During the summer, I love wearing hats. I have so many straw hats it’s kind of out of control. My favorite style is a straw panama hat because like the Type A person I am I love structure. The best floppy hat I’ve ever owned is this J.Crew Factory hat which is super affordable and totally comfortable. It also packs up really well when you have to stuff it in your luggage to fly home.
I’ve been dying for a handmade Eugenia Kim hat for ages, but just can’t justify the price for how little I will really wear it. Luckily, I found a DIY version over on Glitter Guide, head here. Time for some real talk, the only thing I’ve ever been know to DIY is drinking a bottle of wine. I’m not what you would call “crafty”. I mean not even remotely crafty. But for the sake of saving myself $400, off to Michaels I went.
Walking into Michaels as an outsider is probably one of the most terrifying journeys you can take. I got there early one spring Saturday morning after Barre3, birds chirping, sun shining, what a beautiful day to relax and pick up a little project. Upon entering the store, I was met with the smell of cinnamon, wood, and the smugness of a woman about to school me in the world of crafts. Fantastic. I hurried past the woman greeting people as they come in and headed upstairs to the ribbon. I had already picked up this straw hat at Target so I really only needed some ribbon and a hot glue gun. Because of who I am as a person, I knew I precisely wanted sequin ribbon. I got to the top of the escalator and turned to find at least 15 aisles of ribbon. How could there possibly be so much ribbon? Luckily, I was still in my sneakers from going to work out so I knew I could probably get through all that ribbon without having to stop for a break.
I headed toward the black ribbon which is only one full aisle. I searched for 20 minutes and couldn’t find what I needed. So I did what any practical, independent 20-something woman would do, I went to find someone who worked there. I explained the type of ribbon I was looking for and the woman replied “Ohhh, we keep the good stuff in the back.” Is this a craft store or a drug lord’s mansion? What does ‘the good stuff’ even mean? I didn’t ask because I felt like I was being let in on the secret garden of Michaels. Like they hadn’t noticed that I’m really an outsider yet and are letting me into the underground world of scrapbooks, ribbon, and silk flowers. What a chance to go behind the curtain and expose this sordid group like Leah Remini and Scientology!
It turns out by ‘keeping the good stuff in the back’ this little old lady literally meant just an aisle towards the back of the store that had special sequin stuff. So I grabbed the ribbon I needed which is only sold 700 yards at a time which is great because now I have enough ribbon to pass down through my family for at least the next three centuries. The kind and helpful sales woman asked if there was anything else I needed, so I wasn’t hiding my non-crafter attitude as well as I thought I was. I went ahead and asked her to show me where the hot glue guns were mainly out of fear there would be a separate annex store devoted to them and I’d never find it. She led me over to a surprisingly tiny section of about 6 glue guns to choose from. Somehow this was more complex than trying to find the ribbon. I explained what I was trying to create and asked her what type of glue gun I would need. She recommended I get the low-temp hot glue gun because it is “idiot proof”. I sort of don’t blame her, but because of who I am as a person I responded “ma’am, I spend most days manipulating complex data and calculations, I think I can handle a low-temp hot glue gun.” She’s probably still laughing at me and my vast overly confident demeanor about a hot glue gun because that woman knew I’d go home and burn the shit out of my hand. This will probably become a tale for all generations of her family for centuries.
I left Michaels feeling confident in my purchases and ready to tackle this simple hat. I got home and ripped open my bags like Christmas morning, cleared off my counter, and set to work on what I thought would be a masterpiece chapeau. I tried following the instructions from Glitter Guide as best I could, but quickly abandoned the whole trying to write it with a pencil first thing. Do you even know how hard it is to write on a straw hat? Don’t bother, it’s stupid hard. I went ahead and plugged in my little low-temp hot glue gun and started laying out the ribbon how I wanted it to look. That really wasn’t so hard, I had to cut more than I thought I needed for each word, but that’s fine I’ve got 699 more yards left on this roll. With all my ribbon laid out how I wanted, it was time to start with the hot glue. I picked the fateful low-temp hot glue gun up and carefully positioned it by the top of the first letter trying to hold the ribbon up a little. I pulled the trigger to place a dot of glue on the hat and burned the ever loving shit out of my finger. Holy mother of pancakes does a low-temp hot glue gun burn. Like the grown woman I am, I stuck my finger under some cold water, poured a glass of white wine, and got back to it. Once I got the hang of putting the glue on the hat and not my hand, it actually only took about 10 minutes to finish which can also be said for the glass of wine.
Even though my first experience doing a craft project was a bit harrowing, I am pretty proud of myself for actually doing it. My hat is adorable and I save a load of money. Now I just have to figure what to do with the other 695 yards of sequin ribbon…