Khepri Designs: Mini Top Hats

I’m making mini top hats. How much fun is that? (In case you want an answer–soooo much!) I am using a tutorial video called DIY Mini Top Hat from the user Threadbanger on YouTube ( that is fantastic–head on over there and watch the entire video before you start your own. It makes it much easier. Trust me!
That being said, one of the reasons I am keeping this blog is so I have an easily accessible place that I store my crafts–a place for me to look back when I want to redo a project and I know exactly what I did the first time around. I have this problem that I try to recreate something I did a long time ago and can’t remember how I did it. (Does that happen to any of you?) And while the video is fantastic, I need my instructions in text that I can quickly scroll through. So here is my text version of what I did, which is essentially Threadbanger’s tutorial:

20130107-173625.jpg1. Cut a 3″ by 12″ piece of card stock. I cut up thick scrapbook paper. Roll this into a cylinder, and tape the end. Scotch tape works fine.

20130107-173755.jpg2. Cut a circular piece of cardboard slightly larger than your cylinder. Threadbanger used an old card box (the kind notecards come in), but I am making a bunch of these, and don’t have enough of that type of board. Cardboard is fine for me–it’s just not as strong on the top, but seems ok.

20130107-173930.jpg3. Hot glue the cylinder to the circle.

20130107-174000.jpg4. Add another round of glue around the join to really attach it.

20130107-174228.jpg5. Start gluing on the fabric–a bit at a time, hot glue the edge of the circle and roll it on the backside of the fabric. Let the circle follow its natural curve–because the top of the hat is bigger, the hat will curve on the fabric. It’s probably not a good idea to use a fabric with a straight line pattern because it won’t stay straight. Finish where you started, with a small amount of overlap. I like to leave the overlap unglued at this point, because it makes it easier to straighten out the fabric when tightening the bottom.

20130107-174557.jpg6. Trim up the fabric. Cut the top close to the edge, and leave a few inches on the bottom (where the hole is) and cut some slits to allow the fabric to be taken to the inside. Trim the fabric so there is a small amount of overlap where it covers the hat (cylinder piece).

20130107-175029.jpg7. Starting from the piece that will be on the bottom of the overlap, pull the fabric taut and hot glue to the inside of the bottom. Work your way around the bottom, pulling taut as you go, until it is all glued. (This is when I glue the top overlap as well.) I then fray check the seam, running a line of it down the overlapping seam. It helps to glue the piece together as well.

20130107-175302.jpg8. Hot glue a piece of fabric to the top, just gluing around the edge. Then trim the fabric.

20130107-175446.jpg9. Using a piece of thick wire (I used 20 gauge, which I think is a little too thin), form a circle. Tape the ends together–masking tape works fine.

20130107-175541.jpg10. Lay the circle of wire on a piece of fabric, and hot glue it together while folding the fabric over the wire. Work in pieces, so this becomes relatively smooth. Trim the excess fabric.

20130107-175726.jpg11. Glue the circle onto another piece of fabric, and trim around the edge.

20130107-180007.jpg12. Now for covering all those cut edges–using a piece of bias tape (I used a folded piece of fabric which seems too big in retrospect. However, I wanted the trim to be a contrasting pattern, and this is what I had.) use tacky glue to adhere the tape around the top edge of the hat, and around the brim circle. I also used fray check on the cut ends of the strip. Smooth this all down.

20130107-180223.jpg13. Apply hot glue around the bottom of the hat piece, and attach it to the brim.

20130107-180405.jpg14. Run a line of tacky glue around the join to be extra secure. Also attach trim around the join with this glue, then let it dry.
15. Add a hair clip to the underside, and you are ready to wear your masterpiece! Threadbanger shows a way to use a ribbon to tie your hat on your head, which I plan on doing with some of my hats. I will let you know how they turn out!
PS sorry about the pictures–I’m usually better, I swear, but I was trying to shoot pictures with my phone while holding a glue gun. It doesn’t work that well!

Kalliope Kids: Three Letter Flip Book

20130107-152546.jpgToday was the kidlets’ first day back to school after Christmas break, so I decided to continue with the learning and make Bug a new learning tool. It is a three-letter flip book–consonant, vowel, consonant, so she can work on her reading skills (she needs work!) I found a printable at, which was fantastic since I didn’t really want to figure it all out myself!

20130107-153132.jpgI printed off the letters from the site, cut them out and laminated them (I love my laminating machine!). I then wanted to create a cover for the book, to help protect the letters (ideally, Meeska will be able to use it too).

20130107-153309.jpgFor the cover, I used a piece of cardboard–we have so many extra boxes around here, I seem to use it in a lot of projects! I covered the cardboard with scraps of alphabet/school themed-fabric I had around from Meeska’s finger puppet book. I just hot-glued it on, tucking the edges under so it wouldn’t have frayed edges.

I then just punched holes in the top edges of everything, and bound it with metal rings. I did put the letters together a bit differently from the website, but added in their word list for reference. And now Bug can make her own three letter words, and practice reading them too!

Khepri Designs: Refinishing and Repurposing Furniture

20130101-192206.jpgHappy New Year! It’s the start of 2013, and, though I try not to make resolutions since I can’t ever seem to keep them, I do have one this year. It is to finish at least one project a week. (A few years ago I may have said one a day, but I am at least getting more realistic in my old age!). And I at least started the year off right and managed to get this project done!

20130101-192558.jpgThis chest has been in my house for as long as I can remember. I think it was in my family room when I was a kid (maybe?), and more recently it has served as a junk table by our front door. It has moved to multiple houses, and has gotten kind of banged up in the process. At some point, someone left food on the top of it, so there were some nice dog nail scratches on it as well. What can I say, but I have a food mongrel.

20130101-193016.jpgI spent the day refinishing this beast–three grits of sandpaper and my handy finishing sander (I do love power tools!) and I had the dark varnish off and most of the nicks sanded away. (In case you were wondering, I used 60 grit, 100 grit, and 150 grit, in that order.) I didn’t worry too much about the interior edges, and I left a bit around the harder corners, since I was re-staining it dark again anyway–just enough to get the stain into it and remove the nicks. Then I used a single coat of stain–Varathane wood stain in Kona. Wipe it on with a rag, wipe the excess off. How easy is that? And it left a great, no streaky coat of stain.

20130101-193636.jpgI then top-coated it with a layer of Minwax Polycrylic finish (I like water-based finishes for things I am using paint brushes for–it makes for easy clean up).

20130101-193948.jpgI then added a set of new knobs, and voila! A new (old) desk for me, and the unit can move to a new room in my house!