Abraham Lincoln birthday hat craft pragmatic mom

Abraham Lincoln Top Hat Craft and Book for Kids

Abe Lincoln Craft and Book

In honor of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, the Historic Museum in my town is doing a workshop for kids that combines reading a biography picture book with an art project. Unfortunately, we can’t attend the event that day because we are so over scheduled we will be watching The Road to Nowhere during that time. I’m kidding. The showing for The Road to Nowhere was actually last week in my local theater. Here’s the irony on that: you had to buy a ticket in advance and it sold out. I guess that is a way to screen out the slacker moms who shouldn’t be there anyway.

And no, I didn’t see the movie. Slackers, like me, are waiting for it to come out on NetFlix.

Anyway, I digress. I thought that this picture book about Abe Lincoln as a boy with a craft was a perfect way to celebrate Abraham Lincoln as a real person, and not someone who is an enormous figure in bronze. And if the message is that this great man was once just a boy who loved books, then all the better! And note how he was over scheduled! Coincidence?!

“Coincidence is the word we use when we can’t see the levers and pulleys.”
Emma Bull

Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books by Kay Winter

From Publishers Weekly

Carpenter’s (Fannie in the Kitchen) expressive oil paintings lend an appropriately sturdy air to this picture book biography of the 16th president. Winters (Wolf Watch) traces Lincoln’s path “from the wilderness to the White House,” beginning in the one-room cabin where he first spoke and progressing to his later career as a self-taught lawyer and politician who “aimed his words at wrongs he’d like to right.” With an eye for details of particular interest to a young audience (such as the fact that as a boy, Lincoln plowed with a book in his back pocket for reading during frequent breaks), the author highlights the main points of Lincoln’s life. Her free-verse narrative takes on a suitably homespun directness (“His ideas stretched./ His questions rose./ His dreams stirred,” she writes as young Abe watches people pass by on the Cumberland Trail), a quality echoed in Carpenter’s choice of oils on rough-textured canvas, in a style reminiscent of Grandma Moses’s work. Frontier life unfolds in warm earth-toned shades, and the artist sets a brisk pace by interspersing smaller vignettes with full-bleed vistas. The pages bustle with spry figures, including Lincoln himself, a wiry lad with a shock of unruly hair, big ears and highwater pants. An author’s note fleshes out more of the important events of Lincoln’s life. This fine introduction to a president over whom, from boyhood, “letters cast a magic spell” points up a valuable message-that of the importance of words in shaping ideas and lives. [biography picture book, ages 4-8]

Here’s a Top Hat from PeppersPollywogs. It’s for New Year’s but will work nicely as well for Abe Lincoln!

Abraham Lincoln birthday hat craft pragmatic mom

  • Clean, empty can such as those for coffee or baby formula
  • Cardboard
  • Black felt
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Decorative ribbon
  • Extra felt and glitter for accessories

Step 1: Trace the bottom of a large empty can onto a piece of cardboard. Draw another circle around it about 1 1/2 inches away. Cut along both circles so you end up with an o-shaped ring of cardboard. Save the inside of the circle.

Step 2: Remove the top from your can, and cover it with a strip of black felt approximately three inches wider than the height of the can. The open end of the can should be flush with one edge of the felt.

Step 3: Fold the extra felt onto the can similar to wrapping a gift. Secure with hot glue.

Step 4: Place the center cardboard circle onto black felt and cut out a circle slightly larger that the cardboard.

Step 5: Fold the felt over the edge of the cardboard circle securing with hot glue on the bottom. Glue this piece on top of the can.

Step 6: Use the same wrapping technique for the ring of cardboard.

Step 7: Glue the wrapped ring to the bottom of the can when finished. Since it is wider than the can, you get the appearance of a top hat shape.

Personalize the hat by using glitter chenille stems to form 2011. Hot glue them to the top of the hat. We also added ribbon along the brim and a decorative felt flower.

If that hat wasn’t working for you, here’s one you can make out of poster board from Buzzle.com:

How to Make a Top Hat Out of Poster Board?

The technique of how to make a top hat out of cardboard or poster board is similar. However, using cardboard will be a bit more tedious, as it is not that easy to bend. Also, you will need to paint the cardboard hat later on, or you can just use black poster board and avoid on painting time. The things you will require are black poster board sheets, glue gun, a stapler, pencil, cutter, scissors and black felt paper. You can also try how to make a top hat out of construction paper and follow the instructions below if you don’t have poster paper.

  • Take a large plate and place it over a sheet of poster board, mark the circle and cut a circular piece out of the poster board sheet.
  • Now, take a hat and place it on the circular board piece, and mark another circle on it, and cut the inner circle with the cutter. Now you will have two shapes a smaller inner circle and the other donut shaped piece.
  • Take another sheet of poster board and form a cylinder, ensure that the mouth of the cylinder is the size matching the inner circle. Use glue to stick the sides of the cylinder together, the height of the cylinder depends upon how tall you wan the hat to be.
  • Then cut short vertical lines, around 1½ inches, around one end of the cylinder to create some flaps.
  • Now, slip the bigger donut shaped circular piece through the cylinder.
  • Use a stapler and attach the flaps to the donut shaped poster piece.
  • To hide the flaps, cut a piece which is the same size of the donut. Glue this piece over the original donut piece to hide the flaps.
  • To give your hat a more finished look, use a felt paper to cover it with the glue gun.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Joy

    What an interesting book that I would probably have never heard of if it weren’t for this blog! Great craft idea, too! Thanks!

    • To Joy,
      I wouldn’t have heard of the book myself except for the notice that came home in my kids’ backpacks from school! 🙂 I am not good with the crafts so it was fun to copy that!

  2. Dee

    The book looks great – I loved Abe Lincoln as a kid.

    When Road to Nowhere screened here, it was far from sold out, sadly, although it wasn’t at our school. If it were, I think the attendance would’ve been up!

    Re: your other post about maple sugaring. I never knew you could go do that! I would’ve loved to have done that when I lived in Mass. I even went to college near one of the sites you listed.
    Dee recently posted…Focus on ADHD: A reaction to L. Alan SroufeMy Profile

    • To Dee,
      Thanks so much. I’m glad you liked the Abe Lincoln book.

      I suspect that the parents in your town have better balance and your kids are less stressed out and over scheduled. My joke was that I’m too over scheduled to go to a movie that scolds me for that. I missed the first sold out showing but made the second one a few months later. We are over scheduled in Newton! One mom friend said that now she feels badly because her daughter isn’t busy enough. I said to my friend that it’s the opposite message of what the movie is saying but that was her takeaway.

      In fact, we are probably too over scheduled to cram in maple sugaring but I’d love to try this year. It’s not an ideal year though. It has been unseasonably warm here and I think you need a good long cold snap to get a lot of sap. My middle daughter went on a school field trip to see maple sugaring but she complained (a lot!!! She is a picky kid though!) that it was really boring so I think you have to choose a place carefully. Drum in farm is an Audubon farm that does lots of school presentations. I think they might know how to hold a kids attention.

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