A matador hat is formally known as a montera. The hat is an essential part of the traditional Spanish bullfighter costume. The montera is uniquely defined by a round shape and a large, decorative bulb on each side of the head. Matador hats can be expensive and difficult to obtain on short notice for theatre projects and costumed events. The hats can be simply made at home using felt, fabric stabiliser and a hat from a second-hand shop.
Use a large baseball cap to form the base of the montera. Matador hats are traditionally made to have a slightly large fit. Carefully cut the brim of the baseball cap off, leaving the round base. Discard the brim or save it for other craft projects.
Place the cap on the wearer's head. Using the guidance of a friend or a mirror, mark the location of the front of the ears on each cap. Using a measuring tape, extend the chalk line at each spot 2.5 cm (1 inch) from the bottom of the cap.
Preheat the hot glue gun. Remove the plastic lid from each vending machine capsule and discard. Carefully hot glue a vending machine capsule to each side of the cap, to form two symmetrical bulbs. Let the glue dry completely.
Use the spray bottle to mist all of the felt with water until it's wet but not saturated. Drape the felt over the cap, pinching the felt to conform to the shape of each bulb on the side. Let the felt dry.
Place the matador hat on newspaper or a tarpaulin in a clean, dry location outside. Spray the montera thoroughly with a coat of fabric stabiliser. Let the fabric stabiliser dry completely before applying a second and third coat, and let the second coat dry before applying the third coat.
Leave an excess of 2.5 cm (1 inch) of felt around the bottom of the montera; trim any additional felt beyond the 2.5 cm (1 inch) you need to leave. Glue the bottom edge of the felt inside the hat to hide the seam. Leave the hat out for at least 8 hours in a well-ventilated area to remove any lingering fumes from the fabric stabiliser.
Things you need
- Large baseball cap
- Measuring tape
- 1 metre (1 yard) black felt
- Plastic spray bottle
- 2 large plastic vending machine capsules
- Hot glue gun
- Fabric stabilising spray