Boonie hats, originally designed for military use, have become a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts and fashion-forward individuals alike. One of the key features of a boonie hat is its wide brim, which provides shade and protection from the elements. However, over time or due to certain conditions, the brim might lose its stiffness, affecting its functionality and appearance.

This article will guide you on how to stiffen a boonie hat brim, ensuring it retains its shape and serves its purpose effectively.

Things You’ll Need:

These are the things required for stiffening the boonie hat brim. You can also read about the history of hat-related idioms.


Type: Depending on the amount of starch solution you’re preparing, you might need a small, medium, or large pot. Ensure it’s made of a material that conducts heat evenly, such as stainless steel or cast iron.

Usage: The pot will be used to heat the water and dissolve the starch, creating a starch solution.

Maintenance: After use, it’s essential to clean the pot thoroughly to remove any starch residue, which can become sticky and hard to clean if left unattended.

Oven Mitts:

Material: Oven mitts are typically made of cotton, silicone, or a combination of both. It’s crucial to choose mitts that offer heat resistance and insulation.

Usage: When handling the hot pot, oven mitts protect your hands from burns and ensure a secure grip.

Safety Tip: Always ensure your oven mitts are dry before using them with hot items. Wet mitts can transmit heat quickly and might not offer the same level of protection.


Types: There are various types of starch available, such as cornstarch, potato starch, and rice starch. The choice depends on the intended use and personal preference.

Usage: Starch is used as a thickening agent in cooking and baking. In the context of stiffening fabrics, a starch solution can be prepared and applied to materials like clothes to give them a crisp finish.

Storage: Store starch in a cool, dry place, away from moisture. Ensure the container or packet is sealed tightly to prevent the starch from clumping together.

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How to stiffen a boonie hat brim

Step-by-Step Process: How To Stiffen Boonie Hat Brim Using Starch

Preparing the Starch Solution:

Fill the pot with about 2 cups of water.

Place the pot on the stove and turn on the heat to medium.

As the water begins to warm, gradually add 2-3 tablespoons of starch, stirring continuously to avoid lumps.

Continue stirring until the starch is completely dissolved in the water, forming a smooth solution.

Once the solution starts to thicken slightly, resembling a thin syrup, remove the pot from the stove.

Handling the Hot Starch Solution:

Before removing the pot from the stove, ensure you’re wearing your oven mitts to protect your hands from the hot pot.

Hold the pot securely using the oven mitts and transfer it to a heat-resistant surface or countertop.

Preparing the Hat:

Clean the hat to remove any dirt or dust. This ensures the starch adheres properly to the fabric.

Lay the hat on a flat, clean surface, ensuring the brim is spread out evenly.

Applying the Starch Solution:

Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the warm starch solution.

Gently wring out any excess solution from the cloth or sponge, so it’s damp but not dripping.

Pat the damp cloth or sponge onto the hat’s brim, ensuring an even application of the starch solution.

If you want a stiffer brim, you can apply a second or third coat, allowing each coat to dry slightly in between applications.

Shaping and Drying the Hat:

Once you’ve applied the starch solution, shape the brim to your desired form. You can use your hands or any round object to help mold the brim.

Place the hat in a well-ventilated area to dry. This might take several hours, depending on the thickness of the application and the ambient temperature.

For added stiffness and a smooth finish, once the hat is slightly dry but still damp, you can iron the brim on a low setting. Ensure you use a clean cloth between the iron and the hat to prevent any direct contact.

Storing the Hat:

Once the hat is completely dry, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to maintain its shape and stiffness.

Over time, the hat might start to lose its stiffness. To restore it, you can repeat the process as needed.

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Common Mistakes to Avoid

Over-applying the stiffener:

Applying too much stiffener can not only make the brim overly rigid but can also lead to an uneven finish. An overly stiff brim can be uncomfortable to wear and might even crack or break under pressure.

Always start with a light application and test the stiffness once dry. If needed, you can apply additional coats, allowing each layer to dry in between.

Not allowing enough drying time:

Wearing the hat before it’s fully dry can lead to the transfer of residue onto your hair or skin. Additionally, the brim might not hold its shape if it’s not completely set.

After applying the stiffener, place the hat in a well-ventilated area and give it ample time to dry. Resist the temptation to wear it or test its stiffness until you’re sure it’s fully dry.

Using inappropriate tools:

Using tools that are too harsh or not suited for the fabric can damage the hat, leading to tears, discoloration, or an uneven finish.

Always opt for soft brushes, sponges, or cloths when applying the stiffener. If you’re ironing the hat, use a protective cloth between the iron and the hat to prevent direct contact. Ensure all tools are clean and free from any contaminants that might stain or damage the hat.

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Tips and Tricks for a Perfectly Stiff Brim

Choosing the Right Stiffening Agent:

There are various stiffening agents available in the market, from natural options like cornstarch or gelatin to synthetic ones like fabric or craft stiffeners. Each has its own set of properties and suitability for different materials.

Why Medium-Stiff is Ideal:

A medium-stiff agent strikes the right balance between flexibility and rigidity. It ensures the brim holds its shape without becoming overly rigid, which can make the hat uncomfortable to wear or even cause the brim to crack.


If you’re unsure about which stiffening agent to use, consider testing a small section of the hat or a similar fabric first. This way, you can gauge the results before applying it to the entire brim.

Ensuring Even Application:

An uneven application can lead to certain areas being stiffer than others, causing the brim to warp or look patchy. It can also affect the overall appearance and functionality of the hat.

Techniques for Even Application:

Using a paintbrush or sponge allows for a controlled and even spread of the stiffener. Start from one end of the brim and work your way to the other, ensuring you cover every inch. It’s also beneficial to apply in consistent strokes, either in a circular motion or straight lines, to prevent any overlap or missed spots.

Checking Your Work:

After application, inspect the brim in good lighting to ensure there are no areas with excessive or too little stiffener. Adjust as necessary while the solution is still wet.

Maintaining the Stiffness Over Time:

Natural Wear and Tear:

Just like any other item, a boonie hat’s brim can lose its stiffness due to factors like humidity, wear, and washing.

Regular Maintenance:

Instead of waiting for the brim to become completely limp, it’s a good practice to check its stiffness periodically. If you notice it starting to soften, a light application of the stiffening agent can help restore its rigidity.

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Storage Tips:

How you store your hat can also impact its stiffness. Always store it in a cool, dry place, preferably on a hat stand or flat surface. Avoid stacking other items on top of the hat, as this can cause the brim to lose its shape.


Mastering the art of “how to stiffen the boonie hat brim” is more than just a fashion statement; it’s about preserving the integrity and functionality of a beloved accessory. Over time, the natural wear and elements can take a toll on your boonie hat, causing its brim to lose its firmness. However, by understanding and implementing the techniques on “how to stiffen the boonie hat brim,” you not only restore its original charm but also extend its lifespan.

Whether you’re an adventurer braving the outdoors or a fashion enthusiast looking to maintain the pristine condition of your hat, these methods will ensure your boonie hat remains as iconic as ever. Embrace the knowledge, and let your boonie hat stand out with unmatched elegance and durability.