Dinosaur Pilgrims: how to make a Pilgrim hat for your dinosaur

When we were thinking about how dinosaurs celebrate Thanksgiving, we found some really cute pictures of dinosaurs in Pilgrim hats. These sparked a quest to build our own Pilgrim hats for some of our dinosaurs. These dinosaur Pilgrims are the result of our quest. Who were the pilgrims? The Pilgrims were a group of English…

When we were thinking about how dinosaurs celebrate Thanksgiving, we found some really cute pictures of dinosaurs in Pilgrim hats. These sparked a quest to build our own Pilgrim hats for some of our dinosaurs. These dinosaur Pilgrims are the result of our quest.

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Dinosaur pilgrims: toy Brontosaurus in a pilgrim hat

Who were the pilgrims?

The Pilgrims were a group of English settlers who travelled to North America on the ship the Mayflower and established a colony in what is now Massachusetts. These Separatist Puritans had fled religious persecution in England, and were in exil in the Netherlands before later deciding to establish a new settlement in the New World.

They took their religious tradition of fasting and days of Thanksgiving before Chirstmas with them to New England. Thanksgiving, as is celebrated in America today, can be traced back to celebrations held in 1619 in Virginia and 1621 in Massachusetts. The latter was celebrated with Native Americans who had provided the pilgrims with food to help them survive the winter.

The Puritans were conservative, as reflected in their clothing. Dark colours and modest cuts were the rage. Married women covered their hair with a linen cap and men wore a tall black hat called a captain.

What is a capotain?

A capotain, also called capatain or copotain is a tall-crowned, narrow-brimmed, slightly conical hat, usually black, which was worn by men and women from the 1590s to the mid 17th century. Puritans, in particular, were fond of wearing a capotain and it is often associated with the Pigrims who settled in what is now Virginia and Massachusetts in the 1620s.

For that reason, the capotain is also often called a Pilgrim hat and images of Pilgrims wearing capotains are synonymous with Thanksgiving.

The buckles on captains, however, are a 19th century addition.

The Puritan, statue by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in Springfield Massachusetts. A replica of the statue, named the Pilgrim, stands in Philadelphia.

How to make a capotain for a dinosaur Pilgrim

After establishing that dinosaurs would be present at the Thanksgiving feast, we decided that they needed to look the part. After seeing various images of dinosaur pilgrims (such as the one on this Raglan top), we decided that we needed to make our dinosaurs look more the part.

The most difficult part of this exercise was trying to find a way to make a cylinder for the capotain.

I considered making the cylinder out of card stock, but was concerned that it would either come apart too easily or would be too difficult to get to look nice, simply.

We were having lunch at the zoo when we were given our ketchup and mayonnaise in little paper cups. A quick chat to the staff and we had two extras to use to make our hats. This made it much easier!

Dinosaur Pilgrims: a toy Ankylosaurus in a Pilgrim hat

What you need to make our dinosaur Pilgrims

These Pilgrim hats are quite simple to make – your little dinosaur fan can help – and you only need a few things, most of which you probably have on hand.

What you need to make a Pilgrim hat for a dinosaur.
Dinosaur Pilgrims - toy brontosaurus with Pilgrim hat

Dinosaur Pilgrims - Pilgrim hats for dinosaurs

Yield: 1 Pilgrim hat for your toy dinosaur
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes

A fun and easy Pilgrim hat for a toy dinosaur - use it as decoration at your Thanksgiving feast!


  • 1 toy dinosaur of your choice. A larger dinosaur is better.
  • 1 small paper cup
  • black paint
  • cardstock in black, brown and yellow


  • A paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • A cup or round form with a diameter a little larger than the paper cup
  • Craft glue


  1. Paint the paper cup black and wait for the paint to dry.
  2. Trace around your glass or other form onto the black card stock, then cut out the circle.
  3. Place the small painted cup on the circle, with the open side on the paper, centre it, then mark 8-10 points on the black circle around the diameter of the paper cup.
  4. Cut the black circle from the centre to each of the dots, to look like a star. Fold each point of the star from the middle of the circle up.
  5. Place the cup back on the paper circle and bend the spikes of the star up inside the cup. Glue the spikes of the star to the inside of the cup to hold the cup in place and form the hat.
  6. Cut a band out of the brown card about 5mm thick and as long as the diameter with a little overlap. If you can, cut the band so that it is slightly curved, so that it sits flat again the hat. Wrap the band around the had close to the brim and glue to fix in place.
  7. Cut a small buckle out of the yellow paper and attach it to the hatband. Disguise the join in the hatband by sticking it over the join.
  8. Set the hat on the head of your toy dinosaur.


If you can't find a small paper cup, just use some black card to create a cylinder.

Did you make this with your little dinosaur fan?

Share it on Instragram and tag us, @mrsmaiasaura to let us and other dinosaur fans know.

Make your own dinosaur Pilgrims this Thanksgiving

Are you looking for a simple Thanksgiving craft to make this Thanksgiving with your little dinosaur fan? Make these dinosaur Pilgrims and our Thankful dinosaurs! They’re simple and fun and perfect for Thanksgiving!

Why not make a matching Pilgrim hat for your little dinosaur fan?

Will you be putting a dinosaur twist on your Thanksgiving?

Happy Thanksgiving sign-off with stegosaurus in a pilgrim hat
DInosaur Pilgrims - a simple Thanksgiving craft - here with a picture of a toy Brontosaurus wearing a Pilgrim hat

Save for later

Dinosaur Pilgrims to make this Thanksgiving - pin with image of a toy Brontosaurus in a Pilgrim hat
Fun Dinosaur Pilgrims for Thanksgiving; pin with image of Akylosaurus
Simple Pilgrim Dinosaurs for Thanksgiving; pin with an image of a Brontosaurus in a Pilgrim hat

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