Hats off to you if you’re in the throes of planning a Harry Potter party – doing it properly is time-consuming business to say the least, unless you have pots of money and are lazy, preferring to buy your props off tinterweb rather than make them yourself. The arts-and-crafts potential of Potter parties is immense and your shindig would definitely be incomplete without a sorting hat. How else will your guests know which house they belong to if you don’t?

How to: Make a sorting hat


Traffic cone

Chicken wire

Shredded newspaper

Water/flour (for the papier mache)

Brown paint/paintbrushes


– Wrap your chicken wire around the traffic cone so it resembles a wizard hat. Do this in several stages – start with the brim, making pleats so you can go round the corners. Then do the main body of the hat and bend the tip at a jaunty angle. With a third piece of wire, make the bottom half of the body slightly fatter than the top.


– Go mooey-loco with your newspaper and papier mache, doing at least two coats. My good friend Miss Wren – instrumental in the making of this hat – and I blasted the first coat with a hair dryer, because we’re impatient souls (although only when we have to wait).


– Once dry, slop on your brown paint until you’re happy. Now you can sort people into Gryffindor and Slytherin to your heart’s content.


Sporting a sorting hat:



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