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Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

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Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Miss Gaslight on Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:58 am

I work in a very dangerous place for some one with my hording tendencies, A costume shop. We carry all kinds odd stuff and when it gets broken it comes home with me sometimes. I have four large blue lenses from some over sized broken sunglasses and I was thinking of making goggles but then we got in some cheep top hats that are a bit to big for my head and I got a very interesting idea.

I want to put lit up portholes with seal life or a giant squid in my hat and make some sort of sub looking hatch on the top. What I was thinking of since the hat is a bit too big is adding a blue liner to make the hat fit beter and simulate water then installing the lenses as portholes, puting some lights in (Not exactly sure how to do that), adding seal life in the portholes and then making some sort of neat looking hatch or periscope thing on top.

I am kind of stumped on how to make the liner, light it up, make frames for the lenses and make a good looking hatch that won't be to heavy. Any Ideas?
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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Pheobsky on Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:25 am

I wonder if a crumpled see through plastic over a light blue lining might give an aquatic feel, & I suppose illumination, could be provided with LED's or similar simply being stitched onto the inner blue lining & feeding any wires behind the lining?- however I've no idea about the power supply-
This looks like it shall be a most intriguing project!
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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  LimeBerry on Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:12 pm

Well, for a lightweight sculptable material, foam usually works well. I haven't had the opportunities to work with it much, but it can be a nice cheap stuff to work with and make all sorts of shapes.

LED's are likely your best bet to light it with, though I know nothing about wiring and the like sorry.

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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Miss Gaslight on Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:42 pm

I stayed up far too late last night making a skullcap out of a aluminum baking panand I think maybe coveing it in blue tissue paper and cellophane will make a lovely sea scape.

Pheobsky, hideing the power supply is a very tricky thing I was thinking of puting it in the raised hatch so I would have easy access but then how would I make it openable? I don't think a latch and hinges would work on a hat.

I found some neat gold foil doilies that fit just perfectly around the lenses. So I think I will use those for frames. Can you decoupage on what I am guessing is permafelt?

Thanks for reminding me about the foam LimeBerry I have a bunch of diffrent types of it hanging around from other projects. I think that would be a lot beter than sculpty for somthing I may drop or have fall off my head.
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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  von Corax on Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:34 am

Miss Gaslight wrote:
... hideing the power supply is a very tricky thing I was thinking of puting it in the raised hatch so I would have easy access but then how would I make it openable? I don't think a latch and hinges would work on a hat.

Miss Gaslight:

A single 9v battery should power a handful of LEDs for, like, ever (or longer if you include an on/off switch). A small switch should be easy to conceal so that it remains easily accessible, and a top hat should have plenty of space to hide the battery.

Indeed, if the hatch were on a dome, the entire dome could be either press-fit or twist-locked in place, and then could lift off to reveal the battery and switch.

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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Miss Gaslight on Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:08 am


Progress has been made. The first port hole is done and the inner liner is geting worked on. Hopefully this better illustrates my ideas.

How would one wire LEDs and a switch without a soldering iron? I am wondering of one of those LED stick any where puck lights wouldn't do the trick. But If I get one of those how do I get the proper dome shape on the top for the hatch?
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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  von Corax on Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:58 am

Miss Gaslight wrote:
How would one wire LEDs and a switch without a soldering iron? I am wondering of one of those LED stick any where puck lights wouldn't do the trick. But If I get one of those how do I get the proper dome shape on the top for the hatch?

Wire wrapping? Here's a short tutorial and here's a longer one. The tool is available from SparkFun, DigiKey, Mouser or Radio Shack.

Also, using individual LEDs would allow you to distribute them within the "aquarium" rather than having a single concentrated light source.

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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Miss Gaslight on Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:23 am

More progress this time on the interior. The liner with its unpainted squid-ey goodness. I am really not sure how to painted metals I am getting better at faking but undersea creature skin not so much.


And I think I have the dome of the hatch made now to figure out how to open and close it.
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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Silas Morgan on Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:52 am

On th' squiddy... just do a simple wash of pink on it......


But why not just put that on the top of your hat..... dang it does look really good..... so why bother with a hatch when you have such a good squiddy...?

Oh yeah... dang good work on the squiddy.....
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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Otto Von Pifka on Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:56 am

those older style stick on lights for closets and such, they were domed and came on by depressing the dome. just had regular batteries and incandesent light bulbs, but the domed part would be good for your dome.

just drill a hole in the top to add a spare faucet knob, like the ones on outside spigots, they sell replacements at the hardware stores. you could hold the dome to the hat with hot glue or with upholstery tacks, just drill little holes around the dome flange to push the tack through and into the hat top. there will be at least a quarter of an inch (probably more) of tack pin inside the hat, bend the very tip at a 90% angle then bend the rest as close to the felt as possible, towards the middle of the cap. the point should now point up throught the hat and be hidden away. the rest will look sort of like a staple. alternately you could try to find a pack of acorn nuts and short screws small enough to actually bolt the dome flange throught the hat.
acorn nuts are metal nuts with a domed top to hide the threads of the screw inside. make sure the squirrels in the area know that in advace!

