How to Make a Cowboy Hat Fit Tighter: 3 easy ways

So you’ve got yourself a cowboy hat, but it’s just a tad too loose for your liking. 

Don’t worry, partner, we’ve got you covered. 

Making a cowboy hat fit tighter is easier than you might think, and we’re here to show you how.

First things first, let’s talk about why it’s important to have a properly fitting cowboy hat. 

Not only does it look better, but it also serves a practical purpose. 

A loose hat can fly off your head in the wind or during a particularly enthusiastic line dance. 

Plus, a hat that’s too tight can cause discomfort and headaches. 

So, finding the perfect fit is key to enjoying your cowboy hat to the fullest.

Now, let’s get to the good stuff. 

There are a few different methods for making a cowboy hat fit tighter, and we’re going to cover them all. 

From adding fillers to the inside of the hat to using sizing tape, we’ll show you how to get that snug fit you’ve been looking for. 

So, grab your hat, and let’s get started!

Assessing the Fit

Before we dive into how to make your cowboy hat fit tighter, let’s first assess the current fit of your hat. 

A well-fitting cowboy hat should feel snug but not tight, and it should sit comfortably on your head without sliding around.

If your hat is too loose, it can be uncomfortable and even dangerous if it falls off during a ride.

Here are a few things to consider when assessing the fit of your cowboy hat:

  • Head size: Make sure you know your head size before purchasing a cowboy hat. If you’re unsure, measure the circumference of your head with a tape measure and consult a size chart.
  • Shape of your head: Everyone’s head is different, so it’s important to find a cowboy hat that complements the shape of your head. For example, if you have a round face, a hat with a taller crown can help elongate your face.
  • Style of the hat: Cowboy hats come in a variety of styles, including wide brim, narrow brim, flat crown, and more. Choose a style that fits your personal taste and complements your outfit.

If you’ve already purchased a cowboy hat and it’s too loose, don’t worry! There are several ways to make it fit tighter without having to buy a new hat.

Shrinking the Hat 

Shrinking a wool or felt cowboy hat can be tricky, and it’s important to note that once a hat has been shrunk, it can’t be unshrunk. 

Here are some general steps you can take to try to shrink your hat:

  • Determine if your hat is made of wool or felt. Wool hats can be shrunk using hot water, while felt hats require steam.
  • For wool hats, fill a sink or bucket with hot water.
  • Be sure to use hot but not boiling water, as boiling water can ruin the hat. 
  • Dip the hat in the water, making sure it’s completely saturated.
  • Remove the hat from the water and squeeze out any excess water. Gently reshape the hat to your desired size.
  • Allow the hat to air dry, reshaping it as necessary. It’s important to note that wool can take a long time to dry, so be patient.

Tips for shrinking a felt cowboy hat

  • For felt hats, you can try steaming the hat by holding it over a pot of boiling water or using a steam iron. 
  • Be sure to hold the hat at a safe distance from the steam source to avoid burning yourself.
  • Steam the hat until it’s thoroughly damp, and then gently reshape it to your desired size.
  • Allow the hat to air dry completely before wearing it.

It’s important to note that shrinking a hat can change its shape and appearance, and it’s not a guaranteed solution for a hat that doesn’t fit properly. 

Here’s a great video that shows you how to shrink a felt hat:

If you’re unsure about shrinking your hat, it’s best to consult a professional hat maker or retailer for advice.

Using Hat Inserts (aka reducer tape)

One of the easiest ways to make your cowboy hat fit tighter is to use hat tape/foam inserts. 

These inserts are made of foam or cork and can be placed inside the hat to adjust the fit. 

They work by filling in the space between your head and the hat, creating a snugger fit. 

A 1cm insert will reduce the size of your hat by 1 cm and so on.

Here’s how to use them:

  • First, purchase hat tape inserts. You can find them online or at a hat store.
  • Insert the foam or cork inserts into the hat, positioning them where you need them to create a tighter fit. You can place them at the front, back, or sides of the hat, depending on where you need more support.
  • Wear the hat with the inserts in place to see how it feels. If it’s still too loose, you can add more inserts or adjust their position.
  • Once you have the right fit, you can remove the inserts and store them for future use.

Using hat inserts is a simple and affordable way to make your cowboy hat fit tighter.

It’s also a great option if you don’t want to alter the hat itself or if you need a temporary solution. 

Just be sure to adjust them as needed for the best fit.

Adding a Sweatband

A sweatband is a strip of absorbent material that lines the inside of your hat. It not only helps to keep sweat from dripping down your face, but it can also help to make your hat fit more snugly. 

Here’s a great video that shows how to make a hat smaller using either a sweatband, electrical tape, or foam inserts:

And here are some steps for how to add a sweatband:

  1. Measure the circumference of your head. You’ll want to get an accurate measurement so that you can purchase the right size sweatband.
  2. Purchase a sweatband that is the same size as your head measurement. You can find sweatbands at most hat stores or online.
  3. Remove the old sweatband from your hat. If your hat doesn’t have a sweatband, skip this step.
  4. Place the new sweatband inside your hat, making sure that it is centered and level.
  5. Attach the sweatband to your hat using fabric glue or double-sided tape. Make sure that it is securely attached.

Adding a sweatband is a quick and easy way to make your cowboy hat fit more snugly on your head.

It’s also a great way to keep sweat from dripping down your face on hot summer days. Give it a try and see how it works for you!


Congratulations! You have successfully learned how to make your cowboy hat fit tighter. 

By following the steps outlined in this article, you can save money and time by not having to go to a hat store or company to get your hat adjusted.

Remember, the key is to be patient and take your time, especially if your using the shrinking method. 

As rushing the process can lead to irreversible damage to your hat.

If you have any doubts or concerns, don’t hesitate to seek the advice of a professional hat maker or fitter. 

They can provide you with additional tips and tricks to ensure your hat fits perfectly.

Now that you know how to make your cowboy hat fit tighter, you can confidently wear it to any occasion, whether it’s a rodeo, a country concert, or just a casual day out. 

Happy hatting!