If you can find an old woollen felt trilby in a charity or second
hand clothes shop a reasonable hat for manipulation can be made from it.
It will be lighter than a professionally made one, but will also be a
fraction of the price.
Step 1 - Find a hat that fits
Look for a good fit, slightly large but not so big that it needs your ears to hold it up.
Step 2 - Preparation
Remove all the lining and push the crown out to make a bowler shape.
Step 3 - The glue mixture
Mix PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate) glue (this is the opaque white stuff
often used in school art lessons) and water in a 50:50 solution. Some people have suggested adding a little ink to this mixture so that it matches the colour of your hat. Apparently this helps to reduce fading in sunlight.
Step 4 - The outside
Paint the outside of the hat and the top of the brim with the solution, ensuring that it is soaking into the felt. Avoid the hatband as the solution may discolour it. Leave to dry.
Step 5 - The inside
When dry paint the inside of your hat and the bottom of the brim with the solution.
Repeat steps 4 and 5 until the hat is firm but not solid.
This usually takes 2 or 3 coats of glue solution inside and out.
The finished article
You now have a hat to play with! With care it will probably last as well as a Dubé bowler, but it will need re-treating occasionally.