Whether you want to dress as a gnome, a wizard or an old man, impress everyone by adding a homemade grey beard. You could purchase one at a costume shop, but making the beard yourself allows you to customize the color, size and fit so your costume looks perfect. With some easily-found materials, including a few surprising items you might already have in your home, you can craft a one-of-a-kind grey beard that will look great on Halloween or for dress-up play any time of the year.
Make the Foundation
The perfect item to use as a foundation for your beard is a baby's bib. For a gnome or dwarf costume, you don't even need to add a mustache. To add a mustache, you will need a bit of craft felt. If you have a bib with ties, you can use them to tie the finished beard around your head. If the bib doesn't have ties, or if the ties are too short, add yarn or elastic for securing the beard.
Things You'll Need
- Baby bib
- 1 sheet paper, 8.5-by-11-inch
- 1 sheet craft felt, any color, 9-by-12-inch
- Fabric glue
- Tape measure
- 12-inch length of braided elastic, 1/2-inch
If you don't have a baby bib, use another sheet of craft felt. Cut it in the shape of a bib to make the base for the beard.
Draw a mustache shape on your paper. Mark a dot in the middle of the page for the center of the mustache. Beginning at the dot, draw a curved arch to the left. Put your pencil back on the dot, and draw a curved arch to the right. Put your pencil on the outer tip of the left-side arch. Draw a softly-curved line across the bottom of the mustache that comes up slightly in the center where the mouth will be.
To size the mustache correctly, lay the bib on the bottom half of the paper and draw the mustache above it.
Cut out the mustache shape you drew.
Lay the paper mustache pattern on your craft felt. Trace around the shape on the felt with your pencil. Pick up the paper pattern. Cut out the mustache shape from the felt.
Lay your bib flat on your work surface. Lay the felt mustache in place on top of the bib. Leave an opening between the bib and the mustache for your mouth. Attach the mustache to the bib with fabric glue.
If you need to add elastic for securing the beard to your face, measure the distance across the back of your head from one ear to the other. Cut a length of braided elastic to this measurement.
Staple the ends of the elastic to either side of the bib. Once stapled onto the bib, the elastic will be slightly shorter than the measurement you took, but it will stretch and hold securely.
Add Hair to the Beard
Make the beard hairy and fuzzy by adding grey wool roving. Roving is a bundle of wool fiber that has not yet been spun into yarn. It pulls apart easily and looks remarkably like hair.
Things You'll Need
- 1 package of grey natural wool roving, .7-ounce
- Fabric glue
Apply a line of glue along the bottom border of the bib.
Pull a piece of roving from the bundle that is approximately 2-inches long. Beginning on the left side, place one end of the piece of roving on the glue line. Allow the other end to hang below the bib.
Continue to add pieces of roving to the bib until the entire line of glue is covered.
Apply another line of glue approximately 1/2 inch above the first. Place pieces of roving along this line in the same fashion.
Continue adding rows of roving in the same way until the entire bib is covered with roving.
Cover the felt mustache with fabric glue.
Pull pieces of roving off of the bundle and apply them to the mustache. Shape the mustache by pinching in the ends in the center.
Trim the beard to shape it as desired.
Alternatives to Roving
If you can't find roving or you just don't want to use it, choose from a variety of alternatives for adding hair to your beard.
- Use grey yarn. Cut 4-inch lengths of yarn and fold them in half to make a loop. Place the tails of the loop into the lines of glue, and allow the loops to dangle beneath.
- Use cotton balls. Pull cotton balls apart and apply them to the beard using the same method described above.
- Use gray construction paper. Cut 1-by-3-inch strips of construction paper. Curl the strips by wrapping them around a pencil and holding for a few seconds. Lay the tips of the curled strips of paper into the line of glue and allow the curls to dangle below.