You probably know I make hats, right? That's no big secret. (though if you're a new reader and saying, what the h e double hockey sticks is this gal talking about, hop over to the Pretty Good Things shop, pretty please! :)
But did you know I also make the hat blocks on which they are formed?
A hat block or hat form is traditionally carved of wood and it is used to form the shape of a hat. Though, truth be told, you can use non traditional objects too. Each block can be used multiple times.
I wanted to take you behind the scenes on my process of making a hat block using the technique first introduced to me by Lee Duncan of Hatstruck. She so generously shared her post on how to carve your own hat block - without wood or specialty tools! It was a dream come true for this here lady because it really helped the evolution of my hat making :) Thank you so much, Lee!
The process takes a two or three hours total? (I'm notoriously bad at keeping my time - when you're having fun ... who cares?!) -but in that calculation there's a lot of waiting time while the wood filler and acrylic gloss dries.
I've used discs of foam, spray adhered together and cut, which works find but I've found for smaller fascinator/hat bases you can get away with using a styrofoam head like the one pictured. It has a curve already given to you which cuts down some of the carving time and it's easy to make minor adjustments to the given head curve. Additionally, you can usually use the remaining for another smaller block!
Basically the formula is this:
- sketch a plan.
- draw it out on the styrofoam.
- start hacking away with the big knife.
- carve using a small for more control
- use the edge of the steak knife like a rasp to shave parts - use care here because styrofoam sometimes comes off in larger chunks than you'd like - not a big deal, but can be a pain to fill in with wood filler)
- consistently rotate the piece to check for irregularities in all angles of the shape.
- repeat carving as necessary until piece ready for wood filler.
- vaccum the styrofoam mess on the carpet! (It is so messy!)
- apply a coat of wood filler using a pallet knife or putty knife keeping is as even as you can. (It's best to coat all the Styrofoam because the spray sealant will eat away any exposed foam but you can get away with my short-cut method...I was just low on wood filler :)
- let dry and sand
- apply a second coat of wood filler
- let dry and sand
- apply a third coat of wood filler
- let dry, sand. When you don't see any styrofoam peeking through the wood filler move on.
- use a fine grain sand paper to make it extra smooth.
- spray with a few coats of acrylic sealant and let dry completely.
- now you can block a (pardon my french) mother-effing radical new hat!
My husband, Nick, says whenever he sees these hat blocks he wants to take a bite of them ... thinks they look like butterscotch candies!
I hope you enjoyed seeing the process.
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