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Twisted Historical Costumes (or how to make Italian Renaissance Style Hair Horns!)…PART II

Written by Laura Ulak

Click here for Part I

I had found 2 flower picks at Joann Fabrics with acrylic hearts on them and thought they would be hysterical coming out of the top of some hair horns.  I also decided that I needed to wear them with a LOT of extra hair, a la the movie “Dangerous Beauty.”  So my massive hairstyle was born.

I started out with the following list of supplies:

1.  Foam cones, roughly 3 inches high (package of 2)

2.  A lightly padded headband

3.  Wire

4.  The 2 heart flower picks

5.  Glue – E-6000 is my preferred choice if you are not using hot glue.

6.  A large hair fall in a color that matches your own from a site like Maxwigs.

7.  Extra pieces of hair wefts that coordinate with the color of your hair – these are long strips of hair sewn together that are used to make up wigs or to clip into your own hair.  Get the kind that is purely weft – no clips.

8.  Bobby pins

9.  Toupee clips (2-3)

10.  Needle and thread that is as close to your hair color as possible.

11.  Spray paint that matches the color of your hair

12.  Pliers and wire cutters

13.  HAIR SPRAY – strong stuff.  Think Aqua Net.

You start with your headband, flower picks, and foam cones.  Spray your headband with the paint if it is not already a close color match for your hair.  You can spray the foam as well.  Let it dry.  Then poke a flower pick through the cone.  Using your pliers, bend the pick wire out at a 45 degree angle away from the cone.  This will prevent the cone from sliding off the pick.  Then bend the wire into a looped shape that curves along the same angle as the headband.  Secure this wire to the headband using other wire.  It might require the help of another person in holding it in place.  When finished, your headband will look roughly like this:

If you are not using picks and simply want to have hair horns, eliminate the wire steps and just glue the foam cones to the headband using your E6000.  I would not recommend hot glue for this part because you REALLY want that foam to stay in place, and E6000 is the stuff for that.

Note:  Using hot glue for attaching the hair would have made this WHOLE process a lot easier for me, but I did not have any, so I used fabric glue which dries clear.

Next I took the wefts of hair and cut them into 1-2 inch pieces.  I liberally applied glue to the foam cones and then wound the hair around the cones.  Make sure to crisscross so you cover all spaces and to make sure to hide the weft portion under some of the loose hair.  If you are using regular glue for this you can bobby pin the hair into place.  If you are using hot glue, you can pin the weft to the foam with straight pins that can be removed later.  You also need to make sure that you keep the tapered angle of the cones in mind – you don’t want hot dog shaped horns – you need that fullness at the bottom.  Spray the heck out of it with hair spray.

Once this dries you can cut 1-2 pieces of weft that are the length of the headband minus 2 inches (you don’t want the weft sewn on behind your ear or it will be rather itchy).  Using your needle and thread, sew the weft along the front edge of the headband.  Make sure that it is securely fastened to it.  I prefer to use a fabric covered headband for comfort and for ease of application of this part.  You could hot glue this on, but it would not hold up as well in the long run.

When the weft is sewn on, you need to flip it back over the headband to cover up the headband and the wire.  It will also cover the space where the foam attaches to the headband.  You can put a layer of hot glue/fabric glue on the headband itself, and then press the hair weft over and onto it.  Allow this to dry.  Spray the heck out of it with hair spray.

When it is dried, sew 2-3 toupee clips along the front edge of the headband, right underneath where the weft is sewn on.  This will help hold the headband to your head.  Due to the curve of the headband they may never close on your hair when on your head, but the important thing is that the headband has a spot to grab onto your hair.  The clips are small and work much better than plastic combs for this.

Again, liberally apply hair spray.

