How to Set Up a Hat-Making Station for a Steampunk-Style Party

Creatively encourage guests to mix and mingle at your next soiree with a fun and festive crafting station filled with vintage hats and Victorian-chic craft supplies.
By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn ©Scripps Networks, LLC

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn ©Scripps Networks, LLC

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn ©Scripps Networks, LLC

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn ©Scripps Networks, LLC

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn ©Scripps Networks, LLC

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn ©Scripps Networks, LLC

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn ©Scripps Networks, LLC

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn ©Scripps Networks, LLC

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn ©Scripps Networks, LLC

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn ©Scripps Networks, LLC

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn ©Scripps Networks, LLC

Mad Hatter Party

No matter what type of party you’re having, a hat-decorating activity will break the ice, make for great party photos, and give guests a party favor they’ll truly enjoy. We did old-timey men’s bowler hats and top hats, but you could try pretty bonnets and flowers, or cowboy hats with Western-style accessories or get really crazy and make fascinators.

Tools and Materials

For this project, you will need one hat for every guest invited; found objects for use as risers like vintage books; weathered-metal vessels; weathered-wood vessels; hat stands or found objects tall and wide enough to support hats; crafting scissors; fabric scissors; hot-glue gun holster; hot-glue gun and sticks; vintage bottles; extension cord; craft blade; feathers; spools of grosgrain and satin ribbon; spools of decorative chain; tailor’s tape; jewelry beads; paper letters; lace; table; and vintage portraits.

Place Portraits

Honor the hosts of the party with framed vintage portraits similar in appearance. Hang them on the wall above the hat-making station or simply lean them against a table.

Lay Out Hats

Creating a perfectly layered station like the pros is all about proper scale and proportion. First, lay out all hats directly onto the surface of the table to get a sense of how much space they’ll take up. If there are more hats than there is table surface, keep in mind you’ll need plenty of risers to help hold them, keeping many stacked on top of one another.

Arrange Supplies in Wooden Vessels

A clever collection of found objects with weathered finishes will create a classic steampunk look. Arrange wooden vessels on the table, and then fill them with craft supplies.

Stack Spools of Ribbon

Since ribbon needs to be unfurled, it’s best to keep spools in different colors and textures simply stacked on top of one another on the table. Create several stacks of ribbon in a pyramid shape, starting with the largest spool on the bottom, ending with the smallest spool at the top.

Arrange Supplies in Metal Vases

Place metal vessels on the table top. Then fill them with industrial supplies such as scissors, craft blades, tailor’s tape and hot glue sticks.

Arrange Feathers in Vintage Bottles

Place several vintage bottles on the table, and then use them to display feathers.

Place Hot Glue Gun in Holster

Along the front edge of the table, place a glue gun onto a holster, plug into extension cord, and test it. The holster will make it easy for guests to pick up, use and put back the hot glue gun to add embellishments to their hats.

Stack Plain Hats

Use several found objects as risers, and then stack hats approximately seven hats tall, allowing easy access for guests.

Display Completed Hats

Before the party starts, make it easy for guests to envision how their custom hats will look once finished. Create two to three hats, ideally for the hosts and any special guests. Then display them at the beginning of the party.