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How to Dye a Hat

Updated April 17, 2017

Don't be daunted by the idea of dyeing your hat a new and brighter colour. Getting creative with your millinery projects is less difficult than it sounds and will ensure you're heads above the rest of the crowd. Hats are made from a wide variety of materials, some of which are easier to dye than others. You can give a straw hat a new colour simply by spraying it with a coat of craft paint, while hats covered with satin can be dyed by dabbing on fabric paints. To change the colour of a traditional felt hat, you need to use a different approach.

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  1. Heat a pot of water over the stove and remove from heat when hot, but not boiling. Add a splash of vinegar to help set your colour. Leave your hat to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the hat.

  2. Fill a pot with sufficient water that the liquid will cover the hat. Then add either Kool-Aid in your chosen colour or a few drops of frosting colourant to the pot of water. Warm the liquid on the stove and add your hat. Simmer for at least 15 minutes. Leave to soak for longer if a deeper colour is desired.

  3. Put on disposable gloves and remove the hat. Rinse in a little soapy water to remove excess dye and gently squeeze out the liquid.

  4. Place the wet hat over your hat shaper, smooth in place and leave to dry.

  5. Tip

    Dyeing will work best on white, cream or light-coloured hats. If attempting to dye a hat that is already coloured, choose a much darker dye than the original shade of your hat.

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Things You'll Need

  • Felt hat
  • Pot
  • Vinegar
  • Kool-Aid drink mix (or food colouring)
  • Water
  • Soap
  • Hat shaper to match your original hat shape

About the Author

Mary Stewart has been a news and features journalist since 2000. Her work has appeared in U.K. national newspapers and magazines, including "The Times (of London)," "The Sunday Telegraph," "The Mail on Sunday" and "The Guardian". She has a B.A. in journalism from Napier University.

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