How to Make a Real Hair Beard for a Costume or Prop

Are you having problems finding a decent beard from your local stores or online vendors? You’re not the only one. After scouring Amazon, and other places, I felt a little desperate. I was making Hopper, from Stranger Things to go into my Halloween yard. I thought, how hard can it be to find a normal beard, that didn’t break the bank?

I started scouring tutorials on how to make a beard, and crepe wool seemed to be the way to go. But, after going to six local stores, and finding it would take a week or more to get something that may possibly work, I was skeptical.

After brainstorming a few days, I suddenly remembered: my husband’s quirky idea of saving our Bichon’s clean, shaved hair, for a pillow for him. Yes, desperate times, calls for desperate measures. I’ll share my flubs and successes, on how to make a beard from dog’s hair. Also, look at my final note and tip, for improvising a quick beard, at the very last minute.

Supplies needed:

  • Clean dog’s hair – ours was curly white
  • Human hair dye
  • *2 rectangles of felt (closest to the skin tone of the person or prop)
  • A piece of paper, big enough for a template
  • A fine-toothed comb
  • A low temp, hot glue gun/sticks
  • Optional straight pins/Styrofoam head

*The second piece of felt is purchased in case you get the sizing wrong, on your first attempt at following your template. I didn’t need it, but I had peace of mind that I had bought two, in case of screw ups.

My first blunder during this process: Trying to dye the dog’s hair with food coloring, rather than hair dye. I figured red and green make brown, so why not soak the hair in brown overnight? Seems logical. Yet, when I pulled the hair out of the container of food coloring, I ended up with a more reddish-brown tone. Like the image below:

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With those results, I went to the store and bought the cheapest brown hair dye, and it magically worked! I worked all the dye into the clumps of hair, and followed the timer settings for gray hair, from the packaging. Since it was curly hair, after rinsing the dye out, I also conditioned it. Doing so made it very easy to comb through.

As the hair was drying, I cut a big lunch bag up, so it was a flat piece of paper. I pinned it up against my Styrofoam head, and cut the beard template out. Obviously, if you are making one for yourself, you are NOT going to pin that paper to your face. You could probably measure the width from ear to ear, etc. After trimming the paper, try it on for an accurate size, and repeat if needed.

Once you have the template down for your beard, trace that onto a piece of felt. Cut out and recheck sizing. If all looks good, it’s time to start making that beard! The image below shows the direction and starting point of making your beard.

directions of beard lines

Heat up your hot glue gun, and lay your felt cut-out down in front of you. Take about a fifty-cent-size-piece of dyed hair. As you are holding onto that small bunch, take your fine-toothed comb, and brush out the strands. Put your first approx. inch line of hot glue, along the bottom edge of your felt cut-out. Press your combed piece into the hot glue, being careful NOT to burn your fingers at the same time. Repeat many times, ensuring each bunch glued is closely knit together.

Tip: It is better to have a fuller, slightly longer beard to start with, then trim it down to where you want it.

Mustache and Eyebrows

Notice the blue lines in the image above, and their direction flow. You’ll want to start from the bottom edge for your mustache. Follow the blue flow lines, for your glue lines. It will give it a more natural look. Eyebrows tend to flow very similarly. Again, tightly glue swatches of hair, even overhanging in places. Trim after completely gluing hair in place.

Attaching your Beard, Mustache, or Eyebrows

If you’ve made your beard and accessories to wear as a costume, spirit gum works well. If you’ve made them for your prop, it depends on what type of head you’ve used. A foam head is easy. Use straight pins to temporarily attach the beard, then work in sections to hot glue.

A Final Note and Tip:

Years ago, as I was growing up, we didn’t have a lot of accessories for our costumes. If you’re desperate for some kind of stubble, look around for a piece of cork. Like the ones pulled out of a wine bottle. Make sure it’s not that plastic type, but real cork.

Take a lighter to the end, let it cool, and you’ll be able to have a charcoal hobo face, or a tough-guy stubble look – all within a matter of minutes.

If you enjoyed this tutorial or have any questions, please like, share, and feel free to contact me, if you have any questions.

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