Introduction: Handsome Hand Comb for Caressing Healthy Hair

***I entered this Instructable in to the Fibre Arts competition since a whole lot of thread is being used in it (both structurally and decoratively) and since the thin wire that it utilises seems to me to conform to the definition of the word 'fibre' as I know it; a substance the length of which is far greater in proportion to its diameter. Fibres, therefore, are the main component of this project. I'd be happy to withdraw if this is not the definition espoused by the judges, however.***

As my symmetrically alliterative title (which I may like a little too much for my own good ๐Ÿ˜‰) suggests, this is a comb for simple, everyday grooming for hair (and a scalp) in relatively good health. It is most suitable for the straighter hair types; if your hair is more on the curly side, you may have to make appropriate adjustments (eg. larger gap between teeth). However, I'd be thrilled if you did manage to make a useful comb for curly hair using the wire method I show here - please do post a picture if you do!

Now, I have put great effort in to beautifying the final product since I am oh-so-vain and fancy myself a monarch of great distinction. You, however, can afford to be more practical and sensible. Unless you too are of noble birth ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you find this project in any way worthy of it, please consider giving it your vote for Fibre Arts contest. The vote button is at the end of the Instructable, before the comments. Thanks in advance ๐Ÿ˜Š

Enough chin wagging. For this wee Instructable, you will need;


1) Thin stainless steel wire (I used SWG 25 i.e about 0.5mm in diameter)
2) Pliers (combination or needle-nose)
3) Thread of a colour to your liking (for the decorative part, ribbon or embroidery floss would do too)
4)Something to act as a handle (that already has holes in it or that can be bored in to)
5)Ornamentation (you know...Rhinestones, Sequins & Co.?) and appropriate adhesive (epoxy, in my case)
6)Needle (in my case, a medium-sized embroidery needle)
9) Varnish, paint, nail polish etc. as per taste

Step 1: The Wave

First, decide how many teeth you want your comb to have. Although my hair is quite long and abundant, I find that this tiny nine-toothed comb I made serves me very well indeed. I've been using it for well over a month now!

Then, fold your wire in to the wave-like pattern in the first image, with as many crests as teeth you desire. In my case, that makes nine crests.

The shape is a sort of zig zag, or a wave with flattened troughs, as seen in the image. Unlike seen in the image, each of the finger-like extensions must be of the same size. Clearly, I'm a talented artist with an enviable knack for drawing with proportionality ๐Ÿ˜‰
Let the length from crest to trough be twice the length that you want your teeth to be in the end, plus a few millimetres to allow for connecting to the handle.
Let the trough be flattened to the length of the gap between teeth that you desire. Mine was just about 2mm.

Cut your shaped wire off from the rest of the reel, pick your pliers up and prepare for...

Step 2: The Twisting

Using your pliers and starting at the base of each finger-like extension, twist the wire taking care to make your turns as evenly spaced as possible, as shown in the first image.

The straight, prong-like structure in the second picture is the objective, so be sure not to twist too much or too closely, since this will lead to weakening and breakage of the wire. And remember, this prong will be twisted on itself once more! You'd want to avoid breakage at all costs since your hair will snag with unholy frequency on any peaking broken bits ๐Ÿ˜ฌ If you do end up with a little snapped wire, you could squeeze it in to place on the rest of the twist with your pliers, but you can only get away with one or two such minor incidents!

Go on twisting in this way till all of your crests have been reduced to points. 

Step 3: Twist Encore!

Bend each prong at its midpoint and twist as formerly, starting from the base again. Again, be careful not to do overdo it and cause the wire to snap!
You should also neaten up the gaps between your teeth as you go, making them conform to the final comb shape that you want. You will be binding the comb to the handle at each of these gaps, so the smaller and fewer your gaps are, the less thread and energy you'll have to spend in binding. 
I decided to go for a fan-shaped comb for this reason. I find that it works as well as a conventionally shaped comb. I arranged the prongs in to the shape of a fan as I went about twisting each prong anew.

You should end up with something that resembles the first image.

Now, starting at one end of the comb with your threaded needle, weave and loop the thread around the bases of the teeth in order to secure them more tightly in a fixed position (determined by the shape you're going for). Knot tightly, regularly and appropriately to achieve this stability: I would say you really couldn't overdo the knotting. The simplest of knots works wonderfully: pass most of your thread under a nearby stitch leaving a little loop remaining, then pass your needle through this loop from behind it and pull the thread taut. You should have made a discreet, tight knot.

After your comb feels relatively stable (a quick trial sweep through your hair should help you establish if the teeth still move or bend too much), you can start weaving the thread with more attention to aesthetics than the strength of the base. In the second picture, the white thread shows the stability-threading, and the lovely greenish-blue thread shows the beginning of the more decorative threading. Although decorative, weaving the thread tightly for 10 - 15 mm up the base of the comb will also aid in securing each tooth in place. I used a traditional 'over one tooth, under the next' weaving pattern for the most part, and I highly recommend doing the same. Again, don't forget to knot discreetly on the reverse! 

The third picture shows a comb ready for fitting on to the handle, which is what you should have at the end of this step.

Step 4: "Comb, Meet Handle."

As shown in the first picture, the idea is to tightly attach the wiry comb to the handle by means of passing thread through the tooth gaps and holes in the handle, thereby joining the two. Any handle that allows you to do this (perhaps with a little cutting, resizing, or drilling/boring of holes) will do. A thinnish, tapering handle like mine will nevertheless be more ergonomic. You will actually be holding the comb at the joint between the comb and the handle, and not at the end of the handle...this sounds like a cumbersome and strange place to grip on to when described in writing, but is in fact quite comfortable and intuitive a grasp in real life! :) The last picture in this section shows this.

My handle, pictured secondly, is in fact one of the bases of the frame of a Chinese fan that broke about eight years ago. I (neatly and systematically!) horde all kinds of broken bits and pieces from around the house specifically for the purpose of reusing them - upcycling brings me great joy and a sense of doing my part to mitigate the non-biodegradeable waste problem. I encourage whomever I can to substitute existing waste materials for buying a certain item anew because, as a wise person somewhere on the internet put it, what we need is not a few people living a zero-waste lifestyle perfectly, but many doing it imperfectly ๐Ÿ˜Š

But I digress! You will notice that my handle already had a little grid work at the base. I have cut it to fit better in to the comb, but I left some of the grid intact to use as the aforementioned holes.

You will find it helpful to arrange any bits of wire sticking out of the base in to two neat rows, the middle of which your handle can nicely slot in to, so that no wire will be sticking out at odd angles at the joint. A neat and strong joint is indispensable!

Pass the needle through the tooth spaces in the comb and them through the holes in the handle repeatedly and in various patterns, knotting firmly and frequently as you go. You should end up with something like that in the third and fourth pictures and that feels stable when held at either end.

Hold your comb as shown in the last picture and test it to see if you need to strengthen the joint further. When you're happy, heave a sigh of relief and proceed on to...

Step 5: The Finishing Touches

Now's the time to neaten up your weave, decorate your handle, smoothen out any odd angles at the joint etc. This part is entirely up to you!

I wrapped some thread around the handle, glued a few beads from an ooold chain on to it, and finally gave both it and the comb two layers of good-quality transparent nail polish (aesthetics for the handle, a good protection against Sweat et al for the wire).

And that's a wrap. May you go forth boldly and groom luscious locks for years to come!
Fiber Arts Contest

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