Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Alice in Wonderland Halloween Party Crafts

Hi! Just a couple more updates so you can see some of the ideas I have. I have already shown a couple tutorials on some of the items I'm making, and I really hope you guys are enjoying those! They took forever to make, phew! Anyway, here are some items I'm making for my Alice in Wonderland Halloween party. 

The neck and skull of my Jabberwocky skeleton. I didn't take a picture of it with the jaw, here.

My man in the moon blowing clouds. I didn't take a picture of the face I painted on it yet, but I have finished it and it looks smashing.

 A centerpiece for the Red Queen room. This will go on the table. 

Some flower eyeballs. I wanted to get something surreal, playful, and scary all at the same time.

Monday, September 19, 2011

How to Papier-Mâché (or Paper Mache) -- Mushroom: Alice in Wonderland Craft

This is a tutorial on how to papier-mâché, or paper mache depending on how you like to pronounce it. Papier-mâché is a French word for "chewed paper." I guess that's because if you've ever made a spitball, you're essentially using the same techniques. (No, I've never actually made a spitball before, hahaha!). You can make some pretty interesting stuff by using this very simple technique. What I'm going to show you how to make today is a simple craft using pure trash and recyclables.
Paste (instructions on how to make this below)
Cardboard paper towel roll
Heavy-duty Cardboard
Glue gun


1/4 cup of flour
1 cup of water (divided)
Elmer's Glue

  1. Start heating up 1/2 cup of water on the stove.
  2. In a seperate bowl, measure 1/4 cup of flour.
  3. Pour 1/2 cup of cold water into the same bowl.
  4. Whisk to remove lumps.
  5. Once water on stove is boiling, pour mixture into pot.
  6. Stir constantly and stop as soon as mixture begins to bowl.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Add about 1 Tb of salt. (This will help keep the paste last longer before getting moldy.)
  9. Allow to cool.
  10. Squirt some Elmer's Glue into the mixture. The paste alone should work, but I like to use this as a back up. Just in case.
  11. Strip up some old newspapers--some in strips and some in small pieces.
  12. You're ready to start pasting! Make sure to store paste in refrigerator when finished. Lasts about two weeks.

1) Cut out a medium circle from cardboard. This will be the base of the mushroom. It should be fairly wide depending on how big you want the cap to be.

2) Take a paper towel roll, and with a glue gun, glue one end in the center of the cardboard base. Unplug the glue gun. You'll still need it, but the next steps takes some time to finish.

3) Crumble up some newspaper and place it along the cardboard tube. You may want to use tape to help mold the base into the shape you want.
4) Start ripping your newspaper into long strips. 

5) Dip your strips into paste. Get the excess glue off by running the newspaper between two fingers. The paper should not be gloppy, but still wet enough to work with.

6) Apply the newspaper as you see in this picture. We are forming the stem as we do so.
7) Keep applying newspaper until the stem is complete. Set aside to let dry.
8) Cut out a larger circle from the cardboard.

9) Once stem is dry, measure the diameter of the top. This may or may not be different than the diameter of the paper towel roll depending on how you used your strips of newspaper.

10) Cut out a hole with the same diameter in the center of your cardboard circle.
11) Check and make sure hole is wide enough to fit on the stem.
12) This part is the most important for the best shape. You'll need to build a rough skeleton in order to get the best results. The more "ribs" you use, the better, stronger, and solid the shape will be. From cardboard, cut out one piece that matches the shape you want.
13) Hold it up to the mushroom to see how you like its shape. The bottom of the "rib" piece should line up with the edge of the mushroom piece or go just a bit past it. If it's under, remake the rib. I like to use eight ribs and find that this has the best results.

14) Once you get a shape you like, cut out seven more. You can use the first as a pattern piece. I recommend giving one piece a "lip" on top (see picture in step #12). This prevents the newspaper from sinking into the hole made by the cardboard tube during later steps. This is one of the first times I'm trying to make a large mushroom with less than eight ribs and it came out okay, but not as good as the others.

