d.i.y. hydrangea headpieces

This simple but impressive hydrangea headpiece tutorial comes as a response to the dozens of requests I have received this past year through my Etsy shop for affordable and fabulous floral headpieces for performances, photo shoots and weddings. Many of those requests are for children's recital costumes in particular. I can just imagine a stage full of little ladies looking like a beautiful garden in these fluffy toppers. Additionally, I was recently asked by a reader for a tutorial for the headpiece I wear in this performance. That one is just a slightly scaled up version of the one shown in this d.i.y. and the tutorial works for both. I'm thinking of turning these into kits to be sold through papel SF, but until then, I am very happy to share how to make them here!

For the full tutorial, click on "read more" below.

For one headpiece you will need the following:

•Three medium (or large, not shown) tissue paper pompoms in hydrangea pinks, purples, whites and/or blues (I used two fiesta blues and one pacific blue here)

•Two-colored crepe paper (doublette) in deep olive

•Buckram for the base

•Hot glue gun and glue sticks


•A small length of floral wire or heavy thread or twine

•Felt backing and fabric colored elastic headbands in adult or child sizes

The headpieces can be pinned into your hair with professional strength bobby pins. I usually use that method for performances rather than using a headband, pressing the bobby pins into locks of my hair I've secured with small elastics, so there is something sturdy for the pins to take hold of. If you are making this for a child or someone with very thin hair, I do suggest adding the headband and backing.

Start by constructing the base out of the buckram. I trace a 7" diameter plate for my base. Cut the circle out of the buckram, then locate the center of the circle and cut along a radius line from the perimeter of the circle to the center as shown.

Overlap the cut edges of the circle and fit to your head. I find about a 3 1/4" overlap along the circle's rim makes a great base shape. Carefully hot glue the overlapping buckram to complete the conical base shape.

As I mentioned above, you don't have to add a headband. You can use hairpins to attach this to your hair if you'd like, but sometimes a headband is just easier. The idea here is to ONLY secure the headband in one spot, then create channels under the felt liner so that the elastic headband can stretch as it needs to but still be held in place by the felt. Read through below carefully if you will be adding the headband.

Start by cutting a circle of felt the same size as your conical buckram base. Cut one radius in it as you did with the base. Using hot glue, secure the elastic headband to the center of the underside of the base. After that has completely set up, run a bead of hot glue down one side of the headband as shown below. 

Position the felt circle to align with the base, then press the felt into that bead of hot glue near the cut edge, leaving enough felt to cross over the headband. Apply another long bead of hot glue on the other side of the headband, creating a channel where the headband will not be glued down, and secure the flap of felt down into that glue. Give the headband a little stretch at this point to make sure it doesn't get caught in the glue. Continue to glue the felt circle down until you get to the opposite side of the base where the other side of the headband will cross. Create another glue-free channel and finish glueing the felt down all the way around. Stretch both sides of the headband again to be sure they are moving freely underneath the felt liner.

Are you still with me? Good! Now the fun stuff!

Open up your pompoms per the manufacturer's instructions. I had to open up several to see which I wanted to use. It's nice to have two different shades of the same color. Hydrangeas are rarely completely one color, so this gives them some nuance. 

Pick three pompoms you want to use and locate the small metal wire hook inside each one. Thread floral wire or strong string through the three loops and tie together tightly at the inside of the pompom cluster. You've just created the hydrangea head. Pretty!

Before you glue the pompoms to the base, make sure you know which way you want your headband to run and how you want the flower to sit on your head. Start by applying hot glue to the peak of the base in a thick and large layer. Press it down into the middle of the backside of the pompom cluster, where you just tied the three pompoms together. Work your way around the base with glue, coating it entirely and pressing it into the pompoms to secure. You can add some glue in between the bottom layers of tissue paper as I show below to stabilize the headpiece even further. Squeeze those bottom layers together with the base until the glue sets up. You will probably need to fluff your pompoms up after this step.


Finally, add the leaves. You can draw your own hydrangea leaves at any size you'd like. My template below is sitting on a 1" x 1" grid, so hopefully that will be helpful to you. It's about 7 1/2" tall and 6" wide. I love this doublette crepe paper because just like a real hydrangea leaf, you can make the top side dark and the underside lighter. 

Trace your leaf template onto the crepe with the grain of the paper running up and down the leaf shape. Cut two leaves out of the crepe paper. Stretch and cup each one from the bottom (lighter) side. That mimics the concave shape of the underside of a hydrangea leaf. I also creased the leaves down the middle as shown.


Position the leaves any way you'd like at the bottom of the flower, notching around the headband if needed. Hot glue into place.

And you're done! They really don't take that long, especially once you have the headband part under control. I think they are a great take on a hydrangea! 

This is not the first time my patient and beautiful daughter Stella has willingly posed for me wearing a giant flower on her head. What a trooper! xoxo


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