Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Our witch and our Rapunzel had a lovely time. No handmade costumes this year, but some handmade hair. And the hair did get made on time, however, I recommend allowing more than an hour and a half to do it in. Which seems obvious, but I'm just addressing any fellow crazy procrastinators out there.
As I stood and contemplated the huge length of yarn on the floor, my daughter said maybe I should have just bought the pattern we saw at the store. I scoffed to myself. How hard can it be? Just a huge braid, right? Here's what I figured out:
Rapunzel hair recipe for kids:
Hugemongous one pound (16 oz) skein of yellow yarn
Two tall backed chairs, preferably heavy ones
Willing helpers (bribe with candy if necessary)
Spool of purple ribbon
Place the two chairs side by side but a few feet apart, the overall distance from the edge of one chair back to the other being the length of the hair you will need. Mine was about five feet. Enough to go from your Rapunzel's head to her feet, knowing that braiding will take up some length. You can always trim it if it is too long.
Roll several feet of yarn off and cut it free. You'll use this to make ties. Tape the end of the remaining skein of yarn to one of the chair backs and start winding the yarn around the backs of the chairs. Tight enough not to sag a lot, but not too tight or the chairs will begin to tip toward each other. Now keep doing this until your skein of yarn is empty. This will take some time. This is where your helpers come in. Give them the yarn, show them what to do, and check on them every once in a while.
Feed a yarn tie under and around all the strands on one end and draw it up tightly, knotting it.
Now have one of your helpers sit on one half of the hair on the floor while you braid the other half. Divide the half you are working on into three equal bunches, and lay them out on the floor. Start crossing one bunch over at a time, and put it down, keeping the lengths of yarn separated. Pick up the next section, cross it over, put it down, and so on. Keep combing through the yarn with your fingers as you braid to keep it smooth. Tie the braid off tightly at the end with more yarn. Trim as needed.
Have your helper sit on the braided half while you braid the other side. Same process.
Now you have two long braids that are connected at a part in the middle. Put that center part on your Rapunzel's forehead, wrapping the braids snugly around her head and crossing them in the back. Tie it tightly together there with a length of yarn.
Now weave the purple ribbon in. Unroll the whole spool. Poke it under and through the center part on the forehead and pull it through until you have half of the ribbon on each side. Now choose one section of the braid on each side and weave the ribbon to follow along it all the way to the end.
Once you reach the end of each braid, tie the two braids together with the ribbon ends. Then you can do like me and use the rest of the purple ribbon to go back up and weave the two braids together. You could also make a pretty bow at the bottom with the ribbon and use invisible ties of yarn to attach the two braids together in a few places.
If I had had the time, I might have tried to fill the hole in the back of the head with some kind of yellow fabric, but time didn't allow. Ideally, you could just use a yellow knit hat under the braid to give the illusion that it is a full wig. I offered to add some felt flowers to decorate the braids, but my Rapunzel declined.
After the costume was on, I smoothed my daughter's real hair (which is ironically very long, but oh no, Mom, it is not blond) back into a bun and then anchored the Rapunzel hair around her forehead and underneath the bun with long bobby pins. And it stayed put during Trick or Treating, despite much excited running and swinging of the hair.
And that is how I did it.
I have to confess that there were a few tense moments after the hair was completed, when my daughter announced that she had decided not to wear the Rapunzel wig. That I had just made. With much effort. At her request.
And I'd like to be able to say that I reacted calmly with a discussion about being considerate of others and properly appreciative of what is done for you. I really would. That discussion did happen in a few minutes, but I think my first reaction was more something like "Oh, you will be wearing the hair, and you will get happy about that or you will be staying home to hand out candy with Daddy." Hey. I'm not perfect.
But, as you can see for yourself in the photos, she came around about the hair and was very happy to wear it after all. Thank goodness.