How To Make a Chinese Paper Hat

You can easily make a Chinese paper hat version of the conical Chinese straw hat. This would be a fun project to use when teaching school children about Chinese culture or about traditional Chinese holidays. This would be an ideal project around Chinese New Year, for example.

The supplies you'll need are a standard size piece of paper, a bowl about the size of your head, scissors, pen or pencil, transparent tape, stapler, and a piece of elastic to use as a chin strap. Optional supplies would include any decorations you choose, such as crayons, markers, or decorations which can be glued to the hat. You can use any color or design of paper, depending on whether you want to decorate your completed Chinese paper hat.

  • First, place the paper on a flat surface, and put your bowl upside down on top of your paper.
  • Next, you'll trace around the bowl to draw a circle on the piece of paper, and cut out the circle pattern.
  • Cut a two inch wide triangle from one side of the circle, placing the point of the triangle in the center of the circle.
  • You can now discard your triangle. If you are making this project with children, be sure to supervise their use of the scissors.
  • Next, pull each edge of the cut out triangle toward each other, pulling the top of the triangle cutout into a cone shape. When your hat is symmetrical, fasten the ends together with the tape.
  • Finally, staple a piece of elastic from across the open bottom of the cone, of the proper length to make a chin strap. Your Chinese paper hat is now complete, except for the optional step of adding decorations.

Decorations are completely up to your own imagination. You could draw Chinese patterns or pictures, or you could even use pre-decorated paper to save this final step. If you are using this project in the course of teaching children, you can have each of them decorate their own hat. Just allow plenty of time for the hats to dry if you are using glue.

Although the traditional hat typically is not decorated, you can make your own Chinese paper hat as beautiful and ornate, or as simple and traditional, as you choose. Simple ideas include dragons or Chinese characters, either of which can be copied from a book. Different colors have different meanings in Chinese culture, and you can expand your lesson plans by researching and including their meanings.


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