Oh I am so excited about this one! I am so happy to be sharing this project with you… I did my very own DIY African juju hat knockoff, and I am showing you how to do it yourself too.
But first things first let me welcome everybody that is stopping over from Lindsay’s Knocktoberfest and all the visitors from Alaska that are hopping over from Ana White in particular. You now have arrived all the way over in the Netherlands at my little nest where I like to show my adventures in DIY, decorating, crafting and everything else that makes life fun and interesting.
My project of the day is not a designer or brand knockoff. I knocked off a beautiful African tribal feather headdress called juju hat.
A couple of months ago Lindsay asked if I wanted to participate in her Knocktoberfest blog hop. Well with such a cute name, how could I ever say no, so of course I jumped and said yes .
But that posed a bit of a problem too. As I said I am not US based and I don’t receive the catalogs of say a Pottery Barn, or Ballard. And we don’t have those stores here either, nor can I walk into an Anthropologie and look for something to copy. What is a girl to do…..
Then it hit me.
A really long time ago I pinned this:
It didn’t take long and I saw these feather wall decorations popping up all over the place and at some point I found out that those wall decorations were in fact headdresses.
Beautiful African headdresses. Sadly at that very same time I learned that those original feather beauties were way out of my price range.
And then the thought occurred to me, what if…..
What if I try to make a knockoff……
And then came Lindsay with her Knocktober fest. And a plan was born.
The most difficult thing about this whole project was finding the feathers. I wanted feathers in earthly natural color tones, and I wanted them strung, as in already sewn onto a ribbon.
I found some not too expensive ones on AliExpress (it is a kind of Ebay but populated with mostly little shops from China), and was happily surprised about how fast they got here. I bought the all white and the dark brown ones there. I think I bought three packets of the white and one of the brown. There are several shops on AliExpress that sell strung feathers, just shop around till you find ones that look good.
And I also splurged on some really beautiful feathers in just the perfect beige/neutral color from Featherplace (I bought three packages of these. Two were used in the big Juju hat and the third one in the small Juju hat). All in all this still wasn’t a cheap project. But oh so worth it.
Since I had so many different feathers I just went for it and made a whole bunch of DIY African juju hat knockoffs. The making off was very easy. And by the last one I had it down to a T.
So here are the steps. You will need feathers that are strung. The rooster coque feathers are by far the most beautiful and easiest to use. But as you can see I have also used ‘regular’ straight feathers that are much easier to find and cheaper too. And my very white feather wall decoration might resemble the original juju hat a bit less but I think it is still very pretty.
You will also need cardboard and something to use as a template for your circles, scissors and a glue gun with lots and lots of glue sticks.
And then it basically comes down to adding rows of feathers. I made the first juju hat with the pretty feathers. They have a definite curve. I alternated letting the curve fall up or down between the rows.
I made separate rows instead of spiraling inwards because that just worked better. With these fluffy feathers getting some volume was easy, it just required adding lots of rows.
And finishing the center off with a little tuft of feathers.
Getting the volume was a lot harder with the white feathers. As you can see the first row fell completely flat. These feathers were straight and stiff and didn’t have that natural flow of the more expensive coque tail feathers.
So for the second row I made a sort of pleats. I glued an inch down, backed up an inch glueing it down and again glueing while I moved back forward. I hope you can see but it resulted in ‘stacks’ of three rows of feather pleats an inch wide all around. I used some scissors to really push down the bottom of the feathers and this made the top pop up a bit, giving me some nice volume. The next row lay on top of this little ‘wall’ of feathers all by itself, so with just a little nod from the scissors it would pop up and out.
I made the smaller hats last and by then I just squished and squashed and pleated and ruffled the feathers as much as possible on each row until it all looked nice and full.
One final tip that I think made all the difference is that I didn’t use all of the feathers right away. I kept some and made little tufts that I randomly stuck into the hats wherever I felt it needed a bit extra. This made the rows less obvious and definitely gave them all a little extra oomph.
These are all just as light as feathers so I just used those drawing hanging thingies I remember from Kindergarten to hang them.
And there you have it. My DIY African Juju hat knockoff tutorial.
Hope you like it.
If you are still in the mood for some more DIY knockoff gorgeousness I suggest you high tail yourself over to KariAnne at Whistlewood Farm. I have it on good authority that she will wow you with her knock off project too.
And you can find all the knockoffs that are being shared this week at Lindsay’s Knocktoberfest page.
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