Your hair horns should now look like this:

To make the completed hair style, this is what I did:

  1. I had ordered a hair fall that was attached to a banana clip.  I removed the banana clip, turned it sideways so the hair was fuller, and sewed on two plastic hair combs.  I chose hair combs rather than toupee clips because the hair was heavier and needed more support.
  2. I then parted my hair sideways, from ear to ear.  I clipped the hair in the front out of the way and braided the hair in back into 2 French braids.  I then rolled them into flat buns against my head and bobby pinned them into place.  You want these buns/braids to be as high up on the back of your head as possible to help the hair fall feel secure.  I prefer French braids as it is another braid in your hair for the combs to clip into.
  3. Then I took the front portion of hair and curled it into sausage curls (i.e. Shirley Temple curls) with my curling iron.  I use a Hot Tools ribbon curling iron which makes great curls in about 5 seconds.  It is AMAZING.
  4. At this point it is best to get dressed and get any make-up out of the way.
  5. Then I took the large hair fall and pushed the plastic clips into the buns on the back of my head.  I secured it with additional pins.
  6. Then I placed the headband on my head and made sure the toupee clips were gripping my hair.  Make sure the hair you curled is in FRONT of the headband, pretty much covering your face.  I also attached the headband to my head with a few alligator clips.
  7. Then take the curled hair and pull it back over the headband.  Some straight back, some over the ears, etc.  Pin it in place over the hair fall.  Make sure to use a mirror to check the sides and back so you can cover up any spots where the join of the hair fall or the headband can be seen.  If you need additional coverage, get a fun bun or braided hair piece and pin it into place on top of the hair fall.

  1. Spray the heck out of everything with hair spray.  I find it is easier to start with hair that has not been washed, and has been sprayed once before curling with hairspray.  Any little bit of texture that the pins can grab will help.

At the end of the day, even after sweating in the heat, my hair looked like this:

If you have very little hair to use in the front or back to attach things to, you can sew the hair fall directly to the back of the headband, and some wefts to the front and make a sort of wig with the pieces.  Individual horns can also be made and pinned into place in your regular hair, as seen on Carol below:

Basically it is all about making sure things are secure on your head.  You can never use enough hair spray or bobby pins.

Then enjoy your completed look and rock your crazy outfit with your friends!


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Twisted Historical Costumes (and a little history on Italian Renaissance Style Hair Horns!)…PART I

Written by Laura Ulak

I am part of a group known as the Wench Posse, and we attend the Day of Wrong at the Bristol Renaissance Festival and the Minnesota Renaissance Festival every year.  The idea of the Day of Wrong is to take a Renaissance style of clothing and make it, well, WRONG.  An example is below, of an Elizabethan style done in camo and Green Bay Packer fabric.

This sort of costuming is also known as Twisted Historicals, or covered under the Historical Interpretation category in most costume events.  A key part to really selling a twisted historical costume is the accessories.  A good fabric can do a lot of the work, such as the fabric I used in my I Love Lucy costume, and the fabric (plus Homer Hankies!) used for the MN Twins Pirate:

The polka dot fabric is part of the iconic image that we think of when we think of I Love Lucy.  But the hair, the lipstick, the pearls, the “I Love Lucy Heart”, the Vitameatavegamin Bottle and the girdle with the grapes and chocolates help sell the costume.  I could have just done the dress and hair, but adding in those extra accessories takes that costume up a notch.

An example of a different era is my White Queen Victorian – the snowflake fabric, wig and crown all add to the costume:

For this year’s Day of Wrong our group decided to dress as holidays or other events such as Wedding Day, Sick Day, Fishing Opener, Halloween, etc.  I went as Valentines Day.

I decided that an appropriately themed style would be as a courtesan.  I made a pink linen gown with a vintage Valentines fabric for the guard, my bloomers/drawers and my faux corseted front.  I attached heart ribbon from my sleeves, and sewed lace with hearts on it around my neckline.  The buttons on my sleeves and my pants cuffs were little hearts.  My necklace and earrings were made of velvet hearts that were made by me and Angie Kinser.  The girdle was 3 heart necklaces from JCPenneys that were attached together.  I wore heart stockings, red shoes and carried a red heart basket and a red plastic champagne flute.  And on my head I wore horns.

Hair horns were a popular hair style in Venice during the Renaissance and are featured in many portraits of the time.

Here is one by Franco that is actually of a courtesan:

Stay Tuned! On Monday Laura will be discussing how to make hair horns!

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