cowboy hat felt

How to Make a Cowboy Hat: Step-by-Step Guide & Tips!

Giddy up, y’all! I’m excited to share with you my step-by-step guide on how to make a cowboy hat. Whether you’re a fan of Western fashion or looking for a fun craft project, making a cowboy hat can be a rewarding and creative experience. Follow along with me as I guide you through the process from start to finish.

Before we begin, let’s gather the necessary materials. You’ll need high-quality felt, a hat block, hat bands, and hat feathers. In the next section, I’ll break down each of these materials and explain their importance in crafting a cowboy hat.

Key Takeaways:

  • Making a cowboy hat can be a fun and rewarding experience.
  • Gather high-quality materials such as felt, hat blocks, hat bands, and hat feathers.
  • Next, we’ll dive into the different types of felt available and how to choose the right one for your hat.

How to Make a Cowboy Hat: Materials Needed

Making a cowboy hat requires specific materials to get the job done right. Here are the basic materials necessary for creating your own cowboy hat:

FeltFelt is the most important material for making a cowboy hat. Choose a quality felt like beaver or rabbit felt for a durable and classic hat.
Hat BlocksThe hat block is a wooden form used for shaping the hat crown and brim. Choose a block that matches the desired style and size of your hat.
Hat BandsHat bands are decorative ribbons or leather straps that encircle the base of the crown. Choose a hat band that complements the style and color of your hat.
Hat FeathersHat feathers are a classic accessory for cowboy hats. Choose a feather that matches the color and style of your hat.

Additionally, other materials may be necessary for completing the project, such as scissors, a sewing machine, thread, and adhesive. With these materials, you can start creating your own unique cowboy hat!

Choosing the Right Felt for Your Cowboy Hat

One of the most important decisions you’ll make when making a cowboy hat is choosing the right felt. The felt will determine the overall quality, durability, and appearance of your hat. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:

  • Quality: Look for high-quality, 100% wool felt. This will ensure that your hat is durable and can withstand wear and tear. Avoid synthetic fibers or blends that may not hold up as well over time.
  • Thickness: Consider the thickness of the felt, also known as the weight. A weight of 3x or higher is recommended for a sturdy cowboy hat that will hold its shape well. However, a lighter weight may be more comfortable to wear, especially in warmer climates.
  • Color: Choose a color that best suits your style and preferences. Classic colors like black, brown, and beige are versatile and timeless, while brighter colors like red or turquoise can add a fun pop of color to your outfit.

Ultimately, the right felt for your cowboy hat will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Do your research, and don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from experienced hat makers or suppliers.

Creating the Hat Brim

In this section, I’ll guide you through the process of creating the brim of your cowboy hat. The brim is an essential element of any cowboy hat, providing shade and protection from the sun.

To begin, you’ll need:

  • A hat block
  • Steamer or iron with steaming capabilities
  • Felt material of desired thickness

Once you have your materials ready, follow the steps below:

  1. Place your felt over the hat block and secure it with pins.
  2. With the steamer or iron, apply steam to the felt until it becomes pliable.
  3. Using a hat block, shape the brim to your desired width and style. Make sure to press down firmly to achieve a consistent curve.
  4. Allow the brim to dry completely before removing it from the hat block. This could take several hours or even overnight depending on the thickness of your felt.
  5. Once dry, trim the edge of the brim to give it a clean look using scissors or a rotary cutter.

It’s important to note that the size and shape of the hat block will determine the final shape of your brim. Choose a hat block that closely matches the desired shape of your brim to achieve the best results.

Here’s an example of a hat block used for creating a brim:

cowboy hat brim block

Now that you’ve successfully created the brim of your cowboy hat, it’s time to move on to shaping the crown.

Shaping the Crown of the Cowboy Hat

When it comes to shaping the crown of a cowboy hat, there are a few techniques that can be used. One popular method is using a block, which is a wooden or metal form specifically designed for hat making. Another option is hand shaping, which involves molding the crown by hand until the desired height and shape is achieved.

If using a block, begin by placing the crown of the hat over the block and securing it in place. Apply steam to the felt and use your hands to shape the crown, carefully pressing and smoothing out any wrinkles or bumps. For hand shaping, start by gently pulling and stretching the felt in different directions until it begins to take on the desired shape. Use your fingertips to pinch and mold the crown, adding or removing felt as needed to achieve the desired height.

Whatever technique you choose, be sure to take your time and work slowly and carefully. Remember that the crown of the hat should complement the width and shape of the brim, and should also match the desired style of the finished hat.

cowboy hat crown shaping

Assembling the Cowboy Hat

Now that I have the crown and brim of my cowboy hat ready, it’s time to assemble them.