15) Using a glue gun, glue these rib pieces to the crown piece. Try to space them out evenly. The reason why you need heavy-duty cardboard here is because if you use lightweight, it will not hold its shape as well. 
16) Like the stem before, crumple of paper in the shape you wish the mushroom to be. This is so the newspaper won't collapse and fall out of the desired shape, even with the ribs. The more ribs you have, the easier this step will be.

17) Apply paste/newspaper over crumpled newspaper. Go section by section. 
18) Keep molding your mushroom as you work around the sections.
19) Once finished, let dry. Do not complete the top or bottom portions yet as your mushroom will still be quite soggy.
20) Once dry, apply newspaper along tops and bottoms. If you fear the newspaper will sink, apply more crumpled up newspaper and paste over that. Also at this time, fix up any places where the surface isn't smooth. It will be hard to get a perfect surface using this method, but it's faster and quicker this way. Not to mention cheaper.

21) Again, let dry before painting.

22) Paint! Weeee! Have some fun and do some wacky colors!

23) And you're done!
You now have a light-weight craft made entirely of trash and some glue and paint. Welcome to Wonderland!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Halloween/Alice in Wonderland Party Game - Icebreaker

The ultimate goal of a party for me is to mix groups of people together. If this were chemistry, the goal would be to make the non-polar people mix with the polar people.... not a very good comparison since this practically never happens in chemistry... but whatevs! You get the idea. Anyway, we all know how people sort of coalesce into their own cliques and then those who aren't part of a group are very self-conscious. Self-conscious people do not have fun at parties, so let's eliminate this!

One good way to break apart the group dynamics is to throw everyone out of their element. You can embarrass everyone. Last year I had them eat a doughnut....that was hanging from a rope....and they couldn't use their hands.... Boy, were the pictures great for that game! This year, I'm going to have this game!

The point of the game is to figure out who you are supposed to be. Everyone gets a placard with their person/thing to hang around their neck. The sign rests on their back so that they cannot read it, but everyone else can. In order to figure out what their plaque says, they must talk with other people. Those who can read the person's plaque must speak to the person wearing it as if they were that person. If you've ever watched "Whose Line is It Anyway?" you might be a bit more familiar with the concept of this game. Here's an example though if you need it:

Person #1 [wearing plaque that says "The Headless Horseman"]: Hi!
Person #2: Oh, hey! How's it going! You're head feeling any better? Oh... sorry. Forgot...sore subject *cough cough*

What I like best about this game is this: people don't have to be themselves! When other people interact with them, they are speaking to character. Hopefully this gets rid of some of the awkward tension that may pass when you are being introduced to someone new because you'll feel more comfortable interacting with a familiar character. (Does that make sense? I hope it does.)

Once the person wearing the plaque starts figuring out what they are, they can start talking as if they were that person! When the time's up, everyone gets to make a gander at who they are. If you get it right, they get a prize! And hopefully they also made some friends. Like all icebreakers, this can backfire, but it's up to you as the host to get everyone talking and try to mix the groups up a bit.
What I did to make these placards is cut some cardboard, painted them black, and with a silver Sharpie, wrote out all the names. Then I cut some soft yarn (since these are going around people's necks, I want them to be comfortable) and hot glued them to the backs. That's it! It's a cinch.

Weeeee! This is going to be so much fun! :D More party stuff coming up in a bit!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Updated Layout

Huh?! Huh?! Awesome isn't it? Okay, maybe it's not THAT awesome, but it sure took me long enough to put together! Right now I'm working on pages so that all my blog entries can be a bit more organized. Unfortunately, it's not allowing me to do that for some odd reason, but I'm working on it nonetheless. What do you guys think of the changes? Yay or nay?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Advice for a Halloween Party on a Budget (Hopefully Under $100)

It's that time of year again, and you decide you want to plan a huge party....but your pockets only have a couple pennies in them. Well, so far, I've been doing fantastic with keeping on budget for my party. I have spent a whopping total of $18 on my party so far and have boxes of decorations already set. So here's some tips I have for party planning.

1) Plan Waaaaay Ahead:
Why plan months in advance? For several reasons. First, because the day of your party tends to sneak up on you, and if you aren't preparing well ahead of time, then you have to rush to finish everything and it's a slapdash mess. Second, because you have time to wait for things to go on sale. This is the key to having a good party. Sure, you can have a great time on a last minute fling, but this will take a lot of stress on you as the party planner.

