• 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.

    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


    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.


    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
     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