i’m just a beard: a dwarf hat tutorial

I think I’ve already done a sufficient job establishing my nerdiness on this blog, so little introduction to this tutorial is required.  To celebrate the release of the Desolation of Smaug (and also because my excellent friend Shelley inspired me with her own crafting) I decided to make a dwarf beard hat not unlike the ones that you might have seen floating around the internets.  Mine is a little different than the Ravelry version in that there is no knitting or crochet involved.

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To get started, you’ll need: a hefty chunk of yarn in your desired beard color (I bought a Red Heart Super Saver package, which was 324 yards, and I only had a bit left over), a sheet of felt in a flesh color (or the same color as the beard hair), a pre-knitted beanie (like the ones you can buy at CVS for $2), and if you wish to decorate the beanie like a dwarf’s helmet, then some gray/gold/etc scraps of felt.  The only tools you should need are scissors and some sort of adhesive (or if you are really gung-ho, you can sew the chunks of hair on).

First, cut out the first flesh (or beard)-colored felt in the shape of a very general beard template. This will be the base to which you attach all the beard hair.  Leave some extra room at the temples or sides so you can glue this into the beanie once the beard is glued on.

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Then, determine how long you want your beard to be.  Don’t make the hairs too long, or you’ll run out of yarn, but I recommend cutting a little bit longer than you think you’ll need and you can just play barber later.  I made mine long enough to reach the middle of my stomach. Once I decided how long enough I wanted it to be once on the beard, I doubled that length and made that the length of yarn I would cut out. (You’ll see why in a second.)

Now get to cutting out your beard hair. Cut a LOT. You basically want the finished product to be like a Tresemme ad slapped onto your chin. I paused partway through the process to form the hair bundles to gauge my progress.  When you want to make a hair bundle, take another, smaller piece of yarn and tie the bundle of yarn (as thick as you want it to be) in the center. Here are some of my yarn bundles shown below.

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Once you have enough for a luscious flowing beard, arrange the chunks onto the beard with the knot in the middle.  I did two layers of hair bundles on the chin and cheeks for maximum beardiness. Glue these bad boys down (make sure that the center knot is not visible). To make the mustache, I did two smaller hair bundles and glued them right at the center flowing outward.  To make sure the mustache didn’t fall down, I glued the chunks a bit down along the path of the mustache template.  Leave a little bit of room on the felt template so you can glue the beard into the beanie.

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yes, crafting in swants – i’ve truly reached my final form.

Now, the most fun part (that can also turn into a Google Images wormhole): look for some dwarven beard braiding inspiration. This is like Pinterest, but about 8 million times more interesting because your (beard) hair is finally long enough to put in all those crazy elaborate braids you see in the pictures (short hair bitterness moment over).  I went with a Gimli-inspired look, because he is my main man (only sort of kidding). 

Gimli_-_FOTR

Once the braiding is done, glue the beard template to the inside of the hat.

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all alone in my apartment, post-workout and crafting. this is my idea of a wild party.

Excellent!  You can stop here, because honestly, most people are going to recognize this as a dwarf beard hat.  However, if you are all about dat life of cosplay verisimilitude, you can continue onward to make some dwarf helmet decorations to put on your beanie.  Again, I’m drawing my inspiration from Gimli (not Hobbit accurate, sorry folks), who wears more of a war helmet compared to the little winter caps we see modeled by Bombur, Fili, and Kili in the movies.  Anyway, good old Gimli sports some very interesting geometric designs on his helmet. I cut out some metallic-ish felt, puffy painted some designs, and glued them to the beanie to create some sort of brow and sideburns protection.

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Here I am modeling the finished product. And yes, before you ask, all dwarves just laze around in their pajamas holding their cats on a Tuesday afternoon. They only pick up their axes when Peter Jackson is around.

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Woohoo! You’re all done. Congrats on possibly making it through this whole tutorial. Stay tuned for next week when I instruct you all how to make hairy hobbit feet (just kidding, those things are gross).

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