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How To Stretch A Leather Hat

How to Stretch Your Leather Hat – Without Ruining its Charm

The best part of wearing leather caps is, they look better with aging, but the worst part is when you can’t enjoy it. Without proper leather care, leather hats can get stiff and brittle when it dries out of time. If this is something related to you and you’re seriously searching for a solution, you’re on the right page to check out the ultimate guide on how to stretch your leather hat. Sit tight, and by the end, you will find the best method to stretch your leather hat. 

Can You Stretch a Leather Hat?

Yes, a leather hat can be stretched with gentle handling and patience throughout the process. Do not try to stretch your leather hat by soaking it in water since excess water causes damage to the leather fibers, ripping and deteriorating easily. They can be stretched by the traditional knee method, by using a hat stretcher or using a ball.

What to Know Before Stretching a Leather Hat?

1. Check the Care Label

As we always say, a care label is important to read on your hat before you try anything new. They give you brief information on the combination of materials used to make your leather cap and what you’re allowed and not allowed to do.

2. Don’t Wet

Like the other materials, leather is not quite good enough to tolerate water and steaming. It’s okay to wipe them down with water and dry them, but you should never soak them. Wetting may shrink your leather caps,  rip off, or in some cases, may cause water stains. Excess water can saturate your leather and can cause deterioration.

3. Do Not Artificial Dry

If you had come across our other stretching methods for polyester and cotton hats, we would have mentioned the steaming, spraying, and blow-drying method to stretch hats.

But in the case of a leather cap, it is completely different. Please do not use any form of heat( hair drying, tumble drying, or even sunlight) when it gets exposed to water by chance. Just let the leather cap naturally dry and store it in the closet only when it’s fully dry.

4. Do Not Overstretch

Last but not least, do not try to overstretch your hat all at once. Even when you use a hat stretcher, stretching ¼” is maximum. Stretching beyond an extent can cause cracks and tears in the leather lining of your cap.

How to Stretch a Leather Hat

Paper Ball Method to Stretch Your Leather Hat

Paper Ball Method to Stretch Your Leather Hat

Materials Needed:

  • Plastic bag
  • Newspapers


Step 1: Make a Ball Full of Papers

Firstly, tear newspapers into small pieces and collect them into a plastic bag. Adjust the bag into a round shape.

Step 2: Stuff Into The Inner Crown

Stuff the bag into the inner crown of your cap. If you need more, stuff more papers into the bag and make sure it is snug enough. You can also use a small bowl or balloon instead of a paper ball.

Step 3: Let it Stay Overnight. 

Lastly, let it stay overnight. Make sure the brim of the hat rests on the surface comfortably. In the meantime, you can also surround the brim with books to make them flat.

Stretch Your Leather Hat By Using a Hat Stretcher

Stretch Your Leather Hat By Using a Hat Stretcher

Materials Needed:


Step 1: Place the Hat Stretcher Into the Inner Crown

First, you have to place the hat stretcher into the crown of the cap. Make sure it is placed evenly along with the sweatband and not slanting. Adjust the center panel of the hat stretcher to fix on the crown.

Step 2:  Twist the Center Panel to Start Stretching

Secondly, twist the center panel of the hat stretcher to start stretching. Make sure you don’t stretch more than ¼ inches at once. Be very careful when turning since applying too much stress can damage the inner lining of your leather hat.

Step 3: Rest the Hat on a Surface

After stretching, let the hat rest on a surface with the hat stretcher. Make sure you don’t keep the hat upside down since the wood hat stretcher can deform the hat’s shape.

Stretch Your Leather Cap Using a Soccer Ball

Stretch Your Leather Cap Using a Soccer Ball

Materials Needed:


Step 1:  Fix Your Ball Inside the Crown

Firstly, fix an appropriate-sized ball inside the inner crown of your hat. Don’t apply too much pressure while stuffing through. You can also deflate your ball a little to go through the crown and make sure the inflation point is accessible for you.

Step 2: Inflate Your Ball

Secondly, try to inflate your ball using a ball pump. Keep in mind to not Inflate too much, which may cause unnecessary ripping of the leather.

Step 3: Let Your Hat Rest For a While

Finally, let your cap rest with your ball, and this time will allow the fibers to stretch to the size of the hat form effectively.

Traditional Knee- Pull Method to Stretch your Leather Hat

Traditional Knee- Pull Method to Stretch your Leather Hat

This is a traditional,  zero equipment method that can simply stretch your hat in minutes. Make sure you’re gentle throughout the whole process and applying the same pressure on every turn of your leather hat.

Step 1: Grab the hat Firmly

Firstly, remove the extra decorations like hatbands in the hat. Hold the hat by the brim very firmly and bring it to your knee.

Step 2: Pull the Hat Over the Knee

Secondly, place the hat over your knee and pull it by your hands. Keep 4 sides of your hat in mind and repeat the same process on all sides. Like we said earlier, apply the same pressure on all sides of the leather hat and gently pull until they are evenly stretched.

Wear the Hat Regularly to Stretch

Wear the Hat Regularly to Stretch

Another effortless, risk-free method to stretch your leather hat is to wear the leather hat regularly. Leather will start to loosen and adjust to the size of your head only when you start wearing it regularly. All the above methods effectively stretch a hat but can shrink over time if you don’t wear it regularly. So all you have to do is not make your leather hat forget its owner’s head size.

How to Care for a Leather Hat after Stretching?

1. Stay Away from Sunlight

Store your leather caps in a dry environment without sunlight. Excess heat will dry your leather caps and cause cracks and fading. Never keep your hats in places like your car seat,  near a radiator or heating vent.

2. Stay Away from Water as Well

You should avoid wearing leather caps in winter. Excess moisture in the air can saturate your leather and even cause water stains. If there is any accidental stain, dampen a white wet cloth and simply wipe the surface.

3. Use a Leather Conditioner

Leather will dry out if they don’t have enough moisture. Invest in a good leather conditioner to retain the look of your leather hat for a long time. Leather conditioner, when applied, gets absorbed by the animal fibers. They gain enough nourishment and restore their natural flexibility.

Apply and let them stay for 30 minutes. Don’t apply too much of the conditioner since it will get over-concentrated with oils.

4. Let your Hat Rest on a Hat Form

After usage,  simply hang the hat on a hat form. Improper handling and storage can easily bring creases and cracks on its surface.

5. Clean Your Hat After Every Usage

Cleaning doesn’t mean soaking your hat in water for hours or throwing them into the washing machine. Remember, exposing your leather hat to heat and water can make it shrink.

But you have to clean your hats and maintain good hair hygiene as well. Dampen a cloth and wring the excess water without dripping into your leather hat. Simply wipe the sweatband and inner crown, and that’s enough.

How to Stretch a Leather Hat

Final Thoughts

Most people agreed that leather caps offer excellent value unless they don’t shrink. Since they are animal fibers, they can shrink if you don’t wear them for a long time. By now, you would have understood the exact way of how to shrink your leather caps. 

Even though most sources recommended shrinking using water and steam, we don’t! Leather can easily absorb water or steam, get overwet, saturated and leave watermarks on your hat.

To do a quick recap on how to stretch your leather hat, you can use the knee method, or the hat stretcher or using a ball, balloon etc. without ruining the shape of the hat. Try the method repeatedly to achieve pleasing results. But make sure to be gentle with your leather cap. In the end, we care for your hats and have provided the best methods to stretch your leather hats. How about you?

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