I prefer to use a stitching method to attach the two pieces together, but you can also use adhesive if you prefer. First, I place the crown onto the brim and use a needle and thread to sew them together. I use a strong, waxed thread for durability and ensure that my stitches are neat and even.

It’s important to take your time with this step and ensure that the crown and brim are aligned properly for a professional-looking finish. Don’t rush the stitching process, as a poorly assembled cowboy hat can ruin all of your hard work!

Once the crown is securely attached to the brim, I like to check the overall shape of the hat and make any necessary adjustments. This may involve reshaping the brim slightly or adjusting the height of the crown to ensure a proper fit.

cowboy hat assembly

With the crown and brim successfully attached, my cowboy hat is really starting to take shape. In the next section, I’ll show you how to add a hat band and some decorative elements to make your handmade cowboy hat truly unique.

Adding a Hat Band and Decorations

After assembling your cowboy hat, it’s time to add a personal touch that represents your unique style. One way to do this is by attaching a hat band. Choose a band that complements the color and style of your hat. Leather, braided, and beaded bands are all popular options.

handmade cowboy hat with leather hat band

To attach the band, wrap it around the base of the crown, where it meets the brim. Secure it with a stitch or a small amount of adhesive. Make sure the band is centered and even all the way around.

You can also add decorations to your hat for a unique touch. Feathers, conchos, and decorative pins are popular choices. Be sure to choose decorations that match the style and color of your hat and hat band.

If you’re adding feathers, attach them to the hat band or tuck them into the brim for a cowboy look. Conchos and pins can be attached to the hat band or to the crown of the hat using a small amount of adhesive. Don’t go overboard with decorations, as less is often more when it comes to cowboy hats.

Shaping and Finishing the Cowboy Hat

Once the crown and brim of your cowboy hat have been assembled, the next step is to shape and finish it to achieve your desired style. Take your time with this step to ensure your hat looks great and fits comfortably.

Start by steaming the crown and brim to soften the felt and make it more malleable. Place the hat over a steam source and rotate it slowly to get even distribution of the steam. Use your hands to shape the hat, pulling the brim down or bending the crown to shape it as you desire.

If you need to adjust the size of the crown, use a hat stretcher to gently stretch the felt. This is especially important if the hat feels tight or uncomfortable.

For more precise shaping, consider using a hat block. Place the hat over the block and use a cloth to press the felt into the desired shape. This will help maintain the shape of your hat and make it more comfortable to wear.

Once you’re happy with the shape of your cowboy hat, use a hat brush to remove any loose fibers or dirt. You can also use a lint roller for a more thorough cleaning. Finally, add any final touches such as a hat band or hat feather to complete your personalized creation.

shaping a cowboy hat

Adding Personalized Touches to Your Cowboy Hat

One of the fun parts of making a handmade cowboy hat is adding your personalized touches to it. There are many ways to make your cowboy hat stand out from the rest and show off your unique style. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Leather accents: Adding leather accents to your cowboy hat such as a band or stitching can give it a rustic look. You can also add leather shapes such as a cowboy boot or horseshoe.
  • Embroidery: Adding embroidery to your cowboy hat can make it truly one-of-a-kind. You can add your name, a favorite quote or design, or even a picture.
  • Custom hat pins: Hat pins can add a touch of personality to your cowboy hat. You can create your own hat pins with beads, feathers, or other decorative elements.

Whatever personalized touch you choose to add, make sure it complements the overall look of your cowboy hat. Don’t forget to take a picture and show off your handmade creation!

DIY cowboy hat

Section 10: Caring for Your Cowboy Hat

A well-crafted cowboy hat can last a lifetime with proper care. Here are some tips for keeping your hat in top condition:

  • Store your hat upside down on a flat surface or hung on a hat rack to help maintain its shape.
  • Brush your hat regularly with a soft-bristled brush to remove dust and dirt. Avoid using water or liquids to clean your hat.
  • Avoid exposing your hat to extreme heat or moisture, as this can warp the shape or cause damage.
  • Use a hat stretcher to help maintain the fit of your hat over time.
  • If your hat becomes misshapen, reshape it by steaming it over a pot of boiling water or using a hat steamer.
  • If your hat gets wet, allow it to dry naturally and avoid using heat to speed up the drying process.
  • If your hat requires repair, take it to a professional hat maker or repair shop to ensure it is properly fixed.

By following these simple care and maintenance tips, you can ensure your cowboy hat stays looking great for years to come!

