How to Harden a Felt Cowboy Hat for Decent Look? – Easy Methods & Tools

Felt cowboy hats are popular because they are stylish, comfortable, and functional.

They keep the sun out of your eyes, come in different colors, and can be shaped to fit your style. But, they will lose their shape if stored in a humid environment.

Learning how to Harden a felt cowboy hat helps it retain its shape for longer periods.

Also Read: How to Dye a Felt Hat?

How to Harden a Felt Cowboy Hat with Different Methods?

how to sitffen felt cowboy hat

A stiff felt hat is a cowboy style that has been around for centuries.

Even today, many country singers and line dancers still wear a stiff felt cowboy hat.

You can use various techniques and steps to make your cowboy hat stiffer.

The following are some of the most commonly used.

1. Corn starch

What you will need

  • A Saucepan
  • A bucket of water
  • An ammonia-based cleaner
  • 1 cup of cornstarch
  • A heating source
  • Soft bristle brush


1. Prepare the corn starch mixture by adding 3 tablespoons of corn starch to 2 cups of water in a saucepan.

2. Continue stirring the mixture until it comes to a boil and the water and corn starch have blended into a thick soup.

3. Take off the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool completely before use.

4. Brush your cowboy hat with a stiff hairbrush to remove any surface dust or dirt, then place it upside down on a block about the same size as its crown to get access to the brim.

5. Apply a generous amount of the corn starch paste to the hat’s brim using your fingers or a small paintbrush to spread it evenly all around the brim.

Let the paste dry for 24 hours before brushing off any excess paste with a soft bristle paintbrush or cloth.

Also Read: How to Fix a Straw Cowboy Hat At Home?

2. Waxing

What you’ll need

  • Wax
  • A bucket of water
  • A piece of cloth
  • A bar soap


1. Waxing is a great way to harden your hat. The first step in the process is to wash your hat.

This will remove any dirt or grime and prepare it for waterproofing. The easiest way to do this is to use a damp cloth, soap, and water.

2. Next, you’ll want to pick out a product that will help you stiffen and waterproof your hat.

Various products exist, such as saddle soap, beeswax, resin, or hair spray.

These products are designed to strengthen and waterproof leather but can also be used on felt.

3. Use a heat gun to warm the wax and apply it to the hat with a soft cloth or sponge. Apply it in layers until you get the stiffness you desire.

Also Read: How to Put a Feather On a Cowboy Hat?

3. Steaming

What you’ll need

  • Gloves
  • Plastic bag
  • Hairdryer


1. Using a hairdryer in a hot air setting, hold the hat down with one hand while using the other to shape it with steam from the hairdryer carefully.

2. Direct the steam into the crown area of the hat. Ensure you are wearing gloves so as not to burn your hands.

Take care not to overdo it, as too much steam could damage the hat. It may take several minutes for the felt to get soft enough for shaping.

3. Alternatively, you can take your hat and place it in a plastic bag. Make sure that everything is covered except for about 1/4” all around the brim of your hat.

4. Now put your hat over the top of a pan of boiling water and let it be for a few minutes until you feel that it is soft enough to shape

Also Read: How to Shrink a Cowboy Hat?

4. Spray Starch

One of the easiest ways to harden a felt cowboy hat is by spraying starch.

What you will need

  • A bucket or container
  • 3 cups of water
  • An ammonia-based cleaner
  • 1 cup of cornstarch
  • Spray bottle
  • Warm water
  • Sponge or cloths
  • Soft bristle brush


1. Brush your hat with a soft bristle brush to clean off any dirt. This helps loosen the fibers in the felt for it to take the starch more easily.

2. Next, Spray your cowboy hat evenly with spray starch, starting at the top and moving in a circular motion down to the brim and back up again.

3. Then, Place your cowboy hat upside down to look like an open cup. There should be no creases in the crown of your hat. If there are, straighten them out by hand.

4. Finally, Let your felt cowboy hat dry overnight without moving it around. The longer you leave it like this, the harder it will get.

Also Read: How to Shape a Leather Cowboy Hat?

Tips for How to Harden a Felt Cowboy Hat

1. Turning your hat upside down and tapping it against a table helps knock off any excess powder.

2. Allowing your hat to dry for about 2 days in a warm area with low humidity, such as near a radiator or on the dashboard of a car, helps you achieve the best hardening results.

3. When hardening your cowboy felt hat by waxing, place a sheet of plastic under your work area to catch any wax that may drip from your cowboy hat.

4. Placing your cowboy hat on a wooden block or something similar helps it stay in place while you work on it.

You can also purchase a wire stand designed for this purpose if you plan on doing this more than once.

5. If you do not have a double boiler for heating your wax, you can make one by placing an old pot inside another pot filled with water, creating an insulating layer between the two pots.

Also Read: How to Clean a Visor Hat?


Hardening a felt cowboy hat is not as complicated as most people would think.

Instead, with a step-by-step guide like this one, it is something you can do at the comfort of your home with cheaply available materials such as water, a piece of cloth, and some beeswax or corn starch.