2) Garage sale:
If you plan enough in advance, you will be able to garage sale during the summer months. Many sales I went to over this summer had Halloween items. I was also able to find items that fit in with my Alice in Wonderland theme thanks to me deciding on the theme ahead of time. Some of the items I bought were candles (shaped in card suits); books (which I reshaped into flying books); fabric; acrylic paints; black, paper lanterns (brand new); flickering lighting effects (also brand new, original price $20, got for $2). That's not mentioning the items I saw but didn't buy like fog machines and other Halloween decorations. You can save so much by buying used items at garage sales, it's worth planning ahead.

3) Secret Shopping
By contract, I can't tell you what company shops for what stores. What I can tell you is that by secret shopping, you can pick up items for a small reimbursement (about $2-5). Though it's small, these add up. Plus, you'll often get a shop fee, separate from the item reimbursement fee. You could end up making money on the deal in the end, which you can put towards something else. 
Source: Metro Site Inspections
Links to check out: Volition Forums, KSS International, Corporate Research International

These will start you off. KSS International and CRI are mystery shopping companies. They have a variety of stores all over the US. The pay for these is below average, but they are good for beginners. The forums are great for looking for new companies and getting into contact with other shoppers.

4) Make Use of the Free Crafting Sites
There are plenty of books you can find at the library and websites that offer crafts. All of these are free. Sometimes you need to sign up first, and others are just made available to you. Crafting your own items makes things much cheaper, as well as unique to your party.

Here are some of my favorite resources to consult during the planning. Yes, I know these make me sound like a stereotypical, middle-aged housewife. Or my mother. But there are some really great ideas on these sites:

Martha Stewart
Better Homes and Gardens - Don't bother buy the magazine; it's a waste of money. Everything you need and more is on their site. You'll just have to get an account

5) Papier-Mâché
I highly recommend papier-mache when making decorations. Not only is this easy, but highly adaptable. You can even make a pinata if you so wish.

My Recipe:

1/4 cup of flour
1 cup of water (divided)
Elmer's Glue

1) Start heating up 1/2 cup of water on the stove.
2) In a seperate bowl, measure 1/4 cup of flour.
3) Pour 1/2 cup of cold water into the same bowl.
4) Whisk to remove lumps.
5) Once water on stove is boiling, pour mixture into pot.
6) Stir constantly and stop as soon as mixture begins to bowl.
7) Remove from heat.
8) Add about 1 Tb of salt. (This will help keep the paste last longer before getting moldy.)
9) Allow to cool.
10) Squirt some Elmer's Glue into the mixture. The paste alone should work, but I like to use this as a back up. Just in case.
11) Strip up some old newspapers--some in strips and some in small pieces.
12) You're ready to start pasting! Make sure to store paste in refrigerator when finished. Lasts about one and a half weeks. If you want to make something that is circular, past over an inflated balloon, then pop the balloon when finished.

I will be doing a full tutorial on how to make mushrooms (for my Alice in Wonderland party!) all from trash and this paste recipe.

6) Bargain Shop - Non-Food Items
In order to really stretch your dollars, you need to play it smart. You can hit up the Halloween sales that sometimes come, or, if you've planned well ahead, you can hit some great deals.

Dollar Store - The dollar store is another great place to look for deals. Need trash bags for your party? Get 'em here. Need fake flowers for decorations? Get 'em here. Very rarely is there a time when you should not get something from the dollar store, especially if the item is something solely for this one party. Before you try going to a more expensive store, it's probably a good idea to check here first. If it's not what you're looking for or the quality is crap, then you can go to bigger and better retail stores. 

Party City - Definitely give their store and website a try. Many of their decoration items are fairly cheap. Their costumes are a little pricey, so make sure to shop their clearance. There you can find full adult costumes (men and women) for as little as $15-30 and child costumes for $5-15. Worried about the shipping? My advice: bide your time. Party City often releases a free shipping code. You can check back on their site to find this code (usually at the top), or you can join their mailing list for updates (join by filling out the form at the bottom of the page).

