This is a pretty involved DIY project that takes at least 2-3 days to complete mostly because you have to let papier-mâché dry- ugh!!). I suggest setting aside a weekend to tackle it depending on how quickly you paint. So strap in and be ready to get messy.
On top of that, I also had to go back to my original design and make some major changes to improve stability!
What you’ll need:
- Cardboard and/or poster board to construct the shape of the ears and head and horn. Shoe box cardboard is ideal.
- Craft foam- 1 sheet
- Masking tape
- Hot glue gun & hot glue sticks
- Pencil & black Sharpie marker
- Craft Paint for your Unikitty palette (see below)
- Clear acrylic spay paint- I recommend Rustoleaum Crystal Clear Acrylic
- White primer spray paint
- A variety of paint brushes. This multi pack of paintbrushes worked for me. Most important is the angled brush for all the hard lines and a half inch wide flat brush. You may want to invest in extra angled brushes to clean up edges without having to rinse out your brush.
- 100% acetone nail polish remover
- A plastic cup you don’t mind destroying
- Papier-mâché supplies:
- Newspapers (or an old phonebook!)
- School glue
- Large mixing bowl
- Trash bags
- Masking tape
- Optional: latex/vinyl gloves
I have made waaaaay too many papier-mâché projects in the last year. Believe me, if you don’t think it through, it can be a bitch- if you’ll pardon my French. 🙂 My Papier-Mâché Tutorial will help you avoid some large messes and mistakes I made along the way. ❤
Fabricating Your Shapes:
I used cardboard to build the shapes for the head and ears, poster board for the horn, and craft foam to build the round lego gasket piece that attaches the horn to the head.
To make the horn, I rolled up poster board until I got the cone shape I wanted.
If I could start over and do things differently, I would make sure that the width of the face block (from front to back) was as wide as my head so I could just cut a hole in the bottom, stick it straight on my head and be done…
…but I didn’t think of that until it was too late so here are the actual dimensions of the hat I made:
Round lego gasket: diameter 3.25″ – Horn height: 9″
Cover Your Shapes in Papier-Mâché
Cover each INDIVIDUAL SHAPE in papier-mâché except for the foam gasket piece.
Check out this article for detailed papier-mâché instructions.
After my papier-mâché horn was dry I wrapped it in masking tape to give it spiral ridges:
Prime Your Pieces
Once your individual papier-mâché pieces are totally dry, cover them evenly with 2-3 coats of white spray primer. (Whatever it takes so no newsprint shows through.)
When using spray paint it’s best to apply one light coat at a time, letting them dry to the touch in between.
Sketch the Unikitty Face
This is where things start to get tricky. You will need to be able to sketch out your Unikitty face on your headpiece so you can paint it.
I sketched my face by hand, but you could also find an image online and then blow it up to the size of your hat.
When I was happy with the face, I folded it in half and chose the best side to be my template for tracing.
Paint, Paint and More Paint!
Paint all your shapes the appropriate colors, and then fill in your face sketch.
Sounds pretty simple, but I have a few tips for you:
- Apply colors from lightest to darkest.
- Let each color dry to the touch before the next color
- Use the acetone to completely clean your brushes when you switch colors
- I like angled brushes best for getting clean edges (or touching up edges) on my shapes.
Seal and Gloss
When your paint is totally dry, apply 4-5 coats of Rustoleum Crystal Clear Acrylic to really make your hat look like a plastic lego piece.
REMEMBER: When using spray paint it’s best to apply one light coat at a time, letting them dry to the touch in between.
Congratulations! You have a giant Unikitty head…but not yet a hat. Let everything dry and cure for 24 hours before moving moving on to the next step.
Now it’s Time to Build Your Hat
As previously mentioned, if I could start over and do things differently, I would make sure that the width of the face block (from front to back) was as wide as my head so I could just cut a hole in the bottom, stick it straight on my head and be done…
… but that is not what happened.
When I debuted my Punk Princess Unikitty cosplay at Wondercon 2014, I did cut a hole in the bottom so the block was somewhat contoured to my head.
I ended up attaching the Unikitty head to a thin little headband because my hair wouldn’t have covered much more and I wanted the illusion of the block just poised on my head.
It worked JUST OKAY.
I had to stand perfectly straight and not turn my head too fast or it would fall off… just how you want to be at a con all day, right?
Luckily I used to train in ballet, so that was helpful but a few hours into Wondercon and my neck was killing me!
Here is what the janky headband rig looked like:
Seriously it was so bad, lol!
How I Stabilized My Hat
Some Special Recognition ❤ ❤ ❤
When I made the Unikitty hat, I never intended to write a tutorial… hence the extreme lack of step by step photos (sorry).
A special thank you goes out to Cindy A. for inspiring this tutorial. As the first person to ask for details, my emails to her
forced helped me to organize my thoughts. 🙂 Then Cindy and Katherine made AMAZING Unikitty and Angry Unikitty hats of their own!
Using the wig for a snug fit has worked like a charm. ❤