Shaping the brim on a straw cowboy hat is easy and allows you the creativity to make it look exactly how you want. Straw cowboy hats come in a variety of qualities. Some are made from cheap straw with little or no stiffener put on them. These do not shape well no matter what you do. Better straw hats are made from high quality straw and dipped several times in a stiffening agent during manufacturing, making them hard and strong. These hats take a shape and hold it well.
Shaping the Brim on a Straw Cowboy Hat
Fill a steamer with water, plug it in and let it get hot. If you don’t have a clothes steamer, a tea pot with a spout will also work. Clean any dirt and dust off your hat while waiting for the steamer or pot to start making steam.
With a steady hot steam coming out of the steamer or pot, hold the brim of the hat on the side opposite the side you are going to start steaming. While holding the brim directly in the steam, keep moving the hat around, steaming the entire brim while keeping your hands out of the steam. Steam the upper and under sides of the brim. Keep moving the hat steadily through the steam until the entire brim is soft and hot.
Take the hat out of the steam and quickly begin to shape the brim with your hands. This must be done while the brim is still soft and hot. Note that the brim will start to cool off quickly. When it does. it will no longer change shape. If you want to shape the brim further, return the hat to the steam and repeat the process.
Shaping the sides of the brim requires you to hold both sides at the same time and bending them into the shape you want. Hold that shape until the brim cools, which it will do in a few seconds. The front and back of the brim can be made straight by pressing it down flat on a hard surface. Front and back brim dips are made by pulling the front and back down.
Continue the steaming and cooling process until your desired shape is achieved. While the hat is still soft, put it on your head and it will shape around your head for a perfect fit as it dries.
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Dave P. Fisher is an internationally published and award-winning Western novelist and short-story writer. His work has appeared in several anthologies and his nonfiction articles in outdoor magazines. An avid outdoorsman, Fisher has more than 40 years of experience as a hunter, trapper, fisherman, taxidermist, professional fly-tyer, horsepacker and guide.