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make straw hat waterproof

How to Waterproof a Straw Hat in 20 Minutes

Everything you need to know to make a straw hat waterproof can be found in this article. To get the job done, you need a few materials and 20 minutes of your time.

What happens if your straw hat gets wet?

Ideally, you should be wearing your straw hat on sunny weather. However, if it suddenly starts to rain and your straw hat gets soaked, it might not hold up very well. The shape of the hat might get spoiled and you may need to purchase a new straw hat to replace the one damaged by the weather.

If you want to protect your hat from any weather damage, follow the steps listed below.

Steps to Make Your Straw Hat Waterproof

Step 1 – Clean your hat

First of all, make sure to remove any specks of dust or dirt from your hat before applying any waterproofing solutions. To clean your hat, use a soft brush and a piece of cloth.

Step 2 – Apply a water repellent solution

There are four confirmed water repellent solutions that you can apply on your straw hat without damaging it.

Step 2.1. Spray the hat with amber shellac

Interestingly enough, the Amish use this method to coat their straw hats. Keep in mind that the amber shellac spray gives your hat a darker finish.

If you want to avoid that, you can also use a clear shellac that will dry within minutes. Usually, clear shellac is used for DIY projects, hobbies and crafts but it also makes for an excellent waterproofing solution for your straw hat.

How to apply the amber shellac

Place your hat on a flat surface. Spray a generous coat of spray on your straw hat. Give the hat a good coating but make sure not to soak it. Let the first coat dry overnight and then apply a second coat to make sure you covered the entire surface of the hat.

As a general recommendation, try to spray the outside of the hat only. The shellac does have a distinctive smell and it may take a few days for the smell to disappear completely.

If you wear your hat frequently, especially if you spend a lot of time near water bodies such as lakes or you’re going to spend a few days by the sea, you can reapply a nice coat of amber shellac every three or four days.

Step 2.2. Use Scotchgard

Scotchgard is a versatile water repellent spray that you can use to make your straw hat waterproof. This product also protects your hat from stains.

However, some hat manufacturer don’t recommend using Scotchgard and advise their customers to use silicone-based waterproofing sprays instead. For more information if it is safe to use Scotchgard on your straw hat, go to the official website of your hat’s manufacturer.

Step 2.3. Use Scout Hat Protector spray

Scout offers a very reliable hat protector spray that’s both water and stain repellent. Although this product is labeled as being suitable for felt hats, you can use it on straw hats as well.

Step 2.4.  Use NikWax

NikWax offers a wide range of products for cleaning and waterproofing your outdoor gear. You can also use these products to make your straw hat waterproof. Make sure to choose a water-based biodegradable product such as TX. Direct Spray as these sprays are non-flammable and don’t contains any harmful volatile compounds


Waterproofing your straw hat is possible and the whole process is quite a simple one. First, clean your hat and then apply a coat of waterproofing spray (either amber shellac, Scotchgard, Scout or NikWax) to make sure water beads will easily roll off your hat.

Learn more about straw hats

Can you wear a straw hat in the rain? Straw hats should not be worn in the rain as rain water will damage their shape. Avoid wearing straw hats in high humidity environments as well. Straw hats are not waterproof and cannot handle rain well.

Are straw hats good for sun protection? Straw hats are meant to be worn outside in sunny weather. While a tightly knit straw hat can offer a certain degree of protection against sunlight, sunscreen still needs to be applied on the skin areas exposed to direct sunlight.

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