmm, I’ll take that as a compliment Myrna! I’ve always been a hat person, in another life maybe I was a milliner?
Not sure if my powder room isn’t really whimsical, but it sure catches people by surprise the first time! I’ve been wanting to share it on the blog, but it’s a tight fit and hard to photograph in such a small space.
Debbee, at one time my best floral photos with the ‘right light’ were taken with me sitting on the bathroom sink and flowers on a pedestal LOL We want to see the cute bathroom.
You might be the better photographer Myrna. There’s no natural light in my bath, black ceiling and wall paper and lots of reflective surfaces. But, for you, I will see what I can do.
This is such a cool craft idea!
Thanks! Are you going to give it a try Alice?
That I am not sure but pinning it just in case.
Wow, love love love these. So creativity and fun. Thanks for sharing. Pinned
In addition to theme parties and dressing up in costumes, I love wearing hats! The Wonderland tea party gave me an excuse to try my hand at being an amatuer milliner.
I love these! So fun and whimsical.
If only I had another occasion to wear it!
These hats are sooo much fun, Debbee! I love them all and yours is perfect as queen of the party!!! Happy to share this next installment in your Mad Hatter series at next week’s Share Your Style (#227). Thanks again for such fun parties and posts!!!
And here I thought that DIY post would get lost in all the fall season posts! Thanks ever so much for the feature Barb!
You are most welcome, Debbee!!! I was just rereading this post and it is BRILLIANT how you used the dollar store plastic plates and cups as the support! Shared several photos to various boards on my Pinterest for you. It has me thinking about a New Year’s party, which we haven’t had one in a very long time…
Can I come? If you make a special fascinator or several for the party, please do share! Would love to see!
Wow, these are fabulous, so much work (and love I’ll bet) put into each one! I love it that you show us your picture as well — beautiful! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm. Pinned! xo Kathleen
Definitely a labor of love! I particularly enjoyed designing them and coming up with a process. But, the best part was seeing how much my guests loved wearing them.
You are so creative Debbee and these fascinators are amazing – Pinned!
Gee thanks Ann! I’ve always been a person who loves hats, so I really enjoyed crafting the fascinators.
LOVE this Debbee! Pinning this so I can try it later! You do a great tutorial – thanks!
If you do make one please make sure you post/share it! I’ve worn mine two other times — New Years Eve and Derby parties.
Hi Debbee, thanks for sharing. I’m in the middle of making my own fascinator basis yours for a 40th in a couple of weeks. I will definitely share photos of the finished product.
Casey, I’m so excited to see! Send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. I just lent my Queen of Hearts fascinator to a cousin who wore it to a fund raising gala.