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How to fake sweat stains / soil cowboy hats?

Discussion in 'Hats' started by santacaferacer, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. I need to artificially stain a hat for a costume much like the ones you can buy these days with the fake dirt and sweat stains. I'm sure it is a combination of some sort of brushed on and sprayed on mixture - I just don't know what that is. I thought for sure by doing a search online I'd find some hollywood secrets but this is a subject that no one seems to have posted on before. I have a light colored almost gray felt hat that needs the fake-ness applied around the hat band area along with general dirt from handling. Any insight as to how the manufacturers do it? [​IMG]
  2. Welcome to the Lounge. There was some discussion a while back on the dirt/soil used for this. Basically, you wet the felt aroud the crown where the sweat would be & apply the "stuff" that clings to the water then dries there. This "stuff" was used on Indiana Jones style hats to get that look of used fedora from the movie. Major Moore of Buckaroo Hatters may also know about soiling up a hat for SASS & there are Indy hatters on here than can help too, I think.
  3. Thanks - I have eavesdropped on the lounge for years and finally joined loving all things you guys do - nice leather jackets, hats, boots, etc....I'm not a SASS member (yet) but do my fair share of black powder too.

    I hope someone can give me the secret formula!
  4. buler

    buler My Mail is Forwarded Here

    I have not done this. Just cutting/pasting from a google search result....

    - Use water proof makeup, shoe polish or products called fullers earth and schmutz.

    -When using Fullers Earth, mix three parts glycerin or baby oil with one part water in a spray bottle. Apply to the desired area then apply Fullers Earth. This will keep the “dust” on the garment/fabric.

    -Use glycerin or baby oil in a spray bottle to make sweat stains.

    -Use a product called schmere to make grass stains. This product comes in a form like a deodorant stick.

  5. Yeps

    Yeps Call Me a Cab

    it also helps if you squash the hat, kick it around a bit, get it soaking wet*, and all that jazz, before you stain it.

    Just out of curiosity, what is the costume?

    *let it dry out too.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011
  6. zetwal

    zetwal I'll Lock Up

    Secrets? :gossip:
  7. Fullers Earth is the "stuff" I couldn't remember. Thanks Bill...
  8. Well, I have been shooting dual Colt Walkers and decided to go the Josey Wales route for full 'effect' at events. I located an accurate and authentic belt, jacket, and hat. All of them are crispy new and will need some hollywood distressing so I don't look like I just came out of a box. The hat is perfect - just needs heavy soiling and sweat. You can buy these hats from Baron hats pre-soiled for the price of your first born or just attempt to get the hat which is reproduced by many and wreck it yourself.[​IMG]
  9. JimWagner

    JimWagner Practically Family

    Seems so "Urban Cowboy". :p

    Truthfully, I think a couple of warm afternoons and a few dozen rounds through a black powder pistol, a little dust and you'd be hard pressed not to have the look. For real.
  10. There is some truth to that - we live in a very dusty environment here in Santa Fe. I think al I'll worry about is the hat for now - a bit of watered down baby oil and some fullers earth should do the trick from what I have now read. I don't think I'll be spending the big bucks for schmere or other similar products. After all - what is sweat after all? We all sweat some water/salt/and oil - let some dirt and dust settel on it and there you have it. I'll get my hands a bit oily grab the hat off my head in a variety of ways and dust it with fullers to get the 'handling' dirt.
  11. All it usually takes for me is a time or 2 mucking out the stalls, plenty of sweat & dust even in the coolness of winter....
  12. Visit the costume shop at the Santa Fe Opera... they will show you the ropes.
  13. If you want that Duke or Josey Wales look on a light colored Western hat, mix up really strong tea and instant coffee ... thick ... lots of tea and coffee to a little water

    Remove bands or ribbons

    use a spritzer to wet the point the crown becomes the brim

    Use a dish rag or spounge to apply the liquid around the hat, obviously paying more attention to the front and back, if you want it to look "real" but apply to the sides too if you want the desired effect

    Allow it to dry and see if it's the color you desire

    If you want, spritz with water between applications and the reapply

    This takes longer, but the result is longer lasting and IMO more like what you see on the Duke's hat circa 'The Cowboys'

    If you do it right, the result will last for a long, long time

    I have a Stetson I applied this to more than 25 years ago and I can't tell it did it any damage ... other than the color, of course

    Hope that helps

  14. 1961MJS

    1961MJS Call Me a Cab

    Ummmmmm, not understand why y'all need to fake sweat stains and dirt on an outdoor hat. I just mow the range on a riding mower twice and shoot a couple of hundred rounds and everything I'm wearing looks like crap and has white sweat rings on it. Heck, I even washed my Sun Body a couple of times to get the sweat stains off it and well, make it smell better... Just sweat through the hat, and then aim the discharge from the mower into the wind.

  15. Oh no, Mike

    This is to get that sweaty look without all the stress to the hat

    Sort of like distressed jeans ... you know ... pay more for ones that look like they've been worn to mow the range etc.

    I wore an Amish dress hat .. black fur felt, of course ... as a campaign hat when I volunteered as a civilian scout at Fort Larned ... wore it for years and it "earned" the white sweat stains, but I'm assured those can be faked too, if you know what you're doing

    Even though I don't reenact any more, the old campaigner has a special place in my collection, because it DID earn all the stains.

  16. 1961MJS

    1961MJS Call Me a Cab

    HI Sam

    I didn't understand that hat use stressed the hat more than faking the stains. (Baby oil and fuller's earth = sweat and dust) At least that's what I thought. Where did you get the Amish hat around here? I didn't see any at Yoder last time I was in town. I saw a few in Arthur Illinois last winter though.

    No I don't want to discuss Arthur, my 77 year old Mother took 2 hours in a bulk sales shop the size of a quick trip and I'll never be the same.

    I gotta get to Larned, I've been here since 1983 on and off, and I've never gone. Fort Scott, but not Larned. Oh, distressed Jeans GAWD, what a waste. I used to have a pair of Levi's from the 1970's that I was still wearing in 1983. They were third level hand me downs and were about white. I wore them every weekend.

    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
  17. Yeah, we used to work so hard to keep our "good jeans" good
    what fools we were, huh?

    I went through Gohn Brothers of Middlebury Ind. for my campaign hat. It was identical in dimensions to one that was recovered from a wrecked steamboat on the Missouri River,
    I don't know who makes them, but they are available in wool or fur felt.
    The fur felt ones wear like iron
    The last 10 years I volunteered at Fort Larned I depicted an infantry company comander and went back to Gohn Brothers for a narrower brimmed fur felt that I added appropriate insignia to for my dress hat. It also wore like iron.
    Since I never used it to fan a fire or any of the other stuff I put the campaign hat through, it still looks brand new, except for the insignia, of course.

    The Amish expect long wear and if you get one of their hats, you get your money's worth

    I have toyed with the idea of ordering one with bound edge and the right dimensions to shape into a replica of the one that Tom Hanks wore in Road to Perdition... I know they have the right shape and if you blocked it correctly, you'd have a dress hat that would stand up to anything


  18. santacaferacer how did your weathering turn out? Is your hat pictured from Baron Hats? And where did you find a coat that matched the movie?

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