There are few more dramatic pieces of art for your wall than the bold, brilliant traditional feather headdresses from Cameroon. Unfortunately, the price for these intricately woven, handmade pieces can be quite high, which is why I’m thrilled to share this “faux” feather hat DIY from graphic designer and blogger Rosa Pearson. She’s not only captured the vivid color of the original pieces but also some of the incredible texture of the feathers. Her version is a bit smaller than the giant Cameroonian hats, which can be as large as 31″ in diameter, but it’s still a wonderfully eye-catching addition to your wall decor, and for a mere fraction of the cost. Thanks for sharing, Rosa! — Kate
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When I first saw an African Juju hat on TV, I was a hooked. I wondered where these fabulous things had come from, and I was determined to find out. I was drawn to their eye-catching beauty, but not their high-end price tag. I searched online for a DIY or tutorial, and when I came up empty-handed, it seemed like the perfect time to tackle a DIY project on my blog! I love the bold pop of color that the hat brings to the room and how the wool mimics the texture of the feathers that are used in the traditional headdresses. For people that aren’t DIY-inclined, I made some for my Etsy shop, too. — Rosa
- thick wool yarn (approx. 1/2 ball for a small hat, 1+ for a large hat)
- scissors or X-Acto knife
- poster board or thick card stock
- double-sided tape
- popsicle sticks or chopsticks
1. Trace and cut a circle out of the poster board. Then cut out a 1/2″ to 1″ hole in the center of that circle, depending on whether you’re doing a large or small hat. Next, cut from the outside edge of the circle to the inner circle, as shown. I used a dinner plate as a template for tracing my circle, with a 10.75″ diameter and 1″ center hole.
2. Cut the yarn approx. 1″ longer than the diameter of your circle backer.
3. To figure out how much yarn you need to cut for the first layer, just hold it on top of the circle, spread it out like a fan and see if there are any hollow areas. If so, cut some more until you like the fullness.
4. Once you’ve established that you have enough yarn to fill your circle, use a piece of yarn to tie the bundle in the middle.
5. Divide the sides of the first bundle in half so that it’s the shape of an X. Cut a second bundle of yarn into shorter lengths than the first (mine were 4″ shorter) and tie. Place bundle vertically onto the X and tie around the sides of the X shape. Repeat with a third, even shorter layer, if desired. (I did.) Just make sure that you tie on the third layer horizontally this time. You don’t want all the ties in the same place, or it will naturally want to separate in that area.
6. Turn yarn upside down so that the knots are facing up. Overlap the edges of the poster board to the desired cone shape. Staple in place. Pull the ends of the ties through the hole, and tie a knot with the ends to create a loop for hanging.
7. If your hole ends up being a bit too big and the knots themselves don’t hold the yarn in place, then tug on the yarn ends and stick some popsicle sticks under the main knot to secure in place. They will also help stabilize the hat so that it sits flatter when hanging on the wall.
8. Stick the double-sided tape onto the back, peel off the red layer and press the yarn down into the desired position.
THE END! My favorite part of this project is that Juju hats cost around $600, but this wool one cost around $10!