Styrofoam Cup Pilgrim Hats

Oct 7, 2009 at 8:30 a.m. ET

These festive little pilgrim hats are so fun to make as you watch them shrink in the oven! They make great table decorations, but be sure to make them a few days before the big holiday since your turkey will be monopolizing oven time on Thanksgiving Day!

Styrofoam cup pilgrim hats

What you need

Styrofoam cups, one for each hat
Acrylic paint: black, brown, white and gray
Paint brush
gold glitter glue

What you do

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Author's Note: The temperature and instructions in this craft are based off of a dark coated cookie sheet at 250 degrees F in an electric oven. You may want to experiment with different temps until you receive satisfactory results. We recommend baking one or two cups at the recommended temperature and time first. If they seem to melt too quickly or the ends curl up and under, try reducing the temperature and trying again. We have also baked these in a 300 degree gas oven.

Place Styrofoam cups upside down (open end of cup down) on a dark coated cookie sheet, placing them about 1-2" apart. Note: we experimented with both dark coated and silver cookie sheets, the cups did not melt properly on the silver sheets.

Bake in the oven for approximately 3 minutes, don't walk away! It will take about one minute before you see any changes to the cups, then the heat will begin to melt and shrink them rather rapidly after that. It's lots of fun for the kids to watch, so be sure to turn the oven light on.

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and set aside to cool completely. DO NOT try to remove the cups from the cookie sheet until they are completely cooled. As they cool, the Styrofoam that is stuck to the sheet will relax and release its grip from the sheet, allowing you to remove them easily. Most cups will melt rather well, thought you may end up with one or two that look distorted or misshapen.

Paint the "hats" with brown, gray or black paint, one coat is usually enough, and allow them to dry completely. Once they are dry paint a band around the hat in a contrasting color (brown, black or gray) and allow to dry again.

When bands are dry, paint a white buckle or use gold glitter glue. If possible, prop hats on their sides to dry to minimize the glitter glue running. Note: If using glitter glue, it will go on 3 dimensional and dry flat. This may cause it to run together. If this happens, simply add some black paint (or whatever color your band is) to the center.

These fun decorations can also be used as treat cups! Be sure to paint the inside and bottom of the hats as well, then turn upside down and fill with treats.