Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How to Carve a Hat Block - Part Three | Shaping the Styrofoam

Okay, so far I have shown just a few basic tips on how to carve the foam but I promise you they make a HUGE difference. Styrofoam is not too easy to deal with and it's easy to make mistakes and break off piece or carve too deeply by mistake.

My next project required a little finesse. I had seen a small hat block form the 40s which sold on eBay for over $80. I really like the shape but couldn't afford the price so I took my idea to my teacher Jill and here's how she walked me through the process.

40s Style

Step 1: I took the bottom piece of my cone shape that I cut into three pieces and measure to where I wanted to stop carving the base. I also drew a shape on the top of the block in the shape I wanted it to be.

The lines help you remember where to carve and where to stop.
Step 2: I made a small groove cut along the line around the crown to make sure I wouldn't carve into that area as I worked on shaping the top area.

Step 3: Next I began to carve from the circle on top of the crown down to the line where I just cut the groove.

Slicing the foam off in one stroke down.
Make sure you carve slice off with your knife in one direction. Don't saw back and forth or you will be more like to have uneven areas.

Step 4: When I was satisfied with the basic shape, I took a callus pedicure tool and added a more delicate shape while I smoothed the top of the crown.

The Final Product ~ turned out even nicer than the block I saw on eBay which had a heart shaped top. Too cutesy for me.

Front of Block

Side of Block

One Final Note - if you're looking to buy blocks I recommend checking out the Guy Morse Brown multi-purpose blocks. I bought this basic set and love them so much. You get a lot of basic shapes by mixing the brims, crowns and extenders. Here's one of the hats I made with them.

Guy Morse Brown Customer Creations

Let me know if you know any other cool ways to make hat blocks yourself!