How to Shape a Stetson Hat

Written by patti perry
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How to Shape a Stetson Hat
Steam is used to shape a Stetson hat. (Boy in Cowboy Hat image by DanielDupuis from

Stetson hats are steam blocked and given a special coating of shellac on the brims while at the Stetson factory. You can, however, reshape a felt hat at home using steam and/or hot water. Which method to try depends on the severity of the creasing. For assured success with shaping a Stetson hat, check for a local haberdasher before you attempt to steam mould a valuable hat. Special hat shaping tools and service are often available at one of these fashion shops for men. There is an old cowboy adage that your hat ought to always be set down upside down in order to catch all the good fortune, so get your hat in shape and keep good luck always in your Stetson.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Teapot
  • Hat stiffening spray

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  1. 1

    Bring water to a boil in a tea kettle, and place the dented areas of the hat right into the stream of steam escaping form the spout.

  2. 2

    Hold in the steam for a few minutes until you see the felt start to soften and change shape, ever so slightly. Move the hat back and forth to feather the steam into the fabric.

  3. 3

    Form the hat to the desired shape with your hands.

  4. 4

    Allow the hat to dry. Spray with a hat stiffening product.

Tips and warnings

  • Caution: Steam can burn you.
  • Hot cars and other very hot environments may cause a felt hat or its band to shrink .
  • For severe misshaping, it may be necessary to submerge part of the hat in hot water and shape over a hat form or something similar. A hard plastic Halloween pumpkin may work for some head sizes. You will need to measure your head and attempt to find something that is the same diameter and shape you desire.

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