When I was in high school, one of my best friends and I decided that, for Christmas, the ubiquitous Santa Hat was just too boring. We got miniature Christmas trees from the craft store, decorated them to the nines, and attached them to headbands to wear on our heads all day long during school. The kids sitting behind us in class may have not gotten a full day of learning, but we had a blast, and we were lucky to go to a high school where the teachers let us get away with A LOT.
Anyway, I was thinking back to those times and needed to “dress up” for a Christmas SUP Paddle. I told my friend that I was going to resurrect the head tree- I needed to make it suitable for Florida, and for our coastal location.
Thus was born the Christmas Palm Tree Hat.
Here’s how I put it together.
First, I used felt to construct the tree- you never know when the SUP may decide to part ways with your feet, so I figured this would be the safest material if it got wet. Plus, the felt’s made from recycled soda bottles, so that’s always good.
I hand sketched out what I thought would look like a palm frond and cut it out on a scrap of paper. I used this pattern to make 4 pairs of fronds, each pair made of one dark green and one light green piece:
|Felt fronds cut out|
Next, using green embroidery floss, I blanket stitched around the outside of one pair to join them together.
|Sewing the pairs together..not a green bean.|
From here, before I completed sewing all the way around, I stuffed each pair with poly stuffing to give each frond some dimension:
|Filling out the frond|
Next, after finishing all four fronds, I needed a trunk for the tree. I used a scrap piece of paper to cut out one elongated trapezoid as a pattern, and used this as a pattern for the felt:
|Trunk pattern and felt cut out|
I folded the trunk in half and proceeded to blanket stitch closed the top and down the side with brown embriodery floss. To ensure the trunk would have some “backbone” I got my spool of 20 gauge wire.
|Trunk sewn up|
To make the backbone, I used 5 long lengths of the 20 gauge wire, and wrapped a piece of the wire around the five piece bundle to strengthen it. I inserted the wire into the trunk on the folded side, and held it there while a stuffed the trunk with poly stuffing.
|Wire in the trunk, cut a bit long to make it easier to hold while stuffing-
it will be cut flush with the bottom of the trunk when stuffed completely
Next, I needed to sew the fronds together into a group. I sewed them together at the center, but towards the top of the center, so I could slip the trunk in underneath and sew this secure to the fronds on the bottom.
|Fronds sewn together, spaced out equally|
Before sewing the fronds to the trunk, however, I wanted to make a bottom for the trunk, so I cut an oval piece of brown felt approximately the size of the rounded opening on the bottom of trunk created by stuffing it.
|Bottom (base) of the trunk|
This was blanket stitched into place just like all other pieces. I then stitched down the fronds to the top of the trunk, wrapping the thread underneath and whipstitching the fronds in place to ensure that the fronds would not move off of the trunk. Here’s the result:
|Happy little tree|
Since it’s Christmas, I wanted to put lights on the tree, much like how my favorite Corona commercial shows every year. Yes, I wish I had done ACTUAL lights, but I didn’t have a lot of time. Instead, I took scraps of my brightly colored felt and cut out little pseudo light bulbs:
|Light bulbs, NOT mittens!|
I took a piece of red embroidery floss, and strung a bulb on, knotted it in place, moved down an inch, and strung another bulb on, and so forth until a I had a light strand:
|Felt light strand|
From here, it was just a matter of winding the strand around the tree and securing the tree down to the hat to wish to use. Ideally, a baseball cap is best, but I already had my beach bucket hat I use, so I stitched it down to that. I can easily remove the tree from the hat so I don’t have to celebrate in my hat year round…
|Tree attached to hat|
|Hat on my head, in action!|
Remember, the tree will require you to keep your head upright, so it’s a good festive decor to give the DD in your group. Then you get hammered and tell your friend in slurred speech:
“Dude, did you know there’s a TREE growing out of your head, man??”