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Use your printer to create stylish hats

Style guru Wayne Hemingway uses an Epson printer to make hats for special events. This simple seven step guide will help you make your own designer hat!

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Words and Pictures Wayne Hemingway and Epson

This summer Britain is again going hat crazy! Even the Queen is getting involved and an exhibition at Kensington Palace, Hats and Handbags, pulls together 100 of her hats - she owns more than 500.

With events, such as Ladies Day at Royal Ascot, hats are even more popular. However we all know there is nothing worse than turning-up to a party when someone is wearing the same outfit as you especially when the word on the street is that to be in, you have to be individual.

Customisation to create a new hat is easy. An old hat can be made to look new and different with a few extra additions. Wayne Hemingway has taken some inspiration from all things horse-related to make some hats for Ascot. He has been experimenting with ideas using second-hand hats and another must-have for the summer - his Epson photo printer.

Creating your own unique hat is as easy as home photo printing - all you need is some paper, an Epson photo printer and a bit of imagination.

1 The first hurdle - start with the brain matter!
Before you do anything at all, think of an idea. To give you a jump-start, here are the ideas that Wayne had using a selection of second-hand hats, a digital camera and an Epson photo printer to produce some stunning images:

  • The hat hat - a straw hat with lots of pictures of other types of hats sewn in around the rim
  • The jockey's hat - but this is no average jockey! This hat features little pictures of men in jockey shorts, each picture is sprouting off the hat on pieces of curly wire
  • The horse hat - you couldn't have a Ladies Day theme without including at least one image of a horse. Wayne got snap-happy with his digital camera and printed out an A4 sized image of a horses head which he cut-out and put on the side of this stylish hat.
  • The flower hat - of course Ladies Day wouldn't be the same without an extravagant hat featuring exotic flowers. Using some images taken by professional photographer Andrea Jones, Wayne printed out some vibrant images of flowers in all shapes and sizes. Each has been cut-out individually and attached with wire to create a collage around the hat
  • The masterpiece - Taking images of a jockeys from throughout the ages, Wayne created a selection of masterpiece images, each in its own regal frame
  • The betting man's hat - of-course we can't leave the men out! Using the t-shirt printing feature of the Epson photo printer, Wayne created "fashion labels" of all the main betting shops, such as Ladbrooks, and sewed them all over the hat

Use your printer to create stylish hats
Wayne with his colleague brainstorming ideas

2 Buy the hat, but it doesn't have to be a thoroughbred!
The main thing you need to worry about is whether or not the hat fits! By now you should have a picture in your mind of how you will cover it, if you plan to put a lot of accessories on your hat then it doesn't matter if it's a bit old. Wayne says to check that it does have a firm base though so you can sew or stick things onto it securely. Wayne bought his hats from charity shop Traid for about £2 each.

3 It's a photo finish - get snapping.
The great thing about digital photography is that you can take as many photo's as you like until you get the image you want and it won't cost you any extra money. Take your pictures from as many different angles as possible so you make sure that you get the right shot in the end.
4 Gallop ahead and choose the right images.
Get all of your photo's onto your PC screen, part of the fun is deleting all of the terrible ones and choosing the best. Most photo printers you buy come with editing software so you can always manipulate your shots once you've got them on your computer. For the best results of your images use a high quality photo printer, such as the £99 Epson Stylus Photo 830U.

Use your printer to create stylish hats
Wayne Hemingway choosing his images

5 Choosing the right material.
OK, you've got your hat and your images, but an important step is deciding what to print your images onto. For example, Wayne wanted some high-gloss prints for the flower hat so printed them directly onto glossy photo paper, however for the betting man's hat Wayne wanted the effect of material so he printed onto Epson T-shirt transfer paper so he could sew cotton labels into the hat to give a really professional effect.

Use your printer to create stylish hats
The team cutting out the Andrea Jones flower images that have been printed onto Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper

6 Now you're on the long and straight - get sticking
Here the fun just keeps getting better. Start attaching your images onto your hat. You can use anything from plain super glue through to coat-hanger wires or crocodile clips, just so long as your photo's stay in place it really doesn't matter.

Use your printer to create stylish hats
The hats start to take shape as the team begin adding the images

7 Picture perfect!
And now the fun really begins. Get out there, wear your new photo hat and be an individual!

Use your printer to create stylish hats

Products used by Wayne Hemingway
Epson Stylus Photo 925
Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper
Epson A4 Iron On 'Cool Peel' Transfer Media

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