Introduction: Day of the Dead Sombrero

About: I am a first time mom and have always grown up doing crafts and cooking with my family. i love to draw and paint and i am the prop director and a part of the artistic team at a local charity haunted house. Thr…

This is a step by step instructable on how to create your own day of the dead sombrero. I am a prop maker for a local charity haunted house in Fort Worth, TX. ***Shameless plug alert*** Hangman's House of Horrors. We had a Day of the Dead room and need to create costumes for the characters. Since the really nice embroidered sombreros can be quite pricey, we decided to create out own to fit within our budget. For less than about $10 each including supplies. It took about roughly 2 days working on it in the afternoon only and drying time between paint colors. Below is the finished product. Feel free to share your designs, and own creations and most importantly have fun.

Step 1: Supplies Needed

First of you need to start gathering your supplies. Most of the Items I had on hand but can be found at your local craft store pretty cheap. I found the Sombreros at a local thrift store which is also a great resouce for craft or prop projects. I didn't have a picture of my supplies laid out for this project, bt they are listed below.
  • sombrero to decorate ( I found 3 plain black ones at the thrift store at $5.00 each)
  • acrylic paints of your choice. (I used black, white and pink. use your imagination for your ideas. usually about a $1.00 from the local craft store. I had these on hand already.)
  • Fine and wide brushes for painting (I had these as well.)
  • hot glue
  • glue sticks
  • colored nylon string. ( You could possibly use yarn, but I liked the smooth look of the nylon string. This we got from Home depot  which was a marking string in a neon yellow for $2.00. I chose this color so it would glow if it was exposed to a black light.)
  • scissors
  • sharpie/ pencil or other writing tool to sketch designs
  • acrylic seal spray to protect it from water exposure if needed

Use you inagination to come up with your own unique design or get inspiration from the internet. So optional items may be sequence, pipe cleaners, small decoative flowers, etc. The sky is the limit.

Step 2: Sketch Out Your Design

Most of the decorated sombreros are symetrical in nature and mirror each side. I started with a basic idea and using a marker maped it out on the somebreo with a sharpie. Next I just mirrored the same design to the opposite side. I knew I wanted to use the nylon string to do an embroidered looking design that you see on most hats and left space to add these later.

Step 3: Time to Paint

Now that your design is sketched out, go over your design with the acrylic paints you have chosen. I used a white, yellow, pink and black acrylic paint. I started with the lightest color (white) and work up to black and touch up as needed to blend in any oops areas and for detailing. You may have to do several layers to get the colors a solid as needed. The white took 3 coats to complete due to the fuzziness of the sombrero.

Let dry between colors to avoid smearing or blending unles that is the effect you want. I didn't wait for the white to dry when I added the pink to the roses for detail to give it a softer look.

Just a helpful tip: I found it was easier to do a full circle for the large flowers and the go back with the pink on the petals and black to define them out.

Step 4: Adding the String

Once all the paint has dried. it will be easier to add the nylon string to give it that embroidered look. You can sketch out your design or just freestyle it like I did. Entirely your choice.

I found it was easier to add a small area of hot glue and attach the string a little at a time. For the spirals I added a liberal amount of glue and wound up the string with my fingers the set it in place. Cut your sting as needed. I wanted to make lots of swirls and curves to have a flowy look.

Step 5: Finishing

Now that you are done, clean up any stray stings or glue that is visible. Again I used black paint to touch up and areas I may have missed when painting or that may have smeared. You can spray the painted ares with a acrylic seal that you can find in most craft stores if you desire to protect your hard work.

Ta-da... you are done. Enjoy wearing your new sombrero or display on the wall. I only worked on the top rim of the sombereo, but feel free to do the center and bottom of the rim.