Doable Details: DIY Waterproof Party Hats

Henry rocking a waterproof party hat

Sometimes I really wonder about myself because my brain is a very weird place. I have no idea how it conjured up the idea for waterproof party hats, but once it did, I was in the grip of a DIY fury. The occasion that prompted this craft was an indoor pool party to celebrate my friend Amanda’s birthday. Of course, my brain didn’t decide I needed to make these until a few days prior to said pool party. Below is a recap of a conversation I had with the husband when I revealed the ‘plan’ for the hats.

Me: I don’t suppose you’d like to go to Lowe’s with me right now?

The husband: What do you need at Lowe’s on a Tuesday night?

Me: I’m going to make waterproof party hats for Amanda’s indoor pool party so I need flexible plastic sheeting of some kind. I don’t really know what will work yet, but I’ll know it when I see it.

The husband: Are you saying that you’re going to wander up and down the aisles at Lowe’s until you find something that will work?

Me: Pretty much, yeah.

The husband: Ok, I’m in.

You can see why I love him. Also note that he did not at anytime question and or ridicule the idea of waterproof party hats. He has developed a very high threshold of tolerance for my ludicrous ideas over the years. I think it was the suggestion that we rent a lion for our 30th birthday party that really broke him.

ANYWAY, back to the party hats. The mystery flexible plastic sheeting turned out to be heavy duty plastic shelf liner. Flexible, easy to cut, impervious to water, and a cute dotted pattern, score! I may or may not have done a little dance in the aisle at Lowe’s.

Waterproof party hats

After figuring out what kind of plastic would work, these hats came together really fast. Below is a list of materials needed to make your own. On a scale of 1 to 10 in craft difficulty, I would put these hats at about a 7, mostly because making the pom poms is kind of fussy. Feel free to leave them off, though, if you don’t feel quite up to the extra effort!

1 roll heavy duty plastic shelf liner

template for a party hat (I rolled a piece of paper into a cone shape and then cut it into a hat shape. I would recommend using this one instead of my technique)

Sharpie

Sharp scissors

staples and stapler

Craft knife

elastic, each hat will need about a 10″ piece

1 plastic grocery or shopping bag per hat for the pom pom on top

Waterproof party hats

Trace the template onto the plastic shelf liner using the Sharpie. Cut out the template. Roll into a hat shape and staple to hold shape. Use the craft knife to cut a small slit on opposite sides of the hat to hold the elastic about 1/2″ from the bottom of the hat. Slide the end of the elastic into the slits and tie in a knot to secure.

Cut the handles and bottom off each plastic shopping bag. This should leave you a tube of plastic. Starting at one open end of the tube, cut a notch about 1/2″ deep  into the plastic. With the scissors parallel to the open side of the tube,  cut a long continuous 1/2″ wide strip in a spiral manner down the plastic tube. This is a hard thing to explain without being able to show you, check out these instructions, too, for more info. Repeat for each bag.

Once you have your plastic ‘yarn,’ make a pom pom by wrapping the yarn from one bag around four fingers and then tying off in the middle. Cut the ends and fluff out the pom pom (There’s a good visual tutorial for the technique at Craft Stylish). Repeat until you have an equal number of pom poms and hats. Staple a pom pom to each hat. Put on finished hat and parade around kitchen while husband rolls eyes and dog barks maniacally (optional).

Just for proof that these actually ARE waterproof, here’s a picture of the husband and I in a heated battle of Don’t Let the Beach Ball Touch the Water wearing the hats.
Waterproof party hats in action

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