Hocus Pocus Halloween Witch's Hat

Hocus Pocus Halloween Witch's Hat

Posted by DecoArt on Sep 30th 2015

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays to decorate the house. I love creating my own pieces for my family to enjoy and hopefully pass down. My most recent Halloween piece began as a plain and simple 8" paper mache hat. With a little imagination, fabulous DecoArt products, and some other odds and ends, you can create your own wonderful Halloween pieces that rival anything you would buy in a store! And the best part is … YOU MADE IT!

Items Needed:

  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Clear Matte Medium (DMM20-71)
  • 8" Paper Mache Witch Hat
  • Plain Tissue Paper
  • Assorted Brushes
  • Flat Plastic Eye Balls
  • Paper Clay
  • Bristles Cut From An Old Paint Brush
  • Zipper Ribbon Or A Small Zipper (approximately 5 Inches)
  • 5 Plastic Skeleton Hands (3 Inches)
  • Twine
  • Link Chain
  • Pencil
  • Glossy Accents
  • Hot Glue Gun And Sticks
  • Sizzix Mini Cat & Raven Movers And Shapers Die Cut
  • Sizzix Crescent Moon & Stars Die Cut
  • Black Voile Or Netting, Ribbon Or Fabric


Begin with a plain 9” (this can be any size) paper mache witch hat. Draw lines on it to create a spider web that will later be made using Glossy Accents and twine. The spider web should extend about 5” down the hat. Figure out the placement of the skeleton hands equidistant around the base of the hat, leaving a space to run a hat band when the hat is complete. On the base (brim) of the hat, make a mark at 1” from the base of the hat. Do this for all 5 hands and then draw a circle to designate this area. Pull the lower section of the zipper ribbon apart (to create space for an eye ball to peer out.) Place the zipper toward the front side of the hat and draw around it so you will know where it will be place in later steps. (Don’t worry about the pencil marks. They will not show on the finished hat. They are just a pattern for the placement of some of your objects that will be glued onto the hat).

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Tear strips of inexpensive white tissue paper. Working in small sections on the hat, brush the paper mache hat with DecoArt Media Matte Medium and then start placing the tissue paper strips over the Matte Medium, crinkling it as you work. (The crinkles are important for dry brushing that will be done later.) Then brush over the tissue paper with Matte Medium to seal it in place. Continue this step until you have completely covered the brim of the hat and have worked up the hat approximately 3”. Place random pieces of the torn tissue paper where you have drawn spider webs in the upper 5” section of the hat. Now lightly brush over the rest of the paper mache hat with DecoArt Media Matte Medium to seal it.

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While the hat is drying, completely cover all 5 hands with a basecoat of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titan Buff. Gently heat set or let air dry.

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Create a wash out of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics with 90% Quinacridone Gold and 10% Carbon Black and water. Brush the wash over all of the hands, concentrating on the outer surface of the hands as the interior hands will be facing the hat. Let air dry or gently heat set. Then using a new wash created out of about 70% Carbon Black and 30% Quinacridone Gold and water, brush over the hands again, letting the dark wash creep down into the crevasses. Let air dry or gently heat set.

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DRY BRUSH Titan Buff over the hands in the high areas. This provides a really wonderful contrast between the light high areas and the dark deep areas of the hands and makes them appear more like old bones. Set aside.

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Now that the hat is dry, it is time to add the “spiderwebs”. Work in small areas at a time. Measure and cut a piece of twine that will run lengthwise (vertically) down the hat, according to the pencil marks you made in the beginning. Apply a bead of Glossy Accents down the pencil mark. Beginning at the tip of the hat, place the piece of twine on the pencil mark and press it into place running down the bead of Glossy Accents. Repeat this for the other two lengthwise pencils marks. Now to add the horizontal draping webs … Begin at the top of the hat. Cut about an 8” piece of twine or enough to easily drape and go around the top row of the web. Begin at one of the vertical lines and apply a bead of Glossy Accents from that vertical line to the next one, following your pencil lines to drape the web. Place the twine against the vertical line and press it into place on top of the Glossy Accents bead. When you reach the next vertical twine line, make another bead of Glossy Accents over the vertical twine and on to the next vertical twine line. Continue to drape the horizontal twine, according to the pencil mark. When you have reached the next vertical twine line, run another bead of Glossy Accents, following the pencil marks, back to the starting point. Press the twine in place along the pencil mark and when you reach the starting point, clip the twine and press the end in place. Repeat this for all of the horizontal rows of twine until you finish creating the spider web. **NOTE –Stop and start the twine at the same point on each row of draped webs, following the pencil marks. You do not want to run the spider web underneath where the zipper ribbon with be, so stop and start the twine on either side of your zipper placement markings. Once the entire spider web is created, run a bead of Glossy Accents on all of the twine pieces both to seal it in place and also to add a little more dimension. Also add a little Glossy Accents at the point of

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Attach the zipper ribbon in place on the hat using Glossy Accents to adhere just the top portion of the ribbon. Hold in place for about a minute to be sure it is secure.

