how to make a kentucky derby hat

Kentucky Derby Hat

Until this year, I had never watched the Kentucky Derby. I tried to watch it a few times, but if you don’t get your timing exactly right, you’ll miss it. This year, I was invited to a Kentucky Derby party thrown my some of my friends who are from the South and I finally managed to watch the race.

The party host requested that we dress in our most Southern attire, which for ladies included sun dresses and hats. You can’t buy Derby hats in Denver, so I decided to create my own.

How to Make a Kentucky Derby Hat


Hat, several sheets of card stock paper, ribbons, glue gun

Step 1:

Buy a hat that you can wear more than once. I bought a floppy hat from Target that’s comfortable, cotton and easily packable in a beach bag. I didn’t want to spend $15 on a hat that I would only wear once

Step 2:

I found a long gold ribbon in my craft box and used it to cover the beachy rope that surrounded the hat. I didn’t want to destroy the original hat or glue anything directly to the hat, so I wrapped the ribbon around the canvas string and let the excess dangle off the hat.

Step 3:

I purchased the big white bow from Target, but you could make one of these, too. I secured it to the gold ribbon by tying it on with a small piece of string.

Step 4:

My original plan was to only have the white bow, but after looking at some Derby hats online, I decided my hat needed a little more flare. I looked up some ideas for making paper flowers and found this awesome tutorial for rolled paper flowers from Jones Design Company. These flowers are really easy to make and look beautiful. Everyone commented on my paper flowers and I must have described how to make them a dozen times. Check out the full tutorial from Jones Design company.

kentucky derby hat

Step 5:

I made 5 paper flowers and after gluing them together with a hot glue gun, I stuck colored paper clips through them so I could secure them to the hat. I folded up a little green ribbon and glued it into one of the flowers (seen above in the purple flower).

Step 6:

I added in a few more ribbons for effect

Step 7:

Make your Mint Julep and cheer for your horse!

I loved the way my Derby hat turned out. Sadly, I didn’t win the hat contest. Someone else “put a bird on it“. My horse didn’t win either, but at least it came in second!

The Derby was fun to watch, but it seems like a lot of buildup for such a short race. Maybe I’m just a Yankee at heart.

5 Responses to how to make a kentucky derby hat

  1. Can you make a hat from scratch for men because I can ill tell you .All you have to do is bend the bendy cardboard and pin it together so it makes a circle .Then cut a strip of bendy cardboard onto the circle of bendy cardboard and keep doing this till you have the layer over it BUT you must make sure you keep it in line over wise you will have a wonky hat .Then glue the bendy cardboard where it is and take the pins out very gently after letting it dry for 10-20 mins .After that you need to get a piece of soft cloth and sow it onto the hat . finally bend bit at the edge

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