By Heather Sorrell

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner! This is the holiday where everyone gets to be Irish! I have a great art project that my kids love that combines recycling, dress up & getting messy. Leprechaun hats are fun and silly! If you are extremely crafty, you can make a hat form yourself. Some craft stores may have pre-made hat forms for purchase, as well.

To make this project a bit “greener”, you can choose to visit your local large department store. You will need one that sells all those fancy, Sunday-go-to-meeting hats. (We found ours at the local Belk’s store.) Those hats are shipped with a clear, flexible plastic hat form to protect them and retain their shape. Most stores just throw them away, so chances are they will give one to you…

To turn the clear plastic into a leprechaun hat, you will need:
~ green tissue paper (or blue and yellow for older, more accomplished artists)
~ watered-down Elmer’s glue
~ a small paintbrush
~ a hot glue gun
~ green construction paper
~ gold glitter glue
~ black ribbon (about 20-24 inches long, should be enough)

Protect your work area with waxed paper or a dropcloth, as the glue may soak through newspapers. To prep the materials, have your child help you shred, rip, tear and generally destroy the tissue paper! Small pieces work best, between quarter- to dime-sized. If the pieces are too big, or too small, the overall effect won’t be as nice. Older kids may prefer to layer blue and yellow tissues to create green. I like to use several different shades and varieties of green tissue scraps.

Starting at the crown, or top of the hat form, place the first piece of tissue and use the paintbrush to completely cover it with the watered-down glue. Place the next piece so that some part overlaps the first piece and repeat. Warning: this part is messy! Continue placing pieces and gluing until the entire outside of the hat form is covered. Help younger children find “empty” spots. Don’t wrap tissue pieces around the edge of the brim, yet. Allow to sit until dried.

Flip the dry hat over (onto its crown) and continue tissue paper and glue around the edges and cover the brim. The inside of the hat can also be covered, if desired.

This next part is for the adult. When the hat is completely dry, position the black ribbon around the base of the hat crown and hot glue in place. Remember to move quickly and not put too much glue in one spot or you might melt the plastic under the tissue paper. Have your child draw (or trace) a large, 4-5 inch Shamrock on green construction paper and cut out.

Write your child’s first name or nickname or “Irish” name in gold glitter glue on the Shamrock. When the glitter glue is dry, attach the Shamrock to the side of the hat over or near the spot on the side where the ribbons cross. We usually attach the Shamrock with hot glue so they don’t pop off.

Now your little leprechauns are ready for the ‘Wearin’ O’ the Green!’