a slit in the felt under the dome will allow you to tuck away your lights and batteries from underneath and run some wires if needed.

just twisting wires together well can hold up fine, you just don't want them shorting out on some metal or to each other. a little paint or fingernail polish on the twisted wires will hold them but won't insulate them from shorting plain scotch tape over that would suffice with the low powers you're dealing with.

you can make it look like it hinges without it actually hinging. a small wooden dowel or a round wooden pencil would work nicely cut a piece about an inch long (or a little less) then using a big sharp knife, roll it like a rolling pin with the knifes edge about a quarter inch in from the ends. that will leave a small groove all the way around the pencil, so it looks like three segments of a hinge. you may want to practice on a spare pencil to get the hang of rolling it with the knife edge propelling it. you can then add two upholstery tacks to the very ends to look like a hingepin. this can be done by either busting off the tack pin and gluing it down, drilling a hole in the lead for it (bigger is fine)and gluing it down, or risking just cramming it in the lead. you just glue that to the ege of the dome somewhere you think it should hinge. on the opposite side you can put a pushbutton switch, to look like a safety latch but also work the light. a simple single throw, toggle on/off switch of some sort will do fine. peruse a radio shack and sequester the cashier/geek to help in your quest. some wire could be found there too. they also sell very cheap soldering irons and heat shrink tubing. directions can be found through the interweb. a cheap soldering iron won't cast much at all and can be used to melt and mangle all kinds of stuff!


you could still add some upholstery tacks around the portholes to bolster the look. you may want to snip them shorter before you double bend them, to keep the point inder the tack head itself. a dab of hot glue can help too, just a bit on the pin part so it grabs the felt as you push the pin through the felt and doily. prepunch the hole with a large needle if need be. if the doilies are more fragile than they look you may just want to cut them short enough they just poke through the felt a tad and just dab a bit of hot glue on the inside to rivet them in place

you will want to use some smaller tip pliars to do all the bending. needle nose pliars will do just fine and are something everyone should own.

now as far as painting the metal of the brass dome, I would primer it black or primer then flat black it then dry brush a gold paint on it. a clear coat of sealer will darken the gold and make it look very brassy and slightly distressed. I will throw some drybrushing pointers over on my raygun thread.

I too was looking at the felt hats at the local halloween shop and was disappointed on how very large they were made, hat size-wise. you managed to cure that and make it so very steamy in one fel swoop!
KUDOS!!!!

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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Miss Gaslight on Fri Oct 24, 2008 8:00 am

Thanks for the complement Otto Von Pifka. I have some brass upholstery tacks around here somewhere and I have three different sets of needle nosed pliers I can work with.

I have been thinking about the squidy and the hatch. I am now noticing how little of it you can see from the side and I have this plastic lens that is about five inches across that would male a fantastic view port on the top and I found this string of led lights that run on c batteries I bought last winter. I think I want to run the lights around the port and perhaps have some for the side ports too. Then I will put the hatch on a henge so I can open it and show off the squid like tipping my hat. Then I can hide the batteries in the top ant put some blue cellophane over some of the lights. But the problem is the lens is bigger than the hatch and even tho the model magic is light the batteries are heavy so I have no idea what to make a base and extra ring out of that will stand the strain and be removable to change batteries or turn the lights off and on. I was thinking of a plumbing part perhaps but I am not sure.

I am debating taking a lot of the extra slack out of the lights or reworking the power source. Would posting a picture of what I have help?

Hopefully the squid will get a coat of paint tomorrow when I am less tired. Thanks for the color suggestion an complement Silas Morgan. I can't wait to paint his eyes they will set the tone for the rest of him I think.

I have no idea what giant heads they made these hats for but there is a lot of space in mine that will go to good use.
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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Capt. Robur, M.o.W. on Sat Oct 25, 2008 6:58 am

This reminds me of a project in Make magazine's Halloween issue last year.

Here it is:
Surprise Top Hat

Perhaps there is something inspiring there?

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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Miss Gaslight on Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:22 am

I wonder if I could make a more compact version of that to open my hatch but I am just learning about tools and fabrication. I suppose if all else fails I can just make something decorative to cover the batteries. The lights themselves put put a very nice strong light if only I could make the batteries disappear.
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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  kogwheal on Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:03 am

This is awesome. Every bit of it. Especially the squid.

Could the batteries maybe be hidden inside the foam that the squid sits on? Other than that, Im stumped. Keep it up, though, I want to see it done!

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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Otto Von Pifka on Sat Oct 25, 2008 11:33 am

how many C batteries does it take?
remember voltage is the important part.
AAA,AA,C and D batteries are all the same voltage and the size just means more power is available with the bigger size.

