For my second post in this year’s Mario Month I’m going to demonstrate an easy DIY for Toad’s hat. I know – it’s been officially confirmed by Nintendo that it’s actually Toad’s HEAD and not a hat…but most people still refer to the white and red bulb as his hat so I’ll be calling it such in this post.
This is Toad:
A costume for a Toad is pretty simple as almost any colored vest, white pants and dark shoes will get the gist across. The main feature of all Toads and Toadettes is their big, pouffy toadstool-esque hat. Whether you call it a head or a hat there’s no doubt that it’s a needed part of any Toad cosplay and here’s how you can make your own!
What you will need:
- plastic canvas (or cardboard – see note)
- yarn needle
- white yarn (so it won’t show through your white fabric)
- white fabric
- white sewing thread
- sewing needle
- sewing pins
- red felt
- glue gun OR red sewing thread
- circle to trace (like cup or bowl, etc)
NOTE: As with the rest of my Mario costumes & props this hat was needed for a stage show which meant it had to be durable enough to last for a number of rehearsals, dress rehearsals and then stage performances. As such while you can use cardboard to do these first few steps I chose to use plastic canvas for extra strength. The plastic might bend but it would be unlikely to tear or break making it more reliable for quick changes where the hat would get tossed around backstage.
The hat needs structure to support its height so I started by aligning two sheets of plastic canvas vertically and whipstitching the side edges together. I repeated this with a third sheet and then tested the fit around my own head as the wearer would be another adult. I marked the appropriate row, cut away the excess and then whipstitched the final seam to create a tube.
I measured the diameter of the tube and traced out a circle of a matching size on a fourth sheet of plastic canvas, then cut it out. I could have whipstitched around the edge here as well but didn’t want to risk mis-aligning the pieces so for an easier option I used some of the white yarn to tie the disk to the tube in one spot with a knot. I then made another knot directly opposite the first so the disk was centered. I then knotted at the halfway point of each side so the quarters were each tied in place. This ensured the circle was evenly placed on top of the tube. Then I continued, knotting in pairs on opposite sides, until the disk was fully attached.
Try on the hat at this point. The tube will sink down so the disk rests on top of the wearer’s head. For the best result the lower edge should fall just above the wearer’s eyebrows, so if your tube is too long trim the bottom edge accordingly.
For the white outer shell of the hat measure the height up one side of your tube, across the top disk, and then down the other side. Add 2 inches for a generous seam allowance (1″ on either side). This will give you the diameter of the circle you will need to cut from your fabric. I didn’t trust myself to freehand an even circle so I divided this measurement by 2 to get the radius and tied a pencil and sewing pin the radius’ length apart on a length of yarn. I pinned the pin into the center of my fabric and swung the pencil around, keeping the yarn taut, to trace out the shape.
I cut a length of white sewing thread about 1.5 times as long as the outer perimeter of my circle and then sewed a running stitch all the way around, about 1/2″ in from the edge. When I got back to the beginning of the circle I snugged up the ends doing my best to keep the gathers even all around.
I inserted the plastic canvas tube into the bonnet-like white fabric and stuffed all around the sides. Don’t forget to stuff below the tube too so the top of the hat gets its round, puffy shape.
To join the fabric to the plastic canvas tube I switched to white yarn for strength and stitched around the open edge of the tube, through the white fabric. It’s a good idea to keep checking the look of the hat as you go, adjusting the gathers or adding more stuffing if necessary.
Here’s the finished puffy tube. I could probably have added more stuffing but I’d ran out.
Toad’s hat has 5 colored spots. I found a bowl that was a good size for the appropriate scale and traced it out 5 times on some red felt. You can sew the spots in place if you like but I chose to hot glue them instead.
Voila! Your very own Toad hat/head.
The hat can be worn as-is or you can add a chin elastic if needed to secure it in place on the wearer.
It fit our Toad cast member perfectly and just like all the other props and costume parts, lasted through all rehearsals and performances without any signs of wear or damage.
Even through vigorous dance routines and quick changes between numbers!
Other Mario-themed projects you might like:
- Super Mario Bros Warp Pipe set piece
- Mario, Luigi, Wario & Waluigi Easy DIY felt hats
- Mario, Luigi, Wario & Waluigi Easy DIY costume mustaches
- Wario full costume DIY
- Super Mario Bros bricks stage runner
- Princess Peach Star Wand DIY