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Redraw the lines where the hands will be glued on the brim of the hat. Lay the link chain, draping between the lines to see how much chain is needed to drape from one mark to the next. In this case, I cut a 6 ½” piece to be sure there was plenty. Cut 5 pieces of chain in 6 ½” pieces. Starting at the first two marks and using a fairly stiff paint brush, dab an ample amount of DecoArt Media Matte Medium onto the brim of the hat where you will lay the chain. (This will work as a glue to hold the chain in place). Then lay the chain on top of the Matte Medium and gently press it in place. Move on to the next section and repeat this process until all of the chain is laid. The chain ends should touch each other at the marks and then drape out from there. When the hands are glued in place, they will cover the two ends of chain on each mark. Gently heat set the Matte Medium on the chains. DO NOT HEAT IT TOO MUCH. You are not wanting to melt the Matte Medium or completely dry it; just make it a bit firmer. Then using the fairly stiff paint brush again, gently dab more Matte Medium over the top of the chain and work the Matte Medium into the links of the chain, smoothing it out in and around the chain. Use your fingers to help hold the chain in place if necessary. Repeat this for all of the drapes of chain and then set the hat aside to thoroughly dry. The Matte Medium will dry clear and seal the chain in place.

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For placement of the die cut black cats on the hat, measure ¾” up from the brim of the hat and make a mark. Mark all the way around the hat and draw a line showing the ¾” measurement. Using Glossy Accents (because of the curvature of the hat and it dries quicker), center each cat as much as possible on the cone of the hat but in the center of the draped chain on the brim. Add Glossy Accents to the back of the cat and press it in place on the cone of the hat. Hold until it is secure. Repeat this for all 5 cats. (If the spider web overlaps a cat’s tail, simply use a craft knife and cut under the twine, place it over the cat’s tail and add a bit of Glossy Accents to hold it in place). Add the various stars in place on the cone and brim of the hat using Glossy Accents. The stars on the brim of the hat are stacked and placed where the chains come together at the marks made for the hands to be glued. There should be 5 sets of stars glued at those points. Set aside to dry. 

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Bring the Paperclay eye socket to life by painting it with DecoArt Americana Fleshtone Acrylic Paint. Gently heat set to dry. Paint the white part of the eye with a DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titan Buff. Gently heat set. Dry brush around the socket with a mixture of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Burnt Umber and Yellow Oxide. Add redness to the inside corners of the eyes with a wash of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Primary Magenta, Titan Buff and water. Make a slit in the upper portion inside of the eye lid, cut the top of the plastic eye to fit and then push the eye ball in place. Working in sections, add a small bead of Glossy Accents (dries clear) to the upper eye lid and add bristles cut from an old brush to create eyelashes. When dry, gently dry brush more of the Burnt Umber and Yellow Oxide mix over where the eye lashes join the eye lid. Set to the side.

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Brush DecoArt Media Matte Medium over the entire hat, sealing all of the die cuts and spiderwebs in place. (Do not brush over the zipper ribbon that is still hanging from the hat at this point). 

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Mix DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Pyrrole Orange and Burnt Sienna to create a retro burnt orange color. Brush the orange complete over the entire hat, including the zipper ribbon. Gently heat set or set aside to dry.

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Glue the eye socket in place on the hat and then wrap the zipper ribbon around it and glue it in place using hot glue. If there are little gaps between the cone of the hat and the zipper ribbon, fill them in with Glossy Accents and let thoroughly dry. Then paint over the Glossy Accents with the retro orange paint.

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DRY BRUSH over the entire hat with DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Carbon Black and a fairly stiff brush. This take a little time to do but the results are well worth it! **Optional – make a wash of Carbon Black and water and using an old toothbrush, flick random splatters onto the hat.

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Brush all of the spider webs (twine) with a small amount of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titan Buff using a smaller fairly stiff brush. This really makes the webs pop!

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Brush over the cats with DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Carbon Black. Brush over the stars and chain using DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Gold. Use a fairly small still brush.

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Hot glue the hands to the brim, adding hot glue to the base of the hands and pressing them in place until they are secure on top of the chain.

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Carefully run the black netting or voile around the hat, underneath the hot glued hands to create a hat band. Tie a knot to one side. I also attached some little black vintage lacy embellishments to the front of base of my hands.

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Enjoy your new completely handmade Halloween piece!

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