Hobby Lobby - this is an expensive store for a bunch of Chinese-made crap if you don't shop right. What you need to do is play it smart and never buy full price! Before you go to the store, make sure to go on their website to check what's currently on sale and see if it's anything you'll need. Next, check and see what coupon they are offering. Fairly often they have a coupon for 40% a full price item, which can take quite a bit off your total. I used my coupon for my costume fabric and saved over $10! Check out their leftover fabric in the sewing department if you need it for a craft. These are often located in bins near the back; the fabric is rolled up and has a white sticker wrapped around the center. Again, check the clearance in the back. Not all Hobby Lobbies have clearances, but if yours does, make sure to do some digging.

Goodwill/Thrift Stores - Around Halloween, Goodwills will put out all their Halloween decorations, and I can almost guarantee you'll find something. 

7) Bargain Shop - Food Items
Food is probably going to be the most expensive out of everything you're doing for your party. This is where rule #1 fails because you cannot buy food well in advance and still have it be safe and taste good. Catering saves you time, but can get really expensive and be of unknown quality.

My advice is to just do the best you can with food. Know anyone who works for a restaurant? Ask them for help if they get discounts, or you can ask some guests to bring in small, easy items like desserts, chips, or soda. By spreading out the food costs, it will not only make it easier on you price-wise, it will also be a time saver since that's one last dish you'll have to prepare.

8) Set a Budget and Stick to It
Plan a budget and keep to it. Don't be even tempted to go over. The moment you break your budget, you'll be more tempted in the future you'll be to spend again. Just don't do it! Plan, plan, plan.

I hope that helps a little! A little creativity and time will get you far and will save you money! I'm planning on making a tutorial for papier-mâché crafts, specifically how to make Alice in Wonderland mushrooms. See you in a bit!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Alice in Wonderland Party Music - Playlist

Hi, back again with yet another playlist. I had a hard time finding Alice in Wonderland songs that I thought were, well, 1) good and 2) good for a party. I ended up settling with these songs. I'm still not really happy with them, but here are the ones I plan on using for my Halloween party in addition to the Halloween playlist I also created.

You can access the playlist here: Alice in Wonderland Playlist

Highlight Songs:
  • Collide - "White Rabbit"
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Heads Will Roll"
  • Wynter Gordon - "Alice in Wonderland"
  • Natalia Kills - "Wonderland"
  • Franz Ferdinand - "Lobster Quadrille"
  • Maria Kenellis - "Alice in Wonderland"
  • Queen - "I'm Going Slightly Mad"

Some are better than others as you'll soon see. I never thought I would have such a hard time finding songs for Alice in Wonderland! It's only one of the most recognizable pieces of English literature...

Halloween Party Music: A Playlist

Since Halloween is just around the corner, I thought it would be about time to compile a list of Halloween music. Now, I really hate cheap Halloween music. What I want is something you can dance to and have a hoppin' party with, but still be on the spooky side. Basically, what you WON'T find on this list are songs like: "The Monster Mash," Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D-minor," and "One-Eyed, Purple, People-Eater," and other somewhat childish songs. This list includes some oldies, instrumentals, jazz, pop, industrial, rock, psychobilly, and...well... just a bit of everything. I encourage you to explore some of the artists you find. I left out a lot of equally good songs just for the sake of fitting everything in on this list.

You can access the complete list here on Youtube: Halloween Party Playlist

If you don't feel like going through that playlist, here's what I have. I did my best to divide them up into genres:

Gnarls Barkley
Gnarls Barkley - "Necromancer" and "The Boogie Monster"
Creature Feature - "Such Horrible Things" and "Six Foot Deep"
Skillet - "Monster"
Saving Jane - "I'm in Love with a Vampire"
Voltaire - "Zombie Prostitute" and "Brains!"
Squirrel Nut Zippers - "Hell"

Vermillion Lies - "Circus Apocalypse"
Jill Tracy - "Evil Night Together," "The Fine Art of Poisoning"

Chiasm - "Isolated"
Sohodolls - "My Vampire"

Ministry - "Everyday is Halloween"
Siouxsie & the Banshees
Switchblade Symphony - "Gutter Glitter," "Clown," and "Witches"
Siouxsie & the Banshees - "Halloween" and "Happy House"
Xandria - "Vampire"

