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Easy Devo Hat (Energy Dome) DIY

I’ve been sitting on this post for a while but seeing as today is Devo Day I think it’s the perfect time to finally share this really easy DIY on how you can make one of their signature hats.

This is Devo:

Many years ago The Becket Players used the song “Whip It” in one of our shows, and the director at the time had asked if I could make hats for the band and performers. I said “Sure!” because I can make anything. I had no idea how I would make them but I figured it couldn’t be THAT hard, and worst case I could find an online tutorial.

Well. Turns out that in 2015 there were no online tutorials. I believe I’d found one for vacu-forming my own which was not an option. I tested out SO MANY ideas, from cardboard to foam inserts. I tried stacking foam disks and wreath rings… I bought a huge sheet of pink insulation foam to try cutting and carving the shape… nothing was working out. Whatever option I found had to be inexpensive to make, had to be sturdy enough to last through numerous performances, tech week and rehearsals including being tossed around after quick changes, and finally it had to be feasible for me to make TEN of them in a short timespan.

In the end I came up with a method that is both cheap AND easy, durable, and will work great for any occasion where you want to dress up like the Akron rockers.

The only materials you will need to buy are sheets of red Bristol Board and clear packing tape. That’s it! I bought both supplies at my local Dollarama making this VERY cost-effective for the non-profit. You will also need a pencil, a ruler, a pair of scissors, a craft blade, and either a compass or 4 round household items to trace for your circles.

While doing my initial research I’d found someone’s old post providing measurements they’d taken from a vacu-formed Energy Dome they’d caught at a Devo concert. According to that post the actual hat has a 9 3/8″ diameter base that tapers to 8 5/8″, the 3rd ring starts at 7 1/2″ and tapers to 7″, the 2nd ring is 5 5/8″ and tapers to 5 1/4″, and the top ring is 3 3/4″ at the base and tapers up to 3 1/2″. The lower two rings were each 1 3/4″ tall, the 2nd ring is 1 1/4″ tall and the top ring was only 3/4″ tall.

I didn’t want to go to the trouble of making tapered rings as no one would be noticing that closely from the audience.

I found 4 round household objects that fell within similar dimensions as the original hat. My plastic lid was 4″ in diameter, the coaster was 5 1/2″ across, the cheese plate was 7 1/2″ across and the top of my bowl (I traced it top-down) was 9″ in diameter.

NOTE: I’m apologizing in advance for the quality of the images in this post. At the time all I’d had was an old iPhone and didn’t realize the glare off the sheet of laminate I was using as a table-protector was creating a massive glare that blew out all of the photos. I did my best to edit them and make them usable.

Trace out your largest circle as many times as per the number of hats you need. I needed 10 but as this was for a theatrical production I made 11 so we’d have one extra in case of emergency. I was able to fit 5 hats per sheet of Bristol board.

Evenly center your other circles within the first one and trace them all out so you end up with 4 concentric rings.

This next step is optional but if you skip it then for best results you will need to do all of your assembly from the inside of the hat, which can get unwieldly.

To be able to work from both sides, as well as to protect the hat from water and tearing, evenly cover your Bristol board with packing tape. It’s difficult to see in this image but for the ring in the center of the board I only taped across the ring itself and didn’t waste tape covering the two sides that wouldn’t be used. If you want your hat fully water-resistant then you can cover the reverse side as well.

Cut out each of your disks of rings.

Next I marked out strips of Bristol board at the widths I listed for the heights of the tiers, above. In total I needed strips that were 3/4″ wide, 1 1/4″ wide, and double the amount of strips that were 1 3/4″ wide.

After protecting these sheets with packing tape too, I used a craft blade and straight edge to cut the sheets into strips. You can also use scissors if you prefer.

I kept the extra lengths of 1 3/4″ strips as I would need to attach them together to get long enough lengths to go around the circumference of the larger circles.

Use a craft blade to cut the disks into 3 rings and a center circle.

Use packing tape to secure one of the 3/4″ strips around the edge of the circle. This is where the magic of the packing tape happens – when sticking tape to the tape-covered surface the new pieces are nearly invisible!

Use more tape to secure the first ring around the base of the top tier. I did not cover the reverse sides of my board so you can see here how obvious the tape is against the plain paper.

Next, attach a 1 1/4″ strip around the edge of the ring to create the 2nd tier.

This is how it will look after that step is complete.

Repeat the process, moving down layer by layer, and using packing tape to attach everything.

This is the inside of the hat.

Here’s the finished result! From a distance no one can tell that it doesn’t taper the same way as the original, and any tiny gaps or seams where the paper doesn’t abut is practically invisible.

Here are all 11 hats. Once I figured out how to do it they were SO fast and easy to make, and the visual payoff has a ton of impact.

Here they are in-show. All 6 band members are wearing them, as well as the 4 dancers in front. The dancers had some moves where they bent forwards so for their hats I stapled a length of elastic band to the inside, to keep the hat secured. Over the full run of rehearsals and shows we had only one elastic band come loose and no broken or torn hats. In fact, some of the cast members have let me know in the last year that they still have their hats and they’re still in great shape!

