60-90 min
Session 1 of 0
In Progress

The Beacon Bucket Hat

60-90 min


Ages 8+

What Will You Learn?

We will create a plastic hat that is lit up with LEDs! We will measure, cut, and stitch a shower curtain to create the hat, and insert an LED strip inside. It’s recommended that you consider two great options:

  • Create this hat as detailed.

  • Review the instructions, understand the construction, and then create your own variation!

In this project, designers will review a bucket hat made from a shower curtain, with LEDs placed inside the hat aimed inward to reflect off of the wearer’s head. It’s a great use of diffuse reflection and demonstrates a great alternative to shining LED lights directly out at viewers.

The hat can be sewn or glued together if it is made from vinyl.

This hat, the Beacon Bucket Hat, has a special story behind it and is the creation of a student participating in a MakeFashion Edu after school program. The instructions can be followed precisely, or taken simply as an example and an inspiration to create different headpieces!

Get Inspired

A student designed this hat with a purpose! Read the short story below, and consider whether you have been in that situation before, and how this hat could help! Can you think of any ways to change the hat to be even better for you?

The Beacon Bucket Hat Student Story

A big fear that I have is losing my little sister in the crowd at a night time event! But with this Beacon Bucket Hat, I no longer worry as much. I can put it on her, turn on the lights and she will glow wherever she goes. An added bonus is that it makes people smile when they see it. It is made from an old shower curtain, but you can make it from other materials or sheer fabric.

Measure and Cut

Step 1

Top piece – Trace the bowl or plate to make a 7” diameter circle, cut it out.

Step 2

Side pieces – Fold vinyl in half. From the folded side draw a perpendicular line that is 6” long. 4” above that line, draw another that is 5” 3/8” long. Draw a diagonal line to connect the two. Repeat measurements and markings. Cut out both pieces.

Step 3

Brim pieces – Fold vinyl with fold on left side. From the bottom left corner measure and mark 3 ¾” and 8” along the bottom edge. Do the same on the fold. Connect the marks by pivoting the measuring tool from the corner so that you have a curved piece. Cut along the lines. When opened up it will be a half-circle. Repeat to make the 2nd half circle.

Step 4

There should be 5 pieces cut out; 1 top circle, 2 side pieces and 2 brim pieces.


Step 1

Put the short ends of the side pieces together and sew with ⅜” seam allowance to make a circle. Do the same with the brim pieces.

Step 2

Pin top piece to the smaller diameter edge of the side piece, make sure the right sides are together so when turned the seam allowance will be facing inside. (Easier to see with fabric pictures!) It may be necessary to cut ¼” slits in the side piece to help it fit on the curves of the top. Sew at ⅜” . Turn right side out.

Step 3

Match the seams on the side piece to the seams on the brim with right sides together and pin side piece to the brim piece. Again if needed, cut tiny slits to help with curves.

Step 4

Turn everything right side out, trim brim to the desired width.

Light it up! Shown with LED strip attached using transparent tape. See photos below for an adjustable, versatile, light up hat band.

No Sew Option

It is possible to make the hat without a sewing machine if using vinyl.

Cut out pieces as directed for sewn hat.

Follow directions for sewing but use vinyl glue to attach pieces together and wait until glue is dry before going to the next step.

Step 1

It may be helpful to mark a ⅜” line around the edges of pieces as a guide for gluing.

Step 2

Put a thin bead of glue along edges of pieces and press together. Use clothespins or binder clips to hold pieces together until dry.

Step 3

Vinyl has some stretch and give, which will be needed when attaching side to top and brim to sides. Remember to cut small slits to help on curves.

Step 4

When matching seams on side and brim, glue them together first, then adjust the rest of the pieces as you glue.

Step 5

When the hat is all put together, carefully turn so seam allowances are on the inside. Re-glue or clean up any over runs according to directions on glue.

What's Next?

We would love it if this hatband is one component of your wearable story! Advocate for a cause or share your personal story with the world through fashion tech. For a ton of ideas on what to create, have a look at the amazing outfits that have already walked the MakeFashion Edu STEAM Runways, check out the YouTube playlist.

SteamHead 501c3 June 16, 2021
WE ARE A MAKERSPACE AND A MOVEMENT. Our mission is to provide access to quality, relevant education focused on integrating design, technology, and community. Because when people have access to great spaces and resources, they make great things.