If deep inside you there is a Southern belle just waiting to shine, then the Kentucky Derby is your chance to set her free with a standout statement hat! Even if you can’t make it to Churchill Downs, there are Kentucky Derby parties happening all across the country. If you don’t already have plans, then having the opportunity to strut your stuff like a lady is as good a reason as any to throw your own Derby party.

Kentucky Derby Flower Hat

You can have lots of fun creating your own unique hat with a little creativity and very little money. In doing a little research I learned that a wide brim is key. Not only will it keep the sun off your pretty face, but it adds so much drama, so I say the bigger the brim the better! Adorning your hat with flowers, feathers, lace or ribbon completes the look and is said to bring luck to gamblers at the race. In keeping with the Derby theme–also known as the Run for the Roses–I chose red roses as the centerpiece for my adornment, with a little bit of black tulle, and finished it off with a daisy crown around the brim. After all, a girl wants to look good coming and going!

DIY Kentucky Derby Hat

Black Tulle Pouf

I found the perfect wide brim hat at a local Goodwill store for just $8!

Supplies for Kentucky Derby Hat

I started by lifting one section of the brim and attaching it to the top of the hat using a piece of wire.


I had the perfect piece of “scrap” tulle left over from a previous project that I was able to cut into 5 strips approximately 20” long.


I folded each strip in half and twisted a wire around the middle to create a pouf.

Fold strip in half
Create Pouf with Tulle

Then I cut the side of the tulle that was folded.


Before gathering all of the poufs of tulle together to make the decoration base that will hold the fresh roses, I cut one piece of the wire, leaving a single length to work with.

Hold pieces of tulle together with wire

This will help to keep the decoration lighter in weight and make it easier to attach to the hat.

Attach tulle to hat
Tulle Pouf on Hat

Adding Fresh Flowers

Now it’s time to add the beautiful red roses… and you won’t believe how easy it is!

The easiest way to add the roses is with hot glue. Cut the stem of the rose very short and dip the base into a hot glue pan. Or, if you prefer using a glue gun, just dab the glue onto the bottom of the base.

Dipping Flowers in Hot Glue

Immediately place the rose into the center of your tulle pouf.


I added two more roses and completed the look with a few stems of salal leaves.

Finished Kentucky Derby Hat with Flowers

Add the foliage the same way, by dipping the end of the stem into the hot glue and adding to the tulle base.

Dip foliage in hot glue

And that’s it! Remember, you’ll be wearing this hat, so you’ll want to keep your decorations as light as possible so that you’re comfortable in your beautiful new chapeau!


If you find that you have a few strands of “glue strings”, these are very easily removed by quickly going over the area with a hair dryer set on the lowest setting!

Make a Daisy Rim

Adding the daisies around the brim of the hat is just as easy!

Kentucky Derby Daisy Brim Side View

Cut the stems from your daisies. Using a piece of wire that’s 4” longer than the length you’ll need to cover the crown of the hat, simply insert one end of the wire through the base (also know as the receptacle) of the daisy. Slide each daisy to the end of the wire and continue adding as many daisies as needed for your hat.

Hot Glue Daisy Flowers

Attach to the hat using the ends of the wire.

Glue flowers onto brim of hat

You are now selfie ready, so let’s party!


Share your Kentucky Derby Hat with me using the hashtag #mademesmile


Julie started her career in the floral industry over 30 years ago in a small, family-owned flower shop. From floral designer to author and lifestyle expert, her insight has been instrumental in developing the 1-800-Flowers.com brand. Representing the company’s floral lifestyle vision, Julie has shared her talent and passion in numerous television appearances and national magazine features. She is an active fundraiser and longtime friend of IGHL, a group dedicated to facilitating a more independent life for developmentally challenged adults.

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