How to Customize a Trucker Hat

Photo from Flickr through Creative Commons License (Photo by Schwa23)

Whether you want to be like Frank on "30 Rock" or just like the retro look, trucker hats are quite the sought-after clothing accessories these days. However, too many people will merely throw on hats without considering the possibilities for creative expression. The result is that the landscape of trucker hats is a bit homogeneous. With this guide, you will learn a few methods to make your trucker hat stand out. From painting to strategically-placed beads, the options for trucker-hat customization know no bounds.

Visualize your ideal trucker hat. There are many ways to customize. For instance, you can paint the hat different colors, hang objects from the brim or even cut designs into the fabric.

Pick a base hat. If you want to totally modify your hat, a hat with a white brim and white mesh will be best. However, if your customization will focus more on adding (putting objects on the hat) or subtracting (cutting patterns into the hat) pick the color that best suits your design.

Plan your process. The following sections offer a couple of different approaches to customizing your hat. Whether you use these approaches or your own, look at your plan and your base hat and determine all the items you'll need to make the hat work. Don't wait until your halfway into the hat to realize you need a certain type of glue. The perfect customized trucker hat comes from consistency of vision.

Choose the color you want to add. Think of the mood you want to convey with your hat. If you want to show the world you're happy, try periwinkle and hot pink. Or maybe you want people to see your rage. In that case, go with reds and oranges.

Decide what method you want to use to add the color to your hat. For an extremely homemade feel you can use markers and/or crayons. However, if you want the hat to look more professional go with spray paint or fabric dye (such as Rit Dye).

Color the hat. If using art supplies such as crayons, markers or paint just draw directly onto the hat. If you use spray paint, spray from a medium distance. Don't spray from too far away or your color won't be saturated. Don't spray too closely or the paint will run. If dying your hat, you have a couple of options. With the stove-top method, mix 1 package of RIT Dye with 3 gallons of hot water and boil the mixture with the hat in the pot for 30 minutes, constantly stirring. Another method uses the same dye-to-water ratio but instead of stirring the hat over a stove, pour the boiling mixture into a bucket and add the hat. Stir constantly for 30 minutes. Then wash the hat with warm water that you gradually let get cooler. Finally, put the hat in a washer, then let it dry.

Select the items you want to put on your hat (if adding). One method of addition is to dangle items from the brim with string or wire. Another option is apply objects onto the brim, crown or mesh. If subtracting (cutting out parts of the brim, crown or mesh), use this first step to draw your pattern with erasable clothing chalk.

Choose your method for adhesion. If hanging items from the brim, use an awl to punch small holes in the brim and then loop the strings through the holes. For other items you add, strong fabric glues will probably be the best option. But don't afraid to improvise. If you want to attach a feather to the crown with a stapler, by all means go ahead. If subtracting from the hat, decide whether you will use scissors, an X-Acto knife or other tool to removing bits of fabric.

Attach your items to the hat. Feel free to improvise. Perhaps your design initially called for two pine cones but you think three may look better. Don't be afraid to add that third pine cone.