A wolf or cat costume will not be complete without a tail. Store bought tails can be expensive and are not always uniquely styled. Fortunately, it's easy to tailor a queue in the comfort of your home. The use of synthetic leathers is considered the easiest and fastest method. However, if you have the time and a lot of patience, you can make a tail with brushed yarn to make it look more realistic (like that of a wolf or a fox). Best of all, you can combine different colors to create a unique pattern.
Method 1 of 2: Making a Faux Fur Tail
Step 1. Create a pattern
Determine the shape you want the tail to be. Then draw it on a large sheet of paper. To make a cat tail, you can draw a long, thin rectangle that is rounded at one end. To make a fox tail, you can draw an elongated almond shape.
It would be a good idea to add a ½ inch (12mm) seam allowance to your pattern at this point so you don't have to add it later
Step 2. Transfer the pattern to the back of a piece of faux leather
You can pin the pattern onto the faux leather or trace it with tailor's chalk or a ballpoint pen. Make sure that the tail goes with the grain of the fabric and that the fur ends at the tip (as if it were a real tail).
- Choose long, fluffy fur to make large tails (for example, for a fox or wolf costume).
- Choose short furs to make thin tails (for example, for a cat costume).
Step 3. Cut the pattern onto the back of the fabric
Lay the faux fur on a flat surface with the back facing you. Slide the tip of a pair of scissors into the skin, then begin cutting along the pattern. In this way, you will avoid accidentally cutting the fibers of the skin.
- If you haven't already added the ½ inch (12 mm) seam allowance to the pattern, be sure to do so at this point.
- Alternatively, you can cut out the pattern using a utility knife.
Step 4. Cut another piece for the other side of the tail
If you chose a unique style for the tail (for example, the curved tail of a husky), you should make sure to flip the pattern first.
Step 5. Comb the skin inward, away from the cut edges
For this, you must include the skin on the tip of the tail. By doing this, you will prevent the skin from being trapped in the seams and will make it easier to clean the ends.
Step 6. Pin the tail on and sew it up
You should place the two pieces of fur together, with the wrong sides pointing out. Sew along the leather leaving a ½ inch (12 mm) seam allowance. If the thread breaks, you should either loosen it or use a stretch stitch. Leave the top of the tail open.
Step 7. Flip the tail over to the correct side through the opening at the top
You can use a peg, pen, or knitting needle to help pull the end of the tail out. If the tail is curved (like a husky's), be sure to mark the curved parts. This procedure will help make it smoother.
Step 8. Insert polyester fill or synthetic fill into the tail
You can find stuffing bags at fabric and craft stores. If you want to make a flexible glue, consider gluing a thick wire into the glue after filling it.
Step 9. Sew the top of the tail closed by hand
Tuck the open edges into the tail, and then sew it with staggered stitches. You are going to use a safety pin to secure the tail to the costume. If you prefer to use ties, you should cut one or two of a string and add them to the top of the tail before closing it.
Step 10. Sew a flat safety pin to the top of the tail
Alternatively, you can sew a key ring or hook on top of the tail. Instead, if you added rope ties, you can skip this step and slip the tail into a belt.
Step 11. Comb or brush the skin
You want to focus on the seams where the skin may have been caught during the stitching. Then brush the fur from the top of the tail to the bottom to make it look natural. If you've made a husky's tail, it should be combed at a downward angle so that it points toward the outside of the curve.
If the skin is still caught between the seams, you should use the point of a knitting needle to pull it out and then comb it again
Method 2 of 2: Making a Brushed Yarn Tail
Step 1. Get 100% acrylic yarn
You can use any color you want, even a "fancy" color (for example, pink, purple, or teal). The thread must be 100% acrylic; otherwise the method will not work.
Step 2. Wrap the string around a piece of cardboard a few times
You are braiding the yarn, so the cardboard should be about twice the length you want the tail to be. If you wrap the yarn around the cardboard about 12 times, this should be enough.
Step 3. Cut one side of the loops and tie the other
Use a pair of scissors to first cut the thread wound along the bottom edge of the cardboard. Slide the bunch out of the cardboard. Next, tie a small piece of string around the center of the bundle.
Step 4. Braid the yarn
Use the short piece of string to tie the bundle to a support (for example, a toe, table, or chair). Divide the bundle of yarn into three equal sections. Then braid those sections. Tie the tail end of the braid with another piece of yarn a few inches from the bottom.
Step 5. Detangle the tail end of the braid
Use a wide-bristle pet comb to brush the strand at the end of the braid. Keep brushing until the strands unravel and become soft and wavy. The end of the tail will become shorter and you will have a lot of fluffy pieces of yarn. You can discard these fluffy bits or save them for another project.
