The first week or two of May brings some seriously great events for folks who love to entertain and cook and create: May Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, and the Kentucky Derby. Always falling on the first Saturday in May, the Kentucky Derby is such a fun, unique, iconic event. Sure, there’s a two million dollar purse and a massive rose garland and mint juleps all day long, but I think the really great part for me is THOSE HATS.
I did a little Googling to try and figure out what the crazy headwear was all about. I’m not sure there is an entirely definitive answer, but I did learn that the race originators modeled the Kentucky Derby after European races where those in attendance were high class and dressed to impress– and people wore hats all the time when the Derby started in 1875. (1875!) On top of all that, those hats are thought to bring good luck to all the folks who put down a little (or large) bet on the outcome. FANCY.
Which sums up nicely why you should make some ridiculously AMAZING DIY Kentucky Derby Party Hats for your next Derby party. To recap: these hats are ADORABLE, they’re incredibly fun to make (anything goes!), Derby and hats are synonymous, they’re absolutely perfect toppers to the delicious sparkling juices Izze sent over, and everyone gets a little boost of superstitious gambling luck!
Obviously, sky’s the limit with this DIY as far as supplies are concerned. I think I had a great variety so definitely consider the items I used, but if you see something you love in your craft store pick it up (and then tell me about it!)
- small straw doll hats
- googly eyes
- thin ribbon
- tulle ribbon
- small silk flowers (the hydrangea stem I bought was great since there were so many blooms, but mini roses would be super true to Derby style!)
- small embellishments, like small birds as shown
- glue gun, scissors
- bottles of Izze to serve your guests and present your hats!
- if you’d like to turn the hats into pins for your guests to wear at the party, pick up some pin backs
Set all the supplies out, warm up your glue gun and get glueing! Feathers, ribbons and netting are the usual, but I couldn’t resist the quirky googly eye and hair bow combo. To create the all-over flower hat, make sure that you cut off the silk flower bloom while retaining a bit of the stem- that way the flower will maintain its shape.
The little birds are from the floral section- they are packaged on long green wires. Since these little guys are styrofoam, just pull the birds off the wire stem before you glue!
Feathers look best two ways. One option is to glue them against the brim of the hat in a gradual layer- it creates a pretty long plume (you can see a sample in the first image, top middle). The second option is to trim the feathers and glue them up against the back of the crown so they stick straight up (as shown on the above left).
Izze sent over two of their delicious flavors to inspire this one: Cherry Lime and Apple. I love the color and flavor contrast that having two flavors provides! I’d serve these alongside a bottle of vodka for easy and delicious mixing.
Ok, I tried to hide it but I think this pretty little flower hat with a birdcage veil is my favorite. It’s TOO MUCH, guys. To recreate this one, cut a long-ish piece of tulle ribbon, about 9 inches. Fold it into fourths. Pinch the open edge (not the folded edge) together and glue to the underside of the hat. If this is a little tough for you to get to stay (depends on your glue, your ribbon, etc.), you can use a small piece of thread to tie off the pinched edge before you secure. Then simply fluff your layers to frame your… Izze bottle.
Nothing about this is hard, the hats look great and will totally delight your party guests. I love the idea of making them all together if you have friends who like to craft too! And don’t let anyone get shy- that ribbon hat requires the ability to cut a ribbon and use a glue gun, they can totally do it.
(Told you it was my favorite.)