How to make a great character hat.
Buffalo Bill Cody
Character Cowboy Hat.

How to make a Great Character Hat 

Now that you've seen our great hats we're sure you'll want your own Custom Hat - so what are you going to do with your old one? It'd be a pity to relegate it to discard. Our solution is to rotate it out and make a great Character Hat. First you want to make sure it's at least a 5X fur-felt - or know for certain it's weatherproof - because if it isn't - you'll end up with a blob that used to be a hat. 

The Hat to the bottom left is our re-worked character hat, fashioned from the Dirty Champie (left) by following the suggestions of Tom Mix - the first true movie star and one time performer in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

Years ago I read a story about how Tom Mix used to crease and work all his custom hats himself in the shower. So I decided to take his advice and am more than pleased with the results. The amount of time it takes is up to you. I had the Ellsworth fashioned in less than 5 minutes - then a further half hour fine tuning the look. The steps I went through are pretty simple.

  • Find a picture of how you want the hat to look and print it. Make sure your hat lends itself to the picture of your character hat. You'll never make an old Boss of the Plains design look like an upcurled cavalry trooper. Study the picture and make sure you know how you want the creases and brim shape to look.
  • Make sure the hat you're doing this on is weatherproof BEFORE you start.
  • Take off the hat tband - it's only held on by a little glue or a stitch or two. Or if it's too tough or just a satin cloth with bow - leave it on.
  • Start your shower - put the hat close at hand, but not in the shower.
  • Grab your hat and away from the water put your hat on. This is done so the inside lining stays as dry as possible. Step under the shower head and let the warm water completely soak the crown and brim - when water starts to soak thru the underside - it's wet enough.
  • At this point all I did was step to the back of the shower and work the hat with my hands. This is what I did.

Crown: Widened and shortened the centre crease, and made the pinch deeper on the sides. Put a deep pinch on the back of the crown.

Brim: Curled the front and upturned the rest of the brim slightly.

When I was satisfied with my handy work I tossed the soaked hat on the sink and finished my shower. After getting out I fiddled with the look and left it to dry in the garage. Twenty-four hours later it was dry and ready to wear!

Supplied as information only - your common sense should always be followed.

Longfellow wearing the Ellsworth, at a Wild West show in Cody Wyoming, 2006.

JB Hickok

Cowboy Hat Home :: Western Movie Hats :: Cowboy Hat Facts :: Old West Cowboy Hats

See The Rocky Mountain Ranger - a new hat design from The Last Best West :: Testimonials

The Slim Jim Holster - the Classic side-arm holster of the early west.

Most men - including Texas Rangers - who could afford a holster would have used this style in the early days of the western frontier. Shown here with a Remington 36 cal. black powder pistol, with a 7 1/2" barrel. Holster above is a left draw and can be worn on the left hip, on the right for a cross draw or on the right for a right handed "Twist" or "Cavalry" or "Hickok" draw. Shown plain - no adornment - in a deep saddle brown color. Our Holsters are Top Quality - made for life-long use. We will custom make to accommodate the make and calibre of your side arm. Other colors available click for more. 

Slim Jim
Top  Hand


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