LEDs sip power so even AAA batteries will last quite a while.

most battery packs connect the batteries serial when they're small. that means the batteries end up connected end for end to add the voltages together.
look at the battery holder, if the batteries go in flip flop and the springies that touch one end go from the negative end of the one battery to the positive end of the other, they're serial. it can be hard to see the wire from one spring to the next , but with care you can follow it.
pictures would help us with tips.
they do sell battery holders at radio shack, of various sizes and shapes. serial packs would be in multiples of 1.5 volts (each battery adds 1.5 volts) most LEDs can stand a bit of over volting but not much, batteries supply low enough wattage that they usually won't strain the LEDs too much.

depending on how much room there is between the inner dome and the hat, you might be able to put the AAA batteries in the gap down by the brim.

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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  OldProfessorBear on Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:44 pm

Back when I was a rotten little kid, I had a beanie that lit up - that is, it had a light on top. It ran off a D-cell in a cannister you were supposed to hide in your (rather bulging) pocket, with a wire that ran under your shirt and up the back of your neck. There was a crude momentary contact switch on the battery box so you could flash your light when you came up with a brilliant idea, or send messages to your friends, or just be generally obnoxious. Guess which?

Point being, if necessary you can conceal the batteries elsewhere upon your person.

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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Jeorge Hazel Montgomery J on Sat Oct 25, 2008 2:59 pm

Or you could use a CR2302 Button cell, which would eliminate the need for a long wire going into the pocket. Smile

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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Miss Gaslight on Sat Oct 25, 2008 4:40 pm

Otto It is 2 Cs and they are serial.

Jeorge I will look in to that Button cell. would I need to wire up anything for thaor could I use electrical tape?

Sorry for the shortness of my replies I am running late but thank you all so much for the help.
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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Zwack on Sat Oct 25, 2008 6:58 pm

Miss Gaslight wrote:Otto It is 2 Cs and they are serial.

Jeorge I will look in to that Button cell. would I need to wire up anything for thaor could I use electrical tape?

Sorry for the shortness of my replies I am running late but thank you all so much for the help.

You can always use electrical tape... Smile

Twist wires together when you can, try not to apply any stress to it at all, and don't expect it to last as well as a more secure connection. But it can work. For a button cell your best bet might be to wrap two insulated wires around it with the insulation peeled off in one spot each where they touch opposite sides. Then wrap electrical tape around it in the other direction (cross wise). If you don't add a switch expect to have to replace the cell frequently.

An easier option might be to try a craft store for a pre-built LED tealight. They're small, have switches and flicker like flames...

Z.

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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Miss Gaslight on Sun Oct 26, 2008 6:45 am

Thank you all so very much. It is coming tougher wonderfully and I can hardly keep from smiling when I look in on him. I was worried that I would never figure it out.

The wire to pocket idea has spawned something frighting inside my head. The dome is going to become an epaulet that will hide the battery pack in style and comfort on my shoulder. The primer is drying as I type.

Some photos of what I have done so far
Spoiler:

this one is under the glow from the lights themselves.
Spoiler:

So what do you all think and any names for the squid(It is a boy)?
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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Lady Penelope on Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:17 am

A truly captivating chapeau! I think you should call the little chap 'Nemo'. Very Happy
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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Mrs. Sullivan on Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:21 pm

Miss Gaslight, that is the most marvelously whimsical hat I have ever seen! Your squid has real personality, even if he does look a bit "crabby"! He appears to be saying "let me out of here!"

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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Dr Quack on Sun Oct 26, 2008 11:46 pm

Delightful!

Since we are getting near the festive season, the shops should start to get full of those led Christmas lights that are such a boon to the tinkerer. Something of the sort could easily be adapted for your splendid headwear without the need for rewiring.

I'd add a "bumper sticker" saying "Caution, Cephalopod inside." But that's just me.

I raise my hat to your hat,

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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Otto Von Pifka on Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:32 am

ha! he (or she) has a wonderfully aggitated look to it!

wonderful work so far!

yes coin batteries would work, altho the lifespan might be rather short, for the cost.

you can take a small screw and nut and wrap the end of the wire around the screw and tighten the nut down on it. do this to both wires. that way you have a bit of a lump to tape down to either side of the batteries. sans that you could strip a good few inches and just tie knot after not in it until its good and short and a big lump of metal. then the tape has some leverage to work with. a dime over the wire will give the tape some leverage, a penny would too but that sounded too cheap to me. tongue

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Re: Nautilus themed top hat need advice.

Post  Miss Gaslight on Mon Oct 27, 2008 6:13 am

Oh my goodness it is all wired up and lovely. Now if I can just figure out to keep it safely on my head. Now that it has more weight it shifts quite a bit even a ribbon tied under the chin isn't keeping it entirely in place.



Otto Von Pifka and Mrs. Sullivan he didn't look grumpy until I glued his eyes in place. It is interesting how tiny nuances can had a lot to the personalty of a sculpture. I think I will call him Oscar after a beloved childhood grump.
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