Introduction: How to Grow Your Own Epic Dwarf Beard in One Evening!
1 crochet hook, 2.75 mm
at least 375 yards of 5mm medium weight acrylic yarn in colors approximating hair, preferably in multiple similar colors
1 sheet of plastic canvas, at least 10.5"x 13.5", grade 7 mesh
~18 inches of slender elastic (a cut-open elastic hair wrap works great)
Time: 3-4 hours
Step 1: Yarn and Plastic Canvas
I used acrylic because wool is too itchy. You want to have at least 375 yards in total but I'd recommend buying a couple smaller rolls, and mixing 2 or more similar colors, even different dye batches of the same color. Beards have varying colors so it adds texture and depth to use a variety of similar shades.
Underneath the label is a leftover strip of the plastic canvas the beard substrate is made of.
I picked brown so it wouldn't stand out much from under the yarn but it comes in other colors too. It cost about $.50 for a sheet and you only need one per beard. Using this stuff saves you the trouble of needing to learn to knit.
It's also sturdy enough to be a solid base, but still easy to cut with scissors.
Step 2: Crochet Hook
Use this size crochet hook (2.75 mm) or you won't be able to push it through the plastic grid holes, and if you use a smaller one, it might be too fine for the yarn.
Step 3: Diagram
Hopefully this diagram is self explanatory. The only thing I left off from this diagram is the bottom 2 rows of yarn, which make up the bottom layer of the beard. I recommend starting with the bottom layer first and then moving on to the moustache, followed by the top layer of the beard, and then the mouth last.
XXXX-tra thick fill means I used 3 strands of yarn instead of 2 and I planted more yarn in that area.
Step 4: Inside the Beard
I used an entire sheet of the plastic canvas for the base. I figured out what shape it should be in by holding it against my face and drawing on it with a Sharpie.
The top lip is only 2 rows wide, and the mouth hole is 8 rows tall. You can make the shape of the mouth anything you want but a lemon sort of shape seems to be best.
Step 5: Yarn Measurement
To measure the yarn, wrap it around a piece of cardboard or plastic, whatever you wrap it around should be the same length you want your beard to be.
After you have wrapped all the yarn, cut the bundle in half and you should then have a bunch of yarn that is twice as long as you want the beard to be. This is exactly what you want, because each piece of yarn makes 2 beard strands.
Step 6: Bottom Layer
I started with the bottom edge of the plastic and looped 2 strands of yarn per hole through, then made a cow hitch. I staggered them with 2 holes between. This is the "bottom layer" and you can see I made 2 rows of hair all the way along the edge.
Step 7: More Bottom Layer
2 pieces of yarn per hole. What you see here is the middle point of the lengths of yarn.
Step 8: Inside the Moustache
Inside the moustache. I whipped yarn all the way across the top lip and it turned out to be unnecessary and extra itchy. I snipped this section off after I took this picture.
If you don't mind the smell of hairspray, it doesn't hurt to mist this area front and back once you are done braiding, and wipe the stray fibers down with your fingers so they don't pay a visit to your mouth or up your nose.
Step 9: Pin the Moustache to the Upper Lip
The center of the moustache is pinned down with a single piece of yarn that isn't tied *around* the upper lip of the plastic, but it's been stabbed through it instead, makes for a smaller tighter loop.
I originally tied a knot on the back side of the beard but a better way to do it is to tie the knot in the front, wiggle the knot down to the bottom of the moustache to hide it, and then use the trailing ends of the knot in the rest of the moustache. This way you don't have the knot pressing against your upper lip.
The moustache bundle is about 30 pieces of yarn.
Step 10: Pin the Moustache Ends Down
After I pinned the center of the moustache bundle to the upper lip, then pinned the "ends" of the moustache down, I bloused the moustache into 2 symmetric poofs. I then braided the trailing ends of the moustache into the yarn draped over the top edge so the moustache braid would look fuller.
When pinning the moustache ends down, I tied the knot in the back but then drew the trailing ends back to the front side of the canvas so they could mix in with the rest of the moustache.
Another way to cover the top edge of the plastic canvas is to drape yarn over the top and behind the moustache, and then tuck some of the overlapping drape underneath the moustache. This is instead of planting yarn behind the moustache poofs.
Step 11: Cover the Bottom Lip
To do the bit over the bottom edge of the lip. I drew 2 strands through a hole against the edge, pulled it halfway through, and just draped it over the edge of the bottom lip. Covers the plastic and looks clean.
Step 12: Check Your Yarn Thickness All Around the Edge
Look how much I didn't have to fill because I only bothered with 2 layers! Notice I left the entire bottom layer intact but included most of the XXXX-tra fill into the center braid.
2 layers means I used less yarn, and it's lighter, but there's still plenty of coverage due to sufficient thickness along the top edge, no plastic showed through at all.
Step 13: Insert Epic Braids Here
Braiding happens last! After all the braids were in, I trimmed the ends of the yarn (unevenly, on purpose), I wanted the beard to have a V-shape or a U-shape instead of being completely straight across the bottom edge.
I finished off the braids by taking an extra piece of yarn, and tying it around the end of the braid. Wrap it around multiple times for a more distinct looking knot (see the end of the center braid)
Tie the ends of the piece of yarn together and mix the loose ends into the tail of the braid.
Step 14: Epic Braid Pics
Make the center braid first, then the moustache braids, then add in any extras as you wish. If you have too thin coverage on the top layer, you won't be able to do many braids, but you might be able to fudge it by starting the braid a bit lower down.
Bonus: Thor-in's Hammer
Step 15: Elastic
I cut a slender elastic hair band open and crochet hooked it through the plastic, and tied it. One half went over the top of my head, the other half went behind my head and under a ponytail to keep it from slipping forward. I found a Scunci no-slip headwrap that had an exposed strip of sticky silicone or whatever that stuff is to help it grip hair better.
I covered the exposed plastic canvas with a hat, but you probably could cut it off completely and bury the elastic a couple rows under the hairline, inside the yarn.
Step 16: BERSERKER TIME
Go Medieval on some Goblins.
Step 17: BONUS BEARD LEVEL!
(Is in for a brief doctor visit and will be ready in time for Christmas Eve!)
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