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! ;)


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