Monday, 19 October 2015

Hairstyles - Elven inspired hair taping variation

Last week, during a Tolkien convention, I came up with a variation of the Elizabethan hair-taping for a Rivendell Elf cosplay, and I quite liked how it turned out:

The Elizabethan hair taping is a historical style "probably borrowed from the Italians, the style involves wrapping braids around the outside of the head (crown braid style) and sewing tapes or ribbons around and around to secure the braids to the scalp. This was a practical style, keeping hair neat and clean for several days; it could also be very decorative if the tapes were wrapped in attractive patterns." (
  • For this style, I used:

-An elastic without metal for the initial ponytail.
-Two parandas (info about making parandas and braiding them into hair here). Parandas are optional, but a nice addition if you want added volume and colour.
-A gold thread (alternatives include ribbons and any kind of threads or strings to tie your braids with)
-Bobby pins (closed and open). The thread can be enough on its own, but I prefer the added security of bobby pins.
-A stick for the bun variation.
  • Steps (video tutorial planned!):
For the Elizabethan hair taping, I can recommend tutorials such as Torrinpaige's:
The steps I followed for my 'Elven' variation are the following:

1. Pull your hair into a high ponytail (or a low one, I went with a high one) and secure it with a hair-friendly elastic without metal.
2. Divide your hair into two parts. We're going to rope braid each section, adding a paranda.

The rope braid is, in my opinion, one of the simplest braids alongside the three-strand braid. Here is a tutorial. When you add a paranda, the method is similar (rope-braiding with a paranda in my video tutorial here): First of all, instead of three sections you want the paranda to have two, given that this braid only has two sections. I do this by dividing the middle strand of the paranda equally between the left and right one. Then you add one section to each section of hair and twist the two combined hair+paranda strands to form a rope braid in the usual fashion. Be extra careful not to let the paranda slide down when you start twisting!

The style so far looks like the pic on the left (the pic on the right being the final style):

3. Now I started hair taping my hair, following Torrinpaige's tutorial. I started pinning the braids around my head with closed bobby pins and then secured everything (and added adornment) with the golden thread. I added the gold thread after coiling and pinning my braids once around my head, instead of tying the thread and wrapping it around the elastic to hide it, like Torrinpaige and most 'hair-tapers' do. This is because of the variation I introduced:

4.  After coiling both braids once around my hair and securing them with the pins and the thread, I wrapped the remaining length around the ponytail base to form a bun, secured with a stick (instead of wrapping everything around my head). 

For this Elven cosplay, I was initially planning to do a hair taping version which left some of the hair loose, but ended up with this, and, while I think many of us tend not to imagine Elves wearing updos,  this kind of style could easily fit a Rivendell Elf, in my opinion:) Elven women like wearing tressures, snoods and hairnets, after all, and there are Elven-women, such as Galadriel, described wearing braided updos, so I've always imagined some Elven peoples, such as the Noldor, as wearing Italian Renaissance-inspired styles :)

SwordWomanRiona /

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  1. Late to the party (I was on holiday) but you look absolutely gorgeous. ♥