How to Mend a Vintage Hat Box

How to Mend a Vintage Hat Box

If you’re anything like me, you own at least one great vintage hat.

One of my great vintage hats (I have more than one) is a little beaded Elsa Schiaparelli hat (late ’40s-early ’50s). And it came with one of Schiap’s signature hot-pink hat boxes.

Unfortunately, vintage hat boxes can fall apart. And mine did.

The top fell off the lid and the bottom fell out of the box!

So I had to fix it. You may be in the same boat.

You Will Need:

  • Your damaged vintage hat box
  • White craft glue
  • Some kind of strong, sturdy, acid-free paper (I had scraps of Bristol board, so I used that)
  • Scissors
  • A small paint brush
  • Double-fold bias tape in a color that matches your hat box

First, cut strips of your paper (make sure it’s nice and strong!). Fold in half and glue them to the inside of your lid top and lid rim. To prevent gaps, start with points opposite each other inside the lid (see picture).

It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to match up.

First round of reinforcements.

Keep going until the inside is pretty well-reinforced.

Well worth the time.

Repeat for the body of the box.

Here we go again.

Once your box and lid are reinforced from the inside, it’s time to repair the outside.

Use a small, flat paintbrush to dab glue on the seams.

Dabbing on the glue.

Now, slowly and carefully apply the bias tape to the edges of the box and lid to cover the repair (this is why it’s so important to get a matching color).

Looking better already!

The ends of the bias tape should be cut diagonally (or on the bias…ha) to prevent fraying and eliminate bulk. Trust me, it’s neater.

Nice and neat!

Be sure to glue down the very end!

Once the lid is done, repeat for the body. Allow 24 hours to dry before putting the lid back on the box.

All done!

It’s a good amount of work, but well worth it if you want to save a vintage hat box.

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