Did you know that in the 1900s coal miners wore hard hats that were made of paper?
Miners needed to wear helmets because they worked underground in tunnels that were usually so low that they couldn’t stand upright. You had to watch your head so you wouldn’t bash it on the roof!
This miner’s helmet in the museum collection is made from pulp, which is recycled paper mashed up with rags or wood pulp. It is surprisingly tough.
Let’s have a go at making your very own miner’s hat. It can be any colour you like and when we are done you can draw your own head-torch to put on the front of it!
Here’s what you will need:
- A sheet of stiff paper or card, about A3 size – it’s best not to choose pure black as we need to mark the paper up
- Crayons or pens to make your head-torch
Making the Hat
Measure your head!
First we need to make sure your hat will fit. We need to take two measurements:
- Run a flexible tape measure around your head where the bottom of your hat will fit, so just above your ears.
- Next, measure up one side of your head from just above your ear to the top of your head.
Now we are going to take our scissor and cut a rectangle of paper or card. Measurement number one is going to be the width and measurement number two will be the height.
Got it? Keep some paper to one side – we’ll need them to make the brim and the head-torch.
Mark-out the measurements on paper
Now we need to draw on the paper the shape we are going to cut out.
Cut-out the rectangle
Use a ruler to make a straight line about 2cm up from one of the long edges of your rectangle.
Mark the midway point along the line you have just drawn.
Now, divide the width of the paper by 6. For example, mine here is 56cm wide and 1/6 of 56 is 9.33cm.
I have made a mark on the line every 9 and a third cm. That sounds hard but it is only two marks either side of the midway point.
Next, we need to mark the top edge. Put your ruler from top to bottom and place one side of it at the midway point between the marks on your line. Mark this midway point on the top edge.
Now you should have six triangles pointing upward from the line you drew at the bottom of the paper.
Phew, that was hard, but don’t worry – we have done the tricky bit!
Now draw a curved line on the outside of the two upper sides of your triangle. The midway point of the curve should be about 1cm away from the side of the triangle.
Now we can cut along those curved lines – be careful not to cut through the band at the bottom!
Now it’s time to put your hat together. You will need to make a hole near the top of each spike in your template.
Next, tape each end of the headband (the strip at the bottom of your template) together.
Now you need your paper fastener: carefully overlap each of the paper spikes and put the paper fastener through all of the holes to join the top of the hat together.
Now it’s time to make the brim.
Remember the leftover paper that we set to one side? Now we’re going to put the end of the hat over it and carefully draw round it to make a curve:
Now, draw another curve starting and ending at each end of your curve but wider. Can you see the shape of the brim? Draw a little square on the inside edge to make a tab to attach the brim to your hat – don’t worry if it isn’t neat, no-one is going to see it!
Now carefully cut-out the brim:
Put the brim onto your hat and fold the tab under the edge. Use some tape to fix the tab to the inside of the hat and then two more pieces of tape, one at either end:
And that’s our brim!
The last thing to do is to give your hat a lamp so that you can see when you are underground!
Find something round to draw around. I used a thin mug but a jam jar lid would work well. Use it to draw a circle:
You can get creative here with some drawing to make your lamp look extra-realistic!
Now take a little bit of double-sided sticky tape, or just make a loop of ordinary tape like I did and fix it to the bottom of the back of your lamp:
Now stick it onto the front of your hat. Make sure it is in the centre and above the brim. The piece of sticky tape on the back should be at the bottom so that the lamp can stand up vertically away from the hat.
That’s it, well done! You are now a miner and start work on Monday!
Not really, but can you imagine what it must have been like working hundreds of metres underground in tunnels so small you couldn’t stand upright?