I do a lot of work with paper Mache
I have (in school only) worked with the standard set of hat maker materials
-buckram ($15 per meter)
-straw ($6-$15 per hat)
-felt ($12-$20 per hood)
Of cores all of these items have a high end version and if you really want to pay seal skin hoods are a good way to go.I on the other hand do not have the money to utilize these tool easily; let alone make a mistake with these precious priced items.
Looking for a way around my financial limitation I looked to paper Mache. To save on cost 70% of my fabric is recycled ...."I am not trying to be environmental" it is a lucky happenstance nothing more. Working toward making affordable hats for people using these two materials allows for lower over head.
This dose come with limitations..... would you want a paper Mache fedora?.
Naturally it wouldn't be very comfortable along with that it would show is quality quickly as people pushed it up and down on there head; hats are touched often as we adjust them every time they sit funny and strike our notice; but fascinators don't fallow these rules, they can be built tighter and tougher there is also no size issue.
my first day was a hard sell I had not worked with paper Mache since I was a young teen (principal is simple). I began covering my plastic fedora hat block. this was a purchase from Hat Shapers a great online find offering plastic hat blocks (mostly appropriate for felt/straw work). I didn't cover the whole block about half way with the intention to cut it to the shape I desired. it was a very long night waiting to see how it would work itself out "could I even pull it off the block"
it took some soft and patient work but the next morning I did in fact pull it off :)
there were some issues; places I didn't make as tuff as others and I had cut the fascinator down to much. pulling out a glue gun I hesitated (glue is not hat making) but sometimes it is part of the show.
I pulled my hat together out of Christmas ribbon and an old cloth napkin.
frankly I was impressed