Make a DIY Kentucky Derby

10-Minute DIY Kentucky Derby Hat

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:

hat
ribbon
hot glue gun
scissors
fake flowers
feathers (optional)
other decorations (optional)
tulle or netting (optional)

What to do:

  1. Measure ribbon around the center of the hat. Cut the ribbon slightly longer than you measure, just in case.
  2. Hot glue the ribbon to the hat.
  3. Pick what you want to decorate with.
  4. For flowers – pull plastic stems off. Glue flower to ribbon. More in one spot is better, instead of around the brim.
  5. 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.
  6. For any other decorations – glue away! Wherever you see room, go for it. These are ridiculous hats after all.
  7. 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.
Measure and glue your ribbon.
Pull stems off of flowers.
Start gluing your flowers to the ribbon and hat.
You can glue flowers to each other to keep wild petals down.
Stems will start to show, so make sure to glue more flowers with stems facing the opposite way.
Now the stems are hidden.
Now the fun begins. Add whatever else you like, such as feathers. Glue behind flowers.
Woohoo! A completed Derby hat.

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.
ribbon
fake flowers
stapler
scissors

What to do:

  1. Measure ribbon around the center of the hat. Cut the ribbon a couple of inches longer than what you need.
  2. 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.
  3. Pull plastic stems off flowers.
  4. Staple the center of the first flower to the ribbon, preferably where you’ve already stapled. Then put the  ribbon back on the hat.
  5. 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.
  6. You can add other decorations if you want, but try not to overload or it’ll fall apart before your party is over!
Measure your ribbon by putting it around the hat. Easy!
Staple where it’s tight and leave a little extra.
Pull the ribbon off, trim, and straighten staples if necessary.
Begin stapling stemless flowers to ribbon.
Do the bulk of the stapling before you put it back on the hat.
Put the ribbon back on the hat.
Add more staples or flowers if necessary to hide stems and reshape.
Maybe not as fancy as the first, but totally reusable!

Notes:

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!

 

CASTLE

Plastic Tablecloth Decorations Vs. Streamers

There are some amazing plastic tablecloth decorations out there. Seriously, look at this and this. Who has time to come up with this stuff? Not me! But, I don’t really have time for anything (starting a blog may have been a terrible idea), so maybe I don’t count. Anyway, I know I’ve mentioned this once or twice, but I’m not really a fan of decorating for parties. That’s a terrible thing for a hostess to say, isn’t it? Yet I say it all the time. I decided maybe I need to stop all those traditional decorating ideas, like using streamers at all, ever, and switch it up a little. Honestly, I don’t have time for the fancy stuff, so my mind turned to plastic tablecloth decorations. I could probably do something with those, right?

Well, if you looked at those amazing decorations I pointed out, you might as well just use streamers. It would take just as long to rip up a whole bunch of paper and tape it to your wall as it would to make those tablecloth things. I don’t want to have to cut and snip and tie and then still tape things. I want something that takes twenty seconds and miraculously looks cute. Impossible? Probably. I decided to test out three different types of decorations using both plastic tablecloths and streamers to see which one was more time consuming, which one was more frustrating, and how much I’d need of each.

Plastic Tablecloth Decorations vs. Streamers

Round #1: Photo Backdrop

 

Plastic Tablecloth

Need: 1 tablecloth
Time to Complete in Real Time: 5 minutes
How Long it Felt: 5 minutes
Toddler Interference: Minimal
Frustration Level: Low
Overall Look: Eh. I could probably smooth it out add some other decorations, but it takes up a good amount of space so you could have multiple people there.

Streamers

Need: At least one roll, but probably two.
Time to Complete in Real Time: 10 minutes
How Long it Felt: 8 days
Toddler Interference: Moderate
Frustration Level: High
Overall Look: I only made it through one roll before giving it up. I would definitely want a second roll to both make it wider and help fill in any gaps. The tape is ugly too, so a balloon row on top or something is probably necessary.

