How to Make a Recycled Hat

by Lynn Holmgren ; Updated September 28, 2017

Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media

Boxes, bottles, cans, tarps: with a little ingenuity you can make a hat out of many things. Whether your goal is to be shaded from the sun, keep your head warm or just fashion, making a recycled hat is good for you and the earth. Recycled materials can offer all the design and little of the work. In this example below, an old sweater has a second life as a nifty knit cap.

Use an old sweater of your own or browse a thrift store's selection for designs and patterns that you like.

Run the sweater through a wash and dry cycle so it can become "felted," making it stretchy and less likely to unravel.

Take head measurements of the person the hat is intended for. Measure the circumference at the widest point (just above the ears) and the height (from the top of the head to where you want the hat to end).

Divide the circumference by 5, then add 1 inch (seam allowance) to determine how wide each of the 5 panels should be. Also add 1 inch to the length. (See Reference 1.)

Make a pattern on card stock. Mark the dimensions and cut out the pattern in a beehive shape.

Sew the seams of each of the panels together on the inside. Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance and stop about 1/2 inch from the top of the hat.

Trim any bulky seams at the top and then top stitch the seam allowances flat down.

Hem the bottom edge of the hat and it is ready for wearing.


  • Take panels from different sweaters and alternate them for a fun design. Add a pom-pom made of felted strips cut from your extra sweater material.

Photo Credits

  • Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media

About the Author

Lynn Holmgren is a freelance writer based in York, Penn. She has published articles about writing, international exchange, travel and outdoor recreation in ShowcasePA! magazine and Homgren also enjoys writing and reviewing short stories on her blog Long Story Short.