Aesthetic Perfection - "The Ones"
Zombie Girl - "Halloween," "The Darkness," "Blood, Brains, and Rock 'n Roll"
L'Ame Immortelle - "Why Didn't I Die?"
Angelspit - "Infect"
Grendel - "One Eight Zero (Life Cried Remix)"

Amber Asylum - "Black Waltz"
Suspiria Soundtrack - Theme
The Sims Makin' Magic - "Once a Cemitery," "Loading Screen," "Foggy Shores," and "Build 7"
Silent Hill 2 - "Fear Locked Away," "Other Breath"
Silent Hill 3 - "Prayer," "Battle for Heaven"
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories - "Always on My Mind"
Zombie Girl
Pentaphobe - "The Cover of Night"
American McGee's Alice - "Duchess Battle Theme"
Jason Tai - "Dollhouses"
Death in June - "Death is a Drummer"

Matt Gross - "Evil"

Phantom of the Paradise - "Life at Last"
Repo! The Genetic Opera - "Zydrate Anatomy"
Nightmare Before Christmas - "Oogie Boogie's Song"
Rocky Horror Picture Show - "Time Warp"

"Oldies" (in quotes because they really aren't that old):
Talking Heads - "Psycho Killer"
Elvis Presley - "Devil in Disguise"
Stevie Wonder - "Superstition"

BoA - "Scream"
Katy Perry - "E.T."
Lady Gaga - "Monster," "Teeth," "Bad Romance (Zona Vigor Industrial Remix)"
Nelly Furtado - "Maneater (Bliix Remix)"
Emii - "Magic" and "Zombie Boyfriend"
Rihanna - "Disturbia"
Shakira - "She Wolf"
Natalia Kills - "Zombie"
Roisin Murphy - "Ramalama"

Horrorpops - "Walk Like a Zombie"
The Creepshow - "Zombies Ate Her Brain" and "Halloween"
Zombie Ghost Train - "R.I.P."
Rezurex - "Devil Woman from Outerspace"

Zion I & The Grouch - "Frankenstein"

Rob Zombie - "Dragula" and "Living Dead Girl"
Godsmack - "Voodoo"
Lacuna Coil - "Spellbound"
Lordi - "Would You Love a Monsterman?"

Slow Songs:
Leah Andreone - "Pretty Freak"
Jill Tracy - "Haunted by the Thought of You"

The Birthday Massacre - "Blue" and "Shallow Grave"

Collide - "The Lunatics Have Taken over the Asylum"

E Nomine - "Der Exorzist" and "Mitternacht"
Camille Jones - "The Creeps (Fedde Remix)"
Fedde le Grand feat. Mitch Crown - "Scared of Me"
Mysto & Pizzi - "Somebody's Watching Me"

Tenth Planet - "Ghosts (Vincent de Moor Remix)"

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

They've Got a Label?!?! and Other Great, Unintentially Funny, Pop Music Inspirations

We have probably all heard Rebecca Black's "Friday" song by now. Something so bad, it's good because it's hilarious, right? Well, let's do something fun. I found some songs by female artists (and some with music videos for bonuses) that are so bad, they're just hilarious....and then there are some that are just bad.

Let's get Youtube on a tab and browse away! Here are some of the worst pop songs by female artists I've heard.... yes they are trying to do this professionally. Dear god.... forgive them for they know not what they do.

5) Barbie, Christie and Teresa - Wonderland
Just because something's for kids, doesn't mean it has to be bad... Plus, just think about the parents who had to listen to this entire album on loop just to get to Florida without the kids asking, "Are we there yet?" a million times.

Crowning Moment of UGHHHHHHHH
The lyrics.... are painful. Come on! Even Disney could pull it off! Don't just phone it in!

Where We Give Her Props
They keep it G-rated? I don't know...

Listen to this instead... 
She can actually sing! How 'bout that? Plus, you can actually dance to it while keeping a PG-rating! She has a lot of pretty good songs, actually. She got her start like many talented singers: writing music for more popular artists. Hope to see more of her soon because you can hear all the effort she puts into her work.
4) Chady - Bad Girls Club
 The autotune.... THE AUTOTUNE!! It burns! The lyrics are no better, are they? Is she one of those Housewives putting out albums just because they have connections? Actually, no. Believe it or not, she's actually a "bikini fitness model" (their words, not mine). Hmmm, interesting. Might want to stick with that instead.

