When it comes to certain accessories, like hats and shoes, we can’t help but love them more when they’ve got a little wear and tear. It gives the appearance that they’ve been lived in and loved, have seen many places, and have many stories to tell. A good beaten up pair of boots or a leather hat is the perfect finishing touch for any outfit. But the problem is, when you buy them new, they take forever to reach that perfect level of distressed. I took two of our favorites, the Fold Up Leather Hat and Aussie Leather Hat, and had some fun giving them a nice lived-in look. Learn how to do it below – and enter for a chance to win one of these very hats, hand-distressed by moi! Simply tweet this story and make sure to use the hashtag #FPDIY. We’ll pick two winners at the end of the week!
What you need: Sandpaper in varying levels of coarseness, rocks.
There are a number of methods in which to destroy leather, but these were my tools of preference! I mostly used the less coarse sandpaper block, and the rocks were perfect. We had three different color rocks outside our office and I took one of each – they each actually worked in somewhat different ways, which was great.
On the black leather hat, the black and white rocks were great for really getting at the leather and breaking it up. They left a residue that I then rubbed into the hat even more using the sandpaper – a really effective method!
I focused the distressing on certain parts of the hat – around the brim, the braided band, and the top rim of the hat. These were the areas that I thought would get the most natural wear and tear.
The result was a brownish tint that I really love!
I tested out the reddish rock and found that it left a really cool rust color on the leather, so I added some highlights with that throughout.
I’m so happy with how this one came out!
The lighter hat ended up being a bit trickier. I think it’s because since the hat is already light in color, fading and distressing doesn’t show up as well. The black rock worked the best because it left a darker residue almost like dirt. I used a similar method, following the rock with sandpaper to rub in the color a bit more and smooth it out.
And then I put it in a bag and stomped on it a little bit! This hat is more stiff so I felt like it needed to be broken in a bit more.
This hat has actually really grown on me now!
Which one do you guys like best? Let us know in the comments!
Shop all hats from Free People.
More DIY Projects from the BLDG 25 Blog.