How to Shape & Resize a Leather Cowboy Hat

Written by samantha volz
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How to Shape & Resize a Leather Cowboy Hat
A hat makes it easy to identify a cowboy. (Cowboy image by HannaSigel from

A cowboy hat can come in a variety of materials. Leather is a very popular option but it is susceptible to wear and tear, so you must take proper care of your hat to make it to last. If you properly shape and size your leather cowboy hat, you can maintain the cowboy look without endangering the hat.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Hat stand
  • Water or hat-shaping spray

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  1. 1

    Buy a hat form or wig stand in the correct size for your head. You will find these tools at hat and leather speciality shops; consult with an expert at the store if you are unsure about your hat size.

  2. 2

    Lightly dampen the head band of the hat (or the area that needs to be shaped) in warm water or hat-shaping spray. Do not thoroughly wet the hat, as water will stain or damage leather. If you are unsure about using water, try using a small amount of rubbing alcohol; this will dissolve faster, but will also leave your hat smelling for a few days.

  3. 3

    Set the dampened hat on your stand so that it conforms to the appropriate size. If you are shaping the hat as well as resizing, be sure to adjust it to the shape you want while it is still damp. Allow the hat to dry completely in a cool, shady area, out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources. Sunlight and heat can warp or stain the leather.

  4. 4

    Try on the hat to see if it has conformed to the correct fit. Repeat the dampening and stretching as needed until the hat fits. Do not try to rush this project, as the leather can be easily damaged by mistreatment.

Tips and warnings

  • If the hat is just slightly too snug but you are able to wear it, trying wearing the hat for two or three weeks, to see if the leather will naturally stretch to your head size. If the hat is too loose, consider placing a foam strip around the inside of the brim to help it cling better to your head.
  • If you are unsure about shaping or resizing a hat yourself, consult a professional hat maker or cobbler. These professionals may be able to do it for you or sell you hat stretchers or other professional tools to shape and size your hat.

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