If you’re a little lost you might like to read this post in conjunction with Hats Part 1 and DIY Fascinators. This post will give you ideas on how to decorate a plain base hat. I see a lot of people on Etsy who basically just sell pre-bought decorated hats but in my opinion it’s better to buy a better quality plain hat and decorate it yourself with stuff from around the house or things you can buy cheap from the craft store.
I apologise for so many pictures of my face, but hats don’t look quite right unless someone is wearing them.
- Badges and Brooches
- Scarves and Bandannas
- Tarot and/or Playing Cards
- Fabric flowers.
- Russian Veiling (not pictured here, see below)
- Hat of your choice.
These are the hats that don’t keep shape so I wouldn’t attach anything too fancy. A brooch is probably the extent of what you want to add although I’ve also added some ribbon and a short feather. It gives a sort of girl-guide look, but it can pretty cute if you’re into that sort of thing. You can put the brooch in the middle but if you ask me it looks a bit strange on a beret. It looks fine on a cap with a brim however (see below).
Soft and Structured Hats
These hats are made out of soft materials but have a fixed shape. This means you can stick pins into them and if you do it carefully it won’t ruin the hat. More badges and pins will give a kind of hipster-punk look whereas a single brooch will get you a bit more of a military look on the cap. Try experimenting with different button sizes. I personally really like the look of the smaller ones but you can mix and match.
Hats like fedoras have a brim that goes all the way around which means that the crown is pretty stable and the hat looks more balanced on a 360 degree view so you can stick things on the side and around the brim as well. (Compare to a cap where the brim makes the hat front-heavy and it wouldn’t look balanced if you added items anywhere else.)
You probably don’t want to be sticking things like pins into bowlers and top hats so you need some ribbon or a scarf to tie around the brim in order to tuck things under or pin things on. Think about balance and height levels. While I have items on the back, right side and front of the hat below the highest items are on the side and back. The front brooch/cameo is small and level to the scarf band so it isn’t a major sticking point. At the most you want two built-up areas (and probably not the combination of front & back, and side & side since in this case asymmetry is more pleasing to the eye.)
Add a Veil
What I also see a lot is people selling goth top hats with veils at silly prices. Adding a veil to a top hat is really easy and you can get Russian veiling on Etsy for about $3/yard (approx 90cm) or at your local craft store. You shouldn’t need much more than that and the piece below is only about 20cm wide.
Start off by creating some pleats and tacking them together with safety pins. How many you want is up to you but the more you add the more the veil will puff out. I used four pleats.
Now you should have a trapezoid shape where the top is longer than the bottom. We actually want the veil to create a rounded effect so we don’t want to see the corners at the bottom. Take each bottom corner and pin it together with the outer pleat corner at the top.
Your veiling should look a bit like this now:
If you look inside the brim of your hat there should be some lining around the crown that you can pin this onto. The safety pins should be invisible inside your hat. I personally like having the veil come just under my eyes but you can experiment with what looks best on you. Since the veiling is pinned together and not glued on you can muck about with this and attach it onto different hats. Some people like attaching the veiling to the outside of the hat on the brim at well – you can pin it onto the inside of a scarf or bandanna and hid the safety pins that way. You might need a longer length of veiling however.
Made a fascinator lately? Great! (You can try positioning it at the front and the back of your hat also.)
As always let me know if you had any problems with this post! Hopefully this has inspired you to experiment with sprucing up an old hat or two with stuff you should have around the house. Here’s some other objects you might think about incorporating too: watch faces, brass or metal stampings, wooden shapes, wire, pearls, ribbon rosettes, lace, origami, leather cord, beads and other shiny things.
FYI, the rabbit cameo I am wearing here is new and from The Little Shop Of (Handmade). Unfortunately they’ve sold out of those designs as far as I know but they have plenty of other awesome items at really reasonable prices.