Ultimate Guide to Party Hats

When you see people blowing party horns and wearing pointy hats, you know it’s time for a party. Party hats are a festive and fun addition to any celebration or party. Adding party hats to a New Year’s Eve bash, a birthday party, or another special celebration can add a fun, playful element to the festivities.

This ultimate guide to party hats will teach you about the origins, types, and applications of these party accessories. Oh, and we’ll teach you how to make them yourself!

What Do You Call Party Hats?

Any party-themed, festive headwear, such as top hats or cones, novelty hats, or other playful and fun accessories, is commonly referred to as a party hat. Wearing them to a birthday party, a New Year’s Eve party, or any other special occasion is a terrific way to add energy and extra fun to your celebrations. A party hat is a colorful and pointed, fully adorned cardboard hat commonly worn over somebody’s head at birthday parties, measuring 6.25′′ x 4. 5′′.

The History of Party Hats

From the 19th century to the early 20th century, misbehaving or underperforming schoolchildren wore the dunce cap or sanbenito, with its festive design and society’s positive mindset toward the wearer suggesting a relaxation, if not a blatant reversal, of specific social norms. According to one explanation, superstitious ancient partygoers believed that loud noises scared evil spirits away. To put it another way, if you whistled, blew horns, or banged on pots and pans, you might be able to keep the birthday girl or boy safe for the next year.

Styles of Party Hats

Party hats come in various styles, including novelty top hats, traditional party cones, and more. Bright colors, fun patterns, prints, and embellishments like glitter, ribbons, flowers, and more are some party hat options. Whatever style you pick, the party hat is sure to impress at your next gathering!

Uses of Party Hats

a close-up shot of party hats

Party hats are frequently seen at New Year’s Eve celebrations, birthday parties, and other special occasions. They are also popular as photo booth props for different types of parties or as a piece of a Halloween costume. Party hats are a great option for adding some extra fun to your outfit or simply taking some festive photos!

Make Your Own Party Hat

Everyone enjoys wearing a fun party hat to a birthday party, but purchasing party hats can be costly and tedious. Why not create your own this year? You can make your party hat out of paper, glitter, glue, and other materials.

Preparing the Paper

Collect some brightly colored paper. Choose whatever color you want for the main color of the party hat.

You can use leftover construction paper or purchase some tagboard paper. Tagboard is thinner than the poster board and closer in thickness to a traditional party hat. Buy some textured or patterned paper if you want to get creative.

Make a circle out of your paper. The circle must be around ten inches in diameter for an adult’s hat and about nine inches for a child’s hat. Before cutting, draw a perfect circle onto the paper with a pencil and a paper plate.

Cut a smaller or larger circle into the paper to make your hat shorter or taller. To make a tall, large hat, cut a circle 12 inches or bigger in diameter. Cut a circle around six inches in diameter to make a smaller hat (for a doll or pet).

When cutting your circle, keep as close to the drawn line as possible to avoid jagged edges.

Make a small triangular strip from one of the circle’s sides. The bottom of the cutout must be wider and taper into the middle of the circle.

Fold your circle in half from top to bottom, crease it lightly, and unfold it to find the center. Then, fold your circle in half evenly from left to right, crease it lightly, and unfold it once more. The center of your circle should now have a small point in the middle.

Making the Hat

three little girls wearing party hats sitting on the floor

Fold one edge of the cutout above the other to form a cone shape. A seam should be formed by one side of the paper overlapping the other. You can make the cone as narrow or wide as you want, but it must be large enough to fit over your head.

The tighter you squeeze the cone; the thinner and taller your hat will appear.

Tape, glue, or staple the paper along the seam to form the base of your party hat. Use a liquid glue or glue stick if you want a clean seam. Hold the two parts together for one minute or two to allow the glue to adhere.

Tape or staples are more visible but take less time. Tape the seam with colorful washi tape to add a little flair.

With a hole punch, make two small circles on opposite sides of the hat. Because you’ll be tying a string to these holes, make them in the bottom of the hat along either side.

Place the hat on your head as if you’re going to wear it when you’re done to figure out where to poke the holes. Make dots with a pencil in front of your ears, and then make a hole in every dot.

Use paper reinforcement rings to reinforce the holes. These are available in various colors at any office supply store. You can reinforce the holes by layering clear tape on top of them and re-punching them through.

Decorating the Hat

three children wearing party hats in front of a table with a cake and other desserts on top

Tie the chin strap around your neck. Cut one foot of elastic or string and tie each end in a small knot to the hole punches. The strap should go under the chin to keep the hat in place.

Finish the bottom of your hat with a border. To add a decorative border to the base of your hat, use lace, colorful paper, ribbon, or any other material. Attach the border to your hat using glue, tape, or staples. The border will conceal the two chin strap holes, holding the string in place and concealing the small knots.

With a small paintbrush, apply some clear glue to your hat. This will let you add glitter to your hat. Sweep the glue all over the hat, or paint a few small strips here and there.

If you want to make less of a mess, you can use a glue stick.

While your glue is still tacky, sprinkle on the glitter and let it dry for two to three minutes. You can use any glitter you want. Tap off any excess glitter, so it doesn’t fall around the place when you wear your hat.

Add any details or embellishments you like to your party hat. If desired, glue on some tassels or add a ball of yarn to the top. Creating your party hat is fun because you can decorate it however you want, so get creative!

Aside from party hats, party games can make a celebration more fun and entertaining. If you need ideas, you may read our Guide to Picking Fun Games for Birthday Parties.