In celebration of the Christmas and holiday season (not to mention Hobbit Week), here’s an easy stocking stuffer gift for your Tolkien fanatic and book lover friends, as well as the ever-growing segment of the population who now thinks four-and-a-half-foot-tall leather-clad, axe wielding, dudes are hot — Dwarf braids.
These are the must-have Middle Earth fashion accessory of the season, and can be made into hair pieces, key chains, backpack bling and anything else that needs a little Khazâd* charm.
If you can braid, you can make these. They are as simple as that.
• Wool or Mohair textured yarn, preferably earth tones of brown, grey or black (I used a brand called Charisma).
• Silver or bronze-looking beads, particularly those with a fairly large hole and rustic patterns
• Simple hair clips, bobby pins, key rings, zipper pulls or any other item you want to attach to the braid.
Step 1: Take two long strands of yarn and cut them twice the length you want them. You might want them to match the length of your hair, for example. Fold them in half and place the loop end around the hair clip, key ring, etc. Take the other ends and pull then through the loop end (see photo).
Step 2: Unravel the yarn, and gently (emphasis on gently) comb the yarn so it begins to resemble hair. I recommend using yarn over those fine-textured hair extension strands you can buy almost anywhere now, because Dwarves’ hair is quite a bit coarser then regular human hair, almost like an animal’s mane. If you want to look more Elven, however, go ahead and try this with the extensions. Now, divide the “hair” into three parts and braid away.
Step 3: Take an unfolded paper clip or some beading wire and fold it over the end of the braid, leaving about an inch of hair at the bottom. Pull this through a bead (or two or three) and pull the beads as far up the braid as you want. Do the same with the final bead, but only pull the hair far enough through so the hair remains “folded over” out of the bottom. Gently remove the paper clip or wire and cut off any excess hair sticking out of the top of the braid. A small drop or craft glue (or super glue if you aren’t working with kids) placed at the base of the bead will help hold it in place if you like, but these are actually pretty snug and secure is the bead if the right sized bead is use (another advantage of using yarn).
Oin: Braid a fine beading wire in with the braid and curl up or shape the finished braid. Make these small enough, and they make pretty cute lapel pins or barrettes.
Nori: Make about four or five simple braids together on the same hair clip and pull then together through a larger bead, using the same method as the simple braid.
Gloin: Attach several lengths of yarn (in the same manner as the simple braids) to a thin headband, or piece of yarned stretch between two hair clips. Comb it out, and divide it into seven parts, making the center part the widest). Take a large bead and pull it onto the center part, and a smaller bead onto the two parts on either side of the center park. Pull these three parts together and pull them all through a bead with a fairly wide hole to give it a “woven” look. Take the outer parts and make simple Dwarf braids. This one looks really nice if you let it hang down the back of your head, particularly if the color matches your hair…and it will get noticed.
Make as many as you need and share them with at least 13 other friends before leaving the Shire.
Adventure awaits…right after second breakfast.