The Sorting Hat

The Sorting Hat is a tricky activity when you have a lot of kids. Of course, it would be the most ideal to be able to plop a hat onto a child’s head and yell out a house but alas, the LICE struggle is real.

Yeck. Just thinking about it makes my head itch.

Anyway, I had my friend at Shadow Mountain Stitchery create this really beautiful Sorting Hat (pictured above with completed buttons) and I was SO bummed when I was asked that we do not allow kids to wear it.

“Kids like to share, if you know what I mean.”

Yeah, they do.

What we did instead was create a “The Sorting Hat is out of SORTS!” and the story was that the sorting hat had a head cold and needed help sorting kids. We placed our Sorting Hat onto a shelf up high, took an old witch’s hat, made a little “put your hand through it” enclosure and had kids pull out stickers with various house sigils.

Some of these kids will be just fine at street market venues, I tell you. Many MANY kids were bargaining with me about what house they should actually get and in my loudest whisper, I had to say:

“I have it on good authority that the Sorting Hat is okay with you choosing your house.” 

This year, we’re changing it up. I’ll post it another time but a couple of parents have volunteered to take a puppet version of the sorting hat and bring it to life with a Raspberry Pi CPU + minor robotic magic. As for the badges, I made around 1100 pins with a helper banging out the last 100. 300- 1 inch pins for every house.

I binge-watched Big Little Lies and developed a rather impressive collection of oddly placed callouses on my right hand.

The pictures for the pins came directly from and the pin making materials were purchased at These buttons are the 1 inch versions which are much more economical than our second choice of 2 inch buttons. Not including the press itself, the buttons come out to be around 10 cents a piece.

The buttons will be a nice change of pace as I remember very distinctly seeing children walk around with their faded, worn houses stickers weeks after the event had ended. At least now, some will have proof that they were once a loyal Gryffindor before their teenage years bring on a Slytherin rebellion.


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