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 DIY Kentucky Derby 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 drama. Adorning your hat with flowers, feathers, lace, or ribbon completes the look and is said to bring luck to gamblers at the race. As this headpiece is for the Kentucky Derby — also known as the Run for the Roses — I chose red roses as the centerpiece for my adornment, with a little black tulle, and finished it off with a daisy crown around the brim. After all, a girl wants to look good both coming and going!

DIY Kentucky Derby hat

Making a Kentucky Derby hat requires three main steps: constructing and attaching the black tulle pouf, adding the flowers, and making a daisy rim. Follow us as we walk you through these steps.

1. Attach the black tulle pouf

Supplies for Kentucky Derby Hat

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


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 cut into five strips approximately 20 inches long each.

Fold strip in half

I folded each strip in half…

Create Pouf with Tulle

…and twisted a wire around the middle to create a pouf.


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


Before gathering all the poufs of tulle together to make the decoration base that will hold the fresh roses…

Hold pieces of tulle together with wire

…I cut one piece of the wire, leaving a single length to work with.

Attach tulle to hat

This helps keep the decoration lighter in weight and makes it easier to attach to the hat.

Tulle Pouf on Hat

2. Add fresh flowers

Now it’s time to add the beautiful red roses. The easiest way to add the roses is with hot glue.

Dipping Flowers in 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.


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

Finished Kentucky Derby Hat with Flowers

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

Dip foliage in hot glue

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


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,” you can easily remove them by quickly going over the area with a hairdryer set on the lowest setting.

3. Make a daisy rim

Kentucky Derby Daisy Brim Side View

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

Hot Glue Daisy Flowers

Cut the stems from your daisies. Using a piece of wire that’s 4 inches longer than the length you’ll need to cover the crown of the hat, 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.

Glue flowers onto brim of hat

Attach to the hat using the ends of the wire.


You are now selfie ready. It’s time to party!


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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