First of all, let me start this post by saying that there are lots of tutorials available online on how to make a fascinator...
Everything from professional millinery tutorials if you plan to make one for a wedding to the most basic craft tutorial using a plastic container lid and a bit of elastic.
I didn't use any one method but combined a number of ideas.
I wanted the hats to be wearable and more durable than a simple, crafty version using a plastic lid or heavy paper plate.
That being said, I also knew I was working with kids and couldn't afford to use real millinery ribbons and materials. So I went with a more professional sewn base and then used supplies from the craft store...
We used tulle, fabric, trim, wire, card stock, pipe cleaners, craft feathers, tinsel, christmas ornaments, drink stirrers, mardi gras beads...whatever we could find!
At first I thought I would buy the fascinator bases but they ran almost $5/piece and I couldn't afford that when needing to make 20. I looked at some pics on Etsy and decided to make my own using buckram.
Buckram is a very stiff, heavily-sized, open weave fabric that can be steamed and molded and sewn through.
I cut out 4" circles of buckram (a few 3" circles for the littlest ones) and then steamed them to give them a cupped shape that would fit nicely on the head. I thought I could use a bowl in the kitchen but that didn't work...I found I needed a round mold so I used a globe for the 4" circles...
And a big glass Christmas ornament for the 3" circles. The hair dryer was to speed the drying process since I was in a big hurry...
I did need to use a little elbow grease to mold the buckram over the globes. Once completely dry, the circles release very easily from both smooth surfaces. Letting them dry overnight would be ideal.
I sewed bias tape around the circumference to cover the raw edges. Then our little sewing circle attached hair combs to the underside of the bases and I sewed felt to the topside using my sewing machine.
Voila! Our fascinator bases were complete.
We also bought hair bands from the dollar store and hot-glued them to the underside next to the comb to give some of the hats extra stability.
We tried to use elastic head bands but they didn't work as well. And some of the simpler hats stayed in beautifully with just the comb we attached to the underside.
Everyone took their bases and had a free-for-all decorating.
Over the years, I have found that the creative process is best when they don't have a time limit (some of these guys took all day) and when they have a nice big open space to spread out (we use the big open porch area outside all the second floor condos).
I know I create best when I have very few constraints and the same goes for kids.
I don't really worry about the mess while we are in the middle of the creative storm...we clean up later.
And this is my absolute favorite part...
It gets very quiet while everyone works.
And I'm always surprised at the attention to detail. Here's one of my nieces hand-pinking the edges of the American flag for her hat...
This year, there was a great deal of problem-solving involved for some of the older kids who created more complicated and/or heavy designs. It definitely took some pre-planning and thought.
Here my niece Moe made a stiff inner circle that she attached to her fascinator base. She then was able to attach all of her embellishments to that circle. Smart.
I think they learned a lot about construction and the Dads were involved too for structural engineering advice.
All in all, we used a combination of hand sewing, wiring, and hot glueing to make the hat structures.
And I highly recommend the activity, especially middle school and high school girls. I can just see them done in school colors...or birthday fascinators for sweet 16...or Christmas fascinators for Christmas or Halloween or...whatever...you get the idea!
Well folks, that's a wrap for this year's Fourth of July.
Until next year...