DIY Kentucky Derby Fascinator

Kentucky Derby Fascinator

Okay, file this one under GO BIG OR GO HOME! I LOVE a cool Kentucky Derby Fascinator!

Every year at the Kentucky Derby the hats are the stars of the show, second only to the horses.

I’ve been to the Kentucky Oaks several times now and I can tell you that hat watching is one of my favorite parts of the event.

How to make a fascinator


I had the idea to make a Derby Fascinator out of tissue paper!  Yes, if it rains on your derby day it won’t really hold up, but the fact that it costs LESS THAN $10 totally makes up for that!

I think that this would be a great project if you are going to a Kentucky Derby Party and don’t want to go to all the expense of making or buying a hat.  You can whip this up in an hour.


Derby Fascinator


Here’s how you can make one for yourself. You’ll need:

  • 8 sheets of tissue paper
  • headband
  • white floral wire
  • string
  • hot glue and glue gun
  • netting
  • extra silk flower (to use for the center)

To begin you need to make a tissue paper flower.  I used this tutorial from Nesting in the Bluegrass to make mine.   I used 8 sheets of tissue paper (4 of each design) and my tissue paper sheet was cut to was 12″ long.




Pull the center out of a silk flower.



Tissue Paper Flower



After you make your flower and “fluff it”. DO NOT CUT your wire yet.

Another piece of  floral wire to attach the silk flower center to center of tissue paper flower.


How to make a Kentucky Derby Fascinator



Fold over your netting onto itself 2 or 3 times.   Using a piece of string, attach the center of the folder over netting to your headband.  Don’t attach it to the center of the headband, have it off center.




Derby Fascinator


Using the floral wire that you made the tissue paper flower from, wrap the wire around the headband (only a couple of times, so it’s not uncomfortable to wear) at the same point as the string was wrapped for the netting.

Now just “fluff” the flower and netting to get it like you want it. To finish it off use hot glue to attach further.  Place hot glue over string/wire and under the flower where it meets the headband.

Tissue Paper Fascinator


Enjoy wearing your fascinator!

Melissa Mortenson is the author of the Polka Dot Chair blog which is in its 7th year of sharing fresh and creative ideas with readers. She is the author of “Project Teen, Handmade Gifts your Teen will Actually Love”. Her first fabric line “Derby Style” debuted in January 2015 through Riley Blake Designs. A mom of 3, she considers herself lucky to be living in Kentucky.


  1. rocio lewis says

    I’ve followed your blog for a long long time and I didn’t realize you lived in Louisville until now, I moved here last year for my hubby’s dental School!!
    this really awesome!!

  2. says

    I love that you used tissue paper! What a creative idea. I went to a “Mad Hatter Tea Party” last year and was desperately looking for a super ostentatious fascinator. I’ll have to tuck this idea away for the next hat party. Thanks! ~M.

  3. Kristi says

    I’m headed to a middle school youth group overnighter tomorrow and am making these with the girls! My ulterior motive is that I am also planning our ladies’ tea that’s happening in a couple weeks. I’m hoping this will get the girls excited about coming with their mothers. Thanks for the fun idea!

  4. Trina says

    I have a question, is the tissue paper a 12 inch square? I notice you said 12 inch long but the same width? Thank you , I love these!


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