How to Distress a Hat

Custom Screen Printed Trucker Hats - HX Caps Factory

People who often enjoy wearing hats know that the best types are vintage hats. These are the headpieces that will look like they have had some years of wear on them, but are somehow still in stylish condition. Moreover, they also carry a unique aura and nostalgia about them, as though they have been through a lot of experiences. In fact, this is the reason why they are often treasured, by many hat collectors. [custom printed hats]

However, the problem with them is that they can take years before they reach that vintage state. Plus, considering the fact that you have no influence over time, it realistically doesn’t offer up very many options. This then raises the question; how can we hasten the process? Well, you may not be able to control time, but you can still create that same vintage look by distressing the hat, a little. This way, even if it’s new, you can give it a whole new customized look. So, let’s just quickly jump into the process.

You first need to realize that you can essentially turn any headpiece to look like a vintage accessory. However, we’ve simply picked out the most commonly worn hats, which are custom baseball caps and custom snapback hats, and given you a quick guide on how you can do this. Simply choose the hat in question, and make sure to take extra care of the fabric. This is because hats that have been manufactured using materials like leather, for example, can be very difficult to distress. So, it’s best to stay away from these, especially when using the method below in particular.

custom baseball caps
custom baseball caps

Use A Washing Machine

The idea behind this is based on the fact that cleaning your hat repeatedly, will start to fade its color. This makes it to be one of the most important signs of aging that would normally take you years to achieve. However, you can easily cut down that period, by simply throwing it in the washer about 2-3 times. Moreover, it is also recommended that you use cold water. This is because hot water can end up severely damaging your hat’s fabric too much. After about 2-3 spins in the machine, that should be enough. As, the hat should be back in your hands, but in a much lighter color. [custom ball caps]

Use Some Tools

Once this first step is completed, the next stage is where things get a bit more serious, as you will even need to use some tools. These tools include; sandpaper, scissors and even in some situations, you may actually need a cheese grater. Sound weird right? Well, let’s explain.

If you have felt a vintage hat in person, then you will realize that not only does it come in a faded color, but the material looks worn out, as well. This means there are even cracks, holes, rips, and even some fuzziness here and there. However, since it would take us too long to get that vintage look down, then the next best option is to try and mimic it. But, you must be very gentle when doing this. For example, sandpaper is absolutely not designed to be utilized on hats, but it can get the job done. That is if you know what you are doing.

As such, what you can do is sand the top layer of your cap and be very gentle when doing so. You can pull this off by carrying out around or straight motion with your hands. This will then create the vintage look that you are searching for. However, you should keep in mind that there are different kinds of sandpaper. Some are too rough and others a bit gentler, so just pick whichever you feel confident to use. However, if you decide to use the rougher options, then you will have to be extra careful when rubbing them on your hat.

You can also utilize some scissors to rip some of the fabric on the hat’s brim or on some other random places that you think will look good. Just make sure you don’t cut too deep and too wide in the process, either. This especially applies to those who own hats with custom hat patches, as you don’t want to damage the custom design by accident. Once you are done, you should have a new style of hat that gives off that rugged and vintage vibe, that you would have had to wait years to attain.[ custom ball cap]


In short, distressing a hat is no different than if you were to distress any other piece of clothing. However, just as you would handle any other DIY project, extra care is important. After all, the goal is to turn your new clothes and make them look vintage not completely shredded and unwearable. In some cases, you can afford to be extra aggressive with the distressing, but this isn’t always recommended for obvious reasons. Besides, turning a piece of clothing into a vintage item takes a calm mind, as well as a good amount of care and patience. This means having the finished product in mind when you are working, so as to not end up going too far or exceeding the acceptable “fashion” limits.

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