Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How to Carve a Hat Block - Part One | Styrofoam

Have you ever seen a hat, especially a vintage hat, and thought "I wish I could make that..." but you don't have the block? Buying blocks can be very expensive and finding someone to build you one from scratch is almost impossible. If your a hobbyist, like me, you may also not really want a block that would last forever. So, one of the solutions I have learned is how to carve a block shape from styrofoam and here's where I started.

Inspiration!
I saw this hat in Hats! by Sarah Cant
An excellent book.
I took my book and piece of foam to my awesome teacher Jill Pfieffer and here's what she instructed us to do. ("Us" is my partner-in-crime Colleen who graciously posed in several of the photos to come.)

Foam Shapes

JILL!!!
















Step 1: Measure the foam to make sure you're getting the right height. You can make your shape higher and then block different lengths down the side, if you prefer. I measured my stryofoam cone into three pieces.

My cone after I cut it into three pieces.
Step 2: Draw a line around the foam where you want to cut it.

Measured and line drawn. Ready to carve!
Step 3: Place the knife on the line and roll around make a small cut along the line.


Don't pull the knife back and forth - just roll and let the cut deepen each time you pass back over your line.

Rolling

Step 4: Eventually you will crack through the stryofoam. Next you carve! This shape was easy because the cone shape all ready gave me a wider base so I just used my knife to carve a slant.

Final Product
HELPFUL TIPS
 1. Don't use a serrated knife. Use a chef's knife with a flat edge.

2. When you block always cover the foam with plastic to protect your felt or straw and preserve the block.

3. I chose white foam because it was already in a cone shape. Some green floral foams are very soft so you can chose to cover your block with buckram or another product called Rigid Wrap, which you can find at craft stores like Michael's.
Block with Rigid Wrap
Rigid Wrap

Part 2 Coming Soon - More Foam Block Ideas and Carving Tools





3 comments:

  1. I just picked up that book too! Really inspiring projects and photos.

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  2. @ Truly - I agree! I love the fact that she shows you every part of the process for building the hats she features - including the trim.

    BTW - I just saw your site yesterday. Love it!

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