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20,000 Leagues Nautilus Kraken Top Hat

Diary of a Kraken Top Hat: A lovely lady named Lisa Bennett of Steampunk Angel Couture commissioned me to make a hat for her. Her only requests were to have an octopus and her logo on the front in the Steampunk style. This is the direction that inspiration took.

I found a very simple top hat pattern online and brought it into Illustrator and modified it to suit my needs. I'm making these hats with .5 inch thick EVA foam so I had to account for the thickness of the foam in the pattern.

I also wanted the shape of the hat to have a more elegant curve, not just the basic straight up and down stovepipe look. Using the thicker EVA foam made it possible to add heavier sculpture to the top. The thin craft foam would not have worked for my puposes.

I've cut all the pattern out in EVA foam for three hats here, next I will assemble them with contact cement. It was wishful thinking on my part to make three at this stage but hey, I have sold them all so BAM.

I used an exacto to cut out the logo for Steampunk Angel Couture that I will mount on the front of the hat.

Here I am working out the surface design layout. the stickers represent where the lights will go.

I decided to make porthole windows to cover the lights, I sculpted them in polymer clay to get the transluscent quality I wanted.

I made seven covers, this left me with three excess lights I needed to figure out how to use. I came up with these little lantern style covers for the extra lights. I also ended up making necklaces out of them, which were super cute.

Some time after making the light covers, I decided this hat needed an operational propeller on the back end and I was going to make this a submarine hat. I found a small hand fan at the Dollar Tree and encassed it in Worbla. Then I mounted it on the back of the hat with a structure that I felt was submarine like I used Worbla to line out the pattern on the hat.

Then I sealed all of this up with PlastiDip latex rubber spray. This helps keep the paint job from peeling off of the hat later.

I did a base coat of black acrylic paint and have started the copper paint.

No the faux patina for the copper paint. I mixed up some very thin blue/green acrylic with water for this a buitl it up slowly to get the look I was after.

The paiting is finally done, now its time to install the lights and portholes.

The second element she requested was an octopus, I wanted to go big for this one and make it look like it was attacking the subamarine. I started with some glass craft blobs and painted the eyes on the backsides. Then I used a half dome piece of floral foam as the main part of the body and added a lump of aluminum foil the fill out the shape of the body. I then covered this with painters tape to hold it together.

Worbla was the best way to go for weight and durability. It is pretty light as long as you use a foam core for it. I started covering the body with the worbla.

Each tentacle has a core of EVA foam that I rough shaped with a dremel tool.

Worbla bonds to itself so adding the tentacles was easy. you just heat and stick.

Now I spent a bunch of time shaping the octopus's surface to get it just right and positioning the legs.

I protected the top of the hat with foil so the soft worbla wouldn't stick to the hat.

I've gotten the sculpting the way I want it and decided to add a damaged periscope to one of the tentacles.

I did an acrylic base coat of yellow and added a glaze coat of red and orange.

I searched for a stamp method or easier way to create the spot pattern I wanted but ended up doing it the hard way. I think it was needed to get the look I was after.

Once I got the spot pattern done, I added a glaze of yellow to make the spots pop. I also wanted him to be a bit more menacing so I added black highlights to him.

And the finished hat.

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