Beaded Egyptian headpieces are a classic costume item for a Cleopatra outfit or exotic belly dancing costumes. Egyptian-style beaded headpieces are characterized by bead fringe around a snug-fitting beaded cap; long beading around the back and side, and short beading at the front. While commercially made headpieces are available, they can often be flimsy. A well-constructed version can be quite expensive. Make your own headpiece for assured quality and a perfect fitting head piece for a costume.
Things You'll Need
Foam Dummy Head
Take the measurements for your head including the circumference, the length you want the fringe at the front and the longer fringe at the back as well as the distance from the top of the head to where the fringe starts, with a tape measure.
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Cut a length of waxed thread to five inches long, thread a beading needle and thread beads in the desired bead pattern, leaving an inch of thread unbeaded. Tie the ends of the thread together where the beads start to create a circle of beaded thread.
Pin the beaded circle to the top of a foam dummy head as an anchor for the beaded headpiece.
Cut a length of thread an inch longer than the measurement of the circumference of your head, thread a beading needle and thread beads onto it. Pick the beads up with the tip of the needle, rather than hand-picking and threading the beads.
Wrap the beaded thread around the Styrofoam head at the desired distance from the top of the head to where the fringe will start. Tie the ends to each other like you did for the small top anchor, and pin in place around the head.
Cut lengths of string two inches longer than the distance between the anchor and the circumference pieces of string. Cut enough so that there is one string for every inch of the circumference piece – for example, if the circumference piece is 25 inches, cut 25 pieces of string.
Tie one end of each piece of string to the circumference piece, spaced an inch apart. Thread beads onto the pieces of string, then tie off the ends onto the anchor. Trim excess thread with scissors.
Cut lengths of string two inches longer than the desired length of the front fringe, enough for one string every quarter inch around half of the circumference. For example, for a 25 inch circumference cut 50 strings to this length.
Tie one end of each thread to the circumference piece, spaced quarter inch apart at the front of the head. Thread beads onto the strings, then tie them off at the bottom with double or triple knots before trimming excess string.
Repeat the procedure for the front fringe with the back fringe, only cutting strings to the desired length of the back fringe. Unpin the headpiece from the dummy head and gently fit it over your head.
Using beaded string cuts down enormously on the work intensiveness of making a beaded headpiece. Be sure to choose beaded string that is strong.
Do not use beaded fringe for small children since beads present a choking hazard.