November 20, 2007

Making a brim block out of cork – The start…

Filed under: Making a cork block,millinery techniques and cheats — Cristina de Prada @ 4:24 pm

There is no hat without a brim, so now it’s time to get on with the brim block!

These are the steps to follow:

1. Decide the brim width (and give it an extra half centimeter just in case…)

2. Draw an oval, for which you need to calculate the width and height of the oval (based on the brim width and the headsize oval measures). After that all you need is a string and some pins. Follow the instructions on this link, it´s quite simple and you will get a perfect ellipse!


Drawing an oval

  3. Trace your headsize oval on the center of your brim oval pattern, and cut out the outside and inside so you can now use it as a pattern to trace on the cork. We will need two layers of work for the brim. Make sure to mark center front, back, and both sides.

Pattern traced onto the cork

4. Now it’s time to cut the cork with the jigsaw. You need to make a pilot hole with a drill, one centimeter close to the inside line of the headsize so you get a hole large enough for the saw blade to fit in and cut the central oval. I say to drill close to the line because this way you will save the maximum amount of cork for a future project. Remember not to cut on the line, but towards the inside. Once the hole is made you can start on the outside, also leaving a margin, but this time cut towards the outside of the line. With the scraps you should cut two smaller pieces to be used as “elevators” for the block. This elevation will allow us to block the felt in one piece, fitting the crown through the hole in the center of the brim.

Two pieces to elevate the block

5. Now it’s time to glue (with contact glue) the two brim ovals, making sure to match center front and back. The two blocks that we have cut for elevation will be added at the end.

Finally it’s time to shape the brim…




  1. Hmmm…the plot thickens….

    Comment by jill — November 20, 2007 @ 6:24 pm

  2. where can i buy the cork to make the hat block

    Comment by monica — January 7, 2008 @ 6:09 am

  3. Hi Monica,
    You missed some previous postings (when I was making the crown block). Click on the category “making a cork block” and you will get the whole thing (remember to push next at the end of the first page).
    This is the information I have, that might help you buy the cork at your end:

    I bought the cork sheet at a local specialized shop called Surotecnia (in Barcelona, Spain). There you can buy all things cork, and for our purpose you can buy sheets of 30 and 40 millimeters of what they call Industrial agglomerated cork. Each sheet measures 915 x 610mm and has these specs:
    density: 120 – 140 – 150 Kg/m3
    weight resistance: 2.000 – 2.300 Kg/m2

    I hope it helps. Let us know what you find!

    Comment by cristinadeprada — January 7, 2008 @ 10:19 am

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