An Argentina craft tutorial: How to make a gaucho sombrero

gauchosombrero featureimage

This article originally published October 11, 2015 and updated on March 1, 2019. It has been one of my most visited pages on my website of all time! Not sure why, but it’s pretty exciting! Leave a comment below and let me know what brought YOU to this page!

sombrero de gaucho de carton
The brim on my son’s gaucho sombrero is far too wide to be authentic. (It’s what he chose to do.) This picture shows a more authentic version. But the instructions still work the same!

We are learning about Argentina this week, since we like to “Homeschool with The Amazing Race” and  season 27 just raced through there last week…so I was looking for an Argentina craft tutorial…and had a very difficult time finding anything.

This is particularly frustrating because not only am I looking for something for my own kids, but I’m looking for activities for my Amazing Race lessons, so there are other families counting on me to find great resources as well!

This often happens, though, when the Amazing Race races through a country that doesn’t have tons of resources out there…I just didn’t expect Argentina to be one of those countries that I’d be having to work so hard for! Live and learn.

Then I stumbled upon this page in Spanish.   But once translated into English, this is what I got:

  • First, we measure the circumference of the child’s head and put 5 cm more.
  • Draw a circle on the cardboard to the extent that we will have taken.
  • Draw the brim and cut the two sides.
  • Draw a rectangle on the elongated corrugated circumference and 5 cm and the desired width.
  • Then paste it into the circle and the brim with the hot glue gun.
  • When we have finished gaucho hat can be covered with fabric, paint or paper hit.

Yeah. Not great instructions, even in English. Some of it, I know, is a bad translation, but just not great instructions either.

So, I figured I could come up with my own instructions, with the help of my kiddos. So we set about using the pictures from that web page and making this project ourselves. I think it turned out pretty good!  So we post the following tutorial here for you to enjoy making your own gaucho sombrero!

First of all…you must know that a gaucho is an Argentine cowboy.

Learn more on the gaucho Wikipedia page here.

And here’s another really interesting article about the history of the Gauchos. Check out the part about them being a sort of centaur…I thought that part was particularly intriguing!

You may also want to watch this clip of a National Geographic video here. (It’s only 2min long, and pretty interesting!)

Now, on to the craft…

Materials Needed:

  • Corrugated cardboardabout double the diameter of the hat you want to make. My son made a really large brim, so we used the bottom of a refrigerator box. (Pictured left…the final brim is from a dishwasher box because I messed up the first brim and had to get a new piece.) Though this was more than we needed, it allowed for mistakes…which was good because I made several, LOL!
    I made the mistakes so you don’t have to. 🙂
  • Scissors
  • Exacto knife or a box cutter
  • Sewing tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Paint or fabric/glue (optional)

Step 1:   Measure around the head of the person the hat is for. Take that measurement and add 2 inches to it. This will be your hat’s internal circumference.

Step 2:    Take your circumference measurement from step 1 and mark it out on a strip of the cardboard.

Step 2

I, conveniently, had these flaps on our cardboard, so I decided that was about how deep I wanted the hat to be…perfect! So I just measured out the length on the flap. Easier to cut out because it was folded, I just had to cut off the flap.

Step 3:  If you don’t have a convenient flap, you’ll need to cut out the entire rectangle…Cut it out to the length of your circumference measurement in step 1, and a width that is the height you want your hat to be. Use a ruler to make your rectangle have parallel lines, so your hat isn’t crooked.

Step 4:  Now take your rectangle and roll it up tight, to make it curved.

Step 4

So now you’ll have a nice curved piece of cardboard:

Step 5:  Time to hot glue the ends to make your rectangle into a circle:     

Step 6:  Now you are going to trace the INSIDE of your circle TWICE.

2 separate pieces…One will be the top of your hat, one will be the brim of your hat.


It has to be the inside, because otherwise the hole will be too big and you won’t be able to fit the pieces together. (Ask me how I know…)
When you trace the piece that will be the brim of your hat, make sure that there is enough cardboard around your circle to make the brim. Your brim can be however narrow or wide you want it to be…your choice. In the pictures below of my son’s finished product, my son’s brim is 8 inches wide from the circle to the edge, all the way around. He wanted his very large. That gives you an idea of how much cardboard you may want around your circle. (Less, if you don’t want yours as large as his.)