Crowning Moment of UGHHHHHHHH

Where she channels Kesha around 0:40. Have I mentioned the autotune?

Where We Give Her Props

As awkward as this entire ad is, she does look good for her age.

Listen to this instead...
Kimberly Cole's "Smack You"
Maybe not genius, but definitely some star quality. She's funny...sometimes in a vulgar way, but you have to love it. Don't believe me? You can hear it in her lyrics. Her song "Pocket Rocket," with lyrics like "I take it out/I pop the top/And then I twist it," is actually a song about her lipstick. She doesn't abuse the autotune (does she even use it?). In the video posted above, she gives her inspiration behind the video and tells people it's not to glorify fighting, but to tell a story. Gotta respect a woman who has values and can distinguish them from her art.

3) Jenna Rose - My Jeans
Yep. It's another Rebecca Black, folks. But could this possibly be a worse version? Yes. Yes, it very well could be worse. I don't get it...she's such a cute, little girl. How could this be as painful as it is? Luckily, it looks like Jenna is more of an actor than a singer. We can all breath a sigh of relief. And is anyone else reminded of Winifred from The Ballet Shoes? And who the hell is Kiki Palmer?!

Crowning Moment of UGHHHHHHHH
Get the point?

Where We Give Her Props
Well, she's only twelve. She's got a long way ahead of her still.

Listen to this instead...
Jackie Evancho's "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again"
No, it's not pop music. But I'm sure we understand each other perfectly anyway. And she's only seven. You may have seen her on "America's Got Talent"; she's the talented little girl with a big voice. Jackie already has an album out and she's not even in her teens yet.

2) Nicki Idol - I'm in Love with a Vampire
Yep. The song is suppose to take "a stab at sparkly Twilight vampires." Whether the bad music was supposed to make fun of a bad book--and was meant to ironic--is still unknown. I swear to god she's signed. Her bio on their website is also quite, well, arrogant. Do your friends really describe you as iconic? Do you really feel addicted to "putting on a show," and if so, what's your excuse for the above performance? And you've got to love the part on her bio where she says, "I also recorded a program for [Three Counties Radio Program] about 'computer music.' Which is obviously something I know quite a bit about." I'm lost as to whether agree with her or disagree with her on that one....

Crowning Moment of UGHHHHHHHH
 It's no better in studio. Is that keyboard out of tune as well?! How.....

 Where We Give Her Props
It takes a lot of nerve to go up alone on stage. Especially without your precious autotune. Britney doesn't even have those nerves of steel.

Listen to this instead...
Natalia Kills's "Zombie"
 She's in love with a zombie not a vampire, but close enough. Natalia is a rising star, opening for big names like Katy Perry. She's definitely got the horror pop thing going on. Her lyrics are pretty clever. Who doesn't like the line in "Zombie" that says, "Do you want me for my body?/Do you want me for my brain, brain, brain, brain"? Check some of her other stuff out.

1) Nadia Oh - Egyptian Lover, Got Your Number.... pretty much everything she does
It starts off okay, right? It's not good, but not bad. But then you get to the chorus.... and THEN... you get to the guitar solo (~1:50). Lasers? REALLY? As if that couldn't get any worse, go watch some of her other music videos. I had such a hard time picking which one was the worst. "Egyptian Lover" won because of the laser-shootin' guitar, but I was also thinking about "Got Your Number" and "N.A.D.I.A. OH." What's even sadder is that she's working with Space Cowboy on all these songs. Space Cowboy has worked with people like Lady Gaga before, so there's really no excuse to how lame all these songs are.

Crowning Moment of UGHHHHHHHH
The soulless dancing, how bored she sounds.... everything is so half-assed

Where We Give Her Props
It must be nice knowing the right people. Insta-career!

