3 DIY Derby Hat ideas

Derby season is upon us! Have you ever been? I haven’t, BUT I was the winner of the The Kentucky Derby hat contest on The Today Show in 2013 if you can believe it. Ha! The story goes, I submitted a paper flower hat design to The Today Show for a Kentucky Derby hat contest. I, along with two other finalists, were brought on to the show to show off our hats and what do you know, June Ambrose and Al Roker named me the winner. Ha! It was all very hilarious. You can see the ” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>full video here for proof. With that in mind, today I’m sharing 3 DIY derby hat ideas to make out of paper.

And if you’re looking for the rose paper hat from the clip, you can find it here.

3 DIY Derby Hat ideas

The Kentucky Derby is one of the most anticipated events of the year, where fashion and style play a crucial role. The iconic Kentucky Derby hats have become a significant part of the event’s tradition, and every year, ladies from all around the world compete to show off their best hats. Handmade Kentucky Derby hats are even more popular as they add a personal touch and unique flair to your outfit. In this blog post, I will share some DIY handmade Kentucky Derby hat ideas that will make you stand out from the crowd.

You can also consider them for the royal coronation or Royal Ascot, Easter parade, or just whatever your heart desires!

Let’s get cracking!

These PowerCut Shears are ready for any DIY project, but they’re especially good for heavier materials like cork, burlap, cardboard, and more. They make the experience involve less swear words–always a win. They were the perfect choice when creating our 3 DIY Kentucky Derby hats because we used materials like cardboard, cheese cloth, cardstock, crepe paper, you know, not the totally typical office paper type.

PSA: We are avid cardboard users and honestly, these PowerCut Shears are dreamy. You need them in your craft library!

DIY Paper flower fascinator Derby hat idea

We used a variety of paper flower tutorials from our archives to create this stunner. Affixed to a styrofoam dome that we treated, it works perfectly as a dose of springtime.


  • Crepe paper
  • Wire
  • Styrofoam dome
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Fiskars Original Orange-handled ScissorsTM
  • Fiskars PowerCut ShearsTM
  • Ribbon
  • Acrylic
  • Glue gun


  1. We used a few tutorials from our archives to create the flowers:
    1. Crepe paper tulips: https://thehousethatlarsbuilt.com/2014/04/make-a-spring-centerpiece-with-tulips.html/
    2. Kumquats and poppies from this post: https://thehousethatlarsbuilt.com/2018/04/cinco-de-mayo-paper-wedding-bouquet.html/
  2. Stick each flower into the dome on the side.
  3. Use 1.5” of ribbon to make a loop and glue to each side of the dome where you will insert the bobby pins for use.
  4. Paint the foam pink with acrylic
  5. Apply a layer of decoupage glue underneath the foam to prevent foam crumble.


DIY Paper Bow fascinator Derby Hat idea

For this bow fascinator, we used some more traditional hat making techniques in a more DIY way by creating our own hat mold with very cheap materials. Fiskars was right there to provide the ease!


  • ½ yard of cheese cloth
  • Headband (this is the most comfortable headband ever!)
  • 11” balloon
  • Spray paint (we used this this one)
  • Glue gun
  • Fiskars Original Orange-handled ScissorsTM
  • Fiskars PowerCut ShearsTM
  • Cardstock
  • Wire (we used this 16 gauge craft wire)
  • Parchment paper


  1. Create a mix of Modge Podge and water and soak the cheesecloth in it and wring it out.
  2. Create a frame out of thick wire to form the hat as seen in the picture and to the size of your head.
  3. Lay the cheesecloth on top of the parchment paper (parchment paper should be bigger than the cheesecloth!
  4. Lay the parchment onto the wire frame with a balloon underneath to provide a ridge and let it dry (use a blow dryer if in a hurry, but it dries better in the air for 24 hours).
  5. Once it’s dry, cut the cheesecloth to the shape that you’re desiring.
  6. Spray paint the cheesecloth in your desired color.
  7. Glue gun or wire down the cheesecloth to the headband at your desired angle.

To make the bow:

  1. Use our template for the shape and create a bow. Create some loops and glue in place.
  2. To create curl in the paper, you can use a paintbrush like you’d curl ribbon.

DIY Paper weaving fascinator Derby Hat


  • Glue gun
  • Cardboard
  • Fiskars PowerCut ShearsTM
  • Cardstock
  • Washi tape
  • Ribbon
  • Paper cutter


  1. Cut a circle with your Fiskars shears about 5” or to your desired length. It will fit on your head so measure that first.
  2. Create a lip on the circle that’s about 1” deep. Glue together
  3. To create the cardstock paper strips, (we used 28 around the circumference) use a paper cutter to create ½” strips. Note, we used washi tape on the edges of some to create dimension.
  4. To create the shape, bend the strip in half and glue it to one edge of the lip and then glue it to the other edge of the loop. The shape will be like a Breast Cancer awareness ribbon to give you a better visual.
  5. Glue each strip every ½” around the circumference of the circle. Repeat to the other half of the lip going the opposite way.

To create the dome on top:

  1. Create more strips (we used 15) at 7” long. We made a ¼” tab on each side and glued one tab to the circle of the hat and then to the other and went around the circle.

Shop the look!

If you’re not in the mood to DIY a derby hat or fascinator, here are some of my favorites to buy in all price points.

The Kentucky Derby is a great opportunity to show off your style and creativity. Handmade Kentucky Derby hats are a great way to add a personal touch to your outfit and make a statement. Whether you prefer a classic pillbox hat or a unique cowboy hat, there are plenty of options to choose from. So grab your glue gun and start creating your perfect Kentucky Derby hat!

Have you ever made a Derby hat? Or been to the races? Would love to hear your experience! Tell us all about it!

Like this? Try this!

Find three ways to make a fascinator! 


  1. Stunning! Thank you for the DIY just in time for a weeding I’m invitited to in two weeks! Can you also tell me where the yellow dress is from?


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