Making a straw hat is a relatively easy task, and you will only need an embroidery needle, some embroidery thread, bamboo leaves, and long strips of straw, plus a hat model. You should choose high quality millinery straw. Don’t try to use standard straw that you might buy for horse or cattle feed.
First, buy a conical hat model. Alternatively, you can make one yourself by cutting some card stock into long strips and layering them on top of each other in a circular pattern. You may want to use a reference photo for this. Duct tape the strips together and you’ve got a model.
Next, soak your straw overnight to make it soft and pliable. Start building the hat’s framework by laying out six strips on your work surface, perpendicular to your body. Weave a seventh strip diagonally through the six strips you have laid out, working through the central point. When you have finished, weave another strip diagonally in the opposite direction so that you have created an “X” shape.
About half an inch away, weave another 2 strips adjacent to the ones you have just woven, and then another 2 on the other side. You now have the basis of your hat.
Place the hat model you have made or bought on your lap, and then lay the framework you have just created over the top. Line up the central point with the cone’s point and shape the straw to match the model.
You may need to add more water to the strips, so they are pliable. Lightly mist them with a plant sprayer if necessary.
Begin weaving more strips through, following the previous pattern. You should completely cover the hat model with straw, woven back and forth throughout itself.
Take another long strip of bamboo and weave it around the brim of the hat you have made. Tuck the edges of the framework facing down, and then fold them back up so that you can weave a second strip around the brim. This should hold the edges in place.
Get a pair of scissors and trim off any loose straw ends, and then see whether your new hat’s shape will hold on its own.
If it doesn’t, take some embroidery thread and thread your needle. Weave the thread in and out of the straw, securing the edges firmly. This will stop the hat from unraveling. You can also use hot glue if you prefer.
Next, place your hat on the table again. Take six more pieces of straw and place them so that they lie vertically over the hat. You want them to form a point at the top of the hat. Arrange them, and then take another length of embroidery thread and bind it around them tightly. This will add a conical top to the hat.
Make sure you wind the thread around a few times to ensure that the strips are held firmly. You can add more strips if you would like the hat to have more bulk or stick with just six.
You should now have a finished hat. You can add a string or length of cord to the hat to help it stay on your head, or even a piece of elastic or ribbons if you prefer.
You can also add decorations if you choose to. Purchase feathers, leaves, or pom poms, and glue them directly onto the hat. You can add a ribbon around the crown if you choose to.
Straw hats look great, and they are a fun and easy project to make at home yourself. All you need is a hat mold, some straw, a bit of thread, and some patience!