Listen to this instead...
Emii's "Magic"
  What can I say? The girl can sing. She's working her way up slowly but surely. Plus, the gay guys love her. Don't know why I'd thought to add that, but I did anyway. Unfortunately, like many starting artists, she doesn't have a lot of songs, and the songs she does have are not all studio recorded yet. Shame, some songs like "Stilettos" have a nice beat to them that you can really enjoy.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wacky Mad Hatter Hat -- Detailed, Step-by-Step Supplement w/Pictures and Alterations

This is a pattern and tutorial from Better Homes and Gardens. You can find the original here and here along with the basic patterns. You may need to create an account before you have access to their website and patterns. (It's free so don't worry.) I found that I didn't like their instructions; they were too confusing. So here is a supplement--key word: supplement--to their instructions. No copyright infringement intended; I just want to help people out with this craft.

Skill level: Moderate
Time estimation: ~1.0 - 1.5 hours

Updated supply list
I found I didn't need certain items or the ways they bound certain pieces didn't hold as well. Here is a better list detailing what's needed:
  1. Old box of lightweight cardboard. Preferably one without a lot of folds. Folds will weaken the board and leave bumps on your hat. A good example would be a large cereal box, but the ideal would be something like a poster board.
  2. Fusible interfacing Medium-weight would be best probably. I used a light-weight interfacing, though
  3. Non-fusible interfacing ~Optional~ For more advance sewers and crafters who do not want to spend extra money on the more expensive fusible.
  4. Fabric about 1/4 yard to 1/2 yard, depending on how large you plan on making your hat. Half a yard will be for quite large hats. Now would be a great time to use up those scrap pieces! I used a piece of stretch, panne velvet fabric. This allowed me to compensate for mistakes while experimenting with patterns and prevented the fabric from fraying on the edges.
  5. Pins
  6. Needle and thread Thread should match the fabric.
  7. Wire or Floral wire Thicker wire should be used if you want to really alter your hat's brim shape. Floral wire will help keep the shape of the brim but will give you only a little bit of molding power.
  8. Hot glue gun
  9. Clothes iron
  10. Sewing machine
  11. Marker 
  12. Tailor's tape 
  13. Scissors 
  14. Rotary blade ~Optional~

Updated Instructions with Pictures
I don't want to copyright infringe anything here, so these are my tips and advice on how to make this hat an alternative way. I will also give you instructions on how to alter the patterns so you can change the shape and look of your hat. Please, please, please go and sign up on Better Homes and Gardens to see how they do their project first. This will make it much easier to understand why I'm doing things this way.

1) Making the band pattern--- Make your patterns from the ones the website gives you. They say to blow up the pieces 400%. You can do this on your own, but if you are worried about the curved edges, you can easily print them out as guidelines. How neat your curves are really doesn't matter because you can always go back later and straighten them out in step 9. I drew my band pattern directly onto the cardboard with a marker to save time. You can do this, too, because no one will see the cardboard in the end product.

Altering the band pattern:
Let's say you don't like the patterns they gave you. Well, that's a really easy fix. 
Here is the basic pattern. I've labeled some areas of the pattern to show what that section will become once completed. The height is colored in purple. The crown/top is the largest curve in this picture, and the curve that will belong to the bottom of the band is the other curve. Whatever you may do to the pattern, the height (in purple) must be the same length! This pattern calls for about 7'', feel free to make it taller if you like.
A rectangle will make a perfect cylinder for your hat. This is good for top hats.

 By making almost a semi-circle, you will get a large flair with your hat. This will be very top heavy and very narrow on the bottom. This is good if you're going for a very cartoony look to your hat.

2) Cut out band pattern--- Using your newly created pattern or the pattern supplied on the Better Homes and Gardens website, cut out one band pattern from the lightweight cardboard. 

3) Altering the crown and brim patterns--- Using a flexible ruler such as a tailor's tape, do your best to measure the crown's curved line (the largest curve). How long it is will be the circumference of your crown pattern. Instead of struggling with the tape and getting sloppy lines to make the circle pattern for your crown piece, just take the number you measured and divide it by π. Take this number and add one inch. This will be the diameter of the crown.  

You do not have to have cardboard pieces for these patterns. You can use tissue paper, newspaper (iron newspaper first to avoid ink from spreading to your fabric and to straighten out crinkles. Butlers used a similar technique for their masters back in the day), or regular printing paper....whatever works. I used cardboard and butcher paper.

