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Create an instant super cute prop everyone will love… “The Upcycled Sleepy Hat”

These cute little hats are so easy to use and provide an instant beautiful professional looking image… it’s not surprising they feature in most photographers prop collection in all sorts of materials, textures, patterns and colours! You’ll be pleased to know they are super easy to make as well!

This tutorial walks you through the easiest beginner hats, they only require scissors and a glue gun and you can source the material right in your own home! as – yes you guessed it – they are made by upcycling old clothes! The best place to start is by having a good clear out in your wardrobe, don’t forget to do your kids as well! Otherwise it’s an excuse for a fun shopping spree by visiting your local charity shops.

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The Recycled Sleepy Hat

Upcycled Sleepy Hat

When sourcing old clothes that are suitable your looking for stretchy fabrics, not too thin but also not too thick! Knitted fabrics work the best, we’re looking at commercially made tight knit fabrics not your home knitted floppy jumpers! Cardigans and jumpers will be the top favourite but good quality t-shirts or blouses made from stretchy cotton jersey also work well (like the spotty hat seen above!).  The huge benefit of using old clothes to make these sleepy hats is the ready made hem all clothes have, we’re going to position our template to take advantage of this and therefore have a ready made neat finish for the rim of the hat which sits against babies head.


When laying out the garment make sure you have a large flat, clean area, avoid using seams that are already there as they will spoil the look of your sleepy hat. Unless there are some funky features you could utilise like the front buttoned section of a cardigan, pockets, decorative patterns.

Test how stretchy your garment is… if it’s really stretchy (bordering on baggy!) you will need to cut the template smaller or the sleepy hat will end up too big!


  • Sharp Scissors
  • Glue Gun
  • Printer (dimensions given if you don’t!)


  • Old clothes with a stretchy fabric e.g. jumpers, cardigans, tops that are knitted or stretchy cotton jersey

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This is a time lapse video – basically the tutorial speeded up! If you would like to watch the full video with me talking you through the process then hit the button below and get access to this great DIY project and much, much more!

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The Recycled Sleepy Hat

The Recycled Sleepy Hat

The Upcycled Sleepy Hat

The Upcycled Sleepy Hat

The Upcycled Sleepy Hat

You can choose a chunky knit cardigan to cut your sleepy hat out of like this cream example.  Or even incorporate the design features of a cardigan into your sleepy hat. In this grey example I’ve used the buttons and pocket in the design creating an even more unique look!

You’ll find even more ways to create and design different styles of sleepy hat inside the “Craft your Creativity” membership…. become a member today!

The Upcycled Sleepy Hat The Upcycled Sleepy Hat

A huge thanks to @amandamariearistry and @babooshkadesign for the lovely newborn in action photos!

Explore More

We hope you have fun making this Recycled Sleepy Hat and share your creations with us by tagging #natartmadethis. For more DIY ideas and inspiration, join us on InstagramPinterest, and Facebook. Or browse our video tutorials on how to make photo props, home decor, and more.

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Woolly Whizz is online DIY Photo Prop School for Crafty Photographers. Founded in 2021, our focus has always been simple, practical tips and tutorials, for beginners. No matter where your current skill level is, we’d like to help you explore your unique creative crafty side, through DIY Prop making!


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