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How to easily make a glowing EL wire (cowboy) hat

Making an EL Wire Cowboy Hat GuideCheck out our EL Wire Starter Kits to get glowing on your own creation.

Finished product (basic version) Finished product (basic version)

This is a guide to making your very own glowing EL wire cowboy hat. Being that we are from Calgary the cowboy hat is everywhere here, but you can definitely use other types of hats for this if you aren't in to the whole cowboy look.

EL Wire Cowboy Hat Materials EL Wire Cowboy Hat Materials


What's Required:

- Cowboy Hat
- EL Wire Sound React Starter Kit (any color) or regular starter kit.
- Extra EL Wire Sound React Kit (optional, more on this later)
- Zip ties or string.


Notes on Materials:

The cowboy hat we used had holes all around the brim and the main part of the hat with leather strips running through them. This hat is recommended as it allows you to weave the EL wire in and out of the hat saving you from having to bust out the needle and thread to sew. Any other type of knit hat or hat with holes in it can work with this guide. The sound react kit is recommended as it looks amazing, especially if the hat is being worn anywhere there is music. The 2nd EL wire kit is for the super version of this hat, which we will show below.


Notes on Design:

We chose a simple design for the sake of demonstration but your imagination is the only limit with this project. First thing you will need to do when thinking of a design is measure it out to ensure you will have enough wire. Going back and forth / over and under with the EL wire uses it up faster than you might imagine. Our example below goes around the brim of the hat and the extra wire is used in the top of the hat for some extra height.


How To Make:

1) Start at the back of the hat and figure out where you are going to keep the 'driver'. Best spot in a cowboy hat is at the top of the 'bucket' as there is usually extra space up there. I recommend attaching the driver first so when you are finished you don't find out that the wire doesn't reach. Try to leave around 6" of wire at the beginning to reach the driver.


2) Pass the EL wire through the bottom of the hat and pull it through (you will be pulling the whole length through each time but it gets quicker and quicker as you go!). On the hat we used we went from the inside hole to the 2nd one outside (see other pictures if this doesn't make sense). At the 2nd hole weave the wire in the hole and back out the FIRST inner hole (the wire runs underneath and is hidden).



EL Wire Cowboy Hat View from the top of the hat, first hole



View from the bottom after first loop. View from the bottom after first loop.


3) Repeat the steps all the way around the hat, ensuring you keep the wire tight so that it doesn't stand up or look crooked. Be careful not to pull on it too hard or bend it when you are weaving it. All corners on the wire need to be round, no 90 degree bends or the wire WILL break. The wire is prone to looping/bending when you are pulling it through the hole so be careful! Once you get to the back depending on the amount of holes in the hat you may have to double up a hole.



Back of EL wire cowboy hat, almost done. Back of EL wire cowboy hat, almost done.



Finished 1st lap around the hat Finished 1st lap around the hat


4)You should have at least a foot or more of EL wire left at this point and it allows you to get creative. you could hide it away but thats no fun, best idea is to use it on the top of the hat. In our example we made a ring around the middle of the hat to give the hat a more detailed look. The process was the exact same but you can leave more space between going in and out of the hat for a more continuous line of EL wire. At the end tuck away the end back into the hat to keep it from hanging out or cut it with wire cutters and seal it with our EL wire endcaps.



2nd time around the hat. 2nd time around the hat.


5) Now we have to attach the driver to the hat (if you haven't already). Easiest way to do it is to zip tie or just tie it to the top of the hat as cowboy hats almost always have extra room at the top. Try to keep easy access to the battery compartment. More creative folks could sew or glue in a small holder for the driver.



Driver inside top of hat. Driver inside top of hat.


Here is a video of the EL Wire Cowboy Hat pulsing to music.


Deluxe Cowboy EL Wire Cowboy Hat Coming Soon Get creative with EL wire and make your own deluxe cowboy hat.


Video of the deluxe EL Wire Cowboy Hat


Thanks for checking this guide out, plenty more to come!

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