The fluffy bits that come out of the yarn are perfect for making stuffed animals
Step 6. Use a hair straightener to smooth the end of the tail
Set a hair straightener on the lowest possible temperature setting. Work a few strands at a time, smoothing the brushed strand at the end of the braid. Continue straightening a small section at a time until the thread is straight. Avoid using too high a setting, otherwise you will melt the thread.
Comb the straightened section with a fine-toothed pet comb to help soften it even more
Step 7. Wrap some string around a 7 to 8 inch (18 to 20 cm) piece of cardboard
You should do this until you cover the cardboard. Then cut the thread at the top and bottom of the cardboard. You will end up with 7 to 8 inch (18 to 20 cm) groups of threads.
Step 8. Tie 8 to 10 pieces of yarn in the middle
Gather 8-10 pieces of the cut yarn. Make sure the ends match. Then tie the bunch with a knot in the middle. Repeat this step for all the pieces of yarn that you are going to cut. You should end up with a group of small bunches.
To make a thinner tail, you need to wrap the yarn 6 times. To make a thicker tail, you need to wrap the yarn 13 to 16 times
Step 9. Brush the bundle of yarn except for two strands
Separate two strands from the bundle, one on each side of the knot. Use a wide-toothed pet comb to brush the other strands until they untangle and curl. You should repeat this step for all bundles of yarn.
- Again, you will end up with clumps of fluffy yarn pieces. It is normal for the thread bundle to become shorter.
- You should comb the bunch one more time with a fine-toothed comb to smooth it out.
- You are going to use the two unbrushed strands to tie the bunches to the tail. For the glue to secure better, you should also brush these two strands.
Step 10. Smooth the bundles of brushed yarn
Set the hair straightener on the lowest possible temperature setting. Then use it to smooth the brushed strand until all the curls are gone. This process will be easier for you if you first smooth one side of the knot and then the other.
- Do not straighten the strands that you used to tie the bundles.
- Brush the bunches with a fine-toothed pet comb to help them spread more smoothly.
Step 11. Tie the first bunch to the braid
Place a bunch of brushed strands against the bottom of the braid, just above the tie. Take the two strands of yarn that you used to tie the bundle and wrap them around the braid. Tie the strands in a closed double knot.
If you brushed all the strands, you should sew the bunch to the braid with the knot. You can also apply a dab of hot glue or fabric glue instead
Step 12. Trim the strands
Alternatively, you can brush these strands and then straighten them (as you did with the bunches). This procedure will take longer, but you will get a better finish.
If you sewed the bunches, you should skip this step
Step 13. Tie the next bunch on the other side of the braid
Flip the braid over so the back is facing you. Place the next bunch just above the knot where you tied the first bunch. Wrap the tied strands around the braid and tie a knot, as you did before. You can trim the strands, or brush and smooth them.
Step 14. Continue tying the bunches to the tail
To make a fuller tail, you can add the following bunches (third and fourth) on the left and right side of the tail. You should repeat this process in front, back, left, and right, until you reach the top of the braid. Lower the bundles as low as possible so that they are stacked on top of each other and you can't see the inner braid.
- To make a thinner tail, tie the bunches ½ inch (12 mm) apart.
- If you are sewing the bunches, you should work in neat rows, with the knots next to each other.
Step 15. Separate more bundles of yarn, if necessary
At a certain point, you could run out of bunches. If this is the case, you must separate another group using the above method. If you have bunches left over, you can add them to the queue to fill in the gaps.
Step 16. Attach the tail to the costume
There are a few ways you can do this. You can use the ties at the top of the braid to tie the tail to a belt. You can also use the ties to connect the tail to a hook or keychain ring. Then, hook the tail over the belt. A third option would be to sew or glue a flat safety pin to the top of the tail and attach it to the costume.
- You can make a faux fur tail in various colors. You must first cut faux leather of different colors and then sew it to make the tail.
- Brushed yarn tails do not need to be one color. You can use different colored threads to create different patterns (for example, stripes or dots).
- You can use short brushed yarn to make a fluffy faun tail.
- You can make the bundles shorter if you want, but you may not be able to lengthen them later. The thread unravels after a certain point, so you will only be able to achieve a certain length.
- Depending on how elaborate you want your costume to be, you can also create a mask to match the tail. For example, create a fox mask to match the fox's tail.
- Don't let a brushed yarn tail get wet as it will curl again.
- Keep the tail away from heat. Fake fur and acrylic wool will melt when exposed to heat.