They also stack really well for transport and storage.


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WWKIP Day 2022

Today is World Wide Knit in Public Day! I’ve usually got knitting out in the wild with me, but it felt especially required on today of all days.

I brought my current “purse project” with me to sound check before the Becket Players’ performance at the West Island Relay for Life event tonight. Didn’t get much knitting done but we did have a successful set up. We’ll be playing some great music for a great cause so if you’ll be around the Rive Boisée area come on by and check it out!


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DIY Twisted Sister Album Replica

Today I’m going to share the steps I took to create a prop replica of this Twisted Sister record album for a Becket stage show a few years ago:

We had done a skit routine to the song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” which was released 38 years ago today, on April 27th 1984. In addition to the skit requirements of tossing the record album around, in general props are often flung out of the way during quick set changes, and we didn’t want to take a chance on damaging an actual record, even if we’d owned one. Therefore I decided to make this stage-safe replica that I could easily re-make in case of damage or loss.

The basis of the record is a piece of stiff cardboard cut to size. Standard record albums are 7″, 10″ and 12″. Unfortunately the best piece of cardboard I had was only 11″ wide but since no one would be able to tell from the audience so I cut it into a square to use. The key was cardboard that would be thick enough to not bend or warp during the multiple rehearsals and performances. If your cardboard is too thin you can layer a few sheets together with glue.

To replicate the “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll” album, my next step was to paint the entire surface with black acrylic paint. I will be demonstrating the steps for this specific album but the same principles can be followed to recreate any required prop for theater or costume use. You can even copy your favorite albums for wall decor!

Many of my projects involve using templates and this one is no different! Once I’d chosen my cardboard I printed a copy of the record album to the appropriate scale.

Then I used the graphite trick of scribbling along the back of my image in order to transfer the design. These days I use carbon paper as I find it faster and easier, but pencils work well too.

With the back of the image covered in graphite (or with carbon paper underneath), I placed it into the correct spot and traced over all the lines. A stylus works great for this but you can just as easily use a pencil or ballpoint pen.

It’s hard to see the transferred image. I did play with the contrast to try and show it but it’s pretty faint.

Using the original album cover art for reference, I colored in the image with metallic markers and added highlights with a Derwent Drawing white pencil.

I used the same transfer method to add the album title…

…though this time I pushed a bit harder into the cardboard to give my marker ink borders. This can help contain a bit of the ink flow, if your markers are very runny. If you don’t have markers in the proper colors you can paint your album cover instead.

I had a close-enough color in my metallic markers so I used that for the band name and smaller lettering.

That’s it!

The final touch was a few coats of sealant for protection and then the album cover replica was complete!

This was a super easy and fast DIY that looks incredibly effective on stage, and because it was only cardboard and markers I didn’t have to add to our prop budget nor worry if it took some abuse and I had to remake it. That said, it was surprisingly sturdy and held up great through every rehearsal and all performances.

You can easily use the same steps to recreate any album for your own prop needs.

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Record, Star and Music Note Cookies

Last year was my first year performing with the Becket Players.  Actually it was my first time performing on stage since college, roughly 18 years prior.  :O  In addition to being one of the actors (the performers are divided between singers, dancers and actors) I also made most of the props for the show.  I ended up making some really cool things for us to use, and I’ll be posting tutorials for all of it over the coming months.  I’m part of the show again this year, and tonight is our first prop/set design meeting, so I figured it was as good a day as any to post these cookies I’d made last year and never showed.

Last April the cast got together for a costume parade at one of our homes… to eat, drink and try on all the costumes for every song, skit and dance number, take pics and see how everything looked cohesively, what worked and what needed last minute changes.  Everyone was asked to bring a little something to eat, and I decided to make these cookies.

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I made my standard vanilla plain/shortbread recipe and rolled the dough pretty thick, as I wanted them to remain somewhat moist in the center.  I cut the shapes from star, music note and circle cookie cutters and then after they were baked I left them to cool overnight. 2015-04-11 record star music note cookies 02

The next day I used the same cookie cutters to cut out some thinly-rolled fondant, yellow for the stars and black for the music notes.  I moistened the top of each cookie slightly with water and then smoothed the fondant down over the cookie, making sure the edges were well stuck.  The records were done the same way, only I used 2 sizes of smaller cutters than the base cookie, and a straw for the tiny center dot.  If I were to redo these I’d actually cut the black circle with the smaller cutter and inset the yellow label into it, and do the same for the black center, as that would be more accurate… but for a quick design, the layered version works too.
2015-04-11 record star music note cookies 03

The final touch was to write on the labels with my black edible ink marker.  The theme of our show last year was Legends, Fads & One-Hit Wonders and I wrote all the names of the songs we did in the show on individual record cookies.  I’d say they were a hit… but they already are! 😀