Brochure/Poster/Hat: SkepchickCON edition

(Hat folding instructions at the end of the post!)

As well as being a poster, a program, and a hat, my hats are a MEME, you guys! Amazingly adaptable in so many ways, even the bits you tear off are useful.

Promotional material around the party room? Check.
Jaunty headgear? Check.
Informative poster? Check.
Customizable artwork? Check.
Convenient SkepchickCON pocket schedule? Check.
Party decorations? Check.
Drink coasters? Check.
In-an-hour art project? Check.
Snack holders? CHECK.

Yet another last-moment project brought to you by HolyCrapConvergenceIsInFourDays?!™

To keep it geeky, I wanted to stick with the Skepchick Sideshow theme. Having acquired the SkepchickCON poster assets and photos from my stalwart fellow Labbers, I proceeded to tear bits apart and put them together again. But wait, it’s supposed to be an art project! Where we can have complete strangers create their own art in an hour!

Um. Start over.

So there I was, three days before SkepchickCON, outlining fonts and merging paths and cleaning up weird lines while Mark sat next to me reading and occasionally poking fun at me for being tedious. But when I was done, we had posters with the full SkepchickCON schedule on them, outlined banners for coloring, a snazzy Mad Art Lab logo, our website and party room information, and a framed space for folks to create their own artwork right on the front of the hats they’ve just folded themselves.

And then I made a second one. Like you do three days before an event.

And I got to be on a panel! Or at least sit at the table so people would listen when I told them how to fold hats. I got to make my own nametag sign and everything!

Mad Art Lab "Smart Art" panel at CONvergence 2013
Some of the Smart Art panelists. YAY ART! [Photo by @seelix, who should really be sitting in her empty chair.]
And people came to the panel, and made hats! And lo, it was good!

Chris Pederson in a Mad Art Lab paper hat
Photo from, and of, @christina39ap

And everyone wore hats! Sometimes two!

Mad Art Lab "Smart Art" panel at CONvergence 2013
[photo by Jamie Bernstein]
So, do you want to make a hat of your very own? (say yes.)

For the first, ‘pirate’ hat, all you need is a rectangular piece of paper. The bigger the piece of paper, the bigger the hat. The ones we made were from 11×17″ paper, and you can see they weren’t exactly sized properly for an adult head. Newspaper works great, and is cheap.

1. Fold your paper in half, so the short ends are together.


2. Fold the top corners down toward you.


3. Fold the bottom up. (You may need to roll the paper under if you want a smaller brim.) Flip the hat over and do this on the other side.

hat1_thirdfold hat1_fourthfold

4. Open and HAT! Tada!

hat1_finishedThe second hat is a bit more complex, and involves either scissors or creasing and tearing a piece of paper so you get a square. Conveniently enough, the torn-off bit was JUST enough to print the Skepchickcon schedule on, pocket-sized! Again, I printed these on 11×17″ paper, but if you’ve got bigger paper you’ll get a bigger hat. These ones turned out more fascinator-sized, really.

Assuming you’re starting with a fantastic Skepchickcon poster, here’s how to make the crown hat:

1. Fold your rectangular piece of paper diagonally to see where to trim the excess.


2. Cut or crease-and-tear so you have a square. Fold diagonally the opposite way to crease, then open flat so the side you want on the top of the hat is facing up. In this case, the Mad Art Lab logo should be facing up.

3. Fold the corners in toward the middle diagonally. It should look sort of like a dumpling, and in this case it should have all the stars facing up now.


4. Flip the whole thing over, and fold one edge to the middle. Let the pointy flap stick out, and repeat on the other side.


5. Lift up one flap and fold the triangle-corners in, so they are hidden underneath. Fold the flap back and repeat on the other side.


6. Open from the middle carefully, and POOF! There you are, Pretty Pretty Princess Whatsyername, and ruler of the ENTIRE universe!




With added bonus mini-schedule!

I outlined all of the Skepchickcon banners and swirly borders and stars so you could color them in, should you so desire. We brought colored pencils and markers to the panel so everyone could decorate their own hats, and as you may see from the photos of the panel we got a little silly with the markers on our nametags as the panel was just getting started.

closeup of folded hats on the panel table
RAWR! [photo by Jamie Bernstein]

The curlicue’d frame on one side of the pirate hat is for customization! Draw your favorite scientist, your favorite bit of woo to debunk, or just your favorite food.

This was a really fun panel, even if the poster/program/hat was not optimally executed for all aspects thereof in each version. I just need to give myself more time for the next one! (Say we all.)

If my photos or my instructions were terrible, you can also follow some more origami-ish directions for the pirate hat (here) and the crown (here). And if you want them, comment or send us a message and I’ll send you the Skepchickcon-themed PDFs to print yourself.

And if you make your own, send us photos!


Beth Voigt

Beth is a graphic designer in Chicago, a superhero in her own mind, and absolutely nothing on TV. She wrangles fonts professionally, pummels code amateurishly, and has been known to shove fire in her face for fun. Fond of volunteering, late-night bursts of productivity, and making snacks, she dislikes grocery shopping and sticky public transit and is only on her second smartphone. Her opinion is that you should try everything twice; if you don't like it, you were probably doing it wrong the first time around. If external links are your thing, here are links to Twitter and Instagram, and you can support her ongoing weirdness by buying her a coffee or six.

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