Last year we had a pretty hot summer. As always I slathered on my sunscreen not caring how ridiculous I looked and wore my extremely thick white-patched layer with pride. I set out to the beach and quickly realized my sunscreen just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I am a self-tanner now but sometimes you can’t protect yourself enough. I made up my mind, I needed to finally become a hat person.
Last summer I saw so many amazing personalized floppy beach hats with initials, ‘cutesy,’ expressions and color options. Most were inspired by designer Eugenia Kim’s amazing over-sized hats with sayings such as ‘Talk to the sand,’ ‘Greetings from,’ or ‘Do not Disturb.’ They were an instant trend (check them out here) and became so popular for their sequined relaxed script writing and simple black band of ribbon. Since then many versions have popped up on Etsy and have been recreated on bloggers websites.
Last fall I set out to make my own, I wanted to try making a version with a lighter colored script, something a bit less of a contrast. I got the idea to use rose gold colored sequins (they look gold in the photos) with a pink ribbon just to make it my own. I knew hand stitching on the sequins would be the most durable and long-lasting option but that method was way out of my wheelhouse. Since I decided to try gluing my first hat I didn’t want to invest too much money in an item I know won’t last too long. I ordered a floppy straw hat, sequins and ribbon all from AliExpress. Their orders take a long time to be delivered (over 3 months for these items) but in Canada it’s really hard to find unique colors and sizes of ribbon and craft supplies that are readily available in the U.S. This was definitely the way to go and I was so happy with the quality of what I received.
I decided to use a glue gun to attach my sequins, although next time I will try jewelry glue as someone suggested online. The heat of the glue changed the color of some of the sequins and there wasn’t much chance to adjust the placement of them as they dried so quickly. Here are some step by step instructions on how I made my own personalized beach hat.
Step 1: I started by printing out several photos of hats I liked online. I tried to find as many letters in the alphabet as possible in the script I wanted as a reference guide for my sequin placement.
Step 2: I wrote out my expression ‘Julie on holiday,’ several times on scrap paper just to get used to how I would like it to look.
Step 3: Looking at my reference photos, I started to play with the sequin placement one letter at a time until each letter looked good (lesson learned…you will see in the photos I didn’t leave enough room for my ‘y,’ I think I got too excited! I caught it early enough to make some adjustments)
Step 4: I carefully traced under the strand of sequins with a thin marker just to have a guide of where to glue (this is a very tricky step as the sequins move around so much). This needed to be done section by section. I traced a small part, glued it and laid down the sequin strip. The hat took a long time to complete but it really is better to go very slow.
Step 5: I removed any glue gun ‘webs,’ and took a few loose sequins and glued them over places where a sequin had been covered in glue or damaged by the heat. This step really made a huge difference in some areas
Step 5: Cut the ribbon to fit with some overlap. Fold under one end and glue the rough edge. Glue one end over the other (covering the remaining rough edge) and make sure it is fairly tightly fit around the hat. I first tried adding glue over the entire ribbon which led to sections buckling so just gluing in one spot at the end looked the best.
Step 6: Leave the hat until it fully dries and go back and touch up any areas that didn’t fully stick. I found the first letter of my name when the glue gun wasn’t very hot, didn’t hold up so well.
I’m so happy with the results of this hat! It is delicate and is not the type of hat you can just ‘throw in a suitcase,’ or in a beach bag as I’m sure the sequins would come off. That’s why Eugenia Kim’s bags are not cost effective…hand-sewn sequins…need I say more? I’ve got plans to make another one in different colors, I hope this inspires you to make your own beach hat too!
Happy Hat Making!