A few months back, I wrote this post about African Juju hats, and how awesome they are when displayed as decor. I just love the simple round shape of them and the great texture they add to a space. Traditionally, Juju hats are made of rooster tail feathers, and are intricately woven by hand, to be worn as ceremonial headdresses in Cameroon + Central Africa. They come in many (gorgeous) colors, but my personal favorite has always been the neutral/white/off-white varieties.
I had been contemplating adding a gallery wall for over my bed, but ultimately decided that I wanted something a bit more simple that was more in keeping with the airy, serene look in my bedroom... It finally occurred to me that a white Juju hat was the perfect answer! And since I didn't want to pay the $300-$600 for a genuine Juju hat, I decided to make a faux DIY version.
After looking up a few tutorials, I liked the results of this one the best, but the rooster feathers alone were around $150... and, well, I felt like I might as well splurge on the real deal before spending that much on materials alone. So, when I saw this yarn version on design*sponge, I decided to give it a shot! It still had great texture, it looked simple to make, and the materials were inexpensive - win win!
I followed the tutorial almost exactly, except I ended up adding some individual feathers to give it a slightly more natural look. I also made mine larger than the original tutorial; since I was hanging it over my bed, I knew that a larger size was key, and that a too-small size would look out of scale and disproportionate. I've described the main steps below, but feel free to check out the original tutorial for a more thorough, step-by-step demonstration :)
First off, to make this DIY Juju hat, you will need the following:
- thick, chunky yarn in your desired colors
- feathers (if using)
- poster board
- an x-acto knife
- double-sided tape
- a stapler
- a glue gun
- popsicle sticks or chop sticks
For the yarn, I chose 4 different thick, textured varieties, in tones of white, off-white, and light beige to give it more depth and variation. I found all of the yarn and the feathers at Michael's.
Since I wanted a larger Juju hat, I created a 24" diameter base instead of the smaller 10.75" diameter base used in the original tutorial. To do this, I cut out two 24" diameter circles from poster board, then cut out a 1" circle from the center of each, and glued the two layers together. The double layer of poster board makes the base much sturdier, which was necessary to support the larger size + extra yarn. Once the glue dried, I cut a straight line from the outside edge to the inside circle, creating a slit in the base.
To construct the hat, I followed the method described in the tutorial, using 25-26" yarn lengths for the bottom layer, and taking care to evenly mix my different yarn colors throughout. I added two more bundles/layers of yarn on top, each with shorter lengths than the layer beneath. When there were enough layers to make the hat look nice and full, I overlapped the edges of the poster board to create a slight cone shape, and stapled in place. Next, I pulled the knotted ends of the yarn through the center circle, and secured with popsicle sticks in the back. Note: I recommend referring back to the original tutorial to see a visual of this process, step-by-step! :)
Once the yarn was attached to the base, I again made sure the colors were evenly distributed, and secured the strands to the base with double sided tape. Next, I trimmed the too-long pieces of yarn - I found that any strands extending more than 1/2" beyond the base needed to be trimmed, since anything longer than that just sort of flopped over (that's a technical term).
Finally, I hot glue gunned individual feathers to the juju hat, taking care to evenly distribute them throughout. I found that the feathers really added an extra layer of texture + dimension, and gave the hat that "fanned out" look that more closely resembles the real Juju hats. Not to mention, the feathers give it a slightly more natural look, and add some structure to the hat as well. Btw - these feathers were super cheap - I think $1.50 for a pack of 22 at Michaels. In all, the cost for the whole project was less than $25 - not too shabby!
Next, all I had to do was hang it up!
So there you have it! Super easy and super cheap DIY Juju hat!