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I’ve never needed a DIY Kentucky Derby hat for the Kentucky Derby, but I have needed one on the quick before. Back before I was an overworked bookkeeper, I was an underworked financial aid officer. The other gals in my office and I decided we were going to have a Derby hat day. The timing was weird; the derby had already passed for the year; but it made for a fun day at work as we all looked quite ridiculous dressed as southern belles for no apparent reason. I actually live pretty close to Louisville now, so maybe one day I’ll make it there and need a real hat. Until then, my makeshift easy hats will have to do, because those real ones are super expensive.
Many of you may think you have no reason to make a DIY Kentucky Derby hat, but if you are ever in the need of a quick theme party, I would go with this one. Obviously I’m not particular about my derby timing, but if you are, think about this. You could do a derby party instead of Cinco de Mayo. Do you really want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo anymore? Tequila and sombreros. Blech. That’s for college girls. Grown-ups like myself get sloshed on mint juleps while wearing sunhats with flowers on them. This kind of party could be particularly fun. I’m a fan of gambling, so make a little sports bet and party on! Plus the race is over super fast, so you can kick everyone out whenever you feel like. Anyway, here’s my suggestions for a hat of your own.
DIY Kentucky Derby Hat Instructions
Option 1: Permanent DIY Kentucky Derby Hat
What you need:
hot glue gun
other decorations (optional)
tulle or netting (optional)
What to do:
- Measure ribbon around the center of the hat. Cut the ribbon slightly longer than you measure, just in case.
- Hot glue the ribbon to the hat.
- Pick what you want to decorate with.
- For flowers – pull plastic stems off. Glue flower to ribbon. More in one spot is better, instead of around the brim.
- For feathers – these should go after flowers if you have them. Put a bit of hot glue on the end and stick it behind the flowers. If you decide to do all feathers instead of flowers, cut the stem down to an appropriate length and glue as many as you want to the ribbon.
- For any other decorations – glue away! Wherever you see room, go for it. These are ridiculous hats after all.
- For tulle or netting – Measure how long you want it to go around the hat. Typically they’ll only be in front of the face. Cut the amount you want. Bend a small piece over and glue it to the bottom of the brim. If the tulle looks too log, trim it down.
Option 2: Temporary DIY Kentucky Derby Hat
What you need:
hat – Since you’re reusing it, I suggest something nice for the beach, like this one.
What to do:
- Measure ribbon around the center of the hat. Cut the ribbon a couple of inches longer than what you need.
- Wrap the ribbon around the hat and staple it where it feels tight enough. You can trim down any extra. Then slide the ribbon off the hat.
- Pull plastic stems off flowers.
- Staple the center of the first flower to the ribbon, preferably where you’ve already stapled. Then put the ribbon back on the hat.
- Staple any other flowers you want to the first flower. You’ll probably see some green, so it’s a good idea to staple two opposite petals to either a flower or the ribbon.
- You can add other decorations if you want, but try not to overload or it’ll fall apart before your party is over!
These are pretty similar. The main difference is that you can add a lot more to the permanent version without worrying about it falling apart. Could you pull hot glue off your hat and make it a temporary version? Sure, I guess. Sounds like a messy hassle to me though. Could you leave your staples on your temporary hat forever if you love it? Probably, if you don’t plan on wearing it very often. Making a DIY Kentucky Derby hat is really a piece of cake, plus it’s fun to dig through your craft box and see what all you have. Now get out there and bet on the horses, you fabulously hatted gal!