Thursday, November 15, 2012

How To Make A Snowman Hat Tree Topper

Hooray, it's Friday eve, better known as Thursday.  What did you do today?  This was my project for the day which is a snowman's top hat to be used as a tree topper.  This was made for my dear sweet friends Don and Rick.  No, it does not look one bit like a typical black top hat that you would expect Frosty to wear.  It does look more like something from a Dr. Seuss story, but that's okay because that is what they wanted.  Also, it can be used as a centerpiece which is a plus.

They deck their tree and house out in a theme every year and this year they are using bright colors - lime green, hot pink, and turquoise blue.  Don fell in love with the snowman hat as a tree topper 2 years ago.  We looked and looked at them, but he would change his mind and never bought one.  Last year, they used a beach theme for their tree with star fish, shells and all kinds of cute beach themed ornaments, so he didn't think the top hat was the right thing to use as a tree topper.  This year, it is THE perfect thing to use to go with all the bright colors on the tree and throughout the house.  Needless to say, you can't find one of these just anywhere.  So, I told Don I would make him one as part of his birthday gift. I wish you could see it in actuality, it is SO cute with lots of glitz and sparkle.  It would make Lady GaGa proud.

What started the whole conversation was Don saying he wanted a top hat this year for the tree, but didn't want to spend the money for a ready made one.  Then, I found one on Pinterest that was really cute made from a coffee can.  He and Rick really liked it, so I said that is what I would make.  As you can see, that is not what I made but I did use a Trader Joe's coffee can for the base.  Did I take a picture of the coffee can?  Of course not.  Sorry.  But the can is 9.75 inches tall by 4.5 inches in diameter.  It is taller than most regular coffee cans and narrower.  Perfect for this project!

Remember, I am doing this on the fly, so I played around a bit and started at one place and proceeded to another.  Do you do that when creating?  My years of working in theatrical costumes has taught me a lot about things that can be used that are inexpensive but do the job just fine.  So, I started with an empty coffee can.  Next, I cut up some cereal boxes because I wanted to cover the hat with them.
Cereal boxes are good to use because the cardboard is not too heavy and it is recycling at its finest!  I painted several pieces with a lime green acrylic paint because the Deco Mesh I was using to cover the hat was lime green.  Makes sense, right?  I just used a 1 inch sponge brush and smeared the paint on.
I painted several pieces because I needed to cover the top, sides and brim of the hat.  At least that's what I planned on doing.  I covered the can with cardboard and hot glued it down the seam.

Next, I traced around the can on another painted piece of cardboard to make the top of the hat, cut it out and hot glued it to the top of the cardboard around the can.
Yeah, there is hot glue everywhere, but it peels right off and I knew it would be covered with Deco mesh.

Next, I made what would be the brim.  I cut out a large circle of cardboard and that is where the lightbulb went off in my head.  This would be too flimsy for what I wanted.  That meant time to search the craft room for something else to cover this cardboard with.  If you are a crafter like me, then you probably have all kinds of things lurking in the shadows of your craft room.  Ding, ding, ding - I found just what I needed.  There was a package of 12 x 18 craft foam in different colors and - wahoo- two pieces of lime green foam.  That was exactly what I wanted.   I covered the cardboard covered coffee can with a piece of foam and trimmed it.  I hot glued it down the seam and then hot glued the other end and pressed it over the first seam.  Somehow I missed taking a picture of this step.  That's what happens when I get into being creative.  Oh well.  Then I cut a round piece to cover the top of the coffee can and hot glued it down.

For the brim, I traced two circular pieces of foam and cut those out.  I sandwiched the cardboard circle between the two foam pieces and hot glued them around the edges.  Again, no picture.  Please forgive me.