NOTE: The size my son chose for his brim is much larger than what a real gaucho’s hat would look like. It’s just the size that he wanted, and I let him make the choice himself. If you prefer to be more authentic, refer to photos of real gaucho hats and you can get an idea of a more realistic brim size. The original tutorial I linked to above has a more authentic brim size.

medios desfile17 de junio 3

Here’s a great pic to refer to…thanks to an Argentinian commenter below, Tomás, for sharing it!

Step 7:  Now draw the outside circle of the brim. To do this, decide how wide you want it to be…as I said above, my son decided that 8 inches was how wide he wanted. Once you’ve decided on a measurement, use your tape measure again…place the end against the circle you drew and mark your measurement out all around the outer edge of where you want the edge of your hat to be. So, for example, my son put a mark at 8in out from the circle a couple inches apart all around what would become the brim of the hat. 

Then just connect those marks to form a big circle all the way around:

Step 8:   Now you need to make V-shaped tabs all along the circles you drew.

On the OUTSIDE of the circle that is the top of the hat:

On the INSIDE of the circle that is the brim of the hat:

Step 9:  Now time to start cutting. Using your scissors, cut out the top of your hat and carefully cut out all the tabs…

For the brim, you can cut out the outside with the scissors, but you will need the exacto knife or box cutter to do the tabs on the inside. This will require adult help and/or supervision, if you are a child doing this tutorial, so CHECK WITH AN ADULT FIRST!! These tools are SHARP!!

Also, make sure that there’s nothing underneath where you’re cutting that could get damaged, like a table top, carpet, or YOUR LEG. Put something like a thick piece of cardboard underneath or cut it vertically, in the air, away from any body parts.
BE VERY CAUTIOUS with your cutting!!

Step 10:  Now you need to score the tabs to make them bend. To do this, you’re going to use your exacto knife or box cutter to cut through the top layer of the cardboard, but NOT the bottom layer.

Use your knife to score along the circle you drew…JUST THE TOP LAYER OF CARDBOARD!!!

First the top of the hat:

Now the inside of the brim:

Step 11:  Now we’re going to glue all the pieces together!

You’re going to need an extra piece of cardboard underneath the hole in the brim to keep glue from getting onto the surface you are working put that down first, and then…


You’re going to start with attaching the brim piece to the crown part (the circle of cardboard). Place the brim piece flat with the tabs pointing up, and put the crown over the tabs so that all the tabs are inside the collar of the crown:

Using your hot glue gun, start gluing each tab and then pressing it up against the inside of the collar:

Continue around until all the tabs have been glued firmly against the inside of the crown of your hat. (This is pretty time consuming.)

Once you’ve got your brim attached, you’re going to do the same thing to the top of your hat. Lay it flat with the tabs sticking up and position the crown of the hat (now with the brim attached) over the tabs so that every tab is inside the collar of the crown, and then glue all the tabs into place as before:


After this, you may want to go around the top of your hat with a bead of glue to fill in any cracks:


At this point you can use some fabric to line the inside of the hat, if you like….and you could even cover the outside or paint it! Or just leave it plain!  Here’s how ours turned out:

If you make this craft, I’d love to hear how it turned out! Leave me a comment below and a link to pics!

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    1. Thank you very much for your feedback, Tomas! I will definitely keep that in mind for future projects. If you read my blog post, you’ll see that my son chose how wide the brim would be…but I agree, it is much wider than the pictures of gaucho hats…so as I recall, I think I did point that out to him at the time. It’s what he wanted to do. But in the interest of accuracy, I agree, it is too big. 🙂 Thank you for pointing that out from an Argentinian perspective because I do want to have that info made clear. I will add that info to the blog post so that it’s clear that we know that this size isn’t authentic, and all people need to do is make theirs smaller to be more accurate. If you look on the original tutorial I got the idea from, they definitely look more authentic. 🙂

    2. So so so happy that I found this website. We are learning about various Hispanic countries for Hispanic Heritage Month. We are learning about Argentina and the gauchos this week!

  1. I teach Little Globetrotters for 2-5 year olds in our homeschool co op. Tomorrow we’re learning about Argentina. Thanks for the instructions!

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