DIY Derby (or Royal Wedding) Hat Tutorial

diy derby hat tutorial

If you live anywhere near Louisville, you know Derby talk is heating up. Hats, horses, mint juleps are everywhere! This year I decided I needed a marvelous hat even though I’m not actually going to the Derby (sigh). And major bonus: I can sit and watch the royal wedding in style.

Really big bodacious Derby hats easily pass the $200 mark. The hat I was inspired by was going for $240. Yikes! So I got supplies and created my own! Ok, I got carried away and made 3 but we’ll start with the first and most flamboyant. :)

I started with this $8 hat from Wal-Mart.


And added a selection of feathers that cost about $40. The 5 feather bunches were $6 to $8 each. And the 3 peacocks were $2 each. (Outside of Louisville I’m sure this would be cheaper.)


I got a small styrofoam ball and painted it black to hide in the black hat.

hat tutorial

Then I started sticking in the feathers! Running your fingers up the length of the feather will help it open up. Play with the placement a little bit before you hot glue the feathers into the ball.

derby hat tutorial


make hat

After several minutes of staring in the mirror to figure out where to place the feathers, I cut the ball on an angle and hot glued it to the hat.

feather hat

A last minute addition of the long brown feathers at the bottom helped hide the styrofoam ball. I love it. I may be doing the housework in this tomorrow.

What do you think? I think Kate would approve! Stay tuned … two more hat tutorials coming up!


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  1. Jess says

    How did it hold up with the hot glue? Did you have to do any repairs to make it stronger? Also, what store did you get the feathers from? My Michaels didn’t have the pretty purple and teal. :( I can’t wait to try this!

  2. Amanda says

    Thank you! I am attending a Kentucky Derby Party and used your idea to spruce up my plain black sun hat. I also added some black tulle and a flower. It turned out fantastic!

  3. says

    I love!!!! I am only 8 years old and i think i will try this for the derbey contest at gilmore lane elementery and i think this hat idea will let me win thanks for a little details. YOUR AWESOME!!!!!

  4. says

    I LOVE THIS!!!! Love the feathers and the colors!!! So fun!!! Really wish I was going to the Derby or a Royal wedding just so I could wear a sweet hat like this! Thanks for sharing on Fancy This Fridays!!! P.S. I shared this on our facebook page! ;)

  5. says

    So cool! I love it- bet the new princess would, too ;) We would ♥ for you to show this off at our linky party!

    Lolly Jane

  6. says

    Oh I love it!! Even at TJ Maxx the fancy schmancy hats can be so expensive. We are up here in Northern Kentucky so the Derby is forefront in our minds. This was such a great idea, and as beautiful as any you would did a great job! I've never been to the Derby either, but would love to go one year. I have been to Lane's End up here at Turfway Park and that was so much fun. We were VIP guests in the Makers Mark Tent and everyone was wearing hats! Thank you for sharing this with us at Inspiration Friday! Next year I'd love to have a Derby Party and I will definitely remember your hat tutorial.



  7. henryhappened says

    There were some crazy hats at the wedding today! I can't wait to see what turns up at the Derby. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. says

    That is so fun! I was complaining on my blog today that we don't wear hats here in the US, but I forgot about major horse races. Maybe I need to start going to the racetrack so I have an excuse to wear something fabulous like that.

  9. henryhappened says

    Good luck with your hat – it was super fun to make! :) And wanted to let you know I”m going to feature your rose cake tomorrow!

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