Now, it was time to cover the base pieces with the Deco Mesh.  First, I cut a piece about 1 inch bigger than the circle meant for the hat brim.  I laid the foam covered piece in the center of the Deco Mesh and gently pulled the edges over the top of the piece.  Working in about 2 inch sections, I put a little hot glue on the edge of the circle and pressed the mesh down with a wooden dowel rod I keep for hot gluing so I don't burn my fingers!!!!  And boy, does it burn if you touch it!  Simply roll from the outside edge toward the center until the mesh sticks to the foam.
I worked all around the circle until all the mesh was glued down.

Now, I laid a large piece of mesh over the circle I just finished and cut the mesh to the exact size of the circle.  Then, you guessed it, I glued the mesh to the unfinished top.
Time to cover the coffee can with Deco Mesh.   Cut a circle about an inch bigger than the top of the can and carefully glue it over the edges.  Yes, it looks messy because you can see the glue through the mesh, but remember it will be covered with more mesh.  Don't forget to use your dowel rod for gluing!
Time to cover the sides of the coffee can.  I laid it on the mesh sideways, cut it to size, and glued down one seam.  I rolled the can until the mesh met the original seam and pulled it tight.  I cut the mesh leaving about 1 inch to fold under when I glued it down so there would not be a jagged edge and it would hold better.  Oops, no picture again.  
Here is the finished crown of the hat.
Not too shabby.  Time to attach the brim.

I placed the crown of the hat in the center of the circle aka the brim.  I used a pencil and made dots in the foam by pushing the pencil down through the mesh so I would know the crown was centered when I glued it on.  After all this work, I certainly didn't want an off center crown!  Now, I ran a bead of hot glue around the bottom of the coffee can and set it in place on the brim.  I ran another bead of glue around the outside edge of the crown just to make sure it held.
TaDa!  Not too shabby.  The hat is nice and sturdy.  Now the fun begins.  Time to decorate!

First, I wrapped some hot pink Deco Mesh around the crown several times because it is sheer and I wanted strong color.  Again, I folded the seam and hot glued it down.  Now, there has to be an opening so the hat will fit on the tree.  I made an X in the bottom of the brim and cut it with scissors.  I pushed it back to form an opening.  If it isn't quite big enough, all they have to do it cut is just a little more so the hat will sit on the top of the tree.

My heart begins to race at this point because it's time to add the sparkly stuff.  (I do have glitter in my veins you know.)  I had several Christmas floral picks that were all glittery and sparkly (be still my heart) in hot pink, turquoise and green.  I arranged them the way I wanted and glued them to the crown of the hat.  Then, I added some turquoise metallic garland loops and some more hot pink Deco Mesh in puffs to fill out the arrangement.
Not a great picture, but it is so festive and happy and sparkly and glittery.

To finish the hat, I used some of the silver snowflakes from a garland that I had purchased at Hobby Lobby to decorate the brim of the hat, the hat band and the underside of the brim so you can see them when the hat is on the top of the tree.  I mean, it is a snowman's hat after all.

Now, how cute is that?  It needed just one more thing.   I used some 1/8 inch ribbon and glued it around the edge of the hat brim and crown of the hat just to make it more finished.  Now, it's done and

If you decide you want to make one of these adorable hats, you can use any sized can for the base.  It just depends on the look you want and pretty much follow the same procedure using any colors of your choice.  You know, I am thinking I may just have to have one of these for each of the grandson's trees and ours too.  Time's a wastin' Grandma.  You better get busy!

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul,
With a corncob pipe and a button nose
And two eyes made out of coal.
Frosty the snowman is a fairy tale they say,
He was made of snow but the children
Know how he came to life one day.
There must have been some magic in that
Old silk hat they found,
For when they placed it on his head
He began to dance around................Sing with me now

Frosty the snowman was alive as he could be,
And the children say he could laugh and play
Just the same as you and me.


  1. Very cool... can't wait to try this :)

  2. thanks for posting your snowman hat! I'm making a frosty snowman tree this year and ran across your site. Instead of a coffee can I'm going to use a large oatmeal can. I guess you can say my frosty will have a 10 gallon!