The Kentucky Derby may be America’s greatest and most prestigious horse racing event, but it might be even more well known for its over-the-top fashion and delectable mint juleps!
High society women from across the globe fill the stands of the Derby decked out in preppy ensembles and the most outrageous hats. At the Kentucky Derby, it’s common to see brightly colored hats topped with adorable animals, whimsical flourishes, large flowers, and even larger bows. At this event, it’s impossible to wear a hat that’s too big or too crazy, and the one-of-a-kind hats can cost hundreds of dollars!
This year, we want to help you look your best at the biggest horseracing event of the year. We’ve created two easy tutorials for understated and feminine hats that are perfect for any Kentucky Derby event. These tutorials can help you wow the crowd at any Derby party, or they can be used as a fun party game with your friends while you’re preparing for the race to begin.
The first step to creating the perfect Kentucky Derby hat is to gather your supplies. You’ll need a hat (the bigger the better!) and a variety of accessories to use as decoration.
In our tutorials, we used faux flowers, pearls, rhinestone broaches, ribbon, and butterfly clips but feel free to use any embellishment that fits your style.
Nothing is off limits for Derby hats, so think outside the box. Old or broken jewelry, scarves, headbands, belts, and more can re-purposed in these hats to create a festive look. You’ll also need safety pins, scissors, glue sticks, and a glue gun to complete this project.
Where to Shop for Supplies:
To keep this project budget-friendly, be sure to take advantage of the coupons codes from Coupons.com where you can find the latest discounts from your favorite retailers. It’s easy to buy discounted hats at TJ Maxx and Ross, and you’ll easily find affordable jewelry and accessories at Forever 21 and The Dollar Tree. All of the crafting supplies (flowers, ribbons, faux jewels) and tools (glue gun, glue sticks, scissors) can be easily found on the Michaels website. You can save 50% off any regular-priced item at Michaels with this coupon until May 9th!
Spring Garden DIY Kentucky Derby Hat Tutorial
Our first tutorial features a soft and feminine design that is reminiscent of a bright spring garden. We chose a design that’s whimsical enough for Kentucky Derby parties but understated enough for a spring garden party. If you’d like to create a more extreme design, simply add more flowers and butterflies to the brim of the hat!
Step 1: Use a glue gun or safety pins to secure a wide cream ribbon to the base of a brimmed hat.
Step 2: Use the glue gun to attach the faux flowers to the cream ribbon.
Step 3: Accent the flowers by clipping or gluing a paper butterfly to the top of the faux flowers.
Step 4: Create a large bow with the remaining cream ribbon and secure the bow to the back of the hat with a glue gun or safety pins.
Step 5: Allow the hot glue to cool and enjoy your beautifully designed hat!
Glamorous DIY Kentucky Derby Hat Tutorial:
If you need a little glamour in your life, this hat design will be your perfect fit! The sophisticated design includes all of the Southern belle staples: pearls, ribbon, sparkle, and a giant bow!
Step 1: Use a glue gun or safety pins to attach a black and white striped ribbon to the base of a wide-brimmed hat.
Step 2: Wrap a pearl necklace around the base of the hat and secure by tying a knot in the necklace. Use the scissors to remove any excess pearls. Don’t worry about creating a perfectly flat knot. We’ll cover this section in the next step!
Step 3: Create a large bow with hot pink wired ribbon and attach the bow over the pearl necklace’s knot with hot glue.
Step 4: Once the glue from Step 3 has cooled, use the hot glue gun to attach a sparkling accent piece to the center of the bow. In this tutorial, we used a rhinestone necklace pendant, but you could use a broach, earring, or even a large faux jewel to achieve a similar look.
Step 5: Allow the glue to cool completely and enjoy your glamorous new hat!
DIY Kentucky Derby Hats Party Activity
If you’re holding a Kentucky Derby party, create a make-your-own hat station for guests to create their hats before the race begins. In your party invitation, ask each guest to bring a hat and a few accessories. Have the guests place all of the hats and embellishments on a large table and include tool stations with scissors, glue guns, and glue sticks on each side of the table. Guests can mix and match accessories and use the communal tools to create their one-of-a-kind Derby hats!
Before the race begins, host a Derby hat fashion show or place all of the hats on a showcase table. Allow the guests to vote on their favorite hat, and the winner can be announced at the end of the race. Don’t forget to put together a Kentucky Derby-themed prize package including a trophy, mint julep cup, Kentucky whiskey, and a 1st place prize ribbon! You can find a variety of affordable prize options at Amazon, but make sure you check out the coupon codes from Coupons.com before placing your order!
With these two easy Kentucky Derby tutorials, you can place your bets in style. Your one-of-a-kind hat is guaranteed to make you the bell of the ball for Saturday’s race! If you’d like more inspiration for your Kentucky Derby party, see how to make delicious spring cocktails and no-bake desserts in our latest posts!