Do the same thing for the brim's section of the band pattern. Only in addition to the diameter you've calculated, add 2x the width you wish for your brim. For example, your diameter is 8'' and you want your brim to be 4''. You would add an additional 8'' to the 8'' diameter to compensate. 

Now you have all your pattern pieces and are set for the rest of the project!

4) Cut out crown and band fabric piece--- Using scissors or a rotary blade, cut out one piece of fabric with your crown pattern piece. Be careful not to cut yourself! Cutting out circular pieces can be tricky, especially with a rotary blade. At the same time, using your band pattern piece, cut out one piece of fabric. Add about 0.5'' around the band pattern to make room for a hem later.
5) Cut out fusible interfacing--- Using the same crown pattern piece, cut out one piece of fusible interfacing.

6) Iron fusible interfacing to fabric piece--- Iron the interfacing to the WRONG side of the fabric. Beginners, place the side of the interfacing with all the bumps closest to the fabric. 
7) Clip the edges of the circle--- Going about 0.5'' deep, snip around the circle. Clipping will eliminate bulk when we press this on our cone in step 10.
It helps to use a ruler and marker to mark the notches so you don't go too deep
8) Prepare hot glue gun--- Plug in the gun to get it warm.

9) Wrap the band into a cylinder--- Curl the cardboard around. Line up the purple, height lines as best as you can. Take the hot glue gun and run a stream of glue along the edge of one side. Press the other side to the glue. How much you overlap doesn't matter, but try to keep it under one inch on each side. 

Now's a good time to take your scissors and correct any areas where the cone isn't level. You can test this by resting both ends on a table--it should be able to stand on its own. 

10) Glue cylinder top to crown--- Lay the crown piece bottom-side up/interfacing up. Take your band. Along the side for the crown, run hot glue around the circumference. Quickly press this into the center of the crown piece.
11) Hem the band piece--- Using the hot glue gun again, hem the band piece's fabric. Leave one of the straight sides un-hemmed.
11) Glue band piece to cardboard--- Find the seam of the cardboard. Using the hot glue gun, run some glue along the length. Press the un-hemmed side to the glue. Make sure to press the wrong side against the cardboard, leaving the right side of the fabric on the outside. Also make sure to not turn the fabric upside down. Match crown with crown curves, brim with brim curves.
The glue will be hot. Use maker to press fabric to cardboard.

12) Make the brim--- Grab your pattern for the brim piece. Cut out two fabric pieces and two interfacing pieces. If you are new to interfacing, opt for the fusible again. If you feel you're a decent sewer, stick with the non-fusible to save it for other projects. If you use fusible, remember to iron interfacing to both pieces of fabric before continuing.
13) Cut an "X" into one brim piece--- Cut an "X" into one piece.
13) Sewing time!--- Press the correct sides together. Pin edges. You'll have to leave a small opening for wire later. I like to mark these with double pins so I know when to stop sewing. Sew 0.25'' away from the edge. Flip the piece inside-out. Check to make sure you sewed all edges. Correct if you can see interfacing.
14) Making casing for wire--- Turn the brim right-side out. Sew using a matching thread a casing. Sew about 3/8'' away from the edge. Complete the entire circle.
15) Wire--- Loop the end of the wire as pictured below if possible. This will keep it from catching. Feed it into the casing you just made. Cut off the end once finished. End the wire by twisting it into the beginning of the wire, or loop it again. I am using floral wire because that's all I have at the moment.
16) Slipstich close--- Using a needle and matching thread, slipstick opening closed.
17) Attach brim to rest of hat--- With a longer piece of thread, attach the brim to the rest of the hat using a slipstich. Make sure to pull the fabric on the band taught to avoid wrinkles. I found it was easiest to rest the hat upside-down in my lap as I stitched. Click the pictures below for larger shots.
19) Add decorations and you're finished!

Changes: I made several changes from the original. For starters, I swapped the glues, interfacing, and also altered the pattern slightly. I also changed the order around because when I followed their guidelines, I found some ways they could have been edited to make it simpler. Thanks again! Make sure to check out the original site at Better Homes and Gardens.

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