DIY Kentucky Derby Hat
Crafts and Home Decor

10-Minute DIY Kentucky Derby Hat

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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
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.
fake flowers

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!


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!


DIY Kentucky Derby hats can be made in 10 minutes! Super easy. #DIY
DIY Kentucky Derby hats can be made in 10 minutes! Super easy. #DIY

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  1. robin rue says:

    That is such a cute idea. My sister in law is going to a KD party, so she will really appreciate this.

  2. This is a really cute idea. I showed it to my wife and she’s going to put together a day with my daughters and nieces and they are going to make derby hats and then go out and ride our horses. Thanks for the cute idea!

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      How sweet! I hope you they have a good day with it.

  3. Andrea says:

    how awesome is this DYI hat. I would totally do this for halloween it would make a great addition to a costume idea I have. These hats also remind me so much of my grandma she was hat obsessed.

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      It must be a grandma thing. They love those crazy flower hats.

  4. Wow this is so cute! And doesn’t look too time consuming either.. I would love to try this with my little girl she is so into creating her own accessories.

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      It might take a bit longer with little kids, but it honestly is really fast. I would not bother with it if it wasn’t. 🙂

  5. Those are super cute! Love how quick they are to make!

  6. How pretty and creative!!! Love the hat, I would wear it more than just to a derby!

  7. What a fun hat! I wish I could go to the Kentucky Derby.

  8. Awesome. It seems so easy now to make it. It’s a great DYI hat and you can save a lot of money in just 10 minutes.Thank you for sharing

  9. This s so creative and can save you a penny too. Nice, especially since you can make it to your own liking.

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Exactly. The hat was a little pricier since I wanted to be able to use it again without the decorations, but I got everything else at the dollar store. Really no need to spend a lot.

  10. We have a Derby coming up in the UK and this DIY hat would be perfect with the dress I am planning to wear. I am bookmarking for the time being x

  11. Beautiful! I love the hats, I love DIYs I might make one and surprise my sisters 🙂

  12. Both of those hats are amazing and impressive. I know that my daughter would love putting together a hat like that. She loves hats and these are beautiful. They would go with a nice Easter dress.

  13. This is really really cute! I’d love to do this DIY!

    XOXO // Check out my latest post if you like 😉

  14. You are so creative!!! I especially love the last one it’s gorgeous! Brilliant ideas x

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Thank you!

  15. I have to admit that I sometimes watch the Kentucky Derby just to see all of the hats. Being able to make my own would be so cool. I can’t wait to try it.

  16. These are so cute! I love a good DIY! Will have to try this out!

  17. Well I’m not really much of a partier, but I could stand to have a Derby day with my kids over the summer, where I’ll have stuff they can use to make Derby hats, along with horse themed games and stuff. Thanks for the idea!

  18. These look great and so easy to make. Wish i was someone who could pull off a hat!

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