Fun with Munchkins: Tea Party Paper Bowl Hats

I love any excuse to wear a hat. Doesn’t matter if it’s a pipe cleaner tiara or an old scarf wrapped around my mangy hair; give me a legit excuse to wear a hat and I’m there. Parties are good, but parties where all people are encouraged to wear head gear are the best

 So when my friend Brendan asked if I could help with his daughter’s seventh birthday party, and it was going to be tea party themed, and the girls were all bringing their dolls, I said “I’M ON IT.”

What a perfect excuse to use up some of my craft stash and put a new twist on an old classic: paper plate hats.

If you have ever attended a bridal shower where the gift ribbons get stapled to a paper plate, you know what I got the idea for this project. Of course, when my BFF got married last year, I went all over-achiever and made her ribbons into a rose bouque, thereby missing out on all the paper plate and ribbon fun. Until now….

Materials (for each hat)

  • one paper or plastic bowl
  • two pipe cleaners
  • one headband (they sell five for $1 at my Dollar Store)
  • six strips of tissue paper, roughly 23″x10″ 
  • Fun stuff: Stickers, ribbons, feathers, etc… I suggest you route around your cupboards and empty out all the little bits from leftover projects. Hush now, you know you have some.

This makes a great party craft for a wide window of age groups, but could certainly be done on a one-on-one basis too. The flower pinching/twisting process is a pretty easy concept to grasp for kindergarten and older, although some kids, even, ahem, big kids, may appreciate a hand with a delicate touch when it comes to pulling apart the tissue paper. The best part is that every hat comes out in its own special way, and the munchkins feel special when they wear it.

Sound good to you?

Let’s get started…

Use a needle or pointy object to poke two pairs of holes on opposite sides of the bowl. Lace one pipe cleaner through each hole, leaving a loop on either side.
To prepare the base, thread a headband through the pipe cleaner loops, twisting the pipe cleaners to secure the bowl to the head band. Gosh I hope that makes sense 🙂 Note: If you are having a party, I suggest preparing all the bowl/headband bases in advance so the kids can get started with the fun part. Also Note: I like to fasten the bowl in a jaunty, off-center fashion, but many of the munchkins later moved the hat to the dead center of their head. It’s a matter of preference. Not all munchkins embrace the jaunty. Kids…

To make the flowers, layer two strips of tissue paper, roughly 23″x 10″ in size, and pinch in the middle. Use the pipe cleaners on one side of the hat to twist and secure the pinch point. Repeat on the other side of the hat.

Now for the fun part! Use the pipe cleaners to twist on just about anything; ribbons, feathers, tulle, fabric scraps, silk flowers….anything and everything you have laying around the house. Remember this is a stash busting project–a great excuse to use up all the shiny little bits you have laying around your crafty cupboards. Once complete, wrap any extra pipe cleaner around your finger to form a spring shape, and gently pull apart the layers of tissue. Some munchkins seem to struggle with the whole concept of gentle, in which case, you may want to help them out.
If you love craft foam like I do, you have a shoebox of these laying around already. If not, go get some. It’s good stuff! On this particular occasion, I told each girl they could chose ten stickers, and with the exception of one “SHE GOT MORE SPARKLIES THAN I DID” out cry, there was zero bickering over the sticker box. Everyone was far too anxious to don their new hat and get to the tea party.  
!!!!!!!! TA DAH !!!!!!!                         
PS: Anyone interested in making super unique party hats should check out this photo Kara sent me of her friend Lydia’s birthday party last month. Custom party hats at their best. Happy birthday Lydia!


  1. says

    Okay, HOW CUTE, are those pictures?

    I have never heard of paper plate hats. I am now in love with paper plate hats. You are the funnest and most rockin’ party costumer ever! I love the method for attaching the headband – super smart and secure.

    I blow a vuvusela at this post!

  2. says

    Are those the happiest looking kids in the whole world or what? Love your paper-plate hats (well ALL your hats actually); they’re just so happy, cute and colourful!

  3. says

    They look so adorable! And I love how they’re made with such whimsy and with everyday materials. Your party crafts always have that extra special personal touch!

  4. says

    How adorable! My daughter and her friends would love these! Like don’t look too difiuclt to make either. Thanks for a fab craft tip!

  5. says

    These hats are great! I want to make grown up ones the next time I have friends over.

  6. Ellicia says

    Great hats! Princess Eugenie should have come to you first then she wouldn’t have looked like she was wearing the loo with the seat up at the royal wedding.

  7. says

    HAHAHA! I love Ellicia’s comment! And I love these hats! I want to make one! I’ll be spreading the word about this fun idea.

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