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Kentucky Derby Hat

Every first Saturday in May, Louisville, Kentucky, hosts the biggest horseracing event of the year, The Kentucky Derby. The Derby is the Super Bowl of horseracing, attracting over a hundred thousand fans to Churchill Downs race track every year. The Derby holds many long standing traditions, from the mint julep to the singing of “My Old Kentucky Home” to the iconic garland of red roses draped over the winning horse. But in our house, the biggest excitement, next to cashing a winning ticket, is finding all the elaborately designed and often over the top hats worn by the majority of female fans attending the race.

While we only watch The Kentucky Derby from home, it’s a pretty big deal in our house. We have one very passionate Daddy at home, who dreams of someday owning a horse in The Derby. Not exactly top-notch horse selectors over here, my kid and I thought we would make our guy’s day by making an at-home Derby hat, just like the crazy ones we’ve seen on television.

For our Derby embellishments, we found a Spring hat and a bunch of fake roses at the 99 cent store. We pulled out some brown felt for the track dirt and unused green Easter grass for the inner racetrack turf. We also bought a tube of mini horse figures, exactly what this Derby inspired derby needed. Have fun decorating a Kentucky Derby hat (or a Royal one!) with your kid using anything you have around. They really are fun to make and your kid will love putting it on, just like a true Derby Day horse fan! Now for the instructions…

Kentucky Derby Hat

Prep Time: 10 minutes   Hands on Time: 30 minutes

Kid-sized spring hat (we found a straw one at the 99 cent store)
Cardboard to reinforce hat’s rim if hat is flimsy (we needed it!)
Pen or Marker
Hot Glue Gun
Glue Sticks
Fabric or Craft Glue
Brown Felt (one large piece cut into strips)
Artificial Red Roses (we found them at the 99 cent store)
Shredded Paper (Easter grass) or Ribbon to go around the rim of the hat
Miniature Horse Figurines
Colored Ribbon for Horse Saddle Cloths

If the hat is a little flimsy, like ours, reinforce the rim with cut cardboard underneath to hold the extra weight added to it. Trace the cardboard around the hat to fit underneath. Cut out the cardboard leaving a hole in the center where the head goes. Piece the cardboard to fit around the underside of the rim and hot glue it on. Be careful, hot glue is really HOT! Glue pieces of brown felt for the race track dirt all around the top of the hat’s rim. Add either a large piece of ribbon or cut paper grass around the hat where the top meets the rim. We used the green Easter grass to represent the track turf. Cut small pieces of colored ribbon and apply to each horse figure with glue. Hot glue the horses all around the brown felt track. Pull the fake roses off their flower stems and hot glue to the top of the hat (we used 5 large, open roses). Once your very unique hat has dried, let your kid put it on and get ready for the fastest 2 minutes in sports!

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