August 24, 2011

How to Make a Hat-Stand for Less Than Ten Bucks

I hear tutorials are popular on blogs. But I also hear that I don't really know how to make a tutorial. So instead, I will give this a tutorial title, but just show you this cool thing I made. My readers are smart: I'm certain they can figure the specific steps for themselves without proper instructions.

As a hat-maker, I've always struggled to find a good way to display hats for craft fairs. I started out by laying the hats flat on the table. That's a great way for people to not even see what you are selling.

Then I added some of those creepy, white Styrofoam heads into the mix:

Another time, my friend and I tried a stand-up lattice idea. It was a way to show off the hats vertically, but it seemed awfully busy:

Last year, I got the idea of going the shabby-chic route and displaying them on vintage candleholders:

Again, not a bad idea, but the table seemed just a little too shabby, with not enough chic.

A couple weeks, I began thinking again of ways to display those damn hats. I wanted something simple, something bright. Like me, you might say.

I went to Michaels for the materials, though Keene suggested Home Depot would probably be cheaper. Here's what I got:

Wooden "plaques" in various shapes - $2.00-$3.00 each
Acrylic paint in various colors - $.59 each
Wooden dowels - $.99 each
Wooden discs in large and small - $2.00-$3.00 each
Wood glue (already had, but is probably around $2.50)

First things first, I drilled a hole partway through the bottom of the discs, so it didn't actually penetrate the other side. I did this while holding the power drill in one hand and the disc in the other hand. This part scared Keene. But you know, some people just don't take enough risks when it comes to power drills and hands.

When all of the half-holes were drilled, I used what Keene insists is not a hacksaw to cut the dowels into varying heights between 9" to 24" tall. Then I wood-glued the drilled holes, and hammered the dowels in with a rubber mallet:

I also used a level to make sure the discs were level, because that would have been an embarrasing tutorial if they weren't.

Then it was time to paint:

By the by, if you're going to also buy paintbrushes from Michaels, don't go for the cheap ones unless you want little hairs stuck in your paint. I ended up using a clean kitchen sponge after realizing this.

After several coats of paint, the hat-stands were finished! Hooray!


Anonymous said...

You are too dang creative! Love these!!! Especially love that little green pom pom number in the bottom pic! ;)

Kelli said...

LOL...I had to do something with all those test-pompoms I made!

Missy Lum said...

Posted this page on my blog for ideas!!! Thanks!!!

Stephanie B. said...

I am so going to try to make these, I also crochet and sell hats and was thinking of getting the foam heads, but I like your idea better. Thank you so much for sharing!

Kelli said...

I would love to see how they turn out, Stephanie!

Nathan and Aimee said...

Such a great idea! I need to make a few of these for sure. I found you on pinterest, and am excited to look around your blog :)


Kelli said...

Aimee, thanks for visiting! Good luck with your own hat stands.

Misty, thanks for the mention! :)

Valerie said...

I came across your tute thru google. I have an embarrassing number of personal hats, some I know need to be kept off their brims. I'm thinking instead of horizontal, I can stick these on the wall and put a round ball on the end rather than a disc so I can hang them. Put a picture frame hang-y thing (those scary things with the teeth) on the back and I'll be ready to go. Love the humor and the tute. Thanks and your display looks great. I used to sell jewelry at shows and levels are very important.

Kelli said...

That's a great idea, Valerie! I may have to try something like that for my own hat collection.

mariahswind said...

This is great! Thanks! Have you noticed a difference in your sales since you changed displays?

Kelli said...

Hi Mariah,

I didn't think to track it at the time and I was implementing SO many changes that it's hard to nail down which ones directly affected sales. However, I do know my photos made it onto more treasuries as a result of the cleaner-looking images (brought on by the stands).

Thanks for reading!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the idea! Simple too. I think I might even use fabric & batting, maybe thumb tacks to give it an upholstered look!

Sandy M said...

Thanks for the idea! Simple too. I think I might even use fabric & batting, maybe thumb tacks to give it an upholstered look!

NikThomps said...

I know this is an older post but I just wanted to say I think it is awesome!
I do have a question though, would it be recommended to paint before assembling (to avoid paint in the wrong spots) or paint afterwards as you did? How did you avoid getting paint on the plaque or discs for example when painting the dowels where they meet?

Thanks so much :)

Kelli said...

Hi Nik,
Thanks for the comment. Yeah, I bet it would be easier to paint before assembling. When I was building it for the first time, I didn't think about that. I just painted it free-hand, being careful to not get paint on the other pieces. Don't be like me: either tape off the other pieces with painter's tape or paint it beforehand. ;)

Also, if you're interested in other crafty projects, you can follow my new blog at

Thanks again!

Kelley Senkalski-Dzurik said...

I just made a few of these last night to use in my craft shows this fall. Instead of gluing them together, I used dowel screws and some little pronged T nuts. This way I can take them apart to make transporting them easier. I am also going to paint them with black chalkboard paint so I can write the hat sizes right on the stands (or hang a little chalkboard sign from the front of the dowel).
Thanks for the great idea :)

Charshy Nash said...

Hi, this is a great tutorial - I love hats, but struggle to find a nice way to store/display them. Perfect!

I had a question, what thickness of dowels are you using? It's difficult to eyeball and I want to make sure I choose some thick enough to support :) Thanks!

Unknown said...

I love this idea! I make and sell mini top hats at Steampunk and Anime Conventions and have been fighting with keeping them off their brims while displaying the trim and lace!