The Winner: Plastic Tablecloth Decorations

Hands down, no questions on this one. I don’t have a lot of time. If I need a photo backdrop for something, I’m absolutely going this way. If you have help you can probably get yours up a lot smoother and even faster. By the way, the reason it even took five whole minutes was because it took me forever to get the tablecloth unfolded and I accidentally tacked it unevenly the first time. The streamers went faster than I thought they would, but I still had to deal with all that tape (I tacked the tablecloth) and ripping. Then it still didn’t look that nice. Tablecloths, 1, streamers, 0.

Round #2: Doorway Draping

 

Plastic Tablecloth

Need: 1-2 tablecloths depending on your doorway
Time to Complete in Real Time: 10 minutes
How Long it Felt: 5 hours
Toddler Interference: Minimal
Frustration Level: moderate
Overall Look: I’m not actually having a party, so I didn’t put a lot of effort into this, but the unevenness still bothered me. If you only have a small doorway, this would be an absolute cinch.

Streamers

Need: Depends on the size of your doorway, mine would be about 4
Time to Complete in Real Time: 40 minutes
How Long it Felt: ——-
Toddler Interference: Moderate
Frustration Level: Highest
Overall Look: Okay, I have to confess here. I couldn’t even make myself do this one. Don’t judge me. I’m seven months pregant, I don’t need to be climbing up and down chairs or stools or ladders or a party I’m not having. What I did instead was measure the photo backdrop space and my door opening to see how much I’d need, then figured out the time it’d take per roll. As you can see, my frustration level was off the roof, since I couldn’t be bothered to do it. Would I bother if I was actually throwing a party? Survey says: No.

The Winner: Plastic Tablecloth Decorations

I know it’s not the fanciest of decorations, and for some reason my Dollar Tree purchase makes me look like a Packers fan, but I kind of like this. It gives a little bit of a festive vibe and it really doesn’t require that much work, unless you’re a perfectionist. Perfectionists, you should probably find another blog. I can feel your stress looking at my pictures from here. Tablecloths, 2, streamers, 0.

Round #3: Ceiling Decor

Plastic Tablecloth

Need: 1 tablecloth (and one hula hoop)
Time to Complete in Real Time: 45 minutes
How Long it Felt: 300 years
Toddler Interference: Maximum
Frustration Level: high, but mostly from toddler, not tablecloth
Overall Look: Hahahaha, this would not be a feature at any party of mine. I went with the hula hoop idea instead of streaming from one side to the other because I didn’t have help. I’d have to say nothing is better than this though.

Streamers

Need: Minimum 1.5 rolls
Time to Complete in Real Time: 30 minutes
How Long it Felt: A week
Toddler Interference: Maximum
Frustration Level: Highest -both from the streamers and the toddler. Did you know toddlers like hula hoops? I started tying the streamers, but they kept ripping, so I moved to staples, which actually looked smoother and took less time.
Overall Look: Eh, I’d still probably skip it, but I could see someone with more time on their hands making something out of this. Oh, and I wouldn’t hang it on the chandelier I already have. I just didn’t have time to rig something else up.

The Winner: Streamers

I’m not positive I’d bother with this one. Well, that’s not accurate. I’m positive I wouldn’t bother with this one.  It was frustrating either way, my son just wanted to play with it, and in the end it didn’t look great. If I was basing this on traditional ceiling decorations, though, I still think streamers would win. They’re easier to twist up, you don’t have to worry about folding them or cutting them the right way, and the look is pretty much the same. Tablecloths, 2, streamers, 1.

Conclusion: Plastic Tablecloth Decorations Win

If I’m going to decorate, I want it to be as fast as possible so I don’t waste any time. For the most part, using plastic tablecloths was so much less work than putting up streamer after streamer after streamer. Oh, and if price is a consideration for you,  tablecloths are $1 at the dollar store and about $3.50 at Target. Getting them at the dollar store is obviously cheaper, but you can get more decorative ones at other stores. Two rolls of streamers are $1 at the dollar store and  between $1 and $3.50 for one roll at Target. I’m probably not going to start enjoying decorating, but at least now I know I have another option besides streamers. The next time you throw a party, think about that and spend more time enjoying and less time decorating!

