Every mother with a daughter knows how important it is to keep your little princess looking her best. One of our favorite clothing accessories is her bonnets. She has several in various colors, and if you’ve been buying them from boutiques, you know that they are an investment. We want to make sure her bonnets maintain their shape so they look their best when she’s wearing them, and to make sure we get the best resale value when we trade up to the next size. Today I’m sharing a tutorial for how to make a bonnet stand.
My husband is handy, and that means we get to save money on very practical things when he has time to work in the garage. When you’re spending most of your money on dresses and bonnets, you don’t want to spend the rest on a $20+ bonnet stand. I purchased my supplies at Hobby Lobby and with a coupon it cost roughly $10 to make four stands. This tutorial can be followed by anyone with a few hand tools and a little time to spare, don’t be intimidated.
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How to make a bonnet stand:
- drill bits
- measuring tape
- wood glue
- spray paint
- wooden dowels
- wooden base
- ball-shaped caps
We started out at Hobby Lobby, where we found pre-cut round and rectangular solid wood bases and ball-shaped caps. The wood bases we found come in two packs, and the ball-shaped caps came in packages of five. The caps we bought already have a flat surface that is pre-drilled for a small dowel rod. Our dowel rods came from Lowes, although Hobby Lobby usually has a selection available as well. We opted for a thicker diameter dowel rod to create a sturdy and substantial look.
I used 4×4 square wooden plaques and 4 inch diameter circular wood plaques. You can adjust the base size according to your taste, and you could even stack smaller bases for a different look. The ball knobs for the top were 1 3/4 inches with a 3/16 predrilled hole. We purchased a 3/16 dowel rod to fit the ball knob. The final larger piece is a 1 inch dowel rod.
If you’re purchasing your supplies at Hobby Lobby, don’t forget your coupon.
Please excuse the mess in the photos.
We begin with the wood base. Using a ruler or measuring tape, measure and mark the center of the base with a pencil point. Drill a small pilot hole with a cordless drill (or a drill press, if you’re fortunate enough to have a workshop). A little advice before you begin…if you don’t make your hold perfectly perpendicular, your stand will be lopsided. It’s best to keep it straight if possible. Now, you don’t want to drill through into your dining room table, so I recommend drilling the piece with a 2×4 block underneath. This will also limit the amount of splintering around the bottom of the hole. You want to achieve a snug fit, so you want to use successively larger bits to enlarge the hole with the last bit being the same size as the dowel rod you have selected for your stand.
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Next, cut your large dowel rod into equal lengths (9″ if you are using a 36″ dowel). If you prefer a slightly taller stand, or want to stagger heights, that’s ok too. For reference, our dowel rod was 7/8″ in diameter. Just remember not to make the uprights too short or your bonnets will wad up at the bottom. Determine the size of the hole in the flat surface of your round caps. This may be marked on the package, but if not, you can slide a dowel through the package to ensure you’re getting one that fits. (Just make sure you’re committed to purchase the caps before damaging the packaging.) Our caps were drilled at 3/16″, so we used that size dowel.
Next comes the tricky part…you need to make a hole the same size as your caps in the top end of your dowel stand. Once again, it is imperative that you center the hole in the larger dowel rod and drill the hole perfectly straight. Here it helps if you have a vice or clamp to hold the larger dowel rod while you drill the hole. Trying to hold the dowel yourself, or asking someone else to, while you drill would be a bad idea. This hole doesn’t have to be very deep…about a half inch is plenty. Insert the small dowel into the cap and mark it to determine how deep the hole is, then add that amount to the depth of the hole you just drilled. You next need to cut small segments of your smaller dowel rod to assemble the caps to the upright. The dowel segments don’t have to be exactly the same length; they just need to be shorter in order to avoid a gap between the upright and the cap. [Note: If you don’t have large diameter dill bits, you can use this technique to mount the upright to the lower base as well. You will just be drilling matching small holes in both the base and the bottom of the dowel to accommodate a small dowel connector that can be assembled with glue.]
I want to reiterate that this is a very easy project, don’t stress yourself out.
You should have all of the pieces ready to go. I recommend dry assembly once before gluing just to make sure all of the pieces fit snugly. If the large dowel is too tight to seat in the hole, you can gently sand the dowel until it fits snugly. Once you’re ready to commit, bring out the wood glue. I use TiteBond II or III, which is available at Lowes. Apply a light coat to one end of the small dowel segment and press it firmly into the cap. To keep it from rolling away, I placed mine upside down on a roll of electrical tape. Then apply a light coat to the opposite end of the small dowel and press the upright onto it until it meets flush with the cap. I find that the roll of tape was a perfect holder while doing this. Finally, apply a light coat of glue around the base of the dowel and insert it into the hole drilled in the base with a twisting motion to ensure that the dowel seats well. Do not allow the dowel to protrude beyond the bottom of the base or you’ll have a topsy-turvey bonnet stand. Wipe off any excess glue, and turn your stand upright to dry. Wait the recommended time for the type of glue you’re using. I waited a full day to be safe.
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Once the glue has dried, lightly sand the entire stand to remove any splinters or rough edges and wipe clean. Select your favorite color of spray paint (I recommend paint with primer included) and apply a light even coat. Don’t be surprised if the wood drinks up the paint; you will need to make at least two coats, and I made three. Light coats are best to prevent unsightly runs. Most paint will dry to the touch in 30 minutes or so, allowing you to make successive coats until you have a nice smooth finish. Once the final coat dries, voila! You have made your very own bonnet stand.
Some of our favorite companies that make bonnets include:
It’s more than just cost savings to build your own bonnet stands; I love that I can put these in her forever box and she will know that these were made just for her. Please let me know if you have any questions. If you build your own from this tutorial, I would love to see photos.
How to make a bonnet stand