Taking care of a cowboy hat

Finding Inspiration for Your Cowboy Hat

I am always seeking out fresh and creative ideas for my cowboy hat designs. Inspiration can come from a variety of sources, from historical hats to modern Western fashion trends. Here are some of my favorite sources for finding inspiration for your own handmade cowboy hat:

  • Historical Hats: The history of the American West is rich with distinctive hat styles, from the classic Stetson to the wide-brimmed sombrero. Studying vintage photos and films can provide valuable insights into traditional hat designs.
  • Western Movies: Western films have long been a source of inspiration for cowboy hat enthusiasts. Pay attention to the unique hat styles worn by your favorite Western movie characters and consider adapting them to your own design.
  • Cowboy Fashion Trends: Like any fashion genre, Western wear is constantly evolving. Follow cowboy influencers on social media or attend local cowboy events to stay up-to-date with the latest cowboy hat trends.
  • Nature: The natural world can be a great source of inspiration for cowboy hat designs. Consider incorporating colors and patterns inspired by the mountains, plains, or deserts.

No matter where you find your inspiration, remember that the possibilities for customizing a handmade cowboy hat are endless. By incorporating your own unique touches, you can create a hat that is not only stylish but truly one-of-a-kind.

cowboy hat inspiration


As you can see, making a cowboy hat is a fun and rewarding experience that combines creativity and craftsmanship. With the right materials and techniques, you can create a personalized hat that reflects your style and personality. Whether you’re a fan of Western fashion or simply looking for a new hobby, cowboy hat making is a great way to express yourself and showcase your skills.

Remember to take your time and follow each step carefully, as precision is key to achieving a professional-looking result. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different colors, shapes, and decorations, as this is what makes each handmade cowboy hat unique and special.

With proper care and maintenance, your cowboy hat can last for many years and become a cherished accessory in your wardrobe. Make sure to store it in a cool and dry place, avoid exposing it to direct sunlight or moisture, and use a soft brush to remove any dust or debris. If you encounter any damage or wear and tear, don’t hesitate to seek the help of a professional hat maker or repair service.

Happy hat making!


Q: How long does it take to make a cowboy hat?

A: The time it takes to make a cowboy hat can vary depending on your skill level and the complexity of the design. On average, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to complete a handmade cowboy hat.

Q: Do I need any special tools to make a cowboy hat?

A: While there are some specialized tools that can make the process easier, it is possible to make a cowboy hat with basic tools such as scissors, a steam iron, and a hat block. However, investing in tools like a hat stretcher or a hat shaping machine can greatly improve the quality and ease of construction.

Q: Can I make a cowboy hat without sewing?

A: Sewing is a common method used to attach the crown to the brim of a cowboy hat, but it is possible to use adhesive instead. This can be a quicker and easier alternative for those who are not proficient in sewing.

Q: How do I know what size hat block to use?

A: The size of the hat block needed will depend on the desired size of your finished hat. Measure your head circumference and choose a block that is slightly larger to allow for shrinkage during the felting process. It’s always a good idea to consult a hat-making supplier or refer to an online guide for specific recommendations.

Q: Can I make a cowboy hat out of materials other than felt?

A: While felt is the most traditional and commonly used material for making cowboy hats, it is possible to experiment with other materials such as leather or straw. Keep in mind that different materials may require different construction techniques and may not provide the same level of durability or shape retention as felt.

Q: How should I clean and store my cowboy hat?

A: To clean your cowboy hat, use a soft brush or cloth to gently remove dust and dirt. Avoid getting your hat wet, as this can cause damage to the felt. When not in use, store your cowboy hat in a cool, dry place, preferably in a hat box or on a hat rack to help maintain its shape.

Q: Can I reshape my cowboy hat if it becomes misshapen?

A: Yes, you can reshape your cowboy hat if it loses its shape over time. To do this, you will need to steam the hat and use a hat stretcher or hat block to reshape the crown and brim. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take your time to achieve the desired shape.

Q: How can I add a personal touch to my cowboy hat?

A: There are many ways to personalize your cowboy hat, such as adding leather accents, embroidery, or custom hat pins. Get creative and experiment with different materials and designs to make your hat truly unique.

Q: Where can I find inspiration for designing my cowboy hat?

A: You can find inspiration for designing your cowboy hat from various sources, including historical hats, Western movies, or cowboy fashion trends. Explore websites, books, and magazines dedicated to cowboy hat design for ideas and inspiration.

Q: Can I make a cowboy hat without any prior experience?

A: While some basic sewing and crafting skills can be helpful, it is possible to make a cowboy hat without any prior experience. Follow step-by-step guides, watch tutorial videos, and practice patience and persistence as you learn the techniques involved in making a cowboy hat.