 

MORGANS

Interchangeable Holiday Charger Plates

I’ve been working on an idea for interchangeable holiday charger plates. Charger plates in general are kind of weird, aren’t they? They’re plates, but you don’t use them for food. Sometimes they just sit underneath other plates, being mostly useless. Yet, for some reason, my eye is still drawn to them. I will admit I like a nicely set table. It brings out the food. I was thinking about buying some for Thanksgiving, but I couldn’t really find any I liked. I did love some of the Christmas plates on Etsy, but I didn’t feel like spending the money. Then I really thought about it, and I didn’t want to store a whole bunch of holiday plates anyway. This is where the interchangeable part came in.

My mom used to do a lot of tole painting when I was younger. That’s basically painting on wood, if you aren’t familiar. She doesn’t anymore, but a good portion of her holiday decorations are homemade. She has one that stays out all year. It’s a bear that hangs on the wall, and he changes his clothes for the holidays and different seasons. That’s my inspiration. A plate that changes clothes. This is not necessarily related, but my neighbor does this with pallets. Where does she put them?! Anyway, these plates are still a prototype, because I don’t have time to make them perfect, but so far I’m liking the idea.

How to Make Interchangeable Holiday Charger Plates

What You Need

Gathering supplies for interchangeable holiday charger plates

Charger Plates (As many as you want for your table, or just one for decor)
Fabric Quarters for Whatever Holidays you choose
Scissors
A marker (try to keep it lighter than the fabric so it doesn’t bleed)
Magnet Tape or Velcro
Super Glue and/or Fabric glue

For the charger plates, I went gold, but obviously you can pick whatever you want. I got a set of 4 from Amazon around $16. I know you can get them at Target or The Dollar store cheaper. But readers, I’m not worried about $10. I’m worried about 10 minutes, which is what it will take me to drive to one of those places, plus shopping, plus driving back. So choose your battles I guess.  As for the fabric, I again went with a time saving option. I’d originally planned on picking holiday-themed fabric, but when I got to JoAnn’s (yes, I actually went there) there was a huge line to get things cut. So I just picked up the right colors and went home.

What to Do

This project takes about the same amount of time as watching a quarter of football. That is give or take another quarter, because my son and dogs kept stealing my materials so I couldn’t properly time myself. Do you see why I’m always in a frenzy? Anyway, it could take longer if you are going for perfection. I was not. If I wanted perfection, I’d have to move out.

Step 1

Choose some shapes for each holiday. I did three: a leaf for Thanksgiving, a tree for Christmas, and a heart for Valentine’s Day. You can find some images on your computer or pick up die-cuts or something. I free-handed them though, because, you know, time.

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All you have to do is fold up your fabric quarter into quarters and draw the shape on. What was really cool about the plates I got is they had a little square outlined in the middle, so I had a pretty good idea of what size to make them so each holiday was similar. Staple your folded quarters together around the drawing if you want more control. Then cut all of them at once.

Step 2

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Now you have a whole bunch of little shapes, right? From here it’s time to figure out what size magnet or Velcro you need. I went with magnets because I thought they’d be thinner, but after putting a plate on top of the finished charger, I think Velcro would be fine too. Or, you know, whatever you have around the house.  You’re going to want to have two strips of magnet, one for the top and one for the bottom of each cutout. Now, your cutouts aren’t going to be the same size, so you can’t just measure one and call it good. I wound up having a little tiny piece and one longer piece, but that longer piece is the bottom for the tree and the top for the other two. Luckily plates are round so it really doesn’t matter.

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Step 3

Magnet tape is sticky on one side (as is Velcro), but the sticky part isn’t really meant for fabric, so I’d consider some fabric or super glue to keep the plates and fabric in place. It’s just easier than having to be careful every single time you switch out one of your cutouts. It should go without saying, but don’t glue the magnet side. Just slap those nicely glued magnets on there and you’re good to go! Interchangeable holiday charger plates in no time at all! Of course, if you’re less frenzied than I am, you can take your time and make them much nicer. But, I showed mine to a few people and they all agreed they were